Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Beginner's Guide to Italian TV - Part 2

Part 1 can be found here.

Game Shows
Or 'i quiz' as the Italians call them, have always been very popular here, since the birth of Italian TV in 1954. RAI's Lascia o raddoppia? (The Italian The $64,000 Question), originally ran between 1955-1959 and still remains one of Italian TV's most well-known shows, and 3 remakes of it were shown in later years, in 1979, 1989 and 1990. Italians have a way of making game shows slightly over-complicated though... Affari tuoi, Italy's version of Deal or No Deal baffled me at first, even though during the last few months at home before moving to Italy I'd watch the British version pretty much every single day!! It was no fault of the language, I understood very nearly everything that was said - it was just that the programme seemed much more complicated than the British version! There are subtle differences, such as each contestant coming from a different region in Italy, and different prizes that can be won, but there are additions which would seem a bit random to someone who hadn't watched any, or much Italian TV - such as the famous cocodrillo making an appearance in this show too!! But even though they can be a bit too complicated, Italian game shows are handy for learning the language, for one thing, shows such as L'eredità (Rai Uno) and Italy's Who Wants to be a Millionaire, Chi vuol essere millionario (on Canale Cinque) have the questions and potential answers on screen, giving you a bit more time to scramble for your dictionary to find out what that new word means! Oh, just don't get me started on the dancing ladies though...!!

TG is what you'll see in the TV schedules for a news bulletin, it stands for telegiornale (tele from televisione, and giornale originally meaning 'newspaper'), and you'll notice that most of them are on at different times to the UK, later in the evening, when most Italians are having supper. So it could be that they're settling down to eat around 8pm, and will watch RAI Uno's news, or around 8.30 when RAI Due's bulletin's on. RAI Tre and Retequattro's TG's are on earlier, at 7pm and 6.55 respectively. And it's the same at lunchtime, you're guaranteed to catch a bulletin on one of the seven national stations if you have the TV on. If you're learning Italian I'd say stick to the RAI channels if you can, I won't go off on a Mediaset rant, but the newsreader on TG4 is genuinely very difficult to understand. When I was at uni, I found the language used on RAI Due's TGs to be the easiest to understand, even though I can't pinpoint why now unfortunately! TG3 carries local news after the main news bulletin, and you won't find a TG on Italia Uno, their news is called Studio aperto (literally 'Open Studio') instead.

Reality Shows
They may be less in number on Italian TV, but they're just as popular - and in the case of this year's Grande Fratello (Big Brother) there have been record viewing figures. As I discovered when I was in the X Factor audience back in October, Italy really likes to drag out its reality shows!! That edition of X Factor lasted a little longer than it usually did - it was an epic three and a half hours long! That was on a Wednesday night, from 9pm to 12.30am! That's another thing about realities here; Saturday night is the big reality show evening in the UK, but here they're almost all shown during the day, after the kids have come home from school, or on weekday evenings. Grande Fratello's shown Monday evenings on Canale Cinque, and this's another epic too, starting at 9pm and lasting until gone midnight!

Una canzone al giorno - settimana 4

This week's songs:

Mario Venuti - Una pallottola e un fiore
Jovanotti - Chissa' Se Stai Dormendo
883 - Nient'altro che noi
Le Vibrazioni - Raggio Di Sole
Negrita- Fragile
Mina - Se telefonando
Tiromancino - Angoli di Cielo

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Song of the Week 3

I heard this on the radio a few minutes ago, and it really feels like a wintery song, it does mention winter (inverno) too, and with the snow falling in Milan today it feels like it echoes the atmosphere here. It's Respiro by Le Vibrazioni. The animated video's really nice too!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Una canzone al giorno - settimana 3

It's Sunday again, and here's this week's batch:

Flaminio Maphia - Che Idea
Max Gazze' - Una Musica Può Fare
Negrita - Provo A Difendermi
Subsonica - Discolabirinto
Velvet - Perfetto Perdente?
Afterhours - Quello Che Non C'è
J Ax - I Bei Tempi

Friday, January 22, 2010

A Beginner's Guide to Italian TV - Part 1

I may not be the best authority on Italian TV, seeing as I don't actually spend all that much time watching it, but after having lived here for 15 months (to the day, yay!), and before then from watching progammes inbetween lectures in uni, I think I've got a good idea of what Italian TV is! And here's my 'beginner's guide to Italian TV' - which I've decided to break up into a few separate posts, as it's turned out to be a pretty epic one!

Italians don't go for soaps in the same was as us Brits do. For one thing, out of all the soaps which are on in any given day or week, only a small number are home-grown Italian soaps. Two which are on TV at the moment are Canale Cinque's Centovetrine ('100 [shop] windows'), a daytime soap set in a shopping centre; and Rai Tre's Un posto al sole ('a place in the sun') which is set in Sicily. For another thing, Italian soaps in general run for series, so they aren't constantly on TV like British soaps. The Italian Wikipedia page for 'Soap Opera' makes for some interesting reading - only 12 Italian soaps are listed, in comparison to a total of 40 foreign soaps which have been shown in Italy!

Cooking, as we all know, is an Italian passion. But actually, there aren't all that many shows on Italian TV which are dedicated solely to cooking! Arguably the most well-known and loved is a show I've mentioned before, Italy's version of Ready, Steady, Cook - La prova del cuoco. I say it's the Italian version, but that's only part of the show, seeing as it runs for an hour and a half. Oh, and there's a fair bit of singing, look out for the the choruses of these two songs making an appearance (as demonstrated here!)!! Very funny, even on a cooking show they still burst into song!

Which means 'dubbed'. So many programmes on Italian TV are dubbed. They're mostly dramas and soaps (you can get the odd documentary too), from English-language shows (such as Merlin, Law & Order and Bones, to old-school repeated-to-death shows such as Walker Texas Ranger!) to French dramas, and German soaps. And of course, as there are plenty of dubbed films as well as imported programmes. As a general rule, weekday mornings are normally free of dubbed programmes, but there are more during the afternoons (especially on the Mediaset channels) and early evenings.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Musings on Reverse Culture Shock...

A few months ago I first read a post by Miss Expatria about reverse culture shock. Before then I hadn't really given reverse culture shock much thought at all, but I realised that it would exist. It made sense that after going back home after living abroad for a long time that things could seem a little alien, a little puzzling, after living in a different country. But I thought I there'd be a while until that happened to me - until I was home for Christmas, that is.

Next week I'll hit 15 months since I first came out to Italy, in October '08, and so far I've been back to Wales three times, and an additional one time to somewhere else in the UK - namely, London. The best part of seven and a half months had passed by the time I first went home - in August - and by the time I was back in December only two months - not even that - since I had been to London. Those nearly-two-months was the shortest stint I'd had in Italy without going to the UK - even counting the time I was in Urbino! But it was during those few days that I experienced what could, I guess, be described as reverse culture shock.

In London I hadn't thought about it at all, I was there as a tourist, it was a city I hadn't been to since I was 11 years old. Me and my mam were walking around speaking a language nobody else - bar the couple in the queue in front of us for the London Eye!! So funny! - could understand (the look of bemusement on some people's faces when I'd then speak to them in a fairly neutral, almost-Midlandsy sounding English!). I didn't have many memories of the last time I had been there, and a lot of places we went, including where we stayed, were completely unfamiliar to me. It was pretty much a completely new experience, I definitely didn't go there knowing I'd feel completely comfortable and at home.

Christmas was completely different though. That was the first time where I'd really noticed that it was as if I were seeing everything from the point of view of an outsider, a foreigner. That feeling seemed to be everywhere, even when I was at home listening to the radio or watching the TV. Even though I do dip in & out of British radio every so often, I still had a few "People really like this??" moments whilst listening to Radio 1! Walking around the town I grew up in, went to school in, used to work in, I didn't feel completely comfortable. You get used to living in a big city, how to act in shops and on the street... Then I went back to a little town in Wales and I was a bit unsure as to how I should behave - I couldn't remember what I used to do!

The biggest shock was when I went out on Boxing Night with some friends. Again, same town as I'd been going out partying in ever since I could get away with it, and pretty much the same pubs/bars/clubs as always, but it felt completely different. I'd got used to going out with my friends for an aperitivo - have some food, have some drinks, but not too many! But this was proper partying! For one thing I couldn't keep up, and for another - I didn't want to. Last time I was home and went out drinking I got a liiiiiiiittle bit carried away (and ended up with THE worst hangover I'd EVER had!!), but this time I didn't even want to. That whole British mentality of drinking-as-much-as-you-can just baffles me now. I've had so many good nights here where we've only had like a couple of drinks, I don't understand why people drink so much anymore.

When we were coming in to land in Linate I felt as if I was coming home, I didn't expect it. But I was coming back to a country that I was much more comfortable in. I suppose the problems at home would be to do with how little time I've spent there since moving out here, it's not even a month. But still, I'm surprised how unfamiliar day-to-day situations in hour home country can get, after you'd spent 22-and-a-half-ish years there...

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Nerys's Guide to Italian Music - Malika Ayane

Now this's someone I wouldn't have thought people outside of Italy would have heard of as much as other Italian singers I could write about, but Malika Ayane is my favourite Italian singer. Malika was born in Milan to an Italian mother, and a Moroccan father, and sings in both Italian and English. Almost half of the songs on her self-titled debut album are in English, but so far she's only released one of them, Feeling Better, in Autumn '08. It's still used in Vodafone adverts (well, it was for their Christmas campaign at any rate, I've not seen any new ones since), and was constantly on the radio when it was released.

My favourite song of hers' is one that she's recorded in both languages, but I was only aware of the English language version up until recently. The Italian version is called Sospesa ('Suspended'), which was the first single she released. The English-language version, Soul Waver, was my favourite out of the two, until I downloaded the album and gave the Italian Sospesa a few listens.

Her latest release was Contro vento, ('against the wind') and like the single before it, Come foglie ('like leaves') was very popular on Italian radio around the time of release:

Una canzone al giorno - settimana 1

Or in English: A song a day - week 1. Yes, I know, it's not actually been a week, but 9 days... I've managed to stuck to my misson of listening to at least one Italian song a day, and it's been a lot of fun so far, but it's far too easily to get distracted on youtube! I re-discovered a few songs by chance last night that I'd heard before, but had never known the title or the artist! So all in all, it's going very well!

So, here's the list for the first batch, with links to the videos.

Monday, January 4, 2010

A Mission for 2010!

I don't usually do new year's resolutions, simply because I don't stick to them! But this year I've been inspired! I stayed in on new year's eve - I'm not one for going out on NYE, I usually stay in with family or friends - and watched Rai Uno's L'anno che verrà, which involved a lot of singing. Some stuff I knew, but a lot of stuff I didn't. And that gave me the idea of getting to know more Italian music over the year, like the songs from NYE that everyone knew. I'd say my knowledge of current Italian music, and going back through the noughties, is pretty good, because I spend a lot of time listening to the radio; and then there's the odd cheesy song from the 80s I know thanks to my Erasmus year, and also from Italian radio. It's when we start going back further in time that the problems start.

So I've decided to go on a bit of a mission - that of discovering at least one new Italian song every day. Not by coming across something by accident on the radio, but by going to find songs on Youtube or wherever. The question is, in a country that has such a rich musical tradition, where do I start? I decided to find some songs I hadn't heard before by two of my favourite Italian artists, Jovanotti and Negrita, and I had a bit of a search for lists people had made of what they thought were the best Italian songs to get some ideas. I'll keep a track on here of what I've been listening to, and if anyone's got any suggestions please leave a comment, or tweet me @Nezza27 with what you think I should be listening to!