Q Travels

Giovanni Nadiani in memoriam

By William Wall

Walking in the Alfama on St John’s Eve, Q fell into conversation with an Italian who declared himself to be a poet and translator in a language nobody spoke. According to Q this was the very essence of poetry. It is a myth of the corporations that poetry is about communication, he said. The Italian asserted that his faithful translations from the unspoken language were the best thing he ever did and yet fell far short of the original, which he declared to be completely sublime. Q, in his enthusiasm, embraced the Italian soi-disant poet, and declared that he himself spoke several languages unknown to science. The two became fast friends.

Q met a man who told him he went every day for forty years to the newsagent owned by a school friend which stocked only the right wing press and asked for the newspaper of the communist party, of which he was a card-carrying member. Finally, after forty years, one day the newspaper was there. So it’s true what they say about you people, he announced, the market is everything to you. And he never went back.

In the Book Caffè the floors and walls are lined with representations of fully-stocked bookshelves. In the course of a coffee, Q said, one can become acquainted with a hundred titles.

When the homeless man died on the steps of the church of Notre Dame du Port his friends stole his shoes and socks. It was the coldest Good Friday on record. The mooring lines of the yachts were frozen like boards.

It is usual at all the best barbers, Q informed me, not only to find a good haircut and possibly also a reasonable beard-trim, but also to benefit from a lecture in constitutional law or international finance.

Q noted that barbers are usually right-wing. This is because of their long association with surgeons who are always fascists by trade addicted to cutting and slashing. Blood-letting is in the barber’s blood, he declared, and the proximity of the razor does not help. But of the barber in Chiavari there is to say, he said, he hates all politicians equally and respects only his own customers.

It was reported by the press that the Prime Minister was attacked by a lunatic who broke his nose, his lip & two teeth with a model of the famous pseudo-gothic Cathedral of Milan. Afterwards the lunatic said he did not recognise himself in his actions. It was also reported by the press that another lunatic attacked the Pope in the basilica of St Peters, but the press did not mention whether this second violent lunatic, who was, in fact, a woman, had a model of the Cathedral of Milan, or a model of any other famous cathedral, or, in fact, any model at all, or even whether she recognised herself in her actions. If we can believe that the newspapers would faithfully report such a detail we must conclude that this female lunatic, or, at any rate, deranged woman, who leaped the rails, & who had actually leaped the same rails on a previous occasion with the same intention of attacking the pontiff, was empty-handed, although it was reported that she wore, on both occasions, a red hooded jumper.

About the author(s)

William Wall has published six novels, most recently Suzy Suzy (2019) and Grace’s Day (2018), three collections of short fiction including The Islands (2017) and Hearing Voices Seeing Things (2016), and four collections of poetry including The Yellow House (2017) and Ghost EState (2011). He was the first European to win the Drue Heinz Literature Prize (2017), and he has won numerous other awards. His 2005 novel This Is The Country was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize. He holds a PhD in creative writing from University College Cork. His work has been widely translated and he translates from Italian. Website: http://www.williamwall.net.

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©inTRAlinea & William Wall (2019).
"Q Travels Giovanni Nadiani in memoriam"
inTRAlinea Commemorative Issue: Beyond the Romagna Sky
Edited by: Roberto Menin, Gloria Bazzocchi & Chris Rundle
This article can be freely reproduced under Creative Commons License.
Stable URL: https://www.intralinea.org/commemorative/article/2445

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