Eating Raw Meat with Subsonica
There three days and two nights, eating handmade ravioli, privately bottled Barolo and fermented goat cheese: two days old, two months old and two years old.
Wine all day every day, and not only me, and not for big money. Five euros per day to attend the festival, music and wine and food everywhere, festival-goers sleeping in the woods, on the porches of the local farm houses, in the cobbled streets of the castle square.
Waking at dawn before the heat mounts, before some random dog pisses on you: you took HIS place on the sidewalk, stranger, so run away: another day of Collisioni, so much more music, more wine, more maternal goat milk, more raw meat... All you need is sun, air, rain and soil. That made those grapes and the other fruits of the earth which feed animals and humans.
Now, I was scientifically told: here we don't give a damn for you strangers, foreigners, famous, anonymous, old and young, babies and dogs... We do this all year, all our lives: we fled from cities, while some are here some for centuries always doing the same thing. We are rich, we don't need to sell fine wine, because we don't need money, we have the food, the slow food.
The big guru of the Slow Food movement, Carlo Petrini, didn't make it to preach to the choir of Collisioni 2012 in Barolo, Piedmont. Because Petrini's car broke down on the way: riding in Piedmontese foothills, steep and narrow roads full of security cops, volunteers equally eager to make things happen according to plan.
Petrini should have trusted a fully-organic horse. Austerity year for Italy, no money for literature or stars: yet they all come to Barolo, local TV talk show stars, and Don de Lillo from NY, Patti Smith and Bob Dylan for one night stage stands.
They are legends here in Italy, for this is a country most grateful to old stars. You can bow your knee to the Pope like Patti did, or you scream at all the saints like Subsonica, the local electronic band. Italians respect the stars either way. It's the Torino alternative world, black and white magic culture, leaving its smoky nightclubs on the Po to get sun and fresh air.
Street couture and high tech culture, that of a city which died as a Fiat factory and was born as a motor of alternative culture. Subsonica celebrates 15 years, they are veteran rockers but their audience is 15 years old and they know Subsonica lyrics by heart. They are weird Torino intellectuals who sing Italian melodies with electronic rhythm. They are acquired taste like raw meat in vinegar with parmesan.
Our landlady told me and my American friend: I am not charging you anything to stay with me, because you are the honored guests of the festival and my own guests: you were quiet in your room, never noisy like rock stars, so you were the best guests ever. Just like those kids sleeping in eleven tents around my property; yes I counted all the tents and I didn't allow the police to shoo them off my land. They are like the leaves that grow in my vineyards.
Will she make wine of all of us while we are asleep? This little old lady with her shrill voice and food wisdom? I don't mind that: since I have to die someday somewhere, I want to die drinking vintage Barolo and eating raw meat and goat cheese. Is that fate too much to ask?
Street gypsy bands are playing on stage in front of 20,000 people today, tomorrow with their hats back on, walking the street, nobody will recognize them. An unforgettable sound. It must be the wine!
On the last night, a local girl has a backstage adventure: the waitress and daughter of the owner of a local winery, stands timidly dressed in her Cinderella shoes. After Patti Smith stops singing, and goes to embrace the crowd, the keyboard player, a blonde tall American musician, leaps the backstage, sweeps her off her feet, and literally carrying her in his arms, to his artist tent.
She disappears with him but comes back flushed and with a secret smile, like Mona Lisa.
On the first day I asked her: so, what is it like to be a young girl, living all year in this rural castle full of wine barrels? Does the princess want to flee this castle, maybe become a beggar? Yes, she admitted: I tried it twice!
This time she was carried away by the American prince. My American friend remarks: Why, that's harassment, she could sue him.
Maybe she can, if it is not too late! Besides, in Barolo, the castle-dwellers have their own rules in these matters, for nine hundred years.