Feedback on The Britalian Post

Everywhere I go, everyone I meet, I always ask people for some feedback and insight on The Britalian Post. This helps me understand if I’m going in the right direction, if I’m writing relevant and engaging content, and what and how I can improve.

Recently, I’ve received some really interesting input, and I thought I’d share it with you.

It seems that in the photo in my bio in the left sidebar (that I’ve recently changed), I was making a sexual gesture that might appal a reader. Come on! This is the biggest load of bullshit I’ve ever heard!!! Anyhow, what I thought was just an insignificant and innocent hip-hop gesture appears to hide a deeper semiotic meaning that perverse minds could spot. So to speak…

More has been said about the content and my frequent use of swear words being inappropriate as well. This leading the readers to think that I’m all about “f*** you’s”, and therefore judging me beforehand. Whereas I’m only the nicest guy ever, aren’t I? 😀

The thing is, there’s a reason why I make use of such tacky jargon. For those who don’t know, the way expats speak English is very different from natives’, and the use of swear words for us doesn’t sound as bad as if we were swearing in our own language. We basically learn the language we hear from others, so if they swear, you should probably tell them off!

So I decided to stick to this “street language” to stay closer to the type of reader I’m addressing – because (maybe) reading content that sounds more like the way they (we) speak, makes them better identify with the stories. Fuck me, that’s so easy to understand! (Come on, another swearword?! What’s wrong with you Jim?!)

Then, even if I tried to write in a more eloquent and articulate way, I just couldn’t – simply because, HELLOOOO, I LACK THE VOCABULARY AND THE SYNTAX!!! And even if I attempted to, the tone of voice would clearly sound fake and unnatural. Maybe people would no longer like it (if they ever have), and I couldn’t be so grateful for the 932 views and 477 visitors for the month of July only.

Which is – shit! – it’s super cool! (Jim really, swearing again?! You’re such a lost cause).

Jokes aside, thanks so much to all of you for reading and following this blog – I put so much effort and fun into it, and I’m beyond flattered when I hear that you guys appreciate it. A big and deep GRAZIE! And please, always feel free to get in touch and share your feedback (or story) – I’ll seriously value every single word.

Oh, almost forgot. Since I’m such a lost cause, add the following tag to your list:

#FUCKYOUJIM

Jim
The Britalian Post

Do you see me?

Hey there!

I’m pleased to write this appreciation article to thank you all for reading and following The Britalian Post. If I read the metrics correctly, there have been over 2,000 views and more than 900 visitors since the very beginning. And this is awesome!

I’m kind of feeling like I’m becoming a proper blogger, like the ones who are so witty when sharing fair opinions and astonishing facts, and can have a wide reach with the audience. I’m feeling like I’m kind of popular, like I have people valuing my words – all that I present, all that I tell. I’m feeling like I can freely start chatting and many will be carefully and passionately listening. I’m feeling like I’m getting lots of e-friends I can share shit with. 

It’s like my stories are brought to life and the characters are becoming real. I can see them turning into a human shape, I can see their flesh, their movements, their expressions, their attitude, and I’m so proud I didn’t have to do anything else but writing. Damn it was that easy!

I’ve got company now. I’ve got smiles and pats on my back. I’ve got someone who pays me a visit, someone I can truly rely on.

Among many others, I start waving at them, calling their names, pointing to their direction:

‘Hey! Hey there! I’m here, do you see me?
Hey, hey do you see me?
Do…you…see…me?
Do…you…e…me?
…you…e…me?

…e-me.’

Jim
The Britalian Post

The musical

One of the first musicals I ever saw was We will rock you, a future-set story where music is prohibited and human beings are under the control of a dictator that seeks to transform them into drudges prone to passive obedience. Kind of.
Unwilling to undergo this form of dictatorial power, rebel gangs fight with authorities to bring music back. The musical is shaped on the music from Queen as well as the characters that take their names and personalities from the songs. 

I saw We will rock you with my parents in January 2003 at the Dominion Theatre – guess where? – in London (same place, a younger Jim). Clear in my mind I remember the excitement, the surprise, the music played live, the comedy acts, the actors’ great voices, and a deep melancholy for the songs – considering that Queen were my first idols when I was only 4. The show ended with Bohemian Rhapsody, that is not only one of the best and most heartfelt songs ever but a real national anthem.

After the song’s last solo, you can barely imagine how it felt when Brian May in flesh and bones showed up on stage. A totally unexpected surprise that made the audience literally jump off of their chairs and loudly cheer to the top-notch rockstar.

We were standing in the last row as no more seats were available when we bought our last minute tickets, and the epiphany left us speechless: few meters away was the member of one of the most outstanding bands in the history, a band that my dad and I have always so badly loved.

The show, the songs, his presence on stage, all tremendously inspired me: I no longer wanted to be among an unknown audience. I wanted to stand out and be a star myself. 

I was very young.

See, I’ve always had a thing for musicals – for the way they make life seem so much more alive, for the pure representation of love, for the characters’ unbeatable courage, for the wise lines, for the glorious endings. 

I’ve always wanted to be the main actor and play an active role in a real-life musical. And in my mind I actually have. I’ve often dreamt of being in a perfect romantic late springtime setting – like a bench on a path surrounded by dim lampposts in a lonely but fancy park – sitting with that one girl you like. And make her night special by suddenly standing up, dancing and singing on that super cool music coming from nowhere. Nice, uh?!
I’ve also miserably tried with music in the endeavour to become a rockstar, and for a while, I really felt like one. I would have sacrificed my life, my sleep, my studies, my affections, my everything, to pursue the dream and be an active presence on stage. And it was definitely worth it, I don’t regret a minute of that time. But this is another story for another day.

So not long ago, I was in Edinburgh for a weekend escape with my cousin. That would be my birthday present from her side. Edinburgh was so cold that we thought we would soon start icing but the weather didn’t stop us from taking part in all the activities the city has to offer. Hence on the Friday we joined a pub-crawling event: 80 people, 7 pubs, cheap drinks. Heaven! I still have confused memories except for the stunning Spanish girl that I discovered to be so freaking beautiful only the day after on Facebook while going through a horrible hangover that totally knocked me out.

At the 5th pub, we would entertain ourselves mostly with two funny French girls, both students I reckon. While clinking glasses, the girls told us they would leave in 2 days for a journey through the Scottish Islands, and leading us into temptation, we were asked to join.

The night was over and we managed to get to the hotel safe and sound – obviously we had first stopped to eat a huge burrito at about 3ish in the morning. Did you doubt it?

The night after (our last night in Edinburgh), before going to the appointment with the Ghost Bus Tour, we had a beer at this rustic open-area bar on Princes Street. Live acoustic chill-out music was playing on the background while the wind was visibly dragging us away. Luckily, hot lamps were slowly warming our chats. 

I don’t think I need to be that specific but we’re cousins, right?! We have more or less the same blood flowing in our veins. We’ve grown up together, we’ve been facing London together, we’ve learned each other’s thoughts, secrets, fears, behaviour, flavours, types. Some may simply call it ‘family’; I will simply call it ‘love’. Point is, we don’t necessarily need words to communicate. A mutual look and she brought it up. What? The girls’ invite of course. 

Now hang on a sec. Stop all your current thoughts and ask yourself: what would I quit everything for? Does it need to be something extremely vital or I’m brave enough to challenge my life? Tough one!

That’s what we asked each other – and in the meantime, that melancholic music was boosting an ideal musical-style moment when you opt for the challenge and leave everything behind.
“It’s done! Decision taken.” – a mellow mutual smile.

In the real world though, what happens when we walk away from this very place and the music disappears in the distance placing a full stop to this musical we’re looking to play? 

I really wish we never considered this possibility. In that moment, job duties, career, commitments and responsibilities came up to interfere. 

We didn’t go. 

We spent our last great day in Edinburgh and went back to our regular life in London.

What had happened to the young people who were once supposed to be stars, who were once meant to stand out and take up on stage?

We had grown up. 

Once again we were no actors in the musical. We were only attending its grandeur.

 

 

Jim
The Britalian Post



A spaghetti incident

Pasta. 

A handy, quick, happy and satisfying solution to feeding hungry guests. The genius of a clever inventor, the melody of a hit song, a company for the lonely evenings when you’re drowning in intense movies and glasses of red wine. A superstar of supermarkets, a natural and delicious body integrator, the icing on the cake, the… icing on the cake?!

Ok, I’ve got this wrong, let’s start over again.

Ehm…yes…

Pasta.

The nights we’ve spent together have always been so sweet. Well, some have. Me, the movies, and you in huge servings. Parmesan on top and bread aside to clean the plate afterwards. That’s the Italian trick!

Since advertising is by now invading most of the TV broadcasting, I’m obliged to watch hundreds of boring never-ending commercials. One in particular has come to my attention: a pasta sauce named “Pormio”, a proper Italian sauce as the advertisement claims. A happy puppet family is portrayed having dinner altogether in a countryside setting or so, while speaking a horrible English squeezed in a strong and tacky Italian accent. An old-fashioned family in an old-fashioned kitchen – and one of the puppets (the farmer, the father…who knows?!) even had bushy moustaches and a single eyebrow!!! Terrible…

First of all, I would never buy that purple disgusting sauce in my whole life. Secondly, may the gods strike me with lightning if my family and I have ever been waving hands up in the air while speaking out loud or wearing white dirty tank tops. Is it really how people portray Italians?

YES!!!

…Ok, fine.

So that night, I started doing some zapping till I saw a program I do really like: Impossible kitchens USA.

Gordon Irvine was heading to an Italian restaurant in New Jersey with the intent of resolving the issues it was experiencing. Since he is a renowned chef, I couldn’t wait to learn some new recipes while he was coaching the cook on the culinary specialties of our country. And the confusion begins right here: chicken parmesan (I don’t even know what it is), linguine with chicken, pizza with pineapple, ossobuco with shrimp, risotto with mushrooms and chicken. Wow…Seriously?! I believe I don’t need to tell you that these dishes are all but Italian culinary specialties. The worst though was a very simple dish: spaghetti with meatballs. Ok it’s a specialty in southern Italy and we love it, but that one looked hideous! 

Now, I know a thing or two about pasta and when the camera went past the dish, I could see it was horrendously overcooked. Plus the sauce was brownish and sticky, and the meatballs were…I can’t even describe.

Fair enough. Other countries have been creative with our food and it’s alright, maybe something good also came out. Those creativities have eventually become the rule about Italian food abroad till they’ve given birth to stereotypes.

Perhaps, that’s why that Friday evening after work, at the pub right around the corner, an amusing Spanish girl I had just met appeared to be pleased to get to know an Italian guy. She would then politely introduce me to her colleagues highlighting my “fabulous origins” (in her words) – for once, that was utterly flattering. Under all possible circumstances that were making me enjoy the night, the whole setting disgracefully turned gloomy when one of those guys started laughing at me, saying repeatedly that he couldn’t find his wallet–yes, a “funny” reference to the fact that I’m Neapolitan, very funny indeed. And I eventually realised that all that politeness and the appreciation I received were just acts of a wider performance they had set up to mock me.

(Between us, they could have saved the effort).

No, I didn’t lose my temper nor I’d give him a punch on the face, which I should have done. I put on a last fake and pitiful smile before wearing my headphones and walking away.

You know, I could feel discriminated, if it’s to be called discrimination. I could say they were racist, though we didn’t belong to different races. I could say a lot of things but all would mean victimising myself and letting them win.

At the end of the day, as for pasta sauce advertisements, food mis-creativity, and recipes mystifications, I’ll take it very easy and simply call it a spaghetti incident.

Jim
The Britalian Post

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