So far I’ve shown you Malcesine and Limone sul Garda. I also took the boat to Riva del Garda at the northern end of the lake (which is also in a different province- Trentino). It was raining all day, so I figured I might as well go to the colder, rainy end of the lake and visit the museum, and save the outdoorsy stuff on the southern end like archaeological sites for a sunny day.
From 1815-1918 Riva was actually in Austria, and although it’s typically Italian in many ways, there’s a definite alpine influence there (and a lot of German and Austrian tourists). I had been there once before, in about 2000. A little while ago I dug up some photos I’d taken on a disposable camera then, and posted them here.
I’m moving house in the near future, and have been decluttering and getting rid of or selling things quite a bit. I found a thick A3 folder with prints in, so I’m having a big print sale to clear them. All 10×8 prints are £5, and A3 posters are £8, and when they’re gone, they’re gone. UK postage is free, and international shipping is automatically calculated by weight.
In my last post about Lake Garda, I showed Malcesine, where I was staying. Now I’m heading over to Limone sul Garda on the other side of the lake. I didn’t spend much money while I was in Italy, but a hefty chunk of the (tiny) budget went on ferry tickets. Boats constantly criss-cross the lake to all the towns, and it’s the most scenic way to see the area. If you’re in a hurry, you can take the bus on land, but I was on holiday, so by definition, not in a hurry.
24 page 1/4 sized perzine on green paper
This one is about the experience of growing up holidaying in a caravan at French campsites. A typical holiday for British people, but probably weird and exotic for those from further away. Available for £2 from my shop (includes UK postage- international extra)
- Ocean-going glamour of cross-channel ferries
- Family arguments about putting tents up
- The wonders of the French hypermarché
- Wholesome Dutch people
- Rubbish circuses where the attractions are one dog and one llama
I have two new zines available this month. This is a mini zine I made for the 24 hour zine project, which runs every July. You have to write and layout 24 pages within 24 hours. No pre-preparation is allowed. It’s a fun challenge. Available from my shop for £1 (including UK postage).
24 page 1/6 sized mini perzine on yellow paper
- Patchwork quilts
- Tidying up
- Modular Synths
- Rescuing Bumblebees
- Winning £4 on the lottery
- Not letting myself watch Stranger Things until I’ve done my work
- Getting frustrated with the inner workings of the Labour Party
No posts for a week. I stayed with my dad for most of last week to go to a family wedding, took my laptop with me to do some work while I was there, but then stupidly forgot to bring the power cord with me. Here’s a relaxing video. I actually really don’t enjoy those “relaxing” videos of people whispering or crinkling things, they don’t relax me at all (and some of them are definitely aiming more at “attractive woman pays attention to you” than soothing sounds), but I like this one. Best enjoyed with headphones.
Here’s some other interesting things:
- The surprisingly interesting story of chain restaurants like TGI Friday’s whose decor was covered with antiques and curios, where they got them all from on such a huge scale, and what they’re doing with them now fashions have changed.
- Colour photographs of Paris from 100 years ago
- 21 Fruits and Vegetables you didn’t knew grew like that
- The worst ideas of post-war town planning
- The weirdest Russian textbook around (whole course free)
(Ex-army shirt from military surplus store a very long time ago, dark denim skirt from Oasis last year, black tights who knows, shoes from Dr Martens 3 years ago. Necklace made by Mika Hallor. Hair in desperate need of a haircut.)
“I thought we had an understanding there
That wouldn’t leave too soon
Figure it over and you’ll find out where
Your green shirt’s gone”
Talking of 90s revival, I realised that the clothes I was wearing yesterday were something I could easily have been wearing 20 years ago. This isn’t the actual shirt I had as a teenager (that one, like all of them, inexplicably had a German flag on the arm), but it’s pretty much the same. I got this one from an army surplus store at some point in my 20s for £4, but by mistake they gave me two, so it essentially cost me £2. I recently saw some identical shirts in Topshop for about £40. Sometimes it pays to be a loser who never throws anything away. Until about five years ago I actually did have a top I’d been wearing since the early 90s. It was a burgundy and black ribbed thing that seemed to be made of near-indestructible material.
A lot of bloggers make slightly shady money by taking photos of themselves in clothes that are currently in stores (often sent as a free sample by the manufacturer), and then using a special tracking link that gives them commission for every click and purchase. Distasteful hyper-capitalist ethics of turning your life into a walking advert aside, I would be hopeless at that. Most of my stuff is second hand or home-made, and I hang on to clothes I like forever if they still fit and are in good condition (I’m pretty ruthless at giving unworn things to charity shops though). A couple of times a year I go on a big (unpleasant and stressful) shopping trip and stock up on basic things like jeans from chain stores (ok mostly Muji or Topshop to be honest), and that’s kind of it. Probably by the time I’d notice a trend it would be on its way out.
Talking of army surplus clothing in my youth, when I was a teenager I also had one of those army jumpers with the fabric covered shoulders. Almost everyone else I knew did as well. Oh yeah, I also had one of those canvas army bags that I used as a school bag. That was also the thing. Why did I even bother going to other shops? (Not that there is much selection in my hometown, it’s a decrepit shipbuilding town that went into a massive decline in the 80s). They clearly had everything I needed in the local army surplus shop.
At the end of May I went on a last-minute trip to Italy by myself. I had given up my tenancy in London, because I was fed up of paying a small fortune to a landlord who was unwilling to fix the serious leak in the ceiling that was probably going to bring the plaster down sometime soon, and a relative asked me to house-sit. The house-sitting date then changed, but it turned out to be cheaper for me to visit friends in Yorkshire, and then go on holiday for a week than it was to extend my tenancy, which shows how ridiculous the prices are in London now. As it was a last minute thing, I had to go on my own. I don’t mind travelling solo though, I used to do it regularly for work, and travelling alone is better than going on holiday with someone who doesn’t want to do any of the same things as you. (In my case, wandering aimlessly for hours and hours, taking hundreds of photographs and eating a lot).
I considered going to Crete, because I wanted to see all the Minoan archaeological sites, but it was hard to work out where stay, and which places were Magaluf style budget party towns (not really where I wanted to go). I asked my Greek friend Ellina, but it turns out she’d never been to Crete either.
So in the end I booked a deal to Malcesine on Lake Garda. Malcesine was the first place I visited in Italy when I was 12 or 13. Throughout my teenage years I visited Italy 2-3 times a year after the budget airlines started doing £20 tickets to Pisa and Brescia, and after I graduated I did some teaching work in Northern Italy, and I’ve seen most of the country now bar the furthest three southern regions (Apulia, Basilicata and Calabria) Sardinia and Sicily. Although I had been to some other towns on the lake since (I’ve got some disposable camera photos I took around the turn of the century that I dug up here), I hadn’t been to Malcesine since that first holiday, so I was really interested to see whether it had changed and how much. While I was there I started writing a zine about the trip, and also about Italy in the 90s/early 2000s and now. I haven’t finished it yet though. I wrote in more detail there, so my blog entries will concentrate more on images.
While I was on Lake Garda, my biggest expense was ferry tickets. I took the ferry each day to a different place around the lake. As the scenery is stunning, I took a lot of photos. I’ve whittled them down to around 10 shots or so per place, but I’ll post them gradually, so you don’t get overkill of views of water and the Alps.
A little while ago, there was a thing on Twitter where people used the #indieamnesty tag to tell funny or embarrassing stories about their involvement with the whole Landfill Indie and Nu Rave thing in the mid 2000s (there’s also a surprisingly intelligent and self-perceptive interview with Johnny Borrell (!!) here). As the Guardian article I’ve linked to said, “Indie amnesty brings together thousands of relatively banal anecdotes about unglamorous people doing slightly idiotic things into something quite majestic” and most of the people were writing about being foolish and easily impressed in their teenage years.
It was funny, but the whole thing made me feel weirdly old, because that wasn’t my era for being an impressionable teen. It’s strange when you realise that people you mentally categorised as peers actually grew up in a different era to you, or that people you think of as dramatically younger are also adults. My oldest nephew was born in 1996, and is now a university student with a driving licence, which is just wrong really. It shouldn’t be allowed. Time shouldn’t have moved that fast. Adults are not born in the 90s. The correct time to be born is clearly the early 80s, or the late 70s at a push. I will persist in this delusion for as long as allowed.
I think the prime age for wholeheartedly signing yourself over to whatever musical movement that easily presents itself is 13-14. You start to be aware of different genres of music, want to associate yourself with a tribe of people, have some pocket money to spend, and might even be allowed to go gigs if you have lax parents. The people writing those anecdotes had been that age in the 2000s. I was a teenager in the mid to late 90s. When the Rakes did 22 Grand Job, I actually did have a 22k dull office job (although not in the City, in an office park just outside Reading for full glamour!). Sadly my income hasn’t gone anywhere since then.
Edit! 6th of September- I’ve got three Jewish contributors of varying religious/national backgrounds now. I would love to hear from Muslim, Hindu or Sikh contributors, and people who grew up in fundamental/extreme Christianity which they have now rejected.
Anyone thinking of writing an article for the zine should probably read this article I wrote first, to make sure we’re on the same page
Being Editors Issue 2 is on its way. Issue One was about Diana Wynne Jones (and will soon be re-printed and available again). Issue Two is a split issue focusing on C.S. Lewis and Philip Pullman. (I had too much malicious glee at putting those two together).
I’m afraid I can’t pay for submissions– running a pseudo-academic zine about children’s books really is not a money-spinner, but you will get free copies of both this zine and some others as a sweetener. I also reserve the right to turn down articles or request changes to make a certain level of quality is maintained- (I haven’t had to do this so far with the great submissions I received for the previous issue, I should add)
Here’s a summary of the article outlines already in place and some topics I’d love to cover. If you can see a gap that you’d like to cover, please email me with a short summary of what you want to write about!
Rough deadline for articles is the 15th of October.
CS Lewis Side:
- In which I re-read all of the Narnia books as an adult
- The many ways in which The Last Battle is a hateful book
- In which I re-read the Space Trilogy as an adult
- That Hideous Strength as a guilty pleasure
- Endless butter, bacon and Turkish Delight: Food in the Narnia books in the context of WWII & 50s rationing
- Why don’t they teach logic at these schools? Wading through the terrible glut of “academic” literature about C.S.Lewis churned out by evangelical Bible institutions
- The problem of Susan and Jane: Sexism in the Narnia & Space Trilogy books
- King Arthur and C.S. Lewis
- Re-watching the 80s BBC show, and comparing the Disney Narnia films
- A.N. Wilson’s biography and Jack-a Biography, compared with Surprised by Joy & A Grief Observed
- Can I really bring myself to read Mere Christianity without throwing it against the wall?
- CS Lewis and E.Nesbit- the dinosaur influenced by the radical
- CS Lewis and George MacDonald
- Narnia in Israel- (by Gili Bar-Hillel)
Articles I’d particularly like to receive
- Racism & Orientalism in the Narnia – from a contributor with Middle Eastern or South Asian background
- Growing up with Narnia in a hardcore Christian upbringing- from a contributor – did you grow up in ultra Christian surroundings where secular entertainment was banned or strongly discouraged?
- Growing up with the Narnia books in a Muslim/Orthodox Jewish/Hindu/Sikh context- from contributors
I’m open to other article proposals for CS Lewis, but there’s so much material out there written from a totally uncritical evangelical American Protestant viewpoint. I’m not interested in that kind of article. Read this introduction I wrote to understand my own standpoint a bit better.
Phillip Pullman side
- Lyra’s Oxford and our Oxford
- His Dark Materials and Paradise Lost
- Plato and Virgil in His Dark Materials (vs the Last Battle & Ursula le Guin)
- Pope Calvin
- The Amber Spyglass vs Perelandra
- Songs of Innocence and Experience- William Blake and Philip Pullman
- Northern Lights and the Arctic- Scandinavian and Finno-Ugric folklore
I’m open to suggestion for interesting Philip Pullman articles
Here is the list of topics for future issues of Being Editors
Please get in touch if you’re dying to write an article about any of these authors. (I’m not covering Harry Potter – check out Sonorus for feminist perspectives on Harry Potter)
3- Edith Nesbit
4– Oliver Postgate
5- Tove Jansson
6– Susan Cooper, Alan Garner and Jenny Nimmo
7– The Phantom Tollbooth
8– Forgotten Classics
9– The Wizard of Oz