The When Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction edition

groovers offside

Today I made a rather useful discovery

The local cooperative winery, Beato Bartolomeo…

(www.cantinabreganze.it)

…makes this great red wine called ‘Terra Crua’

It’s light, delicious and only 10% alcohol

Why is this useful ?

Well obviously if you want to do something in the afternoon 

after lunch apart from going comatose this is the fella…

…You can enjoy ‘il pranzo’, imbibe a glass or two and still be

compos mentis

VERY USEFUL

So a trip to the wine bank (see website) seemed in order

…with Il Capitano in the driving seat

But first…..

Il Capo wanted me to see the real thing…..

TAKE A DEEP BREATH…..

Welcome to the world of Firmino Miotti

(www.firminomiotti.it)

It actually doesn’t get any better than this…..

A wine business that’s been in the same family for centuries

Passed down from father to son to son to son and so on until now…

…when the…

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The When Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction edition

Today I made a rather useful discovery

The local cooperative winery, Beato Bartolomeo…

(www.cantinabreganze.it)

…makes this great red wine called ‘Terra Crua’

It’s light, delicious and only 10% alcohol

Why is this useful ?

Well obviously if you want to do something in the afternoon 

after lunch apart from going comatose this is the fella…

…You can enjoy ‘il pranzo’, imbibe a glass or two and still be

compos mentis

VERY USEFUL

So a trip to the wine bank (see website) seemed in order

…with Il Capitano in the driving seat

But first…..

Il Capo wanted me to see the real thing…..

TAKE A DEEP BREATH…..

Welcome to the world of Firmino Miotti

(www.firminomiotti.it)

It actually doesn’t get any better than this…..

A wine business that’s been in the same family for centuries

Passed down from father to son to son to son and so on until now…

…when the business will pass on to the daughter

It’s the 21st century…..

…..and the Italians are on board ! 

This cantina (winery) sits on top of a hill looking out across the

plain to Venice on what was the original settlement of the town

of Breganze

The farm is over 500 years old in parts, the true genesis of Breganze

The view is breath-taking

Firmino and daughter produce eleven different wines that include

…PEDEVENDO

This is a light, sparkling white wine, best decanted and ideal

when drunk as an aperitivo or with primo piatti

These grapes are so rare you will probably never get them anywhere

else in the world; the pedevenda grapes are an autochthonous varietal

Don’t ask me, I just read that bit myself !

Also worthy of mention is the famed GROPPELLO…

Apparently girls (and women) clear off when the men start

to drink this ruby red nectar…..

…..you can probably guess why, the name comes from the 

dialect verb ‘ingropare’ ! ! !

So back to the title of this post…..

…..Why is truth stranger than fiction ? ? ? 

Well as Firmino guided the captain and the G.-man round

the old winery there were these extraordinary posters round

the place (fading and curling at the edges a bit) of this ‘Marlboro’

man in a check shirt

This hunky outdoorsman was advertising a now defunct brand of

Italian menswear

And yes, it was Firmino himself forty years ago when he was a star

male model ! ! ! ! !

Of course he only did this in his spare time and he never let it 

interfere with the serious business of the wine production

But his rugged good looks had been noticed by some admen types

and for a decade or so Firmino was a bone fide poster boy

The captain told me that he passed part of his misspent youth with Firmino

on the farm…..

…..probably going there once a week to…..

Meet…

Drink…

…and tell lies !

Sounds a bit like the Groover’s youth

I seem to recall claiming intimacy with at least two girls

when I hadn’t actually even French-kissed anyone…..

…..I wasn’t even sure what French-kissing was !

So it would appear to be a universal truth

And as someone once said…..

‘Put the devil in your mouth and you lose your brains’

…..and start lying

Cin Cin

G.

 

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The Art Olympics edition

The Italians call it the Biennale and unlike the sporting

olympics which come round every four years…

…this event comes round every two years and has done

for the past 110 years

It’s also held in the same place, Venice, and it doesn’t

move around from city to city

Interestingly drugs are a major concern in Venice and a

significant factor behind some of the art…

Sadly, as some of you may have heard a German (YES, this

still matters !) tourist was crushed to death in a gondola

last week, his daughter is seriously injured and Venice is

in shock…

The gondola got between a vaporetto (a water bus) and the

dock and you can guess the rest…..

The driver of the gondola was subsequently tested positive for

DRUGS…..!!!

No, he wasn’t a crack-head junkie…..

…..Yes, he was a glue-sniffing, ‘O Sole Mio’-singing paddle

pusher

It’s the glue used in the construction and repair of said craft

that the gondolieri get addicted to

Why can’t they just settle for girls and football like their terra

firma cousins ? ? ?

The Biennale is situated in the public gardens…..

Surprised ?

Probably !

Many people don’t realise that Venice has large and very beautiful

public gardens

Anyway this is where the Art Olympians walk the walk…

…talk the talk

…and basically produce lots of stuff that most of you wouldn’t

consider art

But Art it is and art it will remain and some of it is bellissimo

…some of it is witty

…some of it is clever

…and some of it couldn’t have come about without the help of

DRUGS (actually probably quite a lot)

First prize in the G.-man’s eyes must go to the Israelis…..

…..This is sculpture, installation and video set in different

countries and linked by a story line…..

Simply the wittiest and cleverest ‘work of art’ I have ever seen

Second prize goes to the English, actually Jeremy Deller couldn’t

paint my sitting room properly, but he set up a tea stand (P G Tips)

and had a tea lady serving rosy lee to all-comers and a very thirsty

Groover…..

A little English magic and a stroke of, err, artistic genius

Third prize goes to the Americans, Sarah Sze spent three months

putting this extraordinary show together that has shades of Heath Robinson

She must be mad (like Russell Crowe in ‘A Beautiful Mind’) but I would

love to meet her (she would definitely test positive)

The booby prize goes to the Koreans……

They have created an isolation room…..

…..pitch black

…..no sound (all phones have to switched off)

…..persons of a nervous disposition are not allowed

…..persons with heart conditions are ruled out

…..persons liable to panic attacks are ruled out

…..etc etc etc

…..it is a long list taken very seriously

In went the G.man…

…with the other 11 punters (only a dozen at a time)

The door is SHUT

PITCH BLACK

TOTAL DARK

NOTHING

Then it loomed into view

Two greenish, luminous arms ! ! !

The Groover’s Swiss watch !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Somebody started to giggle…..

…..then the whole room erupted into laughter

The artistic moment was over

Lost for ever

The security men threw open the door and ushered us out

Unamused

I didn’t do it deliberately

Why don’t they tell people to take their watches off and put them

in their pockets

Anyway, it was a BEDAT…..

…..and that’s the groovy word for TIME !

G.

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The Going Local edition

groovers offside

This could also be called the ‘going native’ edition

Have you ever wondered how the locals can afford

to sit at bars when you are on holiday and a beer costs

…..£6…..

I have

We all have

And the answer ? ? ?

Well it’s simple really, there are two scales

The tourist’s rate…..

And the local’s rate…..

And how do I know this ? ? ? ? ?

Because El Groover has made the breakthrough !

It happened at ‘Caffe Verdi’

The G.-man likes to stop there at the end of his evening

passeggiata and imbibe a ‘birra media’

To you that’s a pint of Veldenstiener

Nectar in a glass !  !  !

I was settling up a little while ago when ‘Il Padrone’

pulled me aside and told me he was putting me on 

the local’s rate

BREAKTHROUGH ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

I…

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The Going Local edition

This could also be called the ‘going native’ edition

Have you ever wondered how the locals can afford

to sit at bars when you are on holiday and a beer costs

…..£6…..

I have

We all have

And the answer ? ? ?

Well it’s simple really, there are two scales

The tourist’s rate…..

And the local’s rate…..

And how do I know this ? ? ? ? ?

Because El Groover has made the breakthrough !

It happened at ‘Caffe Verdi’

The G.-man likes to stop there at the end of his evening

passeggiata and imbibe a ‘birra media’

To you that’s a pint of Veldenstiener

Nectar in a glass !  !  !

I was settling up a little while ago when ‘Il Padrone’

pulled me aside and told me he was putting me on 

the local’s rate

BREAKTHROUGH ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

I have been drinking there for 11 years

A quick back of a cigarette packet calculation would 

mean I have consumed 1200 pints there

1200  ! ! ! ! !

…..at lets say an average of 4 euros a pint

That makes an investment of 4800 euros

GOAL !

HOLE IN ONE !

I’m on the insider’s price scale

FOR EVER

FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE

I suppose I should increase my consumption in order

to maximise my return

ERR, perhaps not

Anyway, that neatly explains that little mystery

Now for the Bermuda Triangle !

On this theme of going local………

…..my favourite grocery store is ‘Le Quattro Stagioni’

This means ‘the four seasons’ in English……

But what I like about it is they have a special section promoting

‘I PRODOTTI BASSANESE’

In other words locally grown produce…..

…..as opposed to stuff flown half way round the world

that you buy in Sainsburys

The G.-man only buys local…..

…..he has a heart of green

…..and Rosaria (a cute local) always slips something

in his shopping bag gratis at said establishment……….

Tonight it was an onion  !

It’s the thought !

Any way, onion or otherwise you only get this when you

go LOCAL…

…NATIVE

You can call me Grooverino from now on 

G.

 

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The Point Of No Return edition

groovers offside

An intriguing title for a post

It makes me feel like a sixteen year old again (Maria ?)

Anyway, a brand new bar has opened here called simply…

‘Mama’………

It’s as cool as hell ! ! !

Good wine, good beer, good music, good vibes…

…You get the picture

Every second Friday they plan to have live jazz / blues / bosso nova

…beginning next month

Woo hooooooooo ! ! ! ! !

Right up the Groover’s strada (back to Italian)

But why is this establishment of cool called ‘Mama’ ? ? ?

Beats me

So let me jump over the Atlantic and bring up a Hollywood

feature called ‘Failure To Launch’  (2006) starring Matthew

McConaughey (and Sarah Jessica Parker) as a 40-ish American

that still lives at home . ! . ! . …………………….

Simple plot…….

…high net disposable income

…no bills

…no responsibilities

…quite simply a freewheeling playboy lifestyle

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The Point Of No Return edition

An intriguing title for a post

It makes me feel like a sixteen year old again (Maria ?)

Anyway, a brand new bar has opened here called simply…

‘Mama’………

It’s as cool as hell ! ! !

Good wine, good beer, good music, good vibes…

…You get the picture

Every second Friday they plan to have live jazz / blues / bosso nova

…beginning next month

Woo hooooooooo ! ! ! ! !

Right up the Groover’s strada (back to Italian)

But why is this establishment of cool called ‘Mama’ ? ? ?

Beats me

So let me jump over the Atlantic and bring up a Hollywood

feature called ‘Failure To Launch’  (2006) starring Matthew

McConaughey (and Sarah Jessica Parker) as a 40-ish American

that still lives at home . ! . ! . …………………….

Simple plot…….

…high net disposable income

…no bills

…no responsibilities

…quite simply a freewheeling playboy lifestyle

…and a funny American rom-com situation

…In Italia this proposition wouldn’t work because……..

…….it’s the NORM

I KID YOU NOT ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

A mate of El Groover is just moving into a four-bedroom villa

with enormous garden and garages and a huge basement he

will turn into an office so he can work from home…….

…..because the owner has waited four years for his son to move

into it…..

…..and he built it specifically for his son, to order so to speak

…..in this case, the parent’s order !

…..but the son (40-ish) (single-ish) prefers to have everything

done by Mama (and Papa)

But let’s not fool ourselves…………..

This patriarchal society in Italy is……………

owned, operated and controlled by the matriarchs

LOOK !

Think about it, why did Lorenzo name his new bar ‘Mama’

…not ‘Papa’ ! ! ! ! !

The average Italian male (not all, but the average)……

…..is like the silverback gorilla…..

…..Huge

…..Ineffectual

…..Living on memories

…..Hiding behind designer labels

MAMA is in control…

…in CHARGE

…still slim

…still capable (it’s a male / female thing !)

The fact is………

…..Mama was always in charge

Italy is a matriarchal society masquerading as a patriarchal one

Which brings me back neatly to the title of this post…..

The point of no return is the moment the male’s waist

measurement exceeds his wife’s bust measurement…..

…..in Italy this happens to be 38 inches (apparently it’s to do

with the Mediterranean diet)

(The Groover doesn’t mind ! ! !)

That’s the point the Italian male passes the metaphorical baton

…..the point when reality becomes truly symbolic and the past a……

…..Well, it was good while it lasted

…..He thinks

…..She may not agree

Bless them all…………

G.

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