Archivio mensile:novembre 2009

Signorina in Sheffield #3 – Of political correctness


I hate political correctness. I hate it.Whenever I hear someone using expressions like “the N word” or “African American” I would like to punch him or her (see how ridiculous this is?) in the stomach.

Usually, they are the same people who join a white men society and try to hide it by showing they don’t say “nigger”.

Political correct, of course, has much to do with the language and the culture of a specific country.

I have not been in England long enough to know many politically correct expressions, but I hate them already.

Salesperson. Firefighter. Oh come on. Fireman is easier to spell, faster to pronounce and who cares if that fireman is a woman, are you seriously thinking that women care about this placebo for the years of exclusions from these kinds of jobs? No, they don’t.

And if they do they are stupid.

Trust me, I’m a woman. You know what is offensive? The fact the Glamour, Cosmo, Elle and rubbish like that is referred to as “women’s magazines”.

The problem is that it’s true, women do buy these things. Too bad. Women are stupid. Or better: women contain in their bodies large amounts of stupidity. If it wasn’t so, they wouldn’t spend so much time chasing inferior creatures like men.

Was any man offended by this remark? Too bad. Men are stupid.

Of course by making fun of political correctness regarding the words that were shaped to protect my category I am playing it safe.

Let’s talk about disabilities then. I have none, except complete inability to do any math.

For example: “Visually challenged”. Seriously? If I were blind and someone called me “visually challenged” I would break his nose as soon as I could locate who said it. Visually challenged? Try to breathe through your broken bones and see how it feels to be breath challenged.

I hope I made my point, and I hope at least 100% of smart people throughout the world would agree with me.

But although political correctness is the one of the stupidest human inventions of all times, I must admit that sometimes, at least in politics, you might need it.

Avoiding certain expressions because you would get social reprobation might be hypocritical, but at least you don’t get away with anything you say, because people still care for certain values.

The other day my boyfriend, who is Greek and therefore a neutral party, was telling me to stop trashing my country only to make these dumb, awfully dressed, alcoholic English people feel better about themselves.

So I thought: what’s one of the stupidest things about England?

Political correctness of course, every formal piece of paper and of speech is absolutely obsessed with it.

I was already sharpening my pencil when my eyes landed on an article from my Italian newspaper.

Apparently, in a little town named Coccaglio which is near Milan, the Lega Nord mayor launched the operation “White Christmas”, after the Bing Crosby song (by the way, Lega Nord is our BNP, with the only difference that some of its members are ministers).

Watch out guys. Don’t underestimate the recklessness of politicians who would ally with dogs, pigs and even Nick Griffin to get votes.

From the middle of November ‘til the 25th of December (hence “Christmas”) police will search every single house of the village looking for immigrants.

The slightest irregularity on the residence permit, and they will be thrown out of the country. Hence “white”.

The reason for doing something so inhumane for Christmas is explained by the major Franco Claretti: “Christmas is not about charity, is about celebrating our Christian roots”.

Now, shouldn’t people like him and who voted for him be boiled alive in a gigantic “Viva Civilization” street party?

Or is it politically incorrect to say so?

By Marta Musso

Click on the picture to read the article on


Music Blog #4: The Scrabble


So now I don’t have a gig to talk about, for I spent the whole time moving from one shop to another to then drink at least four cocktails in a row in a bar called Smokestock.

(Ok, I know I shouldn’t use this space for advertisement and even less to advertise places in Leeds, but they were amazing. Best cocktails ever, and I have a long experience with cocktails, trust me).
Anyway, back to music and to Sheffield. I came back to find a package from Italy with some survival kit stuff and a cd. That cd, an EP called Most Unlikely Often Happens, is very, very good.
The band’s name is Scrabble and they are from Turin, my city. Although I had never listened to their music, I was familiar with the name of the band because they are friends of friends of friends and because the singer, Lorenzo De Masi, was my schoolmate in elementary and middle school. Now he calls himself Larry. Just as Carlo, Pietro and Carlo again, the other band members, are now known as Charlie, James and Lax. You just can’t help it: English is cooler when it comes to music.

Also, from the day I started to write about English music here in Sheffield, I hadn’t heard a sound so English as Scrabble….


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Music Blog #3: The arctic monkeys


I bought the tickets for Arctic Monkeys’ concert in Sheffield three days after I arrived in the city.

It was September the 22nd, one month and three weeks before the actual gig, and I was with an Italian friend of mine in a Spanish restaurant in Meadowhall. We were both newly settled and felt we should have done something more properly local than eating ethnic stuff in a mall; so we decided to blow our budget and buy the tickets, even though the gig was sold out already and it would have cost a lot. But after all: Arctic Monkeys from Sheffield in Sheffield, how cool was that? Coming from Italy, we both had never even heard of the city before they came on the scene. Excitement mounted up day after day: my friend was a long-term fan, I used to think they were incredibly overrated but I had really loved the new album.

By the day of the concert, tension had reached its climax. It was all about looking as much of a Sheffielder as possible for the event and trying to get to the Arena on time for being in the first row. After the disillusionment of finding out that in Sheffield too there are Starbucks, H&M and all those hideous chains that simply replicate themselves over and over making any city identical to any other on a random parallel, Arctic Monkeys playing in Sheffield looked as unique as the Parthenon.

Now, before talking about the concert, I do feel the responsibility of making a preface: on that very same day some scum stole my laptop by breaking the window of my room and helping himself while I was in the kitchen preparing lunch. They immediately arrested him but not before he could get rid of my adored pc; police told me they might call again at night in case they had news, so I spent the entire concert holding the camera in one hand and my mobile in the other, begging for a phone call.

Arctic Monkeys really helped, too. As I said before, I am a converted fan, and that made me the most enthusiastic supporter of the kids. But the concert was just….

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Music Blog #2


A very rhetorical question: when you go to a club for a gig, is the sound system or the whiskey selection more important?

Obviously, the whiskey selection is far more relevant. But if you run a club and decide to bet everything on that, you should also make sure you hire a band so good that the beauty of their music will overcome the whistling and the distortion of the terrible speakers. From what I’ve seen so far, The Harley really manages to do that.

As many will probably know, above the Harley Bar there is the Harley Hotel. What is less proverbial is that when you rent a room there, included in the price they give you earplugs. A friend of mine slept there for a week and told me that this is absolutely unnecessary: it is not the music that keeps you awake, although without the earplugs you couldn’t even hear your inner thoughts; it’s the vibrations produced by the sound that makes it impossible to sleep. Apparently, he would wake up every morning with severe land sickness.

So no offence, but the acoustic is really not The Harley’s thing. Of course, the alcohol is amazing and the Lagavulin whiskey particularly fantastic, so who cares. But they must take extra care in who they invite to play, and indeed they seem to always organize little great gigs. Last time I was there I was really conquered by Dirty Weekend. They are a classic, electronic-with-soul indie band from Teesside, which…

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Signorina in Sheffield #2 – Of crime and punishment


And so it happened. Coming from a country in which a quarter of the territory is ruled directly by members of organized crime, I thought the UK would be the land of safety, unless you were in a Saturday night pub crawl. Not quite so, but at least I now have the cultural experience of dealing with English Police.

Last Friday morning I was working hard on my laptop (read: removing my tag from pictures in which I looked fat) when I decided to take a break and go to microwave myself some soup (Italians can be junkie-food addicted, too).

I live in a ground floor room and my table overlooks the beauty of Broomhall’s barracks; but it is a good view if you want to alienate yourself and just work.

Anyway, I was eating my soup when I heard a terrible sound of broken glasses.

I gave for granted it was the garbage collector and I kept eating, at peace with the world….until my Iraqi housemate called me from outside the house.

I went off the street and here it was, the closest thing to a Greek Tragedy I’ve ever seen: my window was broken, a big brick laid in the middle of the table, and my adored laptop had disappeared.

It was a silver grey Sony VAIO professional notebook SR series, 13’’ 1.9 kgs: the fastest and most reliable computer in the world. I had also performed a downgrade to XP so I wouldn’t have to use that hideous Vista system.

I would actually appreciate a minute of silence for the best colleague I ever had (and that comes with no offence at all to my human colleagues!).

The smart guy who took it hadn’t noticed that he was doing it in the middle of the day on a busy street.

By the time I came out of the house, three different people had already called the police and made a perfect description of the man.

To my surprise, the police arrived immediately: the moment I saw the broken window they where there.

In Italy, when I called the police because we had found a collapsed guy by the river, they arrived 40 minutes after the call – sooner than the ambulance, in their defence.

The policeman who stayed with me, agent D., was incredibly nice and understanding.

He never once hinted that he might have had more serious stuff to work on rather than writing down the description of me drinking soup and then finding out about the missing laptop.

He wrote down everything I said accurately and then took time to explain the whole bureaucratic process of my statement.

In Italy, when my wallet was stolen, I had to go to the Central station and fill in a prewritten module with little space for my personal situation, all in 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, other police officers were arresting the guy.

Although my laptop was not found, I was able to recover at least the connecting cable, so that now I have something to hug when I feel desperately dissociated from the technological world.

In Italy, what you usually do when something is stolen from you is to go to the black market and re-buy it.

It doesn’t work with every item, but it definitely works with bikes for instance.

And if you can prove you are re-buying your own bike and not just a random stolen one, you get great discounts.

Folklore aside though, I was impressed with the efficiency and the caring these people took in my case.

After all, it was just a dumb laptop (although I adored it, did I already mention that?) owned by a dumb Italian girl. They tried to find it.

In Italy, if something like this happened it would be your problem.

Later that night, my Iraqi housemate tried to cheer me up saying that in Baghdad there are thefts in his house every day. He himself owns 2 guns: a kalashnikov and a revolver, depending on the type of crime.

Even though I am now looking for a new room to live in, I am pretty happy I am in a country where the administration of justice is dealt by the State. It’s definitely a big comfort.

By Marta Musso

Signorina in Sheffield #1 – Of naked women and the principles of Constitution


So here I am, an Italian gal in the land of Shakespeare. My name is Marta, I’m from Turin (North West. Yes guys, Juventus) and I am a post grad student at University of Sheffield.
I arrived in England mid-September. Perfectly fitting the stereotype, what shocked me the most so far has been the cold. Every time I put my nose out of the door, I have to conjure a clothing ceremony: wool socks, wool tights (above the wool socks), thick jeans, undershirt, shirt, sweater, jacket, grandma’s handmade scarf, gloves. Basically, my idea of bringing Italian fashion to the North is the Michelin Man.
However, what really strikes me is not the temperature in itself. I come from a pretty cold place by Italian standards so I am used to temperatures almost half as cold as it gets here. But when I go out at night, dragging my body under layers and layers of heavy material, and I get passed by herds of girls in high heels (high heels while drunk should be awarded. Seriously. It must be as requiring as an Olympic discipline in terms of coaching) I have to stop and stare at them like they were resurged dodos. They wear nothing but dresses as tiny as coasters, shrunk to the point it is the underwear that matches the shoes. How the heck do they do that? I ask myself while trying to adjust the scarf so that it covers my nose better. If I went out like that, they would find me in a crystallized position in year 3000 or so.
Now, to tell you the truth, every single Italian I ever met, from whatever gender, experience or background, has noticed this English habit and made some jokes about it. My friend Alessandro, who is from Turin as well, spent 6 months in Leicester; he told me that for the first month it was a feast for his eyes, but soon after he started to only notice the girls who were dressed with the amount of material to make a tie, but that would’ve needed a parachute to actually cover up. “Cellulite is not a medal for valor” he commented with the typical modern Italian gentleman’s aplomb.
He undoubtedly has a point in that: it is bad taste. In style terms, it is appalling. But the real question is: is this the ultimate consequence of being a fashion victim, or is it freedom over your body?
First of all, it’s good to acknowledge the freak is Giselle Bunsen and not you. If you are not afraid to show all that fat modern society condemns as a crime, good. Secondly, in Italy a girl could never get away dressed like that, whether sexy skinny of fat. That kind of outfit would be the license for men to scream from the top of their lungs everything they have in mind, whistle, harass her. And not only the drunken, generally embarrassing ones: normal people who wouldn’t consider themselves vulgar or misogynist, but who still think they are allowed to object loudly the way a woman is walking down the street, if that woman is showing too much. Men like my friend Alessandro.
In fact, even more than bikini-clad girls in the middle of a freezing winter, what really surprises me is that British men keep talking, drinking and caring for their own business while these girls pass by. In my world, they are supposed to at least turn their head and start giggling. I’m not reducing gender problems to dressing policy of course, but it’s indicative that here in Britain they don’t feel allowed to make any public remarks on the way women dress, no matter how gaudy.
In Italy a woman can dress like that only to appear on tv, where cameras and eyes are meant to be all over her body. On television, far from real life, bodies are plastic perfect and nakedness suddenly becomes sartorial freedom. There is no having fun, no light thinking in that kind of outfit. It is a business, a modern form of aseptic prostitution. She dresses to be seen, and to be seen by men.
Italians laugh at chubby English girls strutting in the streets, but in Italy nakedness is a very well paid job. As a good example, one of our showgirls was appointed Minister for Equal Opportunities by Berlusconi’s government. With boobs like those, many analysts commented, it was no wonder.