Basilio is a dear longtime friend of mine. He is currently the president of “Sardegna Teatro“, which manages, among others, two of the most prestigious theatres in Sardinia: the “Massimo” Theater of Cagliari and the “Eliseo” Theater of Nuoro.
In his spare time, he reads, sings and takes care of his two grandchildren. He also writes.
Yes, he writes small stories that speak of this land in the middle of the Mediterranean.
He writes stories involving simple people and minimalist events, but which have a profound meaning in that corner of the planet just off the capital of Sardinia: Cagliari.
His short stories started at the end of the industrial boom in Sardinia, the end of the ’70, to be precise, until the first years of the new century.
Stories that move towards social, economic and cultural stagnation, which sees these places always live by reflection what happens in the rest of Italy and the World.
His short literal watercolours occasionally appear, without notice, on his Facebook page.
They seemed fascinating and with his consent, slowly, now they will be re-proposed in English (initially they are in Italian), on this blog called “Upside Down“.
This is the first post with his signature.
Will be more coming in the next weeks. Those stories will be catalogued under “Basilio Scalas” tag.
If you just jump casually in this post and you enjoy it.
You can easily group all together and read how life was, before the new century arrived, on the borders of Europe.
The day we became a rock band
By Basilio Scalas
We took all precautions to prevent something we knew was fragile from carelessness.
We talked a lot about music, politics and friendship, in the end, we gave ourselves a statute, oral, according to the workers’ tradition.
Few articles, but demanding and precise:
- Decisions must be taken unanimously on any topic, everyone has the right of veto;
- We will not play where an entrance ticket is provided;
- We don’t play for cachet;
- If someone anyway insists, we will play only for a good cause;
- The band is left-wing but non-partisan;
- Rehearsals in once a week, with a bottle of rum, a bottle of wine, a bottle of beer should be available, and smoking is not prohibited.
With various nuances, I shared everything, but the most convincing contribution I gave on the last point of our statute.
We officially became a “no logo” band.
After the Assemini‘s concert, a town just a few minutes away from Cagliari, we played again for the “Festival de l ‘Unità“, in Elmas, in Suella’s Square, the organization were perfect:
around half past eight at Antonio’s house for a kind of “Gambero Rosso” dinner, then in the square, as per technical data sheet, without the stage, a sound system and that grumpy Ermanno to take care of us.
The absence of barriers led the public to empathic participation, very uninhibited and free. For a couple of hours we sang, played and got shamelessly excited.
The beauty of that evening was also possible thanks to two factors. The presence among the crowd of all those who had contributed to making the Assemini’s concert few weeks before and a splendid evening in late August, fresh but still bright like the evening in the summer is.
In Cagliari it was all more complicated, closing party of the “Festival de L’Unita'”, late September, at the Sardinia trade fair. The first problems came from the statute.
According to our code, playing in Elmas was a bit like playing at home. Now in the big city, things got more complicated, we felt very exposed. On the political side, it was a situation that divided us a lot.
For me, it was not a problem. Obviously, the others cared about their independence.
On an artistic level, the doubt of not being up to that audience gripped us to the end.
In reality, none of the organizers has problems and only taking my praise and the good name of the group for good, they inserted us into an extensive program. They gave us forty minutes in the middle of the evening program, including well-known names of cabaret and local music.
The impetuous mistral, which starting from the Rhone valley for days, had been playing its whirlpools between Corsica and Sardinia. Cross the two islands, found its last obstacle in the fairground before venting the freezing impetus on the Mediterranean until it subsided.
The organizers, reassured by the fact that it did not rain, mounted a huge stage right in the face of the wind, underestimating the need for well-known local cabaret and musicians.
Without anyone taking our opinion into consideration, they decided to move everything to the nearby pavilion. Everything except our concert, which had not been cancelled, it was simply not even taken into consideration in such excitement.
Instead, we felt ready, the instruments were in the trunk. On stage, the best sound and light system available in Sardinia, Luca, Elvio and the staff ready to suffer the cold. Just to make those kilometres of cables play patiently and expertly wired under the storm. All that was left was to communicate to Piero, the treasurer, that the “Grupo Allende” concert would be held in the central arena after dinner. As scheduled.
He was a man of great experience, he took care to get the best supplies available to us and the technicians, for the rest he said convinced: do as you wish.
The dinner gave us the energetic and spiritual charge to face the big stage in the desert. The haggard public of the evening slipped fleetingly into the shelter of the pavilion. Without paying too much attention to the orchestra lashed by the bursts, we played with unprecedented power for about twenty people.
Riding on the wind we went on for more than an hour, ignoring the complaints coming from the VIP pavilion, “Nexo” sang with the power of the mistral.
In the end, there were about sixty colds in the audience. Many of them fleeing the boredom of the local cabaret’s TV jokes, and to warm up they found nothing better than dancing and singing what we played.
The compliments we exchange with the technical staff and the “Compagni” were warm and sincere, for the courage, strength and poetry of that evening, which became magical without the aid of glory, money and vanity.
Street Party by Basilio ScalasTweet
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