Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.

Samuel Johnson

Christmas in a nutshell (You know when…?)

You know when you can’t wait for December to kick off its Christmas vibe and the holiday feel, be finally off work, go shopping and do stuff, when your only hope is for that moment to come as soon as possible?

You know when you walk under layouts of lights, decorations, installations, when the whole city is shining just for you, when it’s reflecting every single one of those little shimmering bulbs right into your eyes, and you’re amazed, and the person you love is just as amazed as you are, and you hold hands moving round and round and round, and you smile at everything, at everyone, at each other, just like in a movie, you know when you go fast through the cold breeze because you’ve never felt this good, then you slow down near the shop windows to eye at those pricy and unaffordable items, when you stop under the mistletoe, by chance, and start kissing endlessly, but you keep kissing and caressing their cheeks even when you’re past that blissful mistletoe because they’re the most unbelievable thing you’ve ever seen, and all the time you spend together is never going to be enough because there’s not enough time in a lifetime for loving somebody you truly love, and while you’re tripping on that thought it’s suddenly Christmas’ eve and you’re having some afternoon drinks before showing up heavily tipsy and wobbling to that dinner with your relatives, you know when you chat with that grumpy uncle who, if in a good mood, makes you piss yourself as much as he can easily get mad at everything and everyone for no good reason, and you’re cool with that, it’s just family and you need to be understanding because now it’s Christmas morning and you’re having breakfast near that huge glittering tree standing mighty over a small number of cleverly wrapped presents you can’t wait to rip off, and in a moment you recall when you were a child and used to receive so many cool presents (toys, gadgets, all the best stuff) and it’d feel like that day would last forever, that life would last forever, that you were impatient to grow up and do extraordinary things – climb the Everest, the world, the whole universe – and the expectations were high, really high, and you knew that you’d seize the momentum, you’d pursue your studies, music, art, that you’d look cool as shit and you’d become popular, the very number one, that you’d leave your footprint on this world so that your life wouldn’t expire unknown, but then you go back to reality and open that one and only present with an ugly jumper your mum’s friend thought you’d go nuts for, and that’s all you get because there’s no more presents and you barely get the ugly one, and before you realise it, it’s already Christmas luncheon and there’s always less and less people at the table because most of them have made their way to heaven, but you still feel lucky for the standing ones and pray to have them forever, so you’re just fooling yourself, you dick, that’s against any natural laws but you keep believing and having faith, and between the overloads of food, nights out with friends, holiday shopping, it’s suddenly New Year’s and you toast with Prosecco, Champagne, Wine, shots, whatever alcohol supports multiple toasts, and you all countdown — 3…2…1… — and you celebrate, and you eat till explosion, and you party and you dance until even Spotify or the DJ need a break, and you stay up all night like there was no tomorrow or New Year’s was the only moment you can actually have some proper fun, and you’re not missing that chance to give the whole of yourself to that night, but the night is already through and it’s January 1st now and you’re hanging badly, “I’m gonna do dry January!”, but that’s a big fat bullshit bro, you’re going to be drinking again a couple of days later because you made a long list of resolutions, the ultimate list, the one you’re actually going to go through point by point and this time you promised yourself you would succeed and nothing would stop you, but life is tricky, and Epiphany is not a thing anymore because you’re an adult, and that dreamy youthful shine you had in your eyes starts blowing itself out, you know when you’re facing reality, and reality is brutal, and you need to cope with it, and all of your youth, all of your dreams, all of that world you wanted to conquer and all the chances you’ve been giving to yourself every single year, literally your entire life is nothing but a hurtful waste of hopes?

And all of a sudden it’s just all over?

Yeah, you definitely know when.

Jim
The Britalian Post

An ideal world

In the real world, I’d sit in front of my laptop, put the music on, and dream of what an ideal world could be.

. . .

In an ideal world, the Twin Towers wouldn’t have fallen; terrorist attacks wouldn’t happen because terrorists wouldn’t exist. Only Trump would. But he wouldn’t be president; Clinton would be president, or Michelle Obama, who’s a cool and strong woman, or any other cool and strong woman. Any woman, just for a change, an ideal change; to prove we’re not gender-centric. Nor terrorists. Or how about a female pope, without an act of terror? That would indeed be a change. Ideally.  

In an ideal world, Britain would be against Brexit and for immigration. They would value the foundation of their entire history and country, a golden culture they could pride themselves on and show off to the rest of the world. There would be no settlement status to apply for, no borders… and no risk of going back to a diet based on fish and chips and beans on toast. And there would be no pineapple on pizza – a something only a terrorist would do. Ideally.

In an ideal world, glaciers wouldn’t be melting, I wouldn’t be melting in my room right now, the Amazon forest wouldn’t be burning, nor would our environmental attitude – our respect for the nature, for this planet, for everything we claim like it’s ours – whether it’s earth – our earth, or home. Nothing would be burning, Nothing would be burning, other than the burger I’m cookin…”shit shit shit shit shit shit!!!” Yeah…now this is an act of terror: it should really not be burnt. Ideally.

In an ideal world, there would be no racism, no black and white other than chocolate chip cookies, no prejudice, no clichés, no hate speech, no “Jim, stop being a Casanova!”… “But I didn’t do anything!”… “Yeah, but all Italians are Casanovas!” We wouldn’t care if our children weren’t fulfilling their parents’ ambitions, dreams, ‘what’s (supposedly) best for them’, because they’d have their own ambitions and dreams; they’d make the mistakes they need to make or they would never know what’s right or wrong. At the same time, we’d be respectful of our parents, understand that they too are individuals, that perhaps their dreams shattered into a million pieces, that they have made mistakes they wouldn’t want us to repeat, that they found themselves loving a child way more than they love themselves. And we would keep that in mind when we act selfishly or want to hold our (unique) ideal identity against them. Just like an act of terror. Ideally.

In an ideal world, I wouldn’t have to lose weight and be such a food addict. I would drop the food apps and prefer walking to Uber and public transport. Consequently, I wouldn’t miss the bus that often, I wouldn’t have to get off the station smashed as fuck on a freezing winter night, chase after that massive double-decker and have the doors shut in my face, seeing that slimy grin on the driver’s face glowing in the shadow. Ass hole! Oh yeah, the driver also wouldn’t be an ass hole. Or a terrorist. Ideally. 

In an ideal world, I’d open the door and she’d be sitting right there – lying in wait, reading, smoking that rollie she never gets to stub out. I’d join her on the couch, approach the wine glass she’s generously filled with some fancy Italian red, get her legs onto mine, caress them and her beautiful feet. She’d talk me through some clumsy stuff she’s done over the day, because as much as she’s deadly charming, sensual, arousing, elegant, she’s also so damn dorky. She’d spill her wine – as usual. I’d laugh at her, she’d laugh at herself, we’d both laugh and we’d put up with her being such a lost cause when it comes to clumsiness. We’d stop. I’d kiss her on the cheeks, then on her perfect lips. I’d smell her skin and she’d smell exactly like she did on the first night we spent together. We’d look at each other, into each other, we’d still put on a shy and excited smile even if we’ve known each other forever, and in a matter of seconds, we’d be making love and it would be as great as it was the very first time. We’d be hugging while smoking, dropping ashes on each other, burning the couch, the table, making a miserable mess like we always do. We’d know we can’t wait to do extraordinary things together and that life would be our playground. 

I know I wouldn’t care if Trump was still president, if terrorists starred on the daily news, if Brexit happened, glaciers melted, prejudice and discrimination were still a thing, food addiction was a weak spot and transport took the piss; I wouldn’t care if the world wasn’t ideal because she and I would be ideal in any kind of world. 

. . .

In the real world, I’m still sitting in front of my laptop writing this bullshit. I’m alone and the playlist I had on has just done playing. I stand up, go check if the door is locked, take a sip of Guinness, lit up a cigarette, and sit on the couch with that only dim light coming from my desk that illuminates the silence.  

And in that silence, I dream of what my real world could be.

If only terrorism didn’t exist.

Ideally.



Jim
The Britalian Post

A friend of mine

A friend of mine shared a song with me once.

He knew for sure I’d like it – at once and multiple times – that I’d treasure it and add it to one of my Spotify playlists.

That I’d listen to it on repeat.

At once and multiple times.

A friend of mine shared a song with me once and he knew I’d make an all-around experience out of it, of the different beats, parts, sounds, words. That I’d picture a moment of my life at once, if not multiple moments, multiple timelines of things I’d wish had happened, or hadn’t happened. That I’d sit in contemplation on one of the Underground’s filthy and dusty seats on a late night journey to north London scanning the emptiness of the middle carriage, slowly jerking my head to the top and down back to the doors, watching people chatting and laughing while hopping on and off the train and feeling heavy-hearted for no freaking good reason; or recalling when she let me down, when I tumbled to how my professional career wasn’t a fit, dreaming of becoming a rockstar, of succeeding just once. If not multiple times. That I’d stumble inside out myself feeling like a real shit because that song would awaken my beats, parts, sounds, words. He knew it would happen at once. In fact, multiple times.

A friend of mine shared a song with me once and he’d feel like a real shit – he’d feel exactly like I feel. He knew for sure he’d make an all-around experience out of it because he’d make an all-around experience of my different beats, parts, sounds, words. Of my multiple moments. During bad and good times. At once and multiple times.

He knew for sure I’d like it, the same way I knew for sure he’d be my friend.

At once and multiple times.



Jim
The Britalian Post

Don’t be a stranger

How many people do you meet every day in London? 

And I’m not talking those one-off randomly met people but buddies you actually interact and regularly share a bunch of meaningful moments with. So, probably, not that many?!

One who lives in London must be prepared to making new acquaintances all the time, new friends, sometimes a new love, as much as to seeing them suddenly set off for good. Think of a colleague leaving the office, a friend relocating in another city or out of the country, a relationship that ends with no ill feelings, or simply a pleasant acquaintance moving on, going places, other places, even in the same town. And with the city being so broadly spread, you as a Londoner are very aware that you’re not going to see them as much as you used to. And it lets you down.

“Take care of yourself, and don’t be a stranger.”

They all become strangers eventually, if not all, most of them. You’ll have lived some beautiful moments and experiences together, you’ll have created a bond, you’ll have shared some of your inner thoughts and feelings that you’re maybe still unsure of or simply haven’t fully bloomed yet – just because time wasn’t enough. You’ll have concentrated all your efforts in that little amount of time because there’s no right amount of time you should wait for to expose yourself to that person. Even if they eventually become a stranger. Or you do.

You promise yourself you won’t make the same mistake, that you’ll be more cautious next time. But you’re a Londoner and you’ll fall into the same loop once again. 

It all starts on a random Friday night at your local pub; you meet them and get to spend the night together, then the weekend. You discover how much the two of you have in common, or more, that they are such a surprise you couldn’t hope it to be. You understand each other from the very first minute, and before you realise it, you know you don’t want them to be strangers. So when the farewell time comes and they’re about to hop on that train, you will not want to lose them, and you’ll come clean, quietly, stammering: “I love you.” 

How many people do you meet every day in London? Hundreds, probably thousands. They might all just be strangers, or they might as well become a wonderful part of your life. 

Truth is, there will never be a right time to give it try, and you may never be going to see them again. That one might be your last time, they might be the last strangers you meet. 

They might as well be your last, one, true love. 



Jim
The Britalian Post

Deliveroo vs Ubereats

Having food delivered right to your door is probably one of the best features of the multitude of food apps out there.

That goes like, you’re hungry, you can’t be bothered to cook, or your food supply is miserably low.  You go open the fridge and there’s just that one bottle of Guinness tingling lonely in the door and waiting for its turn to be consumed. It might as well be that you’re in the mood for something specific, like a burger, chicken, kebab, noodles – food apps can easily satisfy that craving.

Deliveroo and Ubereats are the ones I use most frequently, and whether I pick one or the other is a matter of food variety, as well as delivery time and overall experience.

Which is better? Hard to say.

Let’s go check them out individually.

Deliveroo

In my opinion, Deliveroo has better food quality. The restaurants listed on the app usually serve fresher food than Ubereats that, at least in my area, gives you mostly options for junk food. 

The estimated delivery time is generally accurate. Very rarely has it occurred to me to wait longer than expected and it mainly happened during peak times. However the app has recently been freezing, and while following the delivery progress, the driver’s icon disappears completely. Leaving you thinking, is this guy still in the country? Has he entered a time slip and is currently giving a pizza to a very confused looking 1920’s dandy gentleman?

My main complaint would be about solving issues. Although the customer service being incredibly responsive and agents attentively looking into issues, the customer satisfaction standards have lowered lately. For example, I’ve dealt with issues such as drivers who couldn’t speak any English and so impossible to communicate with and spilt, missing, or crushed items. Deliveroo would previously offer a refund or give you credits for future orders. Now instead, they’re just acknowledging the issue by sending an apology email promising they will do better next time. This meaning that your experience just sucks!

Ubereats

Ubereats has a great app design and contains more food pics than Deliveroo. 

As said above though, the options on Ubereats are mostly for junk food. On a positive note, Ubereats-partenered restaurants deliver until a later time, while Deliveroo accepts orders until 11pm tops. Again, just in my experience.

Although Ubereats was supposed to be much faster than the other food apps at the start, never ever trust the estimated delivery time the app sets for you. Unfortunately, the ETA changes from when your food is being prepared to being on the way, meaning that the starting 15-25 min ETA can suddenly become 45-50 min. And when your driver finally gets there, Ubereats takes the piss saying “Your food has been delivered on time!!!”…what?! Fuck no, it wasn’t.

Another downside, drivers mainly ride with bicycles, so by the time your food gets to your door, it’ll be ice cold. Guaranteed!

The customer service is not as responsive as Deliveroo and accessing it isn’t any easier. But, when something’s gone wrong, I’ve always been refunded.

. . .

Pricewise instead, both apps have an average £2.50 delivery fee, and pricing is equal as its set by the restaurants.

However, some of the restaurants set stupidly high prices that your stone broke average Londoner can either waste your weekly budget on or just give up on the cravings.

For instance, I’m addicted to pizza. Like a real bad addiction. 

Prices for pizza, and I’m talking Neapolitan pizza (so the original 9-inch thick-crust pizza) range from £8 to £14 for a Margherita. Like, you out of your mind?! I understand duty taxes, import fees, competition, etc., but this is seriously insane.

I go for pizza quite often though and occasionally with two Italian fellas I’m used to gather with. We do some sort of Italians-only night out where we discuss our culinary specialties and how much we miss them. Switching from a topic to another, we share stories of the places we come from: we recall that wacky night when we triggered lines of shots in multiple bars on Christmas’ eve and presented to our relatives for dinner totally smashed; or that romantic walk by the seaside with that special person looking at the nightlights drawing the whole bay, and how embarrassing to realise we had fallen in love. We recall the food, the love delusions, that nonsense meeting point, the best friends gone lost and our long-missed family. We recall all the beautiful and unforgettable moments and memories of our younger years that Italy grounded in us. We partake in a moment of silence, take a melancholic breath and smile at each other: “Yeah…it was good times.” 

Yet we decided to take the distance from all of that, to abandon all said above and move to London for its opportunities, the unique lifestyle, a solid career and a wider perspective on life. There isn’t a moment we regret this choice; there isn’t a moment we feel we would give up on how this city welcomed us and what makes us experience every single day. We agree that maybe it’s all about where you feel like you belong. So we wonder, which is better?

Maybe there’s no better app; maybe there’s no better place to be. Maybe, as long as pizza makes us feel like home, we’re going to belong anywhere.

And I’m still waiting on the goddamn delivery!!!

Jim
The Britalian Post

The witch hunt

Halloween is one of my favourite celebrations ever.

I’ve always wanted to wear a cool costume as a child and go trick or treating from house to house. And then as a teenager, attend one of those house parties you usually see in movies.

But, since I was born in Italy, our only way of celebrating Halloween is to mourn the deads. Which is, well, definitely not as fun.

Other than the decorations, the costumes and the candies, what I love about Halloween are the spooky stories coming from the American folklore: ghosts, demons, zombies. However, should it be it for their shapeshifting skills or the ability to perform spells, witches are the most fascinating.

Their presence in the town of Salem (Massachusetts) and stories of their rituals are known as a big part of the American tradition as well as its history, and the witch hunt practice, although extremely severe, plays a fundamental role in the American folklore – bringing entire masses of people together in a religious fight against these demonic creatures.

Anyone who was identified as a witch was immediately sentenced to death.

Here in London, the stories match that folklore in a different way.

You are often told about legends of entities practising recruitment – the scariest form of witchcraft ever existed.

Like witches, recruiters reveal themselves during evenings at about 5:30-6pm and reach out to you with their unexpected spooky calls. Be prepared, for they all act equally: they want to learn more about your life and your habits. They cherish this information you fool give them and wickedly tempt you with sweet job offers that you both know you will never get.

It’s their game, their play. Their trap.

They act carefully, tricking you with their sudden disappearance – due to the past historical persecutions.

But, as soon as more victims learn about their presence in town, the chasing begins! Masses of people desperately and angrily run to their offices for ditched scheduled meetings, due feedback never received, and unreturned interviews.

This doesn’t happen during Halloween only; this happens every day!!! Every single day, there’s a recruiter bewitching people and fooling them with their rituals. Beware if you happen to see a recruiter, please sentence them to death immediately!

And now, may this witch hunt begin!…but in the meantime:

Happy Halloween

Jim
The Britalian Post

The 5 second rule

Some people really say odd stuff when approaching somebody they like.

For instance, I personally freak out and start struggling with my English – so I’m likely to talk crap. In fact, I believe we should count to 5 at least before spitting out random words.

But there’s worse.

I met this girl last Thursday at the Revolution Bar in Bank who approached me by making a really awkward entrance.

After making some comments on my rings, she went on asking if I was a peaceful person.

I counted to 5, answered positively and she carefully listened. But then she came close to my face spreading her eyelids wide open, and very nervously croaked:
SO WHY AM I ALWAYS THIS FUCKING ANGRY???!!! AH, TELL ME!!!

I had barely 5 seconds to say something right and save myself.

“Erm…”, 4 seconds now.

COME ON, TELL ME, TELL ME DAMN WHY?!”, she shouted.

2 seconds – my English was crashing and I was going to screw up.

1 second. It’s over! Come on Jim, say anything…

I opened my mouth and stammered: “perhaps, it’s because of this city being too… stressful…?!”

She started literally growling and put that serial killer type of face on. I thought she would start hitting me badly when she suddenly calmed down and tamely whispered: “Yeah, I think you’re right… Btw, what’s your name?”

In those 5 seconds preceding my answer, I looked at her and realised she not only was very young (and pretty), she was also new to the work environment and that super fast-paced London life. She was dealing with being far from friends and family, with new responsibilities, with loneliness – and perhaps, with that tremendous fear of growing up. And maybe that night she only needed to act out for 5 seconds.

Or she was just crazy as fuck!!!

“Erm…Sorry, I should probably go…”

Jim
The Britalian Post

Every time someone leaves London

Every time someone leaves London, they start wondering what made them move over in the first place and what changed in the meantime.

Every time someone leaves London, they know they’re never going to be the same but they’ll never know why. And when you ask them, they sadly smile back and look away – before mumbling something in return.

Every time someone leaves London, they imagine there’s always a way back, but, whether there is, they’re just lying to themselves.

Every time someone leaves London, they ask themselves why the London City Hall area – just a little walk away from Tower Bridge – helped them brood over all the things they had left behind; and how that spot on the riverside down in Camden could breed all they were carrying forward.

Every time someone leaves London, they start regretting any choice they’ve ever made. For they now understand that the companies will never be the same – those bus journeys as melancholic, those nights as fuzzy. That they will no longer be…them.

Every time someone leaves London, they remember how special they were treated when they went back to their hometown, and how now they will solely be another random somebody.

Every time someone leaves London, they can no longer say where home is. And that makes them wonder…

They know what they’re leaving. As they know what they’re finding.

Every time someone leaves London, they just realise they had fallen in love for real.

And as love, leaving often hurts.

 

 

 

Jim
The Britalian Post

 



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