Sunday, 8 May 2016



Most of what makes life is routine. Utterly boring routine. As much as we all like to think and dream, routine is our life and we get used to it incredibly well, in spite of that little voice we can sometimes hear whispering from the back of our mind: "This is just like the Matrix, when it was one single movie and you think it was cool, only to find out it spiraled out into a trilogy and you were left wondering what the hell is Monica Bellucci doing there. You know that, as much as there is more and better stuff in world cinematography than the Matrix, there is more in life than this routine, so go out and get it!"
Pity most of the time the voice is muted by the need to start the washing machine, or ironing or paying bills or, even worse, going to work.

Today was meant to be yet another routine Sunday: bit of cleaning, bit of crosswords, reading, buying flowers, sitting on the armchair thinking of sorting out the wardrobe. Usual. But then I remembered there was a street fair not far from my flat and thought it was some good chance to find flowers for the kitchen there: only 2 hours after deciding to go, I was ready, which is by itself an amazing achievement for me, something that should have made me notice I was quite resolutely stepping out of routine.

I walked through the street fair, dodging political activists trying to flood me with their leaflets (mayoral election are approaching quickly) while accepting the kebab and pizza place menus, looked at the shops and the market stalls. There's a shop, right on the corner of the square. I walked by it twice last week, but at odd times so this was my first chance to have a look inside. I was curios because it's hard to label: from the outside it looked like a gift shop mashed together with a record shop. It's an odd mix, could it truly be so?
I opened the door, stepped in and... yeah, "L'emporia di Pinin" (Pinin's Emporium, what's not to like in a shop with such a cool name?) is a gift shop mashed together with a record shop.
I started browsing and before even reaching letter B in the stacks I already found out what I wanted.
I took the record out and had a look at the rest of the shop.

The guy sitting next to the records put some music on (to cover the atrocities played outside) and when I reached the counter he asked me why I picked that specific record.

"Oh, I like the Autumn Defense a lot"
And so it started a conversation with him, and the other 2 shopkeepers about music, Autumn Defense and Wilco, Wilco's gigs of the past and the future.

I left with best wishes of enjoying the record and I walked home almost as fast as a London commuter. I put the record on and listened to it twice. It's a neat album and the proof that I might not escape it wholly but I can still give routine a run for its money every now and then.

Most of the time I feel a bit of an alien when I talk about music: I try to stick to the usual suspects (my sis, Ciccio, Francesco...) because I know that they will not look at me as if I've grown a second head overnight when I talk about my favorite artists.
If I chat with a colleague or a stranger (sometimes the 2 categories overlaps, at least music-wise), it's a painful experience that can be sum up as follows: Virgi tries to explain the music she likes by naming some bands, person stares blankly at Virgi, Virgi explains the genre, "Is it something like Swedish House Mafia?", Virgi sobs in one corner.
Today nothing like this happened. Routine was broken and it might look a very tiny, unimpressive change in the routine: but it felt huge to me; it relieved me from some musical loneliness, so to speak, and gave me a new refuge from routine, at a walking distance from home.