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Category Archives: Allgemein

The Money Changer and his Wife, at Palazzo Strozzi

Does anything demand more attention than money? Eyes, hands, shoulders and elbows all gravitate towards a pile of coins. But the money-changers are no longer grotesques; the wife is as pretty as she is rapt. Nothing is more ordinary, the painter acknowledges, than our relating to one another through money. Above and between their intent […]

Mussolini – Act One

In 1915 while serving in the army on the high mountain front, Mussolini wrote a war diary, a sort of early modern blog, to be published in instalments in Milan. Here is an entry. “Today is Christmas. Yes, Christmas day. Today our hearts are hard and dry as these rocky craters. Modern civilisation has “mechanised […]


Before Blair, Benito Mussolini also proclaimed a Third Way. The expression is dense with implication. It describes a world divided into two camps who squander their energies in sterile conflict. The Third Way denounces the perversity of that dynamic and suggests that the terms of the argument between the camps are false; it’s time to […]


Fifteen love. This is it, the decisive game. Mick serving for the set. And I’m already down. I hate losing! Just turned fourteen, Michele is already taller than me, and heavier. No doubt handsomer. Yep, he’s overtaken me in all kinds of ways. He can duck me in the swimming pool. But he still hasn’t […]

Reggina Remembered – an extract

“Bastardi, merda,” the crowd are shouting as I climb the stairs of the stadium. An hour before kick off, the stands are already full, except, that is, for the small section reserved for ‘guests’. The Verona boys are just arriving. Less than a hundred I’d say, a poor showing, but then the journey is sixteen […]

The Mezzanine

As a novel-reader I’m a lover of plot and character, of the idea that a number of people are interacting in ways that makes each more believable and pushes the whole group towards some sort of crisis. And I like a book with some weight and sadness in it, to feel that the pleasure of […]


Go magical Hellas! Paruca “Dagliela!” shouts the girl behind me. “Pass it to him.” She’s on her feet screaming. “Dagliela BENE!” On the pitch Martino Melis lifts his head. But he can’t hear her. She’s only one voice. Thousands of others are chanting: “Su Verona, su Verona, dai, dai!” Melis is dithering again. “Ma DAgliela!” […]

Reggina at home, from A Season with Verona

THIS IS A SPECIAL POST, ON THE OCCASION OF HELLAS’S PLAY-OFF WITH SORRENTO, A REMINDER OF ANOTHER PLAY OFF YEARS AGO WITH REGINA… The game is at 8 pm. I wait out the last hour in the bar Bentegodi where a particularly heavy-weight thug whom I have never seen before is drinking heavily. “Where are […]

A Chorus of Cruelty, on Giovanni Verga

‘Cruelty,’ wrote Emil Cioran, ‘is a sign of election, at least in literature. The more talented a writer is, the more ingeni¬ously he puts his characters in situations from which there is no escape; he persecutes them, he tyrannizes them, he traps them in dead ends, he forces them to run the whole gamut of […]

Art and Eschatology

Eschatology is enjoying a heyday. Global warming, global terrorism, food crises, water crises, oil conflicts, culture wars, have all intensified the impression that human ‘civilization’ is accelerating towards self destruction. These are circumstances in which art and artists tend to get political or, alternatively, resign themselves to insignificance. In literature, the phenomenon is exacerbated by […]