Giap/digest #28 - Working Slowly in New York City and Other Despicable Habits - 30 May 2005


The "Open Roads : New Italian Cinema" festival will take place in New York starting June 1st through June 9th, 2005. Ten films from this past season, as well as a focus on documentaries make up the program of this fifth edition, organized by AIP-Filmitalia and New York’s prestigious Film Society of Lincoln Center, with the collaboration of the Italian Cultural Institute, New York.

Download the programme:

Our movie Lavorare con lentezza: Radio Alice [Working Slowly / Radio Alice] will be screened on:




by Guido Chiesa [2004, excerpt]

Those for whom one less day of holiday is one more day of toil.
Those whose heart doesn't throb when the national anthem is played.
Those who have lost their way yet keep on going.
Those who think that the class you belong to matters even after school.
Those who aren't ashamed to take themselves seriously and laugh at themselves.
Those who are never made happy by an increase in the GDP.
Those who would never send anyone - even Him
* - to a factory or to prison.
Those who weren't better off when they were worse off.
Those who have lost track of how many sacrifices…
Those who are deaf when Patriotism calls.
Those who think that there aren't any foreigners.
Those for whom a robbery is always a little more than just theft.
Those who prefer irony to nostalgia.
Find the language to tell about new transformations.

*- Berlusconi, of course.


by Wu Ming [2004]
When Guido Chiesa asked us to write a screenplay with him for a feature film on Radio Alice and the Seventies in Bologna, before we gave him the final answer we made the usual test, the one we did before writing all our historical novels, from Q to 54. We asked ourselves what clichés spoil the memory and epic poetry of those years, and what were the tesseras missing for the composition of a likely and effective mosaic, which would put everything in perspective.
Franco Berardi, known to everyone as Bifo, pointed out that the colours are missing. True: the old tv footage is nearly all in black and white, and yet even then, even on the "movement" side of the decade, skies were blue and leaves green and eyes blue or green or hazel. It's the same old problem: we imagine periods with the colours of the support they were recorded on, colours faded with time. OK. Colours. But is it only a chromatic matter?
As chance would have it, the very stereotypes that fixed the memory of that decade go arm in arm with the least coloured of colours: grey. The grey of lead, undoubtedly, the Years of Lead, but also the grey of those old trash cans, because up to the seventies, our imagination saw mainly this: the armed struggle and trash culture; the Red Brigades, and ludicrously catchy music. It's time to say it loud and clear: fuck revivals! Yesterday's trash is STILL rubbish.
Guido's proposal meant this above all: experiment with a discourse on the Seventies without getting trapped in one cliché or another. Refuse believing that the complexity of that decade could be represented only by B-Movie comedian Bombolo and Red Brigade leader Mario Moretti. Bombolo and Moretti united in struggle.
The radical movements of the period weren't necessarily leaden, they were not only fanaticism and violence. Where's all the rest? Where is the strength-invention, the "hundred of flowers blossoming", the acid silk-screen colours, the 'zines, the graphic and sound cut-up, the deconstructed language of free radios, the squats, the bursting out of slang and regional accents after decades of national public tv diction? In a way, the real, grand crime of armed struggle was the usurpation of the manifold memory of movements, in cahoots with the ruling class of the First Republic.
What is to be done? First step: we would talk about 1976-77 (the actual period), not just about Seventy-Seven (the mythology of the movement). Method: read the old newspapers, just like we'd done for 54. Pay attention to the news, the culture, crime events unrelated with politics, even frivolous matters. Open the windows and let air in. We got along with Guido immediately. It had to be clear, the story of Radio Alice and the March riots was full of stereotypes and distortions, always the same two or three anecdotes, the same two or three photos. So we welcomed the opportunity to try out an unexpected approach.
Second step: according to a typical approach of our collective, we'd talk about a contemporary yet unrelated event, something that happened at the same time as the riots, or shortly before. Besiege Qin to strike Wei. Hide the purpose of a plot that seems to barely skim over them. Avoid stereotypes and catechistic temptations, propose a different and strange point of view on the whole occurrence.
It was in the papers from that period that we found the news of a mysterious robbery "with hole", which from the canals under the Bologna streets was to take a commando of "moles" to the floor of the Bologna Savings & Loans vaults. The assonance between this underground city and the Bologna underground movement and Radio Alice set off the spark. The fact that the robbery - like any revolution - failed a hair's breadth from its success, made the connection even stronger. The police never succeeded in catching the criminals because they were too busy repressing guerrilla warfare in the streets. Everything was perfect. To find our treasure, we had to start digging along with the guys involved in that robbery.



We are known all around the world, aren't we?
The DVD of the film we co-wrote was just released, wasn't it?
This DVD is encoded for Region 2, isn't it?
The film was screened at various international festivals with English subtitles, wasn't it?
The film is being screened in the UK and the US, isn't it?
A Region 2 DVD works on all European and Middle-East players, doesn't it?
Thus, it was utterly predictable that this particular DVD would be purchased also by people who don't speak Italian, wasn't it?
Since the English subtitles already existed, it was also predictable that they'd end up onto the DVD, wasn'it?
It wouldn't have added any cost after all, right?
Aye, so?
So 'tis pity there is no trace of English subtitles on the Working Slowly DVD.
"I thought this was the case so ordered a copy from, but it only has subtitles in Italian..."
Yes, it only has subtitles in Italian for the hearing impaired. That's all right, that's great, but there are more English reading people on Earth than there are deaf people.
You're lazy, you just stay in bed.
You're lazy, you just stay in bed.
You don't want no money, you don't want no bread.





Ten years have passed since the first apparition of the Luther Blissett multiple name and mythopoetic icon. The first Five Year Plan had Italy as the epicentre of the Project: media hoaxes, pranks, anti-copyright stunts, geo-psychic paths, and a plenty of books, 'zines, records etc. The Plan was follow'd by five more years, a rather obscure period during which Luther Blissett was occasionally spotted here and there on the skin of the Earth. He infiltrated a national radio broadcast in Australia and a very popular soccer show in the UK. But where is he now? Is he alive? Did he retire to private life? Do we still need his presence?
With your help, answers to these and other questions will hopefully fill up a commemorative DVD. It will be free of copyright, produced by Wot4 Records & Media Mente Trash Film Company, in collaboration with AAA edizioni. It will feature rare experimental films, vintage video clips, home movies, closed-circuit tv footage, a lot of pics and as-yet-unpublished texts by and about Luther Blissett, plus your personal interpretation of the Luther Blissett phenomenon.
- Make your video-answer to the question: "What happened to Luther Blissett?" (max 5 minutes). Investigate the disappearance of Luther, find and interview his friends and acquaintances, try and tell the false from the true in the media landscape, have a low-fi look on life through Luther's eyes. Write a song inspired by Blissett and shoot the videoclip, look for text or video relics of Blissett history. List the places Blissett visited etc.
- Send us your work, preferably on CD/DVD. We will be free to use it as it is, edit it, cut'n'mix it. All the authors will be credited but reproduction of the work will be completely free for non-commercial usage, as usually happens with Luther Blissett's output.
- Each author will receive a free copy of the DVD. This is a no-profit project, the work will be sold at a very low price ("don't pay more than 10 euros") to make up for the expenses.
Send your audio and video stuff to: Charlie Holmes / Wot4, Piazza Torrifagiani 14, 50050 Vico D'Elsa (FI), Italy
Send your texts to: Vittore Baroni / AAA, via Via C. Battisti 339, 55049 Viareggio (LU), Italy

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Our novel 54 (William Heinemann, London 2005) can be purchased here:
All previous issues of Giap-digest are available here.