Won’t Get Fooled Again

Often in an Roman block of flats, you’ll here the sound of the buzzer. Mostly this is mates calling up to be let into the building, or a postman, or maybe even a sparky or whoever alse is being employed by the condominio to do bits of maintenance work. Normally it’s not a problem letting people in, even if they’re just pressing any old number outside to gain access, and I’ve had stilted chats with many a gruff Roman plumber in my time. After all, this is the new and improved Liqiuidator, social and forthcoming in two languages.

Today I was scribbling away for a freelance contract I recently landed, when the buzzer went. I picked up the phone by the front door, and was asked whether I was one Signor Iommi, who happens to be our landlord. No, sez I, he doesn’t live here anymore, what’s this all about? Well, he explains, I’m the administrator of the condominio, and there are people in the building who owe us money for cleaning in the building, can I come in? I pressed the buzzer to let him in the main gate, and this shambling, bristly looking chap trundles up the stairs, walking in a ghoulish fashion, like his shoulders are carrying the rest of his body and his legs are their for show. Upon arrival the guy shows me a cleaning bill for €140 and asks me whether I can pay it now, as it’s been outstanding for a while. I explain in the best Italian I can manage that there’s no way I can pay that much money right now, and in any case it’s not my responsibilty to do so. Speak to Claudio, the landlord. No no no, he explains, I’ll come with you to the cash point. Obviously I’m not getting through to this very rude and presumptious man, so I called Spangles to give him what for more fluently, and to him our landlord’s phone number. In the meantime she’s called the landlord to have a go at him: if he’s coming round, why not fucking well tell us?

So the administrator sits at the kitchen table with the right grump, scowling at the hallway like a put out loan shark. I just want my money, he’s clearly thinking, what is it with these stupid foreigners? Eventually he gets through to the landlord, who explains to him that it’s his responsibilty to pay, so come and meet him at the restaurant later on tonight, and he’ll give him the cash on the spot. I’ll go with him to the cashpoint though, continues the man, and you can deduct it from his rent? I don’t mind waiting here while he goes down there. No, we’re not doing that come to the restaurant tonight. The guy hangs up the phone and tells me it’s all sorted, thanks for being patient, before dragging himself out of the flat. Now the pair of us were really pissed about this; it put me in an awkward situation, as well as amking me deal with his business. But he rung up about ten minutes later and apologised profously for it, so I figured it was just an honest mistake on his part.

Earlier this evening Claudio is in his usual spot, the Napolitano restaurant where his firm delivers cuts of meat to, having a coffee and a bite to eat while he waits for the administrator. Only he never shows. Now being half an hour or so late in Italy is practically being on time, usually, but this guy was desperate for the money right now, so where is he? He calls the administrator to ask where he is, after all he’s not usually so insistant for the cash. ‘What do you mean, “Where am I?”‘ he asks. ‘Well, you wanted money for the cleaning work a few hours ago, what’s going on?’

Halfway through Claudio’s phonecall to Spangles not half an hour ago the our collective penny dropped. The guy was con artist, he explained. The actual administrator had never done any cleaning work, and in any case Claudio always paid promptly and by direct debit. This fella (apart from doing a mean administrator impression) was going around flats with foreign names attached to the buzzer button outside in the hope that they’d not have any idea what was going on. Not only that, he was doing in the same building, over and over again, and others on this street. I for one really, really hope he comes back in here again.


Spettacolo Roma

I had the pleasure yesterday of watching one of the most enjoyable games of football I’ve seen in a long time, full of spirit and attacking verve, with two good sides going at each other hammer and tongs, tackle after tackle, and in other sexual innuendo-y ways.

Genoa came to the Olimpico in fourth place, having the sort of season that you would barely believe possible of a team promoted from Serie B only two years ago. This is mainly due to their Argentinian striker Diego Milito, who is engaging in a rather sickly love affair with the Genovese, and repaying that love in cold hard goals, 14 goals in 23 games, to be precise. Roma of course are on absolute fire and are looking better by the week, having won nine and drawn two in the 12 games since the derby win over Lazio. Baptista in particular really starting to look dangerous, and they’ve also managed to race up the table without one outstanding goal scorer. Instead they have three forwards who weigh in with both goals and assists; Vucinic is top scorer with eight goals, while Totti and The Beast only have six each, but there is a clutch of players throughout the team who’ve grabbed two or three, which shows you that the forwards are just as good at creating opportunities as scoring. We had two of the grandest old clubs in Italy, on great form, having a scrap for Champions League qualification, and let me tell you the match lived up to every expectation.

The match kicked off with the Inna yet to be completed, which meant the crowd finished it off without the PA blaring it out. It was pretty stirring stuff and got the game off to a cracking start, but Genoa had most of the ball for the first ten minutes or so. They were also a bunch of niggly little fucks, and kicked Totti as much as they thought they could get away with, but it didn’t matter, as Roma scored three glorious goals and plonked themselves one point behind Fiorentina, who took fourth place with a last minute win over Lazio. Check the goals out here:

The scoreline was really harsh on Genoa though, because they played just as much of the football and looked very threatening, especially after Taddei was sent off for tapping someone on the back, but in the end their fans made more of an impression than they did. Away fans had been banned for yesterday’s game, but that didn’t stop a small group of Genovese making their way six hours south and buying tickets in the Distinti Nord.


Which livened things up no end up over there. When Cicinho scored the first, the whole Nord started bouncing and chanting ‘if you don’t bounce you’re a Genovese’, which looked brilliant. It’s a shame the Sud didn’t join in, as that would have been extra ace. But still it was nice to see them starting songs for a change, and fair play those Genoa lads, they came and had a go etc etc, before being escorted into the previously vacant away end. It was less good to see the Sud dividing itself over Christian Panucci, who made the smart move of cussing Spalletti in public and offering himself up for transfer, only to find that the only clubs interested were Torino and Hull City. Now why anyone would want to play for Hull beyond me, especially after that walloping they took at Stamford Bridge on Sat….

Torino are a big club with good support, and a 35 year-old shouldn’t be complaining when Real Madrid don’t come knocking. Anyway, the Ultras Romani put up a banner which read ‘Panucci you are nothing but a disappointment’, while the Boys, Irish Clan, Ultras Roma and Giovinezza added on a cosigned banner ‘let’s move on’ or words to that effect, which is a pretty undramatic gesture for those who like to throw grenades in the concourse under the Sud.

None of that inter-fan chit chat took away from the quality of the game though, and I even allowed myself a little cheer when the last minute Fiorentina goal went in, despite the fact it put them in the crucial fourth Champion’s League spot. As half the crowd cheered and the other half groaned, I looked at the guy near the exit and said ‘Fuck it, it’s still Lazio.’

Oh the Humanity!

ROMA, 2 February 2009 (Translated from the Gazzetta and Il Giornale) :Floppy-haired Gallic pansy Phillipe Mexes was attacked eraly this morning by a group of Lazio fans outside the Gilda nightclub in the centre of town, a nototrious haunt for footballers and other Beautiful people (otherwise known as monied show off twats) with appalling hair and worse trainers. Like these two bell ends:


Or this pair of lookers:

You know these people have never even seen a pair of Gazelles before. Anyway, he was with his countryman and teammate Menez – presumably discussing existentialism and bemoaning how not being able to smoke and be in black and white anymore is really showing up their prentiousness for what it is – when the group were started hurling beastly words at them. They then had a little girly round of slapping and bum touching before the Carabinieri arrived to break them both up.

Luckily the situation was calmed quickly as the plod threatened to crack everyone’s skulls with sticks before claiming they were left wing agitators, and no-one ended up in hospital, although Mexes was treated at pronto soccorso (which I’m pretty sure is first aid) for a blow to face (probably by a belt buckle, the Gazzetta helpfully speculates). Neither player is making an official complaint, and Mexes will hopefully have a huge welt under his eye, making him look like a centre-back at long last.

A Message for Chelsea Football Club

Sack Phil Scolari at the first available opportunity. I don’t care whether it’s now or the end of the season, have him trampled under a carnival float in Rio for all I care, just make sure he disappears, right? I’m sure RA’s boys could sort out something if he gets pissy about compensation. Then, use the same meatheads to prise Gianfranco Zola and Steve Clarke away from West Ham, and bring them home.

End of message.