The natural condition

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Us – after dress. Or tech. Or whatever it was.

So the play opens tomorrow night.

We had dress rehearsals, last night – or perhaps not quite… I mean it in that Noises-Offish way, you know: if this is tech, when do we do dress? And if this is dress, when do we do tech?

Yes, well… Continue reading

The Rosetta Method (to say nothing of the Spanish Inquisition)

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My favourite way of learning languages is by reading – and no, you are not surprised.

And of course it may take some time before one is proficient enough to really read – but I find that, once I have the hang of basic grammar, one great way to reach that level of proficiency is what I like to call the Rosetta Method: reading the same text in a language I know, and then in the language I’m learning. I love the way it makes me see the language in action, while at the same time forcing me to work out the different cogs-and-wheels of different languages… Continue reading

The thing with science fiction

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Over the years, and very much by trial and error, my rather difficult relationship with science fiction has come to work essentially like this: I give a very, very wide berth to everything dystopian and pre/post/apocalyptic; I’ll let myself be tempted by some carefully chosen, strictly past-bound time travel* now and then – and that’s it.

Now, please, let’s not go into whether time travel is proper sci-fi or something else or its own genre, shall we? Let us just observe that my last foray, Murray Leinster’s Time Tunnel,** was published and marketed as such in 1964 – and leave it at that. Continue reading

The Clara Box

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So they’ve been tidying up the Company’s extensive collection of books, plays and whatnots over the summer – and, as has become the case these past few years, everything and anything that isn’t in Italian has been set aside for me.

And I really mean anything: I once ended up with a book of plays in Serbian. Nobody had an inkling of when, how or, more relevantly, why on earth it had landed in the Company’s library – but, quite regardless, it went in the “Clara” box. That I don’t know a single word of Serbian didn’t seem to matter much. For the record, the book is still somewhere in my shelves – obviously unread but there… Continue reading

History and/or art (and all the rest)

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Like most people in Italy, I studied some Art History for three years, back in Grammar School. A couple of hours a week or so, starting on the third year…. and I remember that I’d been looking forward to it – if in a rather hazy way. I didn’t quite know what to expect – but, at fifteen, I had no doubts that a subject with “history” in its name just had to be wonderful.

Still perhaps some little doubt would have been in order… Continue reading

Song for the Rainy Season

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It’s raining.

For the first time in forever, it rains. Nothing dramatic: a rather gentle, grey, whispering thing. Most Septemberish – the sort that begs for poetry…

And because I had this very, very hazy memory of blind drops crawling on roofs – with no earthly idea of what it could be from, I made good use of the power of the Net, and discovered Elizabeth Bishop’s Song for the Rainy Season.

Continue reading