Fulvio Fo (1928 – 2010)

Exactly 6 years today (17th November 2010)the great artist Fulvio Fo lost his battle to cancer and passed away in Rome.

He was a great man, who I had the privilege of meeting personally and work with during a ‘basic theatre course’ he held in the evenings in my high school in Sardinia.
Known to many as “animale teatrante e scrittore” (theatre animal and writer) he had a long career working in theatre and cinema mainly in Italy but also has some stunts abroad.
Born in Luino (a small place near Varese, in the north of Italy) in 1928 he was noble prize winner Dario Fo’s older brother.

fulvio_fo
He was a scenographer, theatre director in Turin and Rome and wrote several books too. In 1996 he moved to Sinnai, a village in the mountains just outside Cagliari, in Sardinia.
The following is a direct quote from Fulvio who wrote this a few weeks before he died:

“Quando arriverà il mio momento so che seguirò questa schiava-padrona con animo limpido, consapevole di potermene andare serenamente lasciando il mio riflesso, la mia impronta positiva sorridente di gioia illuminata e rassicurante”(Fulvio Fo).

This is my translation of the original Italian version above, although it does not sound half as poetic written in English:”When my moment will come I know I will follow this slave-master with clear spirit, aware that I will be able to leave serenely leaving my reflection, my positive and smiling mark with joy both illuminating and reassuring.” (Fulvio Fo)

 

 

The practical course I did with him in 2008 helped me immensely in winning over my timidness as at the end of it we did a live performance. During rehearsals he kept advising me: ‘speak slowly, make pauses and respect them. The pauses you make are just as important as the words you articulate’. If you think about this it is so true, one just needs to watch a speech from the best orator alive, Barack Obama, to realise the accuracy of Fulvio’s teachings. Pauses makes it sound as if you are stopping to think and give your words an air of importance.
Since that course speaking in public became much easier and the year after, when I got elected ‘representative of the students’ by my fellow school mates, I was able to chair school assemblies with an audience of a few hundred people without succumbing to nerves.
His kindness, good spirit and enthusiasm will always be remembered by those who were lucky enough to get to know him and I know I speak on behalf of everyone in the theatre group who in a short period of time learnt so much from him.

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Gaggi vs Burdi.

This is an interesting article in Italian that gives an insight into the reality of Sardinian ‘chavs’ and the distinctions of categorisation that exist within this broad field. Stay tuned, I might right something in ‘Cup of Espresso’ on this topic in the coming months!

mondogaggio

Ho visto un gamberone vestito da hipster e ho capito il senso (la base!) della vita. Ora è togo vestirsi da hipster, quindi il gamberone, che per entrare in discoteca deve essere vestito togo, si veste da hipster. Al punto che poi gli hipster puri tipo delle grandi metropoli si lamentano che c’è un sacco di gente che si trassa da hipster e lo scrivono sui giornali. C’è stato un periodo in cui il gamberone si vestiva da gaggio. E ci sarà sempre un periodo in cui il gamberone-dj dirà «mi chiamano spesso a suonare in quella discoteca» e si presenterà alle ragazze dicendo «ciao sono culo e faccio il DJ (*anche qui abbiamo sostituito il nome a cui si fa riferimento con uno anonimo).

Tutto questo paragrafo per dire che non è poi proprio vero che l’abito non fa il monaco, basta saperlo distinguere.  La serata dell’altro giorno, l’Essenza…

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Living in Manchester

Pre-reading Dictionary (Northern -Standard English):

Chips = French Fries / Pommes Frites

Footy = Football – Soccer

Gravy = a sauce often made from the juices of meats that run naturally during cooking and thickened with wheat flour or cornstarch for added texture.

Lad = Man

Lass = Lady

Ta = Thanks

Looking back at my days as an undergraduate university student made me think that there is something somewhat philosophical in being rained upon almost every single day of the year.

No matter what you do in life, where you come from, the amount of money in your bank account, when you are in Manchester you will get drenched. It’s almost as if someone wanted to remind everyone that there is nothing one can do to counter the great force of the cosmos and that everyone in that Northern city is in the same boat. You are not alone when you are slowly drowning in greyness, dampness , cold and misery.

manchester-rain

Will you get to work with a clean suit or will a double decker bus go full speed into a puddle and cover you in mud? Every morning people in Manchester leave their homes without knowing the answer to this quintessential question. After all, who are we to know the cards destiny has laid out for us?

However there are some solutions one can take to counter all of this. Finding a pub, which there are plenty of (surprise, surprise), is always a good start. Once inside, choose between a wide range of cheap and pretty good beers (lagers and traditional ales) and order a massive portion of cheesy chips with extra gravy, two things which always succeed in cheering you up, at least momentarily. It’s easy to find friendly people to share your misery with and of course being in England what better way to break the ice than talking about how shitty the weather outside is. Conversation with the lads is likely to cover topics such as footy and how City or United is doing in the league and you might even be lucky enough to talk about Rugby (topics I would not cover categorically as I know close to nothing about sport and am rather proud of this).

manchester-pub

When you reach that point in the night when the conversation starts to run dry you either turn your attention to the lasses or you pick up a fight. If  you choose the first option you might want to try out your well-rehersed pick up lines in the hope you’ll get lucky, remember to keep it classy: ‘Hello gourgeous, what can I get ya?’ tends to be an all time winner. If you would rather opt for the latter the best way of going about it is by shouting out loud something along the lines of: ‘Well, if you think about it, Thatcher was not that bad after all’. The reactions will be epic, guranteed. I, however, did not generally pick any of the above as I prefered going home, having a glass of milk with 2 or 3 digestive bisucuits and hitting the bed.

The good thing is that once you get kicked out of the pub, depending on how many pints you end up drinking, you will not even feel the rain, beer truly is God’s blessing in that part of the world.

I firmly believe it is important for one to strive for more long term solution to the constant, dramatic, sense of submission to God/Mother Nature that becomes your way of life whilst in Manchester. So:”Taxi! TAXI!! – once it eventually stops -To the airport please mate, ta!”

manchester-airport-terminal-1

Up, up, up and AWAY!!

Goodbye Fika

When towards the end of May I found out that I had been offered a place on the master course in anthropology at Uppsala I immediately contacted the student nation I was member of during exchange and asked the 3Q (head of personnel) if there were any vacancies.
The idea of the student nation is to offer services for students run by fellow students. Most positions are covered by volunteer workers who dedicate around an average of 10 hours a week to fulfilling their commitments within the organisation.
I was offered the position of ‘Fika host’ for which I had to commit to work 1 full shift a week in the nation’s cafe and help clean the building once a month.
When I was on exchange I had already worked at the Fika as a ‘helper’ or ‘non-responsible worker’ which I really enjoyed. This time instead, I agreed to be the responsible one who kind of ‘runs the show’ during the weekly shift.
The work load isn’t hard, you mainly serve behind the counter, clear plates, wash up, prepare sandwiches and wraps and that is pretty much it.
You do not get a salary for the work you do but you obviously have some benefits such as staff price on all food and drinks at the nation. The main reason I joined was to meet new people, which I did, big time! Everyone within the work force of the organisation knows each other and it is almost like a big extended family.
When I worked shifts I always enjoyed myself, had free food, loads of coffee and would play my cheesy playlist of music (a lot of 1 Direction, Justin Bieber and occasionally Italian pop). Plus every time I worked I would try and drag more people into the work team so that everyone could work less = no stress and plenty of time to chillax (chill and relax).

Everything went fine until I reached a point in which I could not commit for 2 weeks as I had 5 university deadlines concentrated in a short period of time. My idea was to work double as soon as this period was over, with the intention of finding a colleague who would be willing to swap with me.
It’s at this point that the messenger group chat between all the fika hosts and the fika bosses got messy. One of the bosses was taken by an urge to reaffirm his position/authority and reminded me and another colleague (who had the same problem as me for the same period of time) that ‘this is not how things work here’ and that ‘fika is serious business at the nation’.

At this point I flipped.

I pointed out that the fact that it all of a sudden was not acceptable to keep the place shut for not finding enough hosts to cover shifts or that people could not work alone was ‘big news’ as nobody seemed bothered before when I pointed this out.
The reaction from my boss (who I considered to be also a friend) was very defensive and he clearly didn’t appreciate criticism for the fact he hadn’t been as present as he probably should have in the past weeks.
To follow the situation degenerated further with a big component of the team using a healthy dose of passive aggression (for more info on this see related article by clicking here). Others took a more direct route via the messenger group chat and reminded me of my responsibilities (as if I hadn’t adhered to them in the previous 2 months).

Why all this?

Because I was unable to find someone to cover my full shift as I had an exam in those 2 hours and nobody was able to cover for me.
The person reminding me of my responsibilities had ‘sacrificed themself’ in order to cover for me (for 2 hours). The whole thing was very hypocritical as the same individual had a last minute work commitment the previous week and left me to work alone for an entire shift. None of the bosses, nor my colleagues intervened in my defence or to point out that it was unfair to crucify me for 2 hours whilst a week before this individual skipped 7!
Ultimately I was left very upset, stressed and disappointed to a point that I couldn’t focus on my studies and had to work on an assignment in less than 24 hours (which in the end went ok).

For this reason exactly a week ago, after the Monday meeting, I handed in my staff card and officially resigned from my position for this semester. What is the point of doing something if you are feeling stressed or unappreciated?

Hopefully I will find some other position of responsability to cover within the organisation as I really enjoy working there and look forward to trying out something new.

Passive Aggression: a Beginners Guide

A few years back I did a hint of psychology classes in which the teacher/psychologist explained that human beings have 4 main different behavioural types: aggressive, passive, passive aggressive and assertive.

chartpassiveaggressivebehavior465
In an ideal society everyone should be assertive, unfortunately under this aspect, this is one of the rare times you will hear me say that Sweden is not an ideal society. This is the Mecca of passive aggressiveness to a point in which I might be experiencing a mild form of ‘culture shock’. In Italy and southern Europe in general people tend to be very open and if they have an issue with you they will let you know, you might have a confrontation, everything that needs to be said comes out and once that’s done you either work things out or go your separate ways. Everything is clear cut, no misunderstandings, no repressed tension.

In the north of Europe however, things don’t work this way.

passive-aggressive-watch-out

What is the point of being ‘passive aggressive’? That’s a really good question to which I struggle to find an answer. I guess it’s in Swede’s nature to avoid confrontation at all costs so being aggressive isn’t an option yet they don’t want to be completely passive either. So passive-aggressive is the middle ground, perfect solution for the Swedish way of going about life. Another useful aspect of passive-aggression is that when you accuse someone of behaving that way they can deny it, making you look like a paranoid psycho.
In fact, the key to passive aggressiveness is to be subtle. Sometimes it is so subtle that it can be difficult to perceive.

how-to-write-a-passive-aggressive-note-15242-1264011321-6
Most important thing to remember when dealing with passive aggressive people is never to start letting it affect you. If not it becomes a downward spiral in which you start thinking everyone has got it in for you even if they are just in a bad mood for other reasons or maybe they didn’t say hello to you because they genuinely didn’t see you.
I have learnt to be passive-aggressive and I use it sometimes to prove points and make people have a taste of their own medicine. The best way to deal with a passive aggressive is with overwhelming kindness bordering sarcasm; massive (fake) smiles, lots of super duper sweet words (Ned Flanders style), high pitched voice and vaguely camp attitude. You will see them slowly burning inside , guaranteed (although they will never admit to it).

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One day people will realise how pointless being passive aggressive really is and hopefully will find alternative solutions to dealing with disputes.

My Favourite Swedish Songs

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This is a selection of my favourite artists and their songs that I really like. For some like Avicii, Axwell ^ Ingrosso, Zara Larsson and Swedish House Mafia I just put one song but I could put many more (as they are particularly  great in my opinion).

Have a listen, enjoy!

Avicii – You Make Me

Tim Bergling famously known as Avicii is an amazing DJ from Stockholm who produced many dance floor fillers and this single is probably my favourite one, although it was a tough call to pick one song.

Axwell /\ Ingrosso – Sun Is Shining

This duo formed in 2014 after their experiance together in ‘Swedish House Mafia’ with Steve Angelo which disolved in 2013. They produced many hits, this is one of them that came out roughly a year ago but is still popular now.

Daniel Adams-Ray – Gubben i lådan

First song in Swedish I really liked and appreciated back when I was on Erasmus in 2013. I did my best to learn it by heart even if it is 100% in Swedish and I can’t speak the language. I kind of managed thou, which is good! #proud

Familjen – Det snurrar i min skalle

Jakob Karlberg – Fan va bra

LALEH – Bara få va mig själv

Laleh is a Swedish singer and songwriter with Persian origins. She became famous in 2012 with her hit single ‘Some die young’. Many of her songs are in English, this one is her latest big hit and is in Swedish. The title of this song translated literally means ‘just get to be myself’.

Måns Zelmerlöw – Fire In the Rain

Originally from Lund (the other big University city in the south of Sweden). He won a talent show in 2005 and won Eurovision song contest in 2015 (with the single ‘Heroes’). This bellow is a big hit now that they keep playing on Swedish radio.

Norlie & KKV – Din Idiot

Norlie & KKV are a Hip-Hop duo from Stockholm. They have produced quite a few hits since they started in 2008 but they are mainly known in Sweden as their songs are all in Swedish. I broke the rule of 1 song per artist as they are not known outside of this country I thought I would give you a broader flavour of their music.

Norlie & KKV – Du får göra vad du vill med mig

Norlie & KKV – Ingen annan rör mig som du

RMK & Toppen – Oss

Swedish House Mafia – Save the World

Released in 2011 this is probably the band’s most famous hit. They have made many great songs and most of them are extreamly popular in Sweden (understandably) and are still played in clubs.

Veronica Maggio – Jag Kommer

Veronica Maggio is my favourite Swedish singer, born and raised in Uppsala. Her mother is Swedish but her father is Italian and the great thing is that she inserts a few Italian words in most of her songs (including the two I posted here).

Veronica Maggio – Välkommen in

Zara Larsson – Lush Life

Zara is a young Swedish artist (turns 19 in December) from a place just north of Stockholm. In 2010 she won a Swedish talent show and in 2013 she released her first big hit ‘Uncover’ which reached the top of the charts in Scandinavia but made it to the top 40 in many other countries too. She sings mainly in English as many Swedish artists do. People say that Swedes need to make it big in Britain and USA to be truely appreciated in their home country.

Related Articles:

  • Songs about Uppsala!

Songs about Uppsala!

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These are the 2 most popular Swedish songs on Sweden’s 4th biggest city, known also as ‘the city of students’, Uppsala.

 Veronica Maggio – 17 år

Veronica Maggio was born and raised in this beautiful city and in this song she talks about when she was 17 and mentions a few street names and places in the city including the road where I live. At the beginning of the video you can also see my student housing area (the white buildings at 00:14).

Labyrint – Välkommen hem

Another group from Uppsala sing ‘Welcome home’ and talk about their city describing it and naming many of the neighbourhoods and part of the video was filmed on the Flogsta roof-top (Flogsta is the biggest ‘student ghetto’ in the suburbs of the city with tall buildings all inhabited by students).

Related articles:

Swedish Pop: Magdalena’s List

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The other day I attended a gasque (a traditional formal dinner typical of Nation’s life in Uppsala and Lund) at Gothemburg’s Nation and sat next to Magdalena, a really cool Swede who is very passionate about music and at the dinner promised me she would send me a list of classics of Swedish Pop that everyone knows and loves in Sweden.
A few days later she sent me the list, so here it is:

Bert och Heman Hunters – Älskade ängel

 Roger Pontare – Vindarna viskar mitt namn

Mauro Scocco – Sarah

Basshunter – Boten Anna

This song has an English version too which hit the UK charts roughly 10 years ago (the title is’Now You’re Gone’). Who knew he was actually from Halmstad (south-west coast of Sweden).

Glenmark Eriksson Strömstedt – När vi gräver guld i USA

Freestyle – Vill ha dig

Sarek – Genom eld och vatten

Veronica Maggio – Hela huset (ft. Håkan Hellström)

Carola – Främling

Ebba Grön – Staten & Kapitalet

 Broder Daniel – Shoreline

Cornelis Vreeswijk – Somliga går med trasiga skor

 Ted Gärdestad – För kärlekens skull

Lena Philipsson – Det gör ont

E-Type – True Believer

Roxette – Listen to your heart

 Gyllene Tider – Sommartider

Magnus Uggla – Efterfest

Magnus Uggla – Kung för en dag

The Cardigans – My favourite game

Icona Pop – I love it

John Ossi – Whats the point

 Ace of base – All that she wants

Another example of a world famous song that comes from Sweden (although few people know that!).

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