Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Joy of Reading

Every few days I see a funny sight on my walk to work, someone - a female more often than not - walking down the street with their head in a book or a newspaper. Italians do seem quite determined to read sometimes, whether it's walking whilst reading like I see, or reading in a packed metro/train/bus when their nose is squashed under someone's armpit! This morning I even saw a lady reading a newspaper as she was crossing the road! It was a proper crossing with lights & all, but still, you never know in this country sometimes!

The impression that I'd always got from being here was that Italians loved to read, but for newspapers at least that's not the case - I was surprised to find out the other day (from newsfromitaly on Twitter, who read the story here) that only 1 in 10 Italians actually reads one every day! I wish I had some statistics for the novels that Italians read, but I can only go by the impression of living here.

There do seem to be more bookshops here than the UK, and I love having a look through what's on offer here. There was this one bookshop in the centre of Urbino (I say was, it's probably still there now, seeing as Urbino's a university town, there's plenty of students there that need to buy books) that I loved - it was beneath street level, dug underneath the main piazza. To me it was how a bookshop should be, slightly dark, yet cosy at the same time, and it had this almost mysterious atmosphere, like you never quite knew what you might find. It had a good selection of discounted books, I could never tell if some were second hand or if they were just old. The copy of Dante's Inferno that I had for the course on the Commedia was one like that, it was a hardback copy from 1986 (the year I was born!), still had prices in Lira on it, and the price in euro was around 20 less than the original price. To me that book had more character than the new copies of Puragtorio and Paradiso I bought when I studied Dante again during the last year of my degree.

In Milan my favourite bookshop is the complete opposite of that little one in Urbino, it's the big Montadori (a publishing house) on Corso Vittorio Emmanuele, in the centre of Milan. I could wander around there for hours, especially as they sell things other than books (CDs, DVDs, and stationary for example). And the selection of international books is great, I bought an English one a couple of weeks ago (Juliet, Naked by Nick Horby, if anyone's interested; fantastic book, I'd devoured it by Sunday evening!) and the German translation of a book I've got in English (it was a bit of an impulsive decision, but I decided that my German's now as good as my Italian was when I first started buying novels in Italian. Or thereabouts...). I was wondering around the shop for what felt like ages on Tuesday night, having a good old mooch around the CDs, books, and magazines.

Thing is though, as much as I love reading, I don't think I could trust myself to be walking around Milan reading, I'm far too accident prone for that - and I think reading whilst crossing the road would be asking for trouble!!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Quiz Time!

Walking past a certain shop (I won't name what kind of shop as that'd be too big a clue!) at lunch I saw some new things on sale, labelled as "Maffi" (plural) - can anyone guess what these new things were?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Only in Italy - adverts

This's how a certain type of yogurt is advertised on Italian TV:

And the tagline 'fate l'amore con il sapore'? - "make love with taste".

It's. Yogurt.


Saturday, April 24, 2010

Mika @ Mediolanum Forum, Assago (MI), April 21st 2010

If you follow me on Twitter you'll know that the Welshie in Italy has an alter ego as a Mika fangurl who enjoys following him around Europe as much as she can! So far this year I've been to seen him in London, Munich and Vienna, and on Wednesday it was finally time for my home gig!! Ok, so Assago isn't Milan Milan, but compared to all the travelling I'd done for the other three, this was a breeze!! It was very amusing crossing Milan on the morning of the gig, I have quite a particular outfit I've been wearing on this tour - I'm head to toe in pink, with white tights/socks, a feather boa & feathery mask! I didn't wear the boa or mask until I got to the venue, but the looks on the faces of the commuters were hilarious!

Yes, commuters. I got to the venue that early. You have to if you want to be in front row, and I was hell-bent of being right at the front for this concert!! I got to the Forum around 8.30, and was no.13 in the queue. We always have a numbered system, and every concert I've been to the system works fantastically. There was a bit of a scary moment on Wednesday though, the security types weren't having any of it, and sent us from our nice sheltered spot over to the main entrance around lunchtime. We were in the direct sun, it was awful. But eventually it got resolved, and we went back to where we were before, out of the sun, and in a single-line queue in numerical order. And we got to enter around 15 minutes before the un-numbered crowd.

I was front row next to four of my friends! When we first entered the venue I couldn't believe how big it was!! And it was sold out! And then we heard and saw the rest of the audience arrived, and saw the massive venue slowly fill up!

The view of the Forum from front row

The support act was randomly a rapper, Nesli. I thought I'd only heard about him, but it turned out that I'd heard one of his songs, Non tornerò indietro, on the radio a few weeks ago. He didn't go down very well - the biggest cheer he got was when he said that he'd reached the last song!!
 Mika's entrance - suspended on wires!

Mika always puts on an amazing show. This one was different to the last three I'd seen, and better too! The 'story' of the show starts off with him going into space, the first civilian to do so, but the rocket explodes, and he dies. It sounds quite strange for a concert doesn't it? It's one of the things I like so much about his music and shows, the darkness of it all that you don't always instantly pick up. So about half of the show was set in space, with a backdrop of a moon & stars, and planets painted with UV paints. The other half was set on earth, including one part in a graveyard; with fans who had volunteered to dress up as characters from his songs doing a funeral march across the stage. I'd volunteered in Munich, and it was an amazing experience to be on stage in front of so many people!!

Part of the graveyard section of the show

I had so much fun, by the end I had completely lost my voice and could barely stand anymore! It was made even better by being next to some of my friends. But it wasn't time to go home yet! We went on a mission to find where Mika would be leaving the venue - as we always do - so we could get autographs. Security, as usual, weren't giving us any clues, but eventually they organised us into a single line. Mika came out around 1.45 - yes, THAT late!! And signed autographs and chatted with everyone. I'm still not exactly sure how - possibly because I'd stepped in and done a bit of translation for a friend, but another friend did much more than I did - put he'd picked up that I spoke both English and Italian, and the first thing he said to me was that I spoke both English and Italian perfectly, and asked how come. Such a nice compliment, I was over the moon!!

I eventually got home around 3.30, absolutely exhausted, but buzzing! The day after I was back in work, after only a couple of hours' decent sleep! Oh, and the next concert? Nice - a week today!!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Una canzone al giorno - settimana 15

Mannaggia al vulcano!! I hate watching so many of my friends' travel plans fall apart...

Pino Daniele - Dubbi non ho
Edoardo Bennato - l'isola che non c'è
Ron - Stella mia
Claudio Baglioni - E tu
Gianluca Grignani - Falco a meta
Lucio Dalla - Canzone
Stadio - Un volo d’amore

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Lost in Translation

It's actually not very often that I come across a bit of English here that's been translated badly. The only other time I remember coming across a substantial bit of bad translation was a few weeks ago, when the biscuits I were eating for breakfast claimed to be "healthiful" and contain "de-fatted" cocoa - and that's only what I can remember now! Today I went shopping in the centre of Milan, the sun had made me realise that I should start getting some summer clothes together, before it got too late like last year. On my list of things to get was a new pair of jeans, not exactly summery, but I've wanted a new pair for a while. I hadn't managed to find some jeans until today, I'd actually never bought any jeans in Italy at all before today - partly due to some rather traumatic experiences in the past!!

So, anyway, I found some jeans - in Terranova of all places! After my experience trying on jeans in Terranova during the summer of 2008, I'd not seen a pair I'd liked there since. But today was different! Not only did I find a nice pair of jeans, but the size that fitted me is a Small!! That made me stupidly happy!

The lost in translation? Well, here's what it says on a label on the jeans:

I know it's not very clear, it says "is my best favourite please look at me whoo is the lovellest", there's also something that's been crossed out after the "favourite", but I can't make out what it is. And this is from a company who have shops all over the world..... Sigh.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Un Giretto a Pasquetta

The weather's been much nicer than I expected today, and as I was at a bit of a loose end I decided to go out and about for a walk. Even when I was on the underground working my way into Milan, I wasn't sure where I was going to go - it was a pretty spontaneous thing! But I ended up in the centre of Milan.

I didn't expect there to be so many people around! There was very little traffic, but plenty of people filling the streets! Even most of the Italians seemed to be tourists, unsurprisingly the Milanese have done a disappearing act!

A very sunny Piazza Duomo

I was surprised too at how many shops were open too. I had a wander round a few of the clothes shops (but annoyingly H&M was closed!), and bought myself a couple of treats from Lush. I also had my first Italian ice cream of the season (I say 'Italian' as I had an ice cream when in Vienna on Tuesday), from Grom. It may be a chain but it does the best vanilla ice cream I've ever tasted!

My delicious strawberry & vanilla ice cream!

I went for a bit of a walk in Parco Sempione too, naturally with the weather the park and the castle were full of people. Perfect weather to be sitting outside doing nothing!

Parco Sempione

As for me, I enjoyed my little walk, it was a good way of walking off some of the food I ate yesterday!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Una canzone al giorno - settimane 12 & 13

If you follow me on Twitter you would have seen from my over-excited tweets that I wasn't in Italy last weekend, so here are the last 2 weeks' songs.

Subsonica - Dentro i miei vuoti
Samuele Bersani - Chiedimi se sono felice
Jovanotti - Un giorno di sole
Max Gazze' - Annina
Niccolo' Fabi - Lasciarsi un giorno a Roma
Tiromancino - La descrizione di un attimo
Biagio Antonacci - Quanto tempo e ancora

Daniele Silvestri - Monetine
Modena City Ramblers - In un giorno di pioggia
Vasco Rossi - E...
Velvet - Tokyo eyes
Marina Rei - I miei complimenti
Dari - Tutto regolare
Ustmamò - Rock 'N' Roll Robot

Buona Pasqua!

Happy Easter everyone!! The picture's only a small part of my Easter egg collection that seems to have accumulated since the beginning of March - the shiny eggs we got given at the wedding I went to on Friday, there are the Mini Eggs my Mam sent me with my birthday cards last week, and the biggest egg in the picture is from a box I bought when I was in Austria. I'll be eating chocolate for weeks to come I fear!!