Limelighters - Oriana Fallaci

Limelighters (1967) is more than a collection of celebrities' interviews made by Fallaci in the 1960s. Set out to be a collection of portraits for the newspaper she was working at the times, L'Europeo, she manages to portray not only the person, but the changing society around them. As when she discusses the infamous slap Ingrid Bergman gave to a paparazzo in Rome (paparazzi were a new phenomenon at the time), or discussing Italian communism and government with Nilde Iotti, writer of the Italian constitution and prominent lifelong member of the Italian communist party, Fallaci shows many aspects of life in the 60s. It is a portrait of society, as well as an irreverent look at the glamorous of the times, from famous directors Alfred Hitchcock and Federico Fellini, to acting legends Anna Magnani, Jeanne Moreau and Catherine Spaak, millionaires and aristocrats Don Jaime de Mora y Aragón, Cayetana d’Alba, and Baby Pignatari, sportsmen Antonio Ordoñez and Gianni Rivera, and writers Natalia Ginzburg and Salvatore Quasimodo, they all sit in front of her scrutinous eyes while with her inquisitive questions she never fails to put them on the spot. Fallaci precedes each of the 18 dialogues with a short introduction reminiscing her meeting and her impressions of the individuals. In her unique and always subjective style, she notices every shade and idiosyncrasy of the person's character. Those introductions are just as precious as the interviews themselves, as they manage to show the human side to both Fallaci and her interviewees. These interviews are critical for Fallaci herself as they provide her with the experience needed to then go on to interview the decision makers of the times (dialogues collected in 'Interview with History', 1976), yet there is no insecurity or indecision in her questions as well as in her always sharp judgement. She forms opinions of those individuals quickly, and has no fear of expressing them, as when she tells Spaak over and over again that she should respect her parents, or when she ends her interview with Hitchcock telling him he is the cruellest man she ever met. A compelling read, and one of her best books, Limelighters will appeal to anyone with an interest in 1960s society as well as in the celebrities interviewed.


Personal Statement, needs proofreading... :D

In the preface for Interviews with History, Oriana Fallaci says she would have loved for Jesus to have been recorded talking, or Napoleon to be filmed discussing his strategies, she talks about how she distrusts history as it can't always be proven. On the other hand she loves journalism because it is a mean to record and discuss our world as it learns, progresses, fights, makes peace, and entertains itself. I first read Interviews with History I was 14, and it immediately inspired a career in journalism, to have the chance to experience the world first hand, to transfer knowledge (the basis of all progress) through the most powerful and efficient tool, to question the decision-makers of our world. Journalism connects us with the world surrounding us, and it shows us the bigger picture, it is also an industry that will always have an essential place in our society as it allows us to develop informed opinions. I have a passion for journalism because it encompasses nearly all of human experience. Journalism includes all aspects of society, from health to finance, technology to current affairs, entertainment to science; it's an industry which will allow me to branch out in any direction. The areas I'm most interested in are current affairs, both local and international, politics, science, technology, and entertainment (specifically literature, theatre, and cinema). I believe in freedom of the press as it is central for a democratic society, especially as between 2004 and 2006 freedomhouse's freedom of press survey had classified Italy (my home nation) as partially free due to Berlusconi's monopoly, and unfortunately, in my opinion, Italian journalists are still too influenced by the government.
During my senior high school year as an extra-curricular activity I was an active member of the yearbook team as both layout editor and fund-raiser. It was an experience which taught me how to work under pressure and fine-tuned my organisational skills. That same year I also started and wrote for a fanzine (TicAlt); reviewing and interviewing young local rock musicians and alternative artists and discussing their place in Swiss society.
When I decided to attend university in Scotland my English was quite basic, so I opted for a combined Psychology and Sociology degree as they are both analytical fields covering various topics and skills. Sociology has taught me to see things from a different perspective and to analyse society's trends and subdivisions, as well as helping me to understand the various effects of news on the population whether locally or globally. Psychology gave me the basis to help me understand motivations behind singular acts, as well as data research and analysis skills. Once I completed my degree I found work in a call centre, where I developed my team work and communication skills. My English has also improved significantly since I started working on the phones, as it was previously limited to academic jargon and lacked in colloquialism.
I have the invaluable advantage of having lived in different nations and having learned, and continue to learn, from a number of different cultures. I have stereotypically Swiss organisational skills tied with Italian persistence and passion and Scottish approachability, as well being able to adapt easily to different environments.
I aim to become an accomplished journalist to satisfy readers interests and help them to make informed opinions. Being a journalist will also allow me to satisfy my own curiosity and thirst for continuous learning, to discover the world as it develops and to pass on my knowledge and discoveries to a wide audience.



So yeah, beeing up the mountains was great, went for walks in the snow with my dad and a couple of his friends, played cards, ate well, relaxed... Now I'm in Lugano at my mom's, and on Saturday I'm flying to Rome (yey!!) to go see my grandma & rest of family. Than on Tuesday (24th) back to Lugano (tho might stay in Varese, North of Italy) and on 26th I'll be flying back home!! Lots of back and forth indeed, but at least I get to see the whole family (or most of it). That said, I do miss Glasgow...

A note to Britons, this above is SNOW, roads seemed labyrinths, yet everyone went along with their businesses as usual... Easy..


Going home

Right, I resigned on Monday, and tomorrow I'll be going home for a bit, didn't buy a flight back yet, so unsure how long I'll stay away. As I'll be going to the mountains as well (San Bernardino) I'm unsure if I'll have internet access for a few days, so won't be posting for a bit..





This is part of my grandma's house in Rome, her and my granddad had it build in the early '50s, when all around them was prairies and agricultural land. Now it's pretty much surrounded by buildings and shopping centres, but I still love it, it's my personal oasis at Rome's edges. On the right of that car there's a wee spot behind a hedge, just next to the property's limit, I used to go there to hole up and dream when I was younger, it also became a quite useful spot to know once I started smoking! That house is full of hiding places and rooms where a solitary kid can go dream and play, or just hide to read something in peace for a while. I am bursting of wonderful memories of hours spent there, and to this day going back always brings peace to my mind (well, not the flight.. but that's another story and a proper full on rant...). I am hoping to go back there in early March, but we'll see..

Rome in general is a city that always calms me down when my mind's troubled, the architecture, the people's friendliness, the feeling of the city, the fact that wherever you turn you are immerse in history, and of course the food, all these things combined make it one of the most relaxed places in the world, and definitely one of my favourite cities. God I miss it!

So yeah, pretty long entry for picture of the day, but it was needed, I'll never find enough words to express my feelings for that house and Rome...

Lebanese Satire

Today's article comes from the NY times, it's their Saturday profile of a very courageous man!

A Lebanese Political Satirist With Hezbollah Among His Targets

Hope you enjoy it!


Wall stickers

1 - Foot Prints, Wall Glamour
2 - Light Bulbs, Wall Glamour
3 - Falling Leaves, RockettStGeorge
4 - Eiffel Tower Arch, RockettStGeorge
5 - Ambition Killed the Cat, Supernice
6 - Incredible Circus, Supernice

We <3 goodenergy

I've just received a letter from my energy provider, Good Energy, their prices have been cut by 7.5% from the 31st of Jan, plus another cut likely to come in March


I have to say since I've been with Good Energy they have provided a pretty amazing service, any letter I receive has clear explanations (graphs and all) as well as all their energy coming from renewable resources. I do actually feel I can trust them to be ethical in the way they conduct all their business.

Time of Crisis or Opportunity?

I wrote this on the 31st of May 2008, while petrol prices were causing riots across Europe, I'm posting it here as it's been about 10 months since I wrote that, and things couldn't be more different, though unfortunately they didn't go the way I hoped!

I was watching the News at 10 last night, and something struck me.

I can see that we are at the start of a point in history that futures generations will look at as a turning point.
The strikes all over Europe caused by the increasing costs of petrol mark the beginning of interesting times. We can start seeing the consequences of our western lives on the world, people are aware, and I can see that we are at a point where we really need to start thinking properly about change.

I can see two possibilities in front of us, two directions to take, we either take the hard, yet high, road, and finally invest most of our resources in finding renewable, healthy alternatives to petrol, and educate everyone about the effects of our actions, or we dodge this crisis, put off having to deal with the shortage problem and leave it to future generations.
There are only two possible outcomes, either we finally make a change on our way of living, an incredibly important and long lasting change, influencing our society and mentality, or we'll prove, once again, that we are not quite as intelligent as we think ourselves to be, and leave irreversible damage.
Now, I'm not against cars, planes, and all that, I love travelling, plus I doubt I'd be able to live in a world without top gear.. Yet I can't understand, as we are such an intelligent species, why we are still so dependant on something we can't possibly control. It goes against any logic reasoning.
As a species we should allow ourselves to depend only on things we can create and control, not on something that can pretty much disappear in our lifetime. Our behaviour is self-destructive.
With all the geniuses in the world, and all the scientists, and all the governments affected by this sudden crisis, is it possible that no-one has yet found a valid, cheap, renewable alternative to petrol? And if it has been found, why hasn't it been implemented?
All the companies making profits off of this crisis are much more in troubles than we are, when petrol runs out, how will these companies survive? Isn't it in their best interest as well to dabble in alternative resources? Create a new market and invest in it? In the long run they'll benefit as well.

That said, I can also see great things happening around us, recent scientific discoveries and new technologies used to benefit those who need them, used to solve the real problems of our world. A good example is the project trying to modify crops at a genetic level to make them better resistant to long periods of drought. ( BBC News ) (or also GMO Africa , for a different purpose).
At a theoretical level I am against modified food. But if we can use science to solve famine and illnesses, well, I'm all for it! That's what science is all about, increase our knowledge, and use our findings to improve our quality of life, overcome obstacles, and help us survive.
Putting it Darwiniangly: if we don't improve the world for future generations, if we don't fix the mess we've created by being greedy and self-centred, how will our genes survive? Or rather, how long will they survive for? Certainly not enough to evolve a tiny bit more and grow a functioning brain. Unfortunately we don't always think that the purpose of life should be improving ourselves and the world around us.
We may be living in worrying times, yet it's also times full of possibilities, we are seeing warning signs spelled out in big red letters, we have the opportunity to change the world for the better and we have more means to do it than ever before.
Time for a change? The French revolution started with huge increases in the price of salt, due to the government's monopoly of it. That was their last straw. Will petrol be ours?

I like how Obama touched on many of my points in many of his speeches, I would say great minds think alike but mine was just a rant he will hopefully help steer the world in the right direction (though I still think the expectations are too high...

Robots start to evolve

Today's article is about evolving robots, it's from the New Scientist online.

Unnatural selection: Robots start to evolve

Skynet anyone??


So here are our kitties. on the left Birba, she's just been re-homed to us last week, she's was called Bitten (as in Bitten the Kitten, but we are trying to rename her) and on the right Torakiki, he's been with us since he was 6 weeks old, he was so tiny!

He's about to turn a year old now. They are still slightly distrustful of each other, but just now they 're both in the organic veg box on top of the fridge snoring away.

Italians will notice how both are named after cats from cartoons that used to be on Italian TV in the 80s, Torakiki after the cat in Japanese toon Hallo Spank:

while Birba was Gargamella's cat (I think in English she's called Azrael and the evil guy Gargamel) in the Smurfs: we do like our 80s toons..


Elkep Evi, Turkey

Isn't this stunning? So, now I started this blog I'll try to make "hotels I'd like to stay at" a regulare feature, here's the first, Elkep Evi, cave hotel in the Cappadocia area of Turkey.

Edinburgh's alleys

Today's picture is of a wee side alley in Edinburgh, I took it the last time I went up the Royal Mile.

Human Behaviour

Even though it was originally published in September 08, this is my daily article, hope you enjoy it:
Human Behaviour