So we try with all our strenght not to change.
We value our routine, our preferred brand of coffee, our favorite restaurants and morning itineraries to school and office as if they were sacred. We only know what is best for us and we accomplish it through our repetitive choices, for any minute change might jeopardize the result: our calm, secure happiness.
There is only one kind of sandwich one can really like, one particular pastry, that type of pasta.
We run this circular marathon for quite some time. We drive through this road that will lead us to the our last home in style, le mason de la coffìn, and we know we will be going back and forth: pernicious fate expects those who do not use the navigator and abandon the main path for a diversion.
We are Sunday drivers.
After having suffocated any primordial instinct we have been provided with and embraced comfort, two-step security procedures for our credit cards, upper-quality home, effective school for kids and shoes that last - and do look expensive, after having transformed our partner in a little statuette to get along with the rest of the furnishing and long forgotten what we are really supposed to do with matrasses, we gloriously enter our early forties.
Some of us get it on a different level and choose to live in a gated community, so that the risk of meeting people that are even slightly different is finally annulled. It is oh-so-cool to ride with those who look, think, spend like us: we are not afraid of those for they are exactly like us.
This is that stage when bed linen smell of flowers each day of the week – memba when they didn’t? This is when we have learnt to spend more of what we should, on a progressive scale, and covered our beloved ones with more things their memory could possibly process: welcome to the world of revolving cards, the bank evolution of the usurer, the little Eldorado for the bourgeoisie, the middle class. This is also when an early night means virtue, not disappointment.
All of a sudden we start dreaming of a cabana, we aim for a life of no responsibilities - bare feet. At one point we start looking at our au-pair with great interest – not of an educational nature. We finally notice those gardeners who are helping us to shape our magnificent piece of land with an excess of saliva: what If he was thinking what I am thinking?
We turn our back quickly to those lurid thoughts: that could never happen, we tell ourselves, and get that horrified expression, like when Liz Taylor married Larry Fortensky or Princess Stephanie of Monaco joined the circus. Follows picture of mother and father disapproving. Failure. Disruption. People in church praying for us and our family – ‘it’s all destroyed’, we can hear them moan, ‘and those poor kids’. So we shut those thoughts down: remove thought of baby sitter casually entering the shower, now, you filthy person.
When I started studying piano I was assigned a Russian teacher, a force of nature who would shout at me if I didn’t perform my assigned homework properly. She was very tall, two or three meters according to my memories, and immensely powerful. She could play whatever she wanted and she expected me to do the same. I was ten and she must have been somewhere between twenty and sixty.
She got me a honorary place in the classical music conservatory, that means you don't pay, and many trophies. I was (she made me) the best of my group of students, having learnt to do solfeggio on extremely difficult pentagrams: we wouldn’t use ‘those booklets for normal kids’. I was petrified, sometimes, bored most of the time.
There was a good side to this musical torture: my teacher would serve me cake, the carrots and cream type - appalling, and I would scoff it all down during the last ten minutes of our lesson together. She would then perform a classic master just for me and I absolutely treasured those private concerts. It was clear that she was a great music player and I wasn’t, but I appreciated playing piano four-hands pieces with her: it was a fabulous feeling, that of a working, in-tune ensemble. It was also clear that I was becoming one of those people that other people love to play for, because I was raptured by the performance and grateful for her talent.
It took a bet with my father to embrace guitar as well.
He told me I was a bore, ‘those classical things are for old people, long time live rock’. I snapped back and told him I would learn any piece of that so-called rock in one day and, if so, he’d have to give me money: how much more difficult was ‘my’ music than his. So I did, I guessed Stairway to Haven by Led Zeppelin on his guitar and plaid it as soon as he got back home. Although it was mentioned that I had chosen the slowest piece ever, I got my point checked and his money in my purse.
Quickly right after that episode I abandoned my piano lessons and got into the fantastic world of improvisation, big gatherings of youngsters with guitars at the beach, compulsive purchases of books with songs that people who are still alive know, love and perform: I was the girl with the guitar, I was the one to create the atmosphere, I was special.
It was only when I joined some fellow ‘improvisators’ and formed my very first band that I discovered what music meant to me: everything.
Playing was – and still is – setting goals that are way out of our league and trying to pursue them with the team you have been so lucky to join, forgiving your own and others’ faults. It was magic, overwhelming like a prolonged applause. When it all went bad, it was still a lot of fun. Of course I would have never been able to improvise on the guitar if I didn’t have all that previous hard-core classic studies on the piano, but the effort and pain of those endless afternoons at the Casa Russia all made sense when performing Guns n’Roses rather than when playing Chopin.
Life doesn’t end at forty.
The fact that we have learnt how to do solfeggio on the extremely difficult pentagram of life, that we can tune our instrument with those of our beloved ones, juggle mortgage, face world economic downs, pay insurances and renovate parking permits doesn’t mean we must remain stuck like flies in a spider net.
We can still turn the volume up, dance like fools and invest a considerable amount of our income in tapas. We can still have our jazz, rock, folk band and rehearse in some humid room, late at night. We can go to the beach without sun cream, bottles of water and plastic toys for kids. Renting a Harley Davidson is absolutely one of those things that we could do.
Now that we now the tedium we can embrace true fun.
Now that we know exactly what gets in our bank and what gets out at any moment, we can finally invest in that super-lens for our camera that we will use twice and be madly happy about it. Now that we have been so much there for our little ones in the very first and most important part of their lives, we can finally hop on a flight, send them to nonna and get smashed in some cheap resort just-the-two-of-us, like when our bed linen didn’t smell like camellias. It’s about embracing a structured anarchy without surrendering, it is about staying alive until the day that we die – for some of us.
Fuso in Montecarlo is a place just for us, for those who do not intend to surrender. A refined man and a wine expert of international echo, a producer and guru, mr Carmignani sits at those tables where only those who count are invited and would not brag about it. He is a maker, a person of importance and the owner of this precious corner of authentic Tuscany called ‘Da Baffo’ where fritto has outreached the status of divine.
It is like a farmyard converted to kasba, an alcove for the secret poets, a place where one can fall in love with anything, really, but the fried chicken will probably be the one. It is about life, good energy and potential difference creating a momentum: you got to go there if you want to know what I am talking about. When in Fuso’s, please turn around and have a look at those who stay wild, even in a Prada frock, and they are simply magnificent. You shall be seen there for your own good.
Ristorante Da Baffo
di Gino Fuso Carmignani
Via della Tinaia, 7
55015 Montecarlo, Italia
Tel +39 (0)583 22381