On littering and lion tamers

(image by Kate Bailward)

Being a not very organised person who doesn’t think ahead all that far, I’m not registered for a postal vote in the UK. Luckily, other expats are more on the ball than me, and have already received their voting cards, which tell them that the UK General Election is to be held on 6 May.  Bit of a coup, that, given that it hasn’t been officially announced yet, but no matter.  This has thrown me into a state of panic, as I’m not sure the Italian postal system is up to organising this in time. I shall, however, give it a damn good try. I’ve therefore spent the last half hour filling in an application form to send off to my local council. The most complicated part of this, though, is going to be finding somewhere to print the beggar out. The school computer system is nothing if not esoteric. One computer can just about get online (after a *lot* of chuntering), but can’t print. The other – you’ve guessed it – can print but not get online. Given that the form is a web .pdf file, this could be entertaining …

In Italy, elections were held in a number of regions on Monday. To advertise each candidate (of which there seemed to be hundreds), flyers were handed out. Or, rather, thrown liberally out onto the streets like ticker tape. The Green movement doesn’t hold much sway here. The gutters are knee-deep in discarded leaflets and cards, and have been for weeks. This doesn’t seem like the most effective ad campaign to me. I wouldn’t bother picking up a soggy flyer that’s been trampled underfoot and driven over by multiple cars, and I doubt the fastidious Italians would either. Interestingly, for a nation which keeps the interior of their houses so sparkling clean, they don’t seem to give a stuff about the outside. I haven’t seen a street sweeper since I’ve been here, and the election flyers appear to be being left to melt in the rain. Unluckily for us all, it is at just this point that the rain is beginning to clear up. (Apologies to readers in the UK, who appear to be snowed in again. Hohoho.) Here, it’s been gloriously sunny for the last few days. Good news for sun-worshippers, but bad news for the appearance of our streets. Not only are they covered in paper, but we can now see them in their full, shameful, littered glory. Ick.

In my town, the ad campaign also meant that every single billboard was covered with posters of airbrushed politicos, smiling for all they were worth. Appropriately, in a country where appearance is all, you’ve never seen such gleaming white teeth or sparkling eyes, even in Hollywood. Similar to Italian television presenters, the men were mostly well-turned-out but pug-ugly. The women, however, all had to be attractive, as well as being made-up to within an inch of their lives. Well, if we *must* have a woman in charge, at least she should be nice to look at, no? Once again, I have the strange feeling that I’ve been transported back to the 1950s, in so many ways.

Billboards are a serious business here and, unlike the UK, they are kept bang up to date. No sooner had the elections happened than the candidates’ posters were removed from the boards. They haven’t yet been replaced by anything else, but there will no doubt be a circus soon. They turn up every couple of months, live animals and all. The last one proudly advertised a lion tamer posing with one of his beasts. The man’s body was straight out of Mr Universe, but his head was (a) pale and pasty as opposed to glistening bronze and (b) totally out of proportion, being far too small to compete with the rippling chest muscles below. He was also slightly balding. It made me wonder whether maybe there once was a good-looking lion tamer (possibly called Bjorn), with well-developed pecs and a full head of hair. One day, however, he met with a nasty accident. Lions are everso prone to munching on meat, bless ’em. The circus launches the hunt for a replacement.

Lion tamer required.
Must be good with animals and available immediately.

A new daredevil tamer arrives, but he’s a bit disappointing in the old looks department. Plus, he’s called Kevin. Oh dear. “He’ll never sell any tickets!” thinks the Ringmaster. “Hmm. What to do? I know! Let’s take Bjorn’s photo, remove his head, and put Kevin’s in its place! Brilliant! No-one will *ever* know! Now, does anyone round here know Photoshop …?”

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About Kate Bailward

Kate Bailward is a cat-loving, trifle-hating, maniac driver. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+
This entry was posted in Living Like a Maniac and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to On littering and lion tamers

  1. Sam says:

    So true about the the litter and the 1950s campaigns! Did you sort your printer troubles out? You should be able to print to file and copy over to the other PC! I think I really need to do a blog post as it has been a few weeks…
    .-= Sam´s last blog ..Italian Truisms (Milanese at least) =-.

  2. LindyLouMac says:

    May 6th that is news!
    .-= LindyLouMac´s last blog ..Hong Kong Trip Part Three =-.

  3. Katja says:

    The trusty USB stick came to my rescue. Hurrah! There was a moment of trouble when the school PCs wouldn’t recognise the file format that my Mac had saved stuff in, but I got it sorted in the end. Phew.

    And yes. You need to blog, mister! Although not just yet, ‘cos I’m about to go away until the middle of next week. ;)

  4. Katja says:

    As I say, I don’t think it’s *officially* confirmed yet, but that’s the word on the streets according to North Herts Council. Methinks someone there might be getting a bit of a rap on the wrist, given that it was all over Twitter yesterday …

  5. Thank you for another glimpse into your parallel universe. Whilst I am enjoying the image of you wading your way through your olive-oil-slicked streets up to your armpits in political proemoepaganda, I am entranced by the lion tamer. Suddenly I am convinced you are living in Carter Beats the Devil, and I am truly jealous. It makes me wish I had more to comment upon in my daily life, but equally makes me realise that what I think of as humdrum (gosh, hello humdrum, been a while) others may think of as strange and slightly different to the norm. I don’t hope for more – I would be content with that. You, on the other hand… keep up the reports of your mist-infused, smoky olive groves and lemon trees. It fills me with a sense of adventure. Come home and Singstar with me soon… xxx

  6. Allow me to apologise for the nothing-short-of-peculiar spelling of “propaganda” in the previous post. I have no idea what happened there. Moving on…
    .-= Alison Folwell´s last blog ..The centre of our universe =-.

  7. Katja says:

    Haha! I could correct it for you, but where would be the fun in that? ;)


  8. Katja says:

    You have it there, in a nutshell: it’s all about presenting the everyday as extraordinary. To see our daily lives with new, fresh eyes. Noticing the details of our days and telling people about them. Think about the world as J does: everything is exciting; everything worth recording. Sure, there’s plenty of editing to be done, but only *after* it’s all been logged for ourselves. I don’t dismiss anything as being too boring until I’ve seen it written down and realised that yep, it really *is* mindnumbingly dull. Hehehe.

    Coincidentally, I was talking about Singstar with one of my classes earlier this evening. I miss it. We must have a karaoke marathon when I get back. xxx

  9. Italian politicians: everyone told me Cassini was stupid. He is good looking, yes. I have been listening to hiom lately and he is NOT stupid. Is this the dumb blond effect?
    I can never remember the name of the big fat Lega guy, maybe Calderoli? so when talking to my friends I say, you know the guy who wears orange pants! When we finally get to who it is it seems they never noticed. How can that be? It seems, however, that I may finally have memorized his name. But really, orange pants… every time.
    .-= Judith in Umbria´s last blog ..Dora Siragusa makes Pastiera Napoletana =-.

  10. Indeed we must…. that sounds VERY fun! x
    .-= Alison Folwell´s last blog ..The centre of our universe =-.

  11. Katja says:

    Hehe! Clearly it’s the Italian effect: violently coloured trousers and sparkly shoes are just seen as the norm. In Florence last weekend I saw a girl wearing scarlet, glittery trainers. If I’m honest, I coveted them a little bit, but I don’t think I’d get away with them, being English.

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