[UNTITLED] The girl in the tower

Think of those fairy tales we were told as children.

Think of how they remain impressed in our minds and stick to our memories. Think of how we grow up fascinated by those impossible stories and the romantic plots. Actually, everybody remembers those famous titles, those characters that stand out for their heroism, bravery and passion, all in an era back in the time where magic, mystery, love and chivalry were still common place.

And from a common place, one would likely expect to read about a beautiful princess imprisoned in a lonesome tower and about her long lying in wait for her rescuer to turn up; about a handsome prince who leaps into impossible enterprises to bring her to safety, purely out of love.

Fairy tales are basically common places, facts that recur almost in the same order and lead to a punchy ending. The key is probably in them to be told out and be widely known, as well as in their famous titles – as if all fairy tales had one.

Some stories from today perfectly reflect this structural refrain.
Awful news was broadcasted two months ago! A tower block burned down in West London causing the death of almost 50 tenants. The fire at the tower block was allegedly due to poor electric wiring and low quality elements. Firemen intervention was prompt, however it didn’t prevent damages to the building and the nearby area. In the tower, a young Italian couple got stuck in their apartment and had to fight for their lives in the blazing fire. They say, she called her parents for a final farewell; he could only hold her hands tight, until they acknowledged that no rescuer would turn up and that their fate was already written. They remained victim of the fire and their bodies were eventually found burned: still hugging one another in a consuming passion. The news was on the media and in London everybody learned about the one which will be remembered as The fire at Grenfell Tower.

But as said, other stories might not get to be as famous as fairy tales, and although nobody will ever learn about them, they’re still tales to be told.

The girl who lived in the tower belonged to a wild South.
The termination of her commitment left her without any certainty – aimless, careless. She mostly stood staring at the outside world from the window on that third level. Her eyes would be drawn by the contours of the typical row of English houses and would then meet the one on the parallel street where her friend – a real fortune to be found – used to live, before she gave up the city for a change for the better, or the easier. That messy backyard was a spot of wonderful memories, drinks, chats, and fun moments, and perhaps she can still picture the two of them in that safe and steady spot. Perhaps, in that backyard, she can still see their final farewell on her leaving party. Still hugging one another. Tight.

…A smile would illuminate her face.

But before long, her look would lose itself in the dense grey of that gloomy sky, full of ashes, whispers and noises she couldn’t hope to face. Anxiety got ahold of her: that being a prisoner rather than a princess started contaminating her vivid and joyous personality; the feeling of having somehow failed, of being somewhat betrayed, and having a door violently slammed in her face. All was painfully overwhelming.

Over time, her luminous blond hair turned dark brown and so too did her ice blue eyes. What happened? She was not too demanding, she was not too obsessed with her own vices and comfort zones, she was not even alone – though loneliness wasn’t late to come. That’s why she laid her hopes in that inconsistent and vanishing love, in that prince who should have climbed all the way up to set her free from those hurtfully oppressing walls. Truth is, she wasn’t tired of begging someone to love her. So she kept waiting.

Day after day, the waiting never fulfilled its promises. The knock on the door didn’t come and she remained locked in her regrets, in unwittingly unsettling indecision.

What bind kept her tied to that place? Why did she stay?

She simply couldn’t run. She remained stuck in the Pemberton tower, torn between love and acceptance.

Recently, someone passed by the tower and saw a beautiful girl staring at the window. A matter of moments, she crawled out of it and stood still on the cornice. Seeing her on the edge, the guy on the street started shouting out loud. He ran towards the tower and tried to enter the main door apparently locked. She was going to jump, ‘crap, she’s really going to jump!‘ He called for help, caught the attention of the passers by and asked for their intervention. People turned out at the tower but none of them could see anything on that cornice. ‘What? I swear to my life a girl was standing out there.

Nobody believed. Nobody could see. The guy was totally shook up.

She had just disappeared.

From a fairy tale, from a common place, one would likely expect to read…well, one would just expect to read about it. But so many stories remain untold, untitled, and nobody knew that that girl had disappeared in the July of 1720.

Facts say, she died forgotten in that common place, in a unknown fairy tale. In the one that by then had remained untold and untitled: the story of The girl in the tower.

 

Jim
The Britalian Post

I have a dream

Have you ever wondered if what you’re living is real? Have you ever thought or felt that life could be something else than what it actually is? What if it’s all a projection of our minds and things exist only because we create them? What if the people we see are just holograms that our eyes display? What if it’s all like The Matrix?

What if it is just a dream?

Despite the “profound” questions on the meaning of life, there’s nothing wrong with having a dream and believing it’s real. To have a dream and to pursue it could positively impact our lives and perhaps lead to some big changes: as a fact, a well-known man named Martin Luther King relentlessly claimed it out loud.

Wise speeches aside, a common man clearly pictured in his mind what a real (and ideal) world could (or should) look like. Segregation, integration, discrimination, acceptance, are themes that thoroughly capture the last decades, and today digesting and incorporating the diversity is up to individuals, who are supposed to come together and fight for a compromise.

For a second, let’s separate MLK from the notorious person he was and have a glance at him as a man.

A common man. A man whose blood is as red as anybody else’s, for all that matters. During the steps of his political and social activism, he goes to bed one night and lightly shuts his eyes. He starts dreaming. He starts elaborating thoughts in his mind: all he’s been fighting for, all of the failures, the rejections, but at the same time he tirelessly elaborates the opportunities-to-be and that dream becomes simply clear. That powerful refrain breached the crowd, motivated the people to pull the plugs that had them living as holograms; projections vanished and they began to properly see each other. That was freedom. That was beautiful. That was real.

Eventually, that was no longer just a dream, it did exist: for right actions do exist.

A common man. A man whose blood is as red as anybody else’s, for all that matters. In all his hyper activism, he goes to bed one night and lightly shuts his eyes. He starts dreaming. He starts elaborating thoughts in his mind: all he’s been fighting for, all of the failures, the rejections, but at the same time he tirelessly elaborates the opportunities-to-be and that dream becomes simply clear.

She came. After all that arguing, she eventually accepted the invitation. She was there wearing that miniskirt and those bi-colour thighs you like a lot, Dr Marten’s style boots, and a bomber jacket that prevents her skinny body from freezing. She was standing there – glowing, gorgeous – along with a big trolley on her right side, which meant she would stay for a while; still physically weak from the heavy flu she took but beautiful like no others.

You’re stunned! 

That was a hell of a surprise, the sweetest ever. Smiling, she would ask: “You happy I’m here?

You choked in the attempt to say something, so you just approached her, to kiss her, possibly embrace her. And while your hands were stretching towards her, her words made that vision unreal: “Cool…but this is just a dream!

All of a sudden, that feeling of when you’re leaving the dream to go back to reality, the instant return from Morpheus’ arms, the waking up and realising it wasn’t real.

It was a long journey, although it took just one day. One day, a 3 hour flight and a one and a half hour drive. A few hours to try make the dream come true, to look into her eyes and show her your love is real, to prove that it could exist, that the two of you could exist, together. To prove that the two of you could fight for a compromise and overcome the diversities. A few hours to hold her hands and ask her to marry you…

“…I can’t…

I’ll ask again.

Have you ever wondered if what you’re living is real? Have you ever thought or felt that life could be something else than what it actually is? What if it’s all a projection of our minds and things exist only because we create them?

What if it remains just a dream?

On waking up, people won’t come together and fight for a compromise. Like The Matrix, holograms reload, projections revive, and again you can’t properly see each other.

For right actions don’t exist. Nobody exists. She was just a dream.

 

Jim
The Britalian Post

Imagine

Imagine. 1971. A masterpiece for music history. The soundtrack for everything. A melody that never stops resonating.

As a Beatles fan, I belong to that group of people that have been hating Yoko Ono for dragging Lennon away from the Fab Four. Yet, if it wasn’t for her, we wouldn’t have had so many of the greatest hits that were composed right after the band split up. 

Is she a musician? A painter? An artist? I’ll never get that. I just know she had a deep influence on Lennon’s songwriting and music style. An influence that generated different outcomes: the banned naked pics, the acts of solidarity, the wish for a better world. Or maybe it was just love: pure, romantic, and untouchable love.

That’s an example of life becoming music, or vice versa.

Together they were oddly extravagant. Together they were unique: solid, strong, unbeatable. United.

But then someone decided that such love wasn’t to exist. Someone decided to dismantle that perfect gear, to remove all the pins to make it collapse; to add an eternal pause at the end of that wonderful pentagram. 

Someone decided to pull the trigger.

This is what was supposed to happen. A disgusting and depreciable worm, a species of the lowest and most insignificant insects in the world shall take her away from you by ending your tiny life.

A fucking traitor!

Yoko wasn’t aware of that horrible plan, she was just a victim. She held John in her arms. Tight. And she would never forgive that guy, she would never accept what she’d lost from the very beginning. Loving hurts. 

But theirs is just an idyllic story.

When it comes to reality and real people, she was no victim. She was the one who crafted that plan, she was his partner in crime, the one who strove to get that felony accomplished. The one who enjoyed herself while offering her mortal lips to wrap the killer’s body. The one who felt sexually and morally satisfied. She made him shoot! You fucking traitors! How good must it feel to be under the spotlight for drawing such a shamefully crafty plan. What an artist! 

Nobody actually pulled the trigger. It was much easier: people don’t need a gun to place a hole in your body.

And while dying after that gun shot, my mind was just blurred, confused, glazed. I would scream out loud “SHE’S MIIIIIIIIIIIINE!!! You stay away from her, it’s not damn right!

Hell, I would never let her go.

And today…

Let’s go back to the song and how amazing it is.

Imagine there’s no heaven …

… Imagine there’s no countries …

… Imagine no possessions …

Imagine all that past hadn’t existed and you didn’t need to pay for it.

Imagine you were smart enough not to have met her that night. 

Imagine your hands weren’t shaking and you couldn’t feel her, touch her, kiss her.

Imagine you hadn’t caught that flight and rushed back into her arms.

Imagine you didn’t have to run away.

Imagine she hadn’t looked at someone else the way she looked at you.

Imagine how long you’d have lived for her…

[She’s the only thing that’s worth it]

Jim
The Britalian Post

Modern colonization

Whatever the reasons led the man to colonize the world, the hunger for discovery has probably been the main motif, an innate trait of the human being.

Men enslaved Africa, imported from India, and placed their handprints over China and Japan. The West wasn’t left apart: brave cowboys rode through the immense unexplored lands of America in order to take over new territories.

How fascinating it is to only think that somewhere back in time people left their home countries, their home towns, their families and affections, to undertake long and insecure travels that would keep them far away for months, or even years, while taking up the chance to access new lands and make history.

– I get anxious for a 3 hour flight, and I’m definitely not travelling to go change the world. –

The pure and positive, even sincere, purpose of exploring thus discovering didn’t have anything to do with the cruelty brought by the colonisation process–whereas for colonisation I refer to the subjugation and exploiting of newly found populations. 

Plus, they were also willing to teach. If imposing their own culture, habits, religion, maybe language at the top, can be considered a wise teaching process.

I wish I could provide an actual example of pacific colonisation but at the moment I can think of nothing that doesn’t involve wars and genocides. Maybe, if we also take into account isolated and specific events out of the main context, we might try to see the whole scenario under a different light. 

I believe I got one then.

I live in a shared house. I’ve never understood how many tenants are in the house, as people come and go and new faces frequently show up. One thing I know for sure is that we’re all young people, say in our late 20’s on average. Which is very promising in terms of daily interactions and house parties.

After spending the past late summer and the whole fall and winter securely locked in my room, I thought it was a good time to give my boring stand-alone-while-listening-to-sad-songs attitude a swift and embrace a open and social behaviour. This happened when I was approached a few times in the kitchen by Vlad – the Romanian guy that lives in one of the rooms on the first floor – who politely endeavoured to penetrate my rude anti-people attitude to start a conversation in the wait for our meals to be ready. I must have very much resisted his friendly “courting” and eventually I’m so glad that the guy didn’t give up on me. 

Meal after meal, drink after drink, cigarette after cigarette, chat after chat, that one-to-one situation escalated to a point where more people have become frequent house-attenders. Apparently, most of the tenants are from Romania and don’t stand the chance to invite friends over and gather around the barbecue, which means boosted-volume mainstream music and buckets of heavy alcohol. I happened to join them one evening after a long and warm Sunday out consuming beers in different spots of the city, and that’s when my brain crashed! I would be poured cups of Cognac like it was water. The funniest was the guy who doesn’t speak any English in charge of refilling my cup each time it was empty. These people are totally insane!…but I enjoy them.

That Sunday was a starting day for barbecues and house parties to be thrown one after another till 3ish in the morning in the days that followed. The guys clearly like the house and the backyard, since they spend more time in there than I do. Besides, they seem to have a lot of free time too. As far as I know, all of them work in hospitality which allows them to have late morning/early afternoon shifts and consequently enough time for night parties. However, their livers must be iron solid.

Sometimes I lie in my bed and hear them joking, singing, yelling, doing all of the things that won’t make me sleep. Come on guys I need to wake up at 5:30am and it’s already 1:30!

Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, the guys are always partying, the guys are always in the house: firing our barbecue, resting on our couch, in our backyard, and building relationships with the other tenants. I don’t mind them being around, they’re a pleasant company. I mind not being able to always join their gatherings and being forced to sleep because I’m supposed to work the day after.

So when I was leaving for Italy last week at 2ish in the morning, I met some of them in the kitchen concluding their party. Guys, for real???!!! The girls that live on the first floor were also there and yes my sixth sense had spotted some affair going on. 

Do you believe it’s just about people having fun? Hell, no! This is a modern and pacific colonisation. Here’s the reality: they invade our houses, trespass on our premises, seduce our women. Help…

Whatever the reasons led the man to colonize the world, the hunger for finding entertaining locations has possibly been the main motif of today. Or maybe it’s girls, or free time.

Whatever the reasons, they don’t even need much travelling because they live close by. Settling is easy: the Romanian colonisation of the house has just begun.

Oh no, I’m being subjugated too! I’ve already started learning their language…

Jim
The Britalian Post

The musical

One of the first musicals I ever saw was We will rock you: a future-set story where music is prohibited and human beings are under the control of a dictator that seeks to transform them into drudges prone to passive obedience. Kind of.

Unwilling to undergo this form of dictatorial power are rebel gangs fighting with authorities to bring music back. The musical is shaped on the music from Queen as well as the characters that take their names and personalities from the songs. 

I saw We will rock you with my parents in January 2003 at the Dominion Theatre – guess where? – in London (same place, a younger Jim). Clear in my mind I remember the excitement, the surprise, the music played live, the comedy acts, the actors’ great voices, and a deep melancholy for the songs–Queen were my first idols when I was only 4. The show ended with Bohemian Rhapsody, that is not only one of the best and most heartfelt songs ever but a real national anthem.

On the song’s last solo – and everyone had already been challenged emotionally by the grandeur that they were attending – you can barely imagine how it felt when Brian May in flesh and bones showed up on stage to do the solo himself. A totally unexpected surprise that made the audience literally jump off of their chairs and loudly cheer to the top-notch rockstar.

We were standing in the last row – as no more seats were available when we bought our last minute tickets – and the epiphany left us speechless: few meters away was the member of one of the most outstanding bands in the history, a band that my dad and I have always so badly loved. The show, the songs, his presence on stage, all deeply touched me and I’m not afraid to say that thick tears started watering my hopeful 15-yr-old face.

The show tremendously inspired me: I no longer wanted to be among an unknown audience. I wanted to stand out and be a star myself. 

I was very young.

See, I’ve always had a thing for musicals: for the way they make life seem so much more alive, for the pure representation of love, for the characters’ unbeatable courage, for the wise lines, for the glorious endings. 

I’ve always wanted to be an actor and play an active role in a real life musical. And in my mind I actually have. I’ve often dreamt of being in a perfect romantic late springtime setting – like a bench on a path surrounded by dim lampposts in a lonely but fancy park – sitting with that one girl you like. And make her night special by suddenly standing up, dancing and singing on that super cool music coming from nowhere. Nice, uh?!

I’ve also miserably tried with music in the endeavour to become a rockstar, and for a while I really felt like one. I would have sacrificed my life, my sleep, my studies, my affections, my everything, to pursue the dream and be an active presence on stage. And it was definitely worth it, I don’t regret a minute of that time. But this is another story…

So not long ago, I was in Edinburgh for a weekend escape with my cousin. That would be my birthday present from her side. Edinburgh was so cold that we thought we would soon start icing but the weather didn’t stop us from taking part in all the activities the city has to offer. Hence on the Friday we joined a pub-crawling event. 80 people, 7 pubs, cheap drinks. Heaven! I still have confused memories except for the stunning Spanish girl that I discovered to be so freaking beautiful only the day after on Facebook while going through a horrible hangover that totally knocked me out. (Shame on me.)

At the 5th pub, we would entertain ourselves mostly with two funny French girls, both students I reckon. While clinking glasses, the girls told us they would leave in 2 days for a journey through the Scottish Islands. And leading us into temptation, we were asked to join.

The night was over and we managed to get to the hotel safe and sound–obviously we had first stopped to eat a huge burrito at about 3ish in the morning. Did you doubt it?

The night after (our last night in Edinburgh), before going to the appointment with the Ghost Bus Tour, we had a beer at this rustic open-area bar on Princes Street. Live acoustic chill-out music was playing on the background while the wind was visibly dragging us away. Luckily, hot lamps were slowly warming our chats. 

Our chats…

I guess I don’t need to be specific but…ok I will. 

We’re cousins, right. We have more or less the same blood flowing in our veins. We’ve grown up together, we’ve been facing London together, we’ve learned each other’s thoughts, secrets, fears, behaviour, flavours, types. Some may simply call it family; I will call it: love far beyond terrestrial love. (Yeah…sometimes love can go beyond love. How crazy…)

And we don’t necessarily need words to communicate. A mutual look and she brought it up. What? The girls’ invite of course. 

Now hang on, hang on a sec. Stop all your current thoughts and ask yourself: what would I quit everything for? Does it need to be something extremely vital or I’m brave enough to challenge my life? 

Tough one!

That’s what we asked each other – and in the meantime that melancholic music was boosting an ideal musical-style moment when you opt for the challenge and leave everything behind. “It’s done! Decision taken.”

A mellow mutual smile.

In the real world though, what happens when we walk away from this very place and the music disappears in the distance placing a full stop to this musical we’re looking to play? 

Was music the only key to everything? (…funk me!)

I really wish we never considered this possibility. In that moment, job duties, career, commitments and responsibilities came up to interfere. 

We didn’t go. 

We spent our last great day in Edinburgh and went back to our regular life in London.

What had happened to the young people that were once supposed to be stars? That were once meant to stand out and take up on stage?

We had grown up. 

Once again we were no actors in the musical. We were only attending its grandeur.

Jim
The Britalian Post