Puglian Easter and Other Thoughts

We are in limbo today awaiting the real Easter which starts tomorrow. Yesterday was processions, fasting and fish meals. Tomorrow we entertain a large Italian family here at Casa Jones with my homemade pasta and then lamb for Easter. On Monday or Pasquetta as it is known here ( little Easter) the townies descend on the countryside to open up their second homes and have lunch with friends. We are off for the return match at the Italian family home. Their lunch will be mainly food gathered that morning from the fields around here. Let the eating and drinking begin.

Anna Maria left a comment yesterday about how the Italians continue to revere their old singing stars long after their sell by date is probably well past. It is very true and one only has to watch the San Remo Festival and the many aging singers there to realise it. Mind you The Rolling Stones are to be the lead act at Glastonbury this year .  Amazingly my son will be there fifty years almost to the day from when I first saw them at the Essoldo cinema in Slough . They were the act that filled in between the B film and the main feature. I believe he is paying a little more than 1s/9d or 8p new money I paid to get into the cinema that day.

Little Tony who we featured yesterday was at San Remo a few years back with another star of the 60’s Bobby Solo

Bobby Solo got to number 1 in Italy with this song  and it became the first million seller in Italian history. It went on to sell over 3 million worldwide. How did you do singing along with the subtitles ?  The guy that tried to teach me some Italian was telling me of another English guy he taught who had an accent as bad as mine apart from certain words which he was fluent in pronouncing. They worked it out that he had a record collection of Italian ballads and the words of the songs he knew he was brilliant at in Italian.

I got into Italian ballads in 1965 in Corfu of all places. I was teaching water skiing  (another story) at one of the then only three hotels on the Island ( it has changed a little I understand since then). Anyway the hotel beach bar where the small dance floor was situated had the ubiquitous Zorba the Greek but other than that only Italian ballads from the early 60’s. One of the perks of my job was I got to have the Chris Craft motor boat for personal use in the evenings so after dancing in the moonlight to some beautiful Italian song as the sea lapped against the beach I was able to whisper in the ear of the girl I was dancing with the best line I have ever been able to use. ” Would you like a spin in the speedboat to a little bar only reachable by boat” ! Even I managed to pick up the odd girl.

Now one of the tunes we danced to was this one by John Foster:

Actually that sunset looks somewhat familiar.

But what’s with all these English names? Well in the late 50’s and early 60’s Italian record labels thought it far cooler to have artists with English names and in the main have them sing in English. They would then pass them off as foreign imports which sold better with the new teenage generation. John Foster was really Paulo Occhipinti  ( I think I might have changed his name too) and had worked in England so was ideal. He did however change music labels and this song was his biggest hit and he retired from music in 1968. He now works as a journalist.

Ciao or not yet actually .

I am reading an excellent book at the moment called The Etymologicon: A Circular Stroll by Mark Forsyth recommended to me by another blogger . He takes a humorous look at how words came into the English language and what their origins were.  Now ciao is interesting . It was brought back by U.S. and British troops that served in Italy during World War II who found it an exotic way to say hi or bye bye. But where did it come from this strange word.

Well it comes from the word slave  which in Spanish is esclavo and in Italian schiavo. Now medieval Italians used “sono vostro schiavo”  “I am your slave” as a polite way to greet and say cheerio to each other. Quite soon they shortened it to schiavo and finally down to ciao. So now you know.

You can get Forsyth’s book on Amazon and it is great fun to jump in and out of.

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About hereinpuglia

Retired to Puglia after some 40 years in the travel industry working for P&O Lines, British Airways, Alamo rent-a-car,Abercrombie&Kent, owner of Quest Tours and Travel and finally with Thomas Cook North America. Married to Geraldine we now have a small house with too much land near the town of Martina Franca in Puglia. Two kids one married and living in Hong Kong and the other single and living in London. No dogs, no cats no animals.
This entry was posted in Expat Italy, Puglia, Puglia Food, Puglia Lifestyle, Puglia Living, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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