Sunday, 9 August 2009

Interviews, Translations, Handel, Jazz, Spoleto, Ferragosto

Good morning and a very merry 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) to you.

It's been quite an eventful week, especially for us. On Monday I updated my CV with the details from Intrawelt and phoned the Student Loans Company to check whether I had to declare the one off payment - apparently I don't. Then we e-mailed it out to the addresses that Monica had been collecting over the previous week. It was a pretty good response. I had a phone call from another translation agency in Bagnacavallo (Bathehorse? Horsebath?). First they asked me to interview as a Project Manager and then they changed their minds and said that they'd like some translations from me first, which I haven't received yet. I also had an e-mail back from another agency asking for me to do some test translations, which I did, and bloody hard they were too. Another e-mail said there weren't any internal positions but, subject to some test translations, they'd consider me as a freelance translator. I had to reply saying that I wasn't sure I could because I don't have a P.IVA, which I would need if I were to be self-employed. Last but not least I had a call for an interview in Rimini for teaching work, so that's where I'm going on Tuesday, for an interview plus a language test that I'm told should take around 2 hours in all.

Rather remarkably, I've managed to see three concerts, all free, in the space of a week, one in Osimo and the other two in Offagna. It's very true that generally speaking there's not a lot to do round here, but on the plus side, the summer is packed with free events of good quality. We went to Osimo with Gio(vanna), Marghe's sister who's another friend of Monica's, to listen to some pieces for organ accompanied by an orchestra by Handel. It was very good. The organist had a tough time. I think it was a period instrument. In any case it was an upright affair that you have to play standing up. To add insult to injury, the multiple pages of sheet music, which the organist was attempting to manage on his own until this became untenable, didn't really fit on the music holder and the wind (it was in a courtyard) kept blowing the sheets around. Well done him. The concerts in Offagna were both jazz, part of a series of "Jazz and Wine" (not Jazz e Vino, because English is more cool, you see...) On Friday we went down to the, um, villa(?) where we buy our wine from and listened to bebop in the garden. That was my favourite; sax, piano, double bass and drums. The sax was very good, the pianist was mental - possibly a little too much, the percussion was outstanding - we weren't so keen on the double bass though. The acoustic was excellent, especially the drums. Monica said she liked it, but it didn't grab her so much. I thought it was great, but I was perhaps too tired to take it all in. I'm not good at listening to music at night. Then yesterday it was another quartet, led by a famous Italian jazz guitarist (Franco Cerri), backed up by a Hammond organ, double bass and drums. I didn't like it so much - there was considerably less swing and I'm never really convinced by jazz guitar anyway. The drumming was good, but without any reall swing, as I say, and he kind of ruined it by relentlessly using the cymbals so it was difficult to hear the percussion underneath. We did like the man on the double bass though. I think I quite like the Hammond organ - in small doses. I coulcn't imagine playing it every day though...

What with us living with Monica's Mum and Dad, we're always keen on the idea of getting away to get some time to ourselves, but without work this seems like something we probably shouldn't splash out on. However, as I just worked for a month we decided to go away into the mountains (everyone's at the beach at the moment you see, but if we're both still unemployed we can go when it's quieter) for a bit of relaxation. So we're off to Spoleto at the end of the month, staying here, which looks lovely. Looking forward to it.

As I said, everyone's at the beach at the moment. This is because in Italy, the whole of August is basically holiday time. Lots of offices shut down for at least a few weeks. This means that the roads are horribly congested just now. Imagine that all English bank holidays happened back to back and you'd have some idea of how lousy it is on the roads right now. It's linked with Ferragosto, a celebration that dates from Roman times, but which is now linked with the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, dogmatically defined in 1950, if I've understood it correctly.