Sunday, 8 May 2016



Most of what makes life is routine. Utterly boring routine. As much as we all like to think and dream, routine is our life and we get used to it incredibly well, in spite of that little voice we can sometimes hear whispering from the back of our mind: "This is just like the Matrix, when it was one single movie and you think it was cool, only to find out it spiraled out into a trilogy and you were left wondering what the hell is Monica Bellucci doing there. You know that, as much as there is more and better stuff in world cinematography than the Matrix, there is more in life than this routine, so go out and get it!"
Pity most of the time the voice is muted by the need to start the washing machine, or ironing or paying bills or, even worse, going to work.

Today was meant to be yet another routine Sunday: bit of cleaning, bit of crosswords, reading, buying flowers, sitting on the armchair thinking of sorting out the wardrobe. Usual. But then I remembered there was a street fair not far from my flat and thought it was some good chance to find flowers for the kitchen there: only 2 hours after deciding to go, I was ready, which is by itself an amazing achievement for me, something that should have made me notice I was quite resolutely stepping out of routine.

I walked through the street fair, dodging political activists trying to flood me with their leaflets (mayoral election are approaching quickly) while accepting the kebab and pizza place menus, looked at the shops and the market stalls. There's a shop, right on the corner of the square. I walked by it twice last week, but at odd times so this was my first chance to have a look inside. I was curios because it's hard to label: from the outside it looked like a gift shop mashed together with a record shop. It's an odd mix, could it truly be so?
I opened the door, stepped in and... yeah, "L'emporia di Pinin" (Pinin's Emporium, what's not to like in a shop with such a cool name?) is a gift shop mashed together with a record shop.
I started browsing and before even reaching letter B in the stacks I already found out what I wanted.
I took the record out and had a look at the rest of the shop.

The guy sitting next to the records put some music on (to cover the atrocities played outside) and when I reached the counter he asked me why I picked that specific record.

"Oh, I like the Autumn Defense a lot"
And so it started a conversation with him, and the other 2 shopkeepers about music, Autumn Defense and Wilco, Wilco's gigs of the past and the future.

I left with best wishes of enjoying the record and I walked home almost as fast as a London commuter. I put the record on and listened to it twice. It's a neat album and the proof that I might not escape it wholly but I can still give routine a run for its money every now and then.

Most of the time I feel a bit of an alien when I talk about music: I try to stick to the usual suspects (my sis, Ciccio, Francesco...) because I know that they will not look at me as if I've grown a second head overnight when I talk about my favorite artists.
If I chat with a colleague or a stranger (sometimes the 2 categories overlaps, at least music-wise), it's a painful experience that can be sum up as follows: Virgi tries to explain the music she likes by naming some bands, person stares blankly at Virgi, Virgi explains the genre, "Is it something like Swedish House Mafia?", Virgi sobs in one corner.
Today nothing like this happened. Routine was broken and it might look a very tiny, unimpressive change in the routine: but it felt huge to me; it relieved me from some musical loneliness, so to speak, and gave me a new refuge from routine, at a walking distance from home.

Sunday, 10 April 2016

March in few lines

The blog laid abandoned, uncared for and unvisited for more than a month.

In the meanwhile, I’ve been to London, saw Glen Hansard’s gig, changed hair colour twice and moved back to Torino definitely (well, as definitely as my movings, or pilgrimage around Europe can be).

And now I’ll have to decide what to do with the blog: as usual, winter has been harsh to my mood, and I feel as if I don’t really have much to say. Blogger’s block?

Perhaps, because at the same time, my mails are flourishing. Some days I’m just tempted to go and close the blog, some other times I convince myself that I just need a quite moment to gather my idea and start again. I guess we’ll discover it soon enough.

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

chaos, redux

I had packed everything I needed to move. Midway through packing I looked around me and reassured myself that yes, it was all chaos around me, but chaos would be gone once I finished packing. Looking back, I'm not sure what I was thinking. Was I even thinking? Maybe I was simply deluding myself.

Nothing is created or destroyed, but merely transformed, right? In my case, it's better to say that "chaos is created, yet cannot be destroyed but merely boxed and moved".

So the moving happened last Sunday. I obviously had to pick the day with the heaviest amount of rain of the last 2 months, as my own personal implementation of Murphy's law.

In a Miyagi-like move, boxes out boxes in, in the early afternoon the chaos had moved to Torino.
It was somehow neatly hidden in boxes and bags and then one hour later it was scattered all around the flat.

Ah, it feels good to see things don't really change: I reckoned that as long as I made enough space for me to lay on the bed, dug a small path to reach the kitchen and the bathroom and have enough room to open and close the entrance door I was going to be fine.
And since I managed to do all of the above, I felt that order could still wait a little. After all, I suspect chaos loves company.

Monday, 22 February 2016


Thursday night finds me fully awake around 11. I manage to fall asleep at 3 in the morning. I wake up 5 hours later, feeling like a zombie.
Friday night finds me in bed by 11. I'm just too tired.
Saturday morning and my eyes are wide open by 5:30. I feel and look like a zombie.
Internal clock, seriously, WTF?

Anyway, no time to waste on eye bags and general feeling of unwell being cause Saturday is the day. I'm packing! To avoid any possible danger of procrastination, I do the only thing I know to force me to get started for real. I drop almost everything I got in the bedroom on the bed and around it.

Simple as that: if I want to sleep, well I need to pack.
And that's what I did: put some music on and set to work for the whole day. I still have a "couple of things" that needs to be packed away but I still got 5 days before panicking officially and, most important of all, I cleared the bed in time to crash on it in the evening.

It's satisfying to see chaos reducing little by little. And to see the bed resurface too (by 3 in the afternoon my intake of coffee was spiraling out of control).
The house is messy, but chaos is gone from the bedroom, or so it'd seem.
Because what I did was boxing my chaos in some boxes, so that it can be easily transported into a different place where it will be explode onto my face the moment I tear open the first box.

And I apparently forgot to mention (till now) of the chaos that is having a limbo party in the leaving room. Oh well, I still got 5 days (well, evening) to sort it all out.
Shit. While typing I realized I only got 4 evening as I'm taking the train back to Torino on Friday.

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Order, plans and other failures

In two weekends time, my brother in law, a wonderful man that we affectionally call "he who closes the coffee machine so tight that not even the Hulk will ever be able to open it again", is going to come and help me moving all my stuff back to Torino. Reason why next weekend I'm staying in Milano to pack the above mentioned stuff. If I just have a brief look around my flat, I can only shudder, close my eyes and hope for the best.

Up to few days ago, I felt rather confident: I'm going to use one day to pack everything and spend the rest of the weekend resting or meeting with the few friends I got in Milan. But then, yesterday night I had the insane idea of starting packing a box and now I'm not so sure 2 days will be enough.

First of all, if thieves were to visit my apartment tomorrow while I'm at work, I wouldn't probably notice the difference. I got things scattered all over the place: documents, photos, books, DVDs, mismatched pair of shoes (I can understand mixing socks, but shoes? Seriously???), an amount of cables that could be probably wrapped twice around the Equator line. And also: plug adapter, inflatable dress hanger (I knew I had bought them! Wonder how they ended behind the summer shoes though), an amount of pens to put any stationery shop to shame, newspaper clippings, screwdrivers and paper clips... Where do all these things come from?! Was it me amassing them over time?!

At this point I should have just taken a big bag and started throwing stuff away. I didn't so now, I have no place to sit on the sofa, and just some tiny little space on the desk to place the MacBook. All this chaos is slightly driving me mad(der than usual), but somehow I find denial much more relaxing. But this evening is completely different: I'm focused! I'm determined! Nothing will stop me and nothing will distract me! Oh look what I found!

The baby Groot amigurumi! I thought I lost it! Oh, you see, it's not complete, it still misses the smile, the arms, well the branches, and I need to find a small vase to put it in. Well arms are a small little thing, it shouldn't take me too long and I'm pretty sure there is some small box or vase around this mess I can use. I think I can first finish the amigurumi and then take care of less urgent task, like putting my house and life back in order.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

The Sanremo week

The question is now how to describe to non-Italians what the Festival of Sanremo is. The big issue here is why: why is the festival still a thing and why should I bother trying to make any sense out of it?
Well, let's define it first and move to the finer details later on.

You don't really have to call it with its complete name "Festival delle musica italiana di Sanremo", Sanremo will do: everybody knows what you're referring to with that name. It's a week long competition that has been running for 66 years: journalists, photographers, pseudo-celebrities and singers flock to the town and it feels the whole nation has fall into a sick z-version of Groundhog Day. Everyday is the same: non-stop talking of the festival, tv, newspaper and so on talking about the songs, singers, etc.
Most of the song are hopelessly bad, it's a mashup of the worse of average dumb television.
It's more a marathon than a music show: it runs way over midnight and it's followed by an  after festival show that runs until... I don't know, I never watched it, but I know it exists.
It feels impossible to escape it. But at the same time is extremely easy, cause switching the TV off is more than enough to cut more than half the pain away.

So far I watched only 5 minutes of the festival, when Elio e le storie tese were playing. Francesca texted me when they finally made it to the stage and when the song was over I turned the TV off and went to sleep, as it was quite late already.
I am a snob when it comes to music and guess what? I'm perfectly fine with it.

The week of Sanremo means that I watch even less TV than usual and spend more time doing other things. This year I've been writing a lot of mails, listened to music and discovered poetry.
The big final is on Saturday, but I'll be in Torino where I don't even have a TV set to keep off.
In the past I would make an effort to read some news about it, because it was impossible to avoid the office chit-chat about it. But since I don't speak to anybody at work, it felt right to not bother at all and spend my time otherwise.

I could have started packing my stuff, since end of month is going to be here soon and then I'll have to move all my stuff to Torino. But I thought spending 32 minutes listening to Dave Matthews Band with Bela Fleck & the Flecktones would be much much better:

And at that point it was too late to pack, but look! I still got some spare 23 minutes for one more song:

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Inside out

Well, what should I do with you, neglected blog of mine?
Pretty you up a little? Add some nice widget to your layout perhaps? Would that make you happy?

(Am I really talking to my blog?!?)

The problem is that I should be prepared: by now I should know that January and February are always tough months for me. There is something about the start of the new year, the gloomy winter, the lack of real changes in my life that, combined with my inclination towards depression, should make a philharmonic orchestra of alarm bells go off in my brain.
I should know that, between the end of January and beginning of February, I'm finding everything is just harder: waking up, getting up, going to work, working, coming back from work. It's like having to carry an extra weight with me the whole time, and I already have my never-budging overweight to carry around!
Sadness takes old of every single aspect of my life and it's very tiring. I should remember how bad this feels, year after year, yet January comes and I'm taken completely by surprise, as if the pain in the past didn't leave any warning or reminder.

One thing has changed this year though. I can't shield the external world from it. I got to the point of being so tired that I don't have the energy to pretend to be ok. If my face is not enough proof of it, my words will be.

The only thing that is probably saving me right now is that for good part of my working week, I barely talk with people. But people should really learn to not say anything more than "hello". After hello, I normally go for banal sentences, safe and neutral territory.

But lots of people around me are completely devoid of this basic notion and they have to go and ask me "How are you? What's that face?"
At that point my brain freezes for a split second.
In an "Inside Out"-like scenario, I can picture Sensible trying to input an answer that can be polite and believable at the same time. But just little bit behind her, here comes Brass pushing over Honesty with a bit too much of strength so that I unload on the poor person who asked the question a whole speech on the unfairness of life and universe.
Sensible shakes her head, while Brass looks, well, brassy.
In the meantime, Wonder wonders when Sarcasm got so sarcastic.
Everything is so messed up that even Wisdom goes ¯\_(ツ)_/¯