GR: I’m writing to you from Milan Block 181, the new Sky series, the one with Salmo, have you seen it? It’s a very nineties story, maybe too much, there are the pandillas, the latin gangs and public houses in the Barona, Lorenteggio and Giambellino districts, more bad Milanese after Turatello and Vallanzasca than a rapper banlieue. There’s Milan to drink and sip on festive meals in the Genoese style, the gallops with coca bags in the cartons of pizza at home give a touch of topicality and the image of Berlusconi on a votival in South American Santeria style that peeks out in the initials – very cool! – seems to bless all illegal trade from above, both drugs and emotions. The baby bands with small or large letters have nothing to do with it, just like so far – but I have only seen the first episodes – lack fashion shows and the tribe of hunters in today’s Milan, where only the five hundred sneakers euros, at the feet of both the businessmen and the pushers represent the real coefficient of social cohesion, except bamba. In short, for the Italian market, a series like this is already something, but I do not see much news in the world of Hate of Kassovitz and that of Block 181. I want to tell you more, the first thing that occurred to me when I looked at it is Chemical hunger, a cult film almost twenty years ago – it was 2004 – by Vari and Bocola, who photographed the squares and the social life on the streets before the arrival of social networks. And in fact, as I scrolled through the series’ credits complete with a new piece by Gué, I read that one of the authors of the subject is precisely that of Paolo Vari. It’s all coming back.
AP: Chemical hunger, what did you remind me of! I have to correct you because the film was half a disappointment to me, but Antonio Bocola-Paolo Varis first medium-length film in 1997, ultra low budget, it was an atomic bomb. I think I saw it in Milan at the filmmaker, a cinema full of future creatives, you were not there? Now it’s on YouTube with clear colors and English subtitles. In my memory, it was the first time that Milanese street snake had its spotlight: the boys said «do you», «robbosi», «cash», «wentammale», «fan out». It looked like Scorsese and De Niro. Compared to today, they look like elementary schools, but it was one of the first seeds. Language is a virus, used to say old Williams Burroughs, always quoted intentionally and inappropriately. The Italian trap, I think, should make a monument to robbosi off Chemical hunger.
GR: I thought back to Baby Gang, the real one. There’s a featuring of him on Ghali’s new album, the piece is called Drari which in Moroccan means “boys”. And listens to the Tunisian-born rapper at the press conference, who says that Baby Gang reminds him of the effort he made when he was younger to establish himself, that “if someone like him makes a mistake, he pays twice as much like the others “and that he is” a victim of degradation while sinners are higher “, I thought that of this new wave of drill / rap / trap where” shisha is the new sushi “(cit. from Drari) Baby Gang and Ghali represent yin and yang, good served and poor served. On the one hand Rondo da Sosa, Neima Ezza, Vale Pain, Baby Gang and their imaginary street with balaclavas, robberies, drug trafficking and Down with the policeon the other hand the parades of Paris, the house of the mother and Ghali’s tropical manga universe. Did you understand? Defensive and offensive weapons, cyber warfare and trenches with grenades, see it as a strategy for self-affirmation and conquest of the market, in the first the public of the twenty-year-olds, in the second the children and their parents. ..
AP: Yes, the target audience. But also the look. The imaginary. The Latin American tank top over Block 181to say what relationship they have to Alain Delon’s gay tank top in Rocco and his brothers? But listen here. The other night in a theater in Rome, I saw the show by Edoardo Ferrario, a stand up now by a particular cult and even more thanks to the web and podcasts. I had seen it in small clubs, but everything is easier there. The show this time was the audience: college students, affluent thirties, probably from Luiss (who is not Bocconi, but Orsini teaches us, do it yourself), many couples, some hopeful incels, decent guys with shirts, jeans, a helmet, a perfumed and Roman spring optimism, already almost holiday-making. Ferrario boys. Just with him. It tries to keep the speech level high. He learns philosophy from his Chinese hardware store, gets along well with his boomer dad, makes fun of his peers’ sermons at weddings, gets married, takes a dog, teases a lot. He is admirable in this. More than Louis CK, now engrossed in vengeance, he is the son and husband of the daughter that all the very boomers want. In fact, I was so optimistic about the fate of the country and humanity in our future ruling class that at one point I took a nap. There is. There is.
GR: But have you seen that at the Mi Ami festival, it-pops Lollapalooza, P38, the Emilian rap band accused of inciting terrorism, will not play? Of course, they appeared on stage with a five-pointed star resembling the Red Brigades, and Aldo Moro’s daughter condemned them for singing “hys hush, pay me the ransom, hush hush, you’re on a R4”, but When you have invited them, you have to get them to play the same, right? I do not understand this urge to get rid of everything that bothers it, and I simplify it. Then there is situationism, the P38s play with fire and with Deleuze, as when they sing in the first communiqué “You are not rappers / You are damned entrepreneurs / We have read Gramsci, assholes / We want everything”.
AP: It was once called “burn grandchildren”. These seem to me to be grandchildren of CCCP, if anything. So now that Marco Bellocchio’s film is there, will they be Bellocchio’s grandchildren?
GR: We need to elaborate, now I’m too busy with this week’s Twitter controversy: author Raffaele Alberto Ventura goes to Hyenas talking about cancellation culture and Guia Soncini fucking him. Which page are you on? I believe that just white boomer men like us have no right to talk about cancellation culture, let alone at Hyenas.
AP: I think we live in a world of talkative people. Rappers, stand-up comedians, talk show hosts, religious preachers, simple preachers, motivators, psychologists, wellsellers of well-being. Pure Ventura and Soncini. Everyone feels entitled to be able to say anything in any way. Kendrick Lamar gave us a double record for saying he can say f ***, n ***, and we can not. I add in parentheses that I breathed a sigh of relief as I read it almost scored Newyorker and of Fork, both African-American critics who told Kendrick not to take himself too seriously. Tie up. But the question for me is: do I have the right not to listen to them? And the possibility of a copy? Here it’s all there. At least if you thought I would make a monologue at Hyenas between Mammuccari and Belen framed in that telepromotion picture, it was cool, well, hey.