Disco Driva and Wine Workers

This weekend I switched the iPod from general shuffle to a playlist shuffle, the sun was shining and I had a desire for some 1970’s disco music. People often find it odd that I like disco considering the amount of punk, indie and rock in my music collection. But I’ll hold my hands up and state honestly that I am and have always been a bit of a disco bunny.

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Photo from Freepics.com

Growing up in the 1970’s most of the music around was (what I call) dull-rock like ELP, Barclay James Harvest and (cringe) Smokie and bands that I hated with a vengeance like Genesis, Yes and Pink Floyd, in-fact the only rock band I did like back then was Black Sabbath.

I was always a Northern Soul lover; I loved the dancing, intricate moves and backflips, I can’t tell you how many pairs of trousers I split the crotch in doing the splits at the youth club discos. So when disco burst onto the scene with more dance music I grabbed it by the throat and danced the ass of it at every opportunity.

So I’ve been driving along the Italian roads with my windows open and the likes of Donna Summer, Karen Young and Chic playing loud, on my way from Fossacesia my all time favourite song and disco diva, Sylvester shuffled to the fore, and as I bounced along the lane I sang along to You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real): it never fails to make me happy.

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Image: Screenshot

In fact every song by the late, great Sylvester James makes me happy, so when I’m back home I set the iPod to Sylvester and spend the afternoon in a self-induced euphoric disco  haze.

Later that evening we went with friends to a local bar, that’s a bit rough around the edges but serves excellent porchetta and arosticini and as we sat enjoying the fragrant pork and the mutton skewers three men walked in still dressed in work overalls. As they ordered their drinks and sat down, it struck me much the Italians are like the British, but at the same time how very different. The men had dropped by for a quick drink and sat with newspapers open at the sports pages and chatted about football, no different than English blokes just off work. The difference was they didn’t have a pint of beer, they sat drinking a glass of red wine each. Just the beverage sat them apart from their English cousins, I would lay bets had this been Germany then a stein of beer would have been the drink of choice.

The evening came to a close and I drove back home with Sylvester singing, Rock the Box, and as we pulled up outside the house, this disco driva, pressed the centre of the iPod and then set it back to, ‘shuffle songs’ in readiness for the following day.

Evidence of Dogs

As we near the end of our house refurbishment the front garden is looking less like a building site and more like a wasteland. The grasses have been killed off by piles of sand and cement. Plastic covered piles of materials have gone to reveal yellowing weeds and there’s lots of evidence that dogs live here.

Now when I say evidence that dogs live here, I don’t mean what I’m sure has sprung to mind. I’m not referring to dog poop, that is quickly dispensed with and dropped into the appropriate council bin. What I mean by evidence, is dog litter.

The iPod is playing and as it shuffles and as Girls Aloud, (yes I have Girls Aloud on my iPod) begin to play, Something Kinda Oooh, I decide to clean up outside. I look around at the doggie destruction, a tennis ball lies disembowelled near the herb planter, that incidentally will be taken out as the dogs have removed fifty per cent of its soil by digging in it. On the step is a chewed plastic bottle and beside a scarlet geranium is a discarded and bitten ice cream container.

Dogs

The day is heating up and the thought of clearing up the dog litter as I sweat under the sun makes me consider it’s best to leave the task until later, maybe early evening. I look at the only patch of green outside and it’s strewn with ripped up pieces of cement bags; the perils of puppyhood is the constant urge to chew. There’s a crushed plastic plant pot and a finger from a gardening glove and where our flooring had been stored is a mangled kitchen spatula: When did that go missing?

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Early evening arrives and I find another excuse not to tidy up, the mosquito’s are out, just flying at ankle level, maybe I’d be better to get up early in the morning when the ankle biting insects are away and the sun is still waking up. I stroll back into the house, the iPod shuffles and, David Bowie launches into, Diamond Dogs, I put out of my mind the need to clean up after my dogs who are not diamonds but are still precious, and pour a glass of wine. We’ll see if tomorrow morning brings back the urge to tidy up the front of the house.

Somehow I doubt it.

Unconscious Italian

The iPod shuffles and Canadian R&B singer, Melanie Fiona sings Watch Me Work. I’m surprised she remains mostly unknown by the UK music buying public as she’s much more talented than the likes of Kelly Rowland, Nicole Sherzinger et al, but I guess the big U.S. labels still see Canadian artists as ‘poor cousins’. There’s a knock at the door and my neighbour tells me she’s having some work on her back garden done, so there may be some cars parked at the top of the road. Moments later a tractor arrives and two short squat men jump out and begin to hand-ball bricks and wood up the stairs leading to my neighbours back garden. Now being of the nosey persuasion, I pop along to see what’s happening and before long I’m sat inside enjoying a prosecco as the two men toil in cooling early evening air.

There’s a call and Mario, one of the squat gardeners asks me if I can give him a lift to Minco di Lici to pick up his girlfriend. As it’s literally just around the corner I agree, we drive down the lane and pass a group of elderly locals all sat out chatting, each one has brought their own chair and sit in the road with no intention of moving. I see their faces that say, ‘we were here first’. As we navigate slowly around the group they look at the English car and give a half-hearted greeting, We toss a robust, “Salve tutti,” out of the window and smiles grace the ancient faces and a more robust, “Anche lei,” is called back. Mario tells me he is married but his wife didn’t like living in the country so returned to city living. I ask him what city she returned to, expecting him to say Milan, Rome or Naples. His response is, “Casoli.”  Casoli, our council town is a mere 5 km away, and by UK city standards it’s barely a town.

We arrive at the house where Mario’s girlfriend works as a carer, the elderly wife opens an electronic gate and beckons us inside. The woman chats away to us, offers us beer and when we decline she looks sad, her aged eyes, watery. We look at each other and watch her face lose years as it brightens when we agree to have a small beer. Seven cats share the terrace where we sit, but unlike the owner we are not impervious to the smell, luckily a light breeze blows it away from where I sit. Eventually a young girl in her twenties appears at the door, she’s from the Dominican Republic, a good half metre taller than Mario and I imagine at least ten years younger. I ask him how they met and he is vague, so I’m assuming over the internet.

I deliver Mario and his beau back and for regular readers of, A Life on Shuffle, here’s an update on the shed incident of a few days ago, Mario, uses his digger to push it over the edge of the ruin it was lodged on, so now out of sight, I’m very happy. It’s only after he’s put some paper down on the dirty tractor seat for his girlfriend to sit on, that i realise I have just spent a good forty-minutes in the company of Italians and not a word of English has been spoken, and I’ve not had to think about what I was saying, it just flowed naturally. Now I’m not fluent, far from it, but it was nice to actually speak another language without consciously thinking about what I’m saying.