Saturday, 26 June 2010

(Re)production: Two Fragments from De Carlo

‘He indicated a little television on a shelf. He said, “I just need 30 seconds of advertising (any kind will do) to make me lose the will to write. The cynical and cowardly game that’s played upon the instincts of anyone who’s watching, the false and studied sentiments coming from murderers sitting at their agency drawing boards. The little smiling families out in their gardens used to peddle detergents to those who are prisoners of cities poisoned by the detergent industries. And they go to Ireland or into the Sahara to film cars, after cars have destroyed this country to the point where there isn’t even a corner where you can find a car that can drive along unimpeded.”’

‘Even I had to make an effort to keep on track. I tried to go very slowly. I checked up on him using the rear view mirror: he wasn’t sleeping. At one point he said to me, “One needn’t ever imagine anything in much detail, because the imagination ends up gobbling up the entire terrain upon which something might yet happen.”’

(Andrea De Carlo: Due di due)

Thursday, 10 June 2010

An Artificial Christmas Tree Mourns the Loss of its Roots

Here is New Labour’s Ed Milliband, one of the four little pigs currently competing with Diane Abbott for the leadership of New Labour. He is looking from above with some dismay at the result of the UK election:
‘The people have spoken and we don’t quite know what they’ve said.’
(The Guardian: ‘From Hung Parliament to Age of Uncertainty’)

And here is Romano Alquati (who died a bare few weeks ago) on the FIAT workers’ revolt of Piazza Statuta in Turin in 1962, looking at things from below:
‘Even though we had organized it we didn’t expect it.’
(Franco Berardi: ‘Romano Alquati è morto’)

The difference between these two quotations is important. Alquati’s irony is about the excess of achievement over anticipation and, indirectly, about openness: we advance into unanticipated, uncontrolled possibility. Milliband’s ruefulness is about insufficiency and about keeping control: I can’t quite hear what you’re saying is what he probably means; if we knew what you wanted we would do it, but as things stand we can’t.

Monday, 1 February 2010

Three Views of Passing Time


‘I mean perhaps in the end you do manage to forget about the past; but then it’s the past that remembers you.’
(Francesca Marciano: Casa rossa)


‘And meanwhile you were the only one condemned to know that in reality the facts of themselves do not explain a thing, that under their shiny membrane everything remains perpetually in need of being discovered, given a justification, connected…
‘…the history of As If … our life passes, in carrying on As If…’
(Carlo Fruttero & Franco Lucentini: La donna della domenica)


‘I remember days and gestures that go like the tracing out of a crack, they launch out randomly to work out a way of lasting…
‘We are fish upon the surface of the water.’
(Erri de Luca: Tre cavalli)