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Friday, 15 February 2008

Quando ‘r pèo I fa ‘r grizin

Quando ‘r pèo I fa ‘r grizin
Lascia ‘a môssa e date ar vin
(When the hair turns grey,
Leave the women and date wine)
Riccardo Borghetti

Just as I thought I’m getting the hang of Italian we get invited to the launch of the latest CD of local hero and troubadour Riccardo Borghetti, who sings all his songs in Spezzini, the dialect of La Spezia! Women instead of donne become môssa. ‘k’ sounds become slurred ‘g’ sounds (as in the g in George when you’ve had a bit too much to drink). ‘tch’ sounds become ‘ss’ sounds and a load of other confusions. Everything becomes softer, a bit like Portuguese in sound, although influences are more French apparently. Riccardo Borghetti is the most famous current musician in the province, his greatest claim to fame being the fact that he wrote the supporter song for Spezia football club, after they got promoted to Serie B last season. We managed to get an invite to this exclusive event, because, in addition to his usual band he needed an extra accordion player (our neighbour Mauro) and a banjo player (our neighbour Marco). Incidentally, Marco reckons with me and him both playing the banjo, Ponzano Superiore possibly has the largest concentration of banjo players in Italy.

The music? Well his voice is certainly distinct, especially after several cigarettes and glasses of red wine. Folk-pop probably describes it best. Bits of Country and even rock come out in between, certainly a sense of humour, no… it sort of grows on you. The man doesn’t have a web-site as far as I can see, otherwise I’d direct you towards it for a sound sample. After the show there was traditional food: farinata (little chickpea fritters) and mes-ciua (a soup consisting of chickpeas, cannelloni beans and farro) and wine from the nearby Cinque Terre. And afterwards we went to Ali’s Pub next to the market in La Spezia with Marco and Susana and their parents. Really nice evening out!

Susan in the meantime has nearly finished her first week’s teaching. And it hasn’t turned out as bad as she had feared. She takes 10 different classes, which means she only has to prepare one lesson a week. I told her it would be good idea to start with a sporty theme in her first lesson to get their attention, as most Italian kids are sports mad. So as there are the 6-Nations on at the moment she tried to interest them in some rugby: Contrast and compare football versus rugby. Amongst the things we came up with was in football they dive and feign injury, but if a rugby player stays down he’s broken a leg! Anyway, some classes seem to have been better than others, but certainly manageable. Next week she’ll do Irish music. I on the other hand will be away from Sunday to Wednesday or so for a couple of wine tasting events in Germany with one of my clients.

On the agricultural front, we haven’t done much on the land, but I sowed a lot of things indoors. Here’s the list: peppers, cucumbers, 3 types of tomatoes, melons, aubergines, chervil, basil, savoury, tarragon, dill and chillies. If only half of this takes we’ll be well supplied over the summer and autumn.

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