Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Amo, Amas, Amat... And All That

So… Milan. Nice city. Not jaw-dropping, not pig-ugly, just… um… nice. Pleasant. Agreeable. If you’re planning a trip there anytime soon here are my top three survival tips…

1. Learn how to speak Italian.
Believe it or not, English is not the primary language in Italy. Luckily for me, a lifetime of watching ‘Gregory’s Girl’ coupled with my Latin class during 2nd year at High School, had equipped me with all the necessary vocabulary to handle any situation.

Pizza? – “Bella!”
Women? – “Bella! Bella!”
Can you spare 2 Euros? – “tu ne cede malis sed contra audentior ito” (Yield not to misfortunes but advance all the more boldly against them)
How the f#ck do we get off this packed Metro? – “In meus signum, nisi abyssus” (On my signal, unleash hell)

2. Treat the women with respect.
The women in Milan are undoubtedly bella bella but more than that, they also smell incredible. However, unlike those who frequent certain bars I could mention in Falkirk, they do not seem to appreciate being approached and sniffed at close quarters.

3. Don’t have dinner in a restaurant.
Not when you can go to most bars between 5pm and 7pm and help yourself to a free, all-you-can-eat buffet of breads, meats, pasta, rice, couscous (what IS that by the way?) and many other culinary delights. THAT, my friends, is a happy hour!

But I didn’t just go to Milan to eat pizza and sip coffee (although that is reason enough) so this email I received a couple of weeks ago should explain all.

To: neil@neilwritestheworld.com
Date: Mon, 04 Dec 2006 18:33:27 GMT
Subject: Congratulations - You have won!!!

Just a quick note to let you know that your name has been drawn for one ticket for the performance by Sting & Edin Karamazov in the intimate surroundings of the Basilica di Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan on December 13.

What you now need to do is email us back at blahblah@blah.com no later than midnight tomorrow confirming that you can accept your ticket. Once you have done this your name will be added to the guest list for the event. Please note DO NOT accept a ticket with the intention of giving it to someone else. Your name will be on the guest list and you will require photo id in order to receive your invitation to gain admittance to the event.

Because the event is admission by invitation via a guest list, although you are free to tell anyone that you have won a ticket you may wish not to publicise your name for fear of someone trying to gatecrash the event in your place. The choice of who you tell is therefore yours.


Keen-eyed readers may remember that I had my reservations back in May about this project and to date, I’m still not convinced that Sting hasn’t crawled too far up his own arse, so I can’t yet bring myself to buy the album. But when I received this email (and then discovered that I could get a return flight to Italy for £40) I reasoned that if you’re going to see a once-great pop star perform 16th century music on his lute, you might as well accept a free ticket for his concert in the beautiful surroundings of an ancient church. In Milan. Given those parameters, the gig was pretty good and definitely worth the trip and although he didn’t confirm it in so many words, I think he might be returning the favour by making a surprise appearance at The Finn Cousins gig next week.

Oh, and one other cultural point for you high-brow literary types. The concert venue, the Basilica di Santa Maria delle Grazie, is also the home of Leonardo’s ‘The Last Supper’, the painting featured so prominently in Will Shakespeare’s page-turning thriller ‘The Da Vinci Code’ (“Unputdownable” – Queen Elizabeth I) Many scholars and conspiracy theorists claim that the painting contains all manner of hidden meanings but personally I think the message is rather obvious.

Sorry. I really wanted to show you some photos of me standing in various piazzas wearing a scarf tied up in that Euro-bohemian, fancy pants type of way (remember that?) but my camera went a bit funny so you’ll have to make do with blasphemous religious imagery instead. Merry Christmas!


At 20/12/06 9:41 pm, Blogger Peggy said...

Milan sounds like an interesting place to visit. So, no ready-to-wear stuff then? I guess that was in October.

Sting concert? I would have never guessed in a million years.

At 21/12/06 12:19 am, Blogger Kell said...

I'm still trying to get over the £40 ticket to Italy. I'm definitely living in the wrong country.


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