East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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Dark-haired beauties in red

Giovanni Boldini http://www.tuttartpitturasculturapoesiamusica.comI will not make it to the art exhibit in the Royal Palace of Venaria, dedicated to the work of Giovanni Boldini.
Time is short, money is tight, and one needs to make choices.
The up side is, thanks to the web, it is easy to create our own art exhibit – granted, it’s not the same as the real thing, but it’s still better than sitting in front of the local bar, waiting for death (which seems to be the usual pastime hereabouts).

Giovanni Boldini (1842-1931) was a weird chap – and is portrayed here by the side with Marquess Casati and another guy during a masked ball. Boldini is the one that does not fit in. Continue reading


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Cities of the Imagination

It went like this: first my friend Hell (yes, they really call him like that) did a blog post about the city he writes about, the city he was born in, Taranto. Then my friend Alex did a piece about the city he was born in, and about which he writes about, Milan.
And so I did a piece on the city where I was born, and about which I sometimes write about, Turin.
The piece that came out is weird and melancholy, and I even forgot to give it a title, and you can find it here translated through some web gizmo that I’m sure will make it even more surreal.


But the fact is, I have written a lot more about London, Paris and Shanghai that I ever did about Turin.
And so, why not do an alternate universe sort of piece, about the towns I write about in my fiction?
My cities of the imagination, if it does not sound too pretentious, and with all due respect for both Italo Calvino and Schuiten & Peeters. Continue reading


Travels of the mind (and one day, maybe, the body)

It all started with an impromptu sort of thing.
Meeting a friend after a long time.  It’s been quite a while since we spent some time together, we have a lot of catching up to do.
So we decided to meet in the next few days, in Turin, and spend a whole day rambling around the Egyptian Museum. We both love Egyptian antiquities, and the old museum was one of our favorite haunts..
And there’s climate control in the museum – so we could stroll among the mummies and talk, in the cool air. Then maybe a bite somewhere reasonably cheap but quality.
So, why not?

Well, let me tell you why not.
A quick check with the Egyptian Museum website tells me the ugly truth. Continue reading

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Friday Prompts: We’ll always have Paris

My Paris when it sizzles Pinboard, which I set up as I was collecting period photos to document my story A Spider with Barbed-Wire Legs1, has grown to over 1000 black and white photos of Paris.

So here’s the sort of thing I’d love to do, and you might like to try yourself – why not pick 5 of these photos at random, and use them to build a story?

Might be fun.

  1. the story is featured in the collection Delta Green: Extraordinary Renditions, by Arc Dream Publishing. 

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Writing in the heat

It’s roughly three in the afternoon.
With 45 °C and a jungle-like humidity, one would expect the countryside to be silent.
But the guy with the drums is once again practicing broken rhythms.
Very broken.
This feels like something out of an Edgar Rice Burroughs story.
The natives are restless.

I’m sitting at my computer, rewriting the final part of a book I should have delivered this morning – I ditched the final 60 pages, I’ll have to rewrite rewrite rewrite.


I wish I was in some big city.
Paris, London, Berlin.
Even Turin, why not?
Under the rain.
Listening to Bach.

Not that anyone out there is really interested, right?

Oh, heck… missing Bach and the rain, I might just settle for Roger Hodgson