Thursday, November 15, 2007

Better Lone Wolves than Guard Dogs

I was fortunate enough to spend a few days in the land of my forefathers earlier this month

I could now relate tales of how the Italians, though still way behind the British, are being sold the same load of fear-based crap as the British are. How people living 500 miles away from the nearest decent kebab or curry told me in a whisper about the ‘Muslim Problem’ their country was facing

But I won’t

Not today

I’ll slap some pictures up instead...

Pictures of a cousin of mine clearing out his attic and trying out a trunkful of once much-loved ultrawide-lapelled shirts and criminally flared trousers for one last time before carting them outside of the village limits for controlled demolition in a field somewhere…





or a picture for my mate Ian who thought it was a bit strange how everyone where my family comes from walks around with big sticks all the time…




Actually, the snakes are the least of their problems. It’s the giant mutant squirrels they’re really scared of…




The boar hunting season is full-on at the moment and the valley was filled with dozens of well-heeled city folk. City folk who, very much like their counterparts in the UK, are so concerned about rural ecosystems that they very kindly, and unselfishly, drop thousands on 4x4s, dogs and custom firearms so that they can spend their weekends blowing the fuck out of small, and not so small, furry animals.


In fairness, one of the locals insists that boar have become a bit of problem and he has taken to protecting his vineyard over the summer months by surrounding it with a huge public address system and playing the radio really, REALLY loud 24/7.


Everyone else suspects that he's doing it just to piss them all off


This year he tuned his rig into
Radio Maria sometime in the beginning of July and didn’t turn it off until sometime near the end of September. Radio Maria, for the uninitiated, is a round the clock Catholic radio channel which broadcasts Mass, Mass and more Mass. The scary thing about it is, is that no matter where you are in Italy, no matter how remote the location, you are always able to receive Radio Maria even if nothing else is coming through…

It’s worth thinking about


Anyway, I only mention the hunting thing as a preamble to this picture of a memorial in the local cemetery; a couple of vaults down from my family’s crypt. It's a tableau of someone being accidentally shot in the back by a friend…




One of these days I might be able to locate the friend’s final resting place and see what his family have put up.


The Dead figured quite highly in conversation this month as the Italians still take
All Souls Day very seriously. And you don’t have to be a practicing Catholic to see some merit in marking one special day a year to remember lost loved ones, even if you might personally think the way people go about it is sometimes a bit silly

And in Italy that remembrance process involves buying heaps of candles and flowers, piling them up in mounds around your loved ones’ graves on the 2nd November and coming back a week later and slinging them all in the bin

Deciding which of the many themed candles on offer to buy can be a real challenge; particularly as there’s no price premium or discount associated with any particular Saint/ Pope/ Incarnation of Jesus




Most people cover their bets and buy a few of each just to be on the safe side


though, rummaging around the bins a week later, Saint Rita (who?) seemed to come in as a surprise (to me anyway) No.1 in this year’s Memorial Candle Chart with the eternally-dripping Padre Pio breathing down her neck in the No.2 spot




And whilst on the subject of religion and stuff here’s a picture of the front door of the local church…




featuring a series of illustrated panels of impoverished locals making a meagre living off the land with scythes and sickles, packing it in and seeking their fortunes overseas, the final panel gives a clue as to what most of them ended up doing…




In thirty or forty years time the churches of Eastern Europe will probably start sprouting illustrated doors depicting the cartoon antics of local immigrants heroically preparing British supermarket ready meals, changing nappies or fixing leaky London plumbing


There are very few new stories under the Sun

Sadly, I didn’t spend much time in any towns or cities so I didn’t see much of the political graffiti that Italians do so much better than the British. Except this little number which amused me some…


"Better Lone Wolves than Guard Dogs"

.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Here's some fun reading, "Symbolism of Control".

brendadada said...

Magnificent return, welcome back. Love the church door. And the wheelbarrow full of flares. Well, love it all really.

Merkin said...

Aaaaah, the joys of being anywhere but here.
I am jealous as Hell.
In Poland there is also a 'Radio Maria' and it gives hours of fun for all the family.
We used to sit in with a couple of bottles of Spiritus (96% alcohol) and listen to the radio phone-in programmes it hosted. Hysterical stuff, even without the Wodka.

Stef said...

@anon - cheers for the link, am off there now

@bd - hello

@merkin - But did the radio have any batteries in it?

The Antagonist said...

Nice one, Stef. Good to have you back. There's been fuck all worth reading since you departed, barring the almighty Conspiraloon™ Alliance.

I have a sneaking suspicion that things are a little worse in Italy than anyone might dare admit.

They've started rounding up and expelling Romanians with the prefect of Rome, Carlo Mosca, saying, "I shall sign the first expulsion orders straightaway. A hard line is needed because, faced with animals, the only way to react is with maximum severity."

The birthplace of Fascism would appear to be ever so slightly ahead of a few others in the taking fascism to the people.

Still, probably a little early to give up hope just yet, they got the last lot of bastards eventually....

Stef said...

Sad to say, the Romanian thing was/ is very *big* news over there and some jaw-dropping comments were being made by very mainstream figures

The Italian establishment may be lagging behind the War on Terror thing a little but they're bang on schedule with the importation/ demonisation of a scapecoat underclass side of things

Sophia said...

Welcome back Stef. Lovely post.

Merkin said...

'Hysterical stuff, even without the Wodka, even without the batteries'

Tony said...

All your keys are belong to NETCU...
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/11/14/ripa_encryption_key_notice/

Stef said...

I loved some of the comments under that NECTU story and the many different versions of the 'The police wouldn;t be investigating you if you hadn't done something wrong' defence

it's like the 1970s all over again