Monday, May 24, 2010
I have a theory about blogs and bloggers. Sometimes people ask me “but what are you going to do with that?” and I always recognize in that question the same suspicious and annoying tone when, during my college years, someone asked me what would my studies lead me to. It was some sort of diplomatic variable for “I don’t understand why you’re wasting time with that shit. Unless I’m mistaken, that won’t take you anywhere”. Now, as before, I just shrug my shoulders and waive my head in a confirmation to my interlocutor of what he knows, or thinks he knows - that what I do is useless. These are the same people that look at me in shock when I tell them that I’m not particularly interested in having banners jumping on my Web site advertising this or that on the left side of this text. And that’s precisely why I don’t share that theory with them, just in case they consider it silly, improper or pretentious.
Ann-Kristin is Norwegian. If I remember well, she was visiting a Swedish friend in Milan that works on a TV station and that, this I remember very well, always had suggestions for interesting parties. I had met her the day before and, after running into her precisely in one of those parties, these two photographs represent the third time we met in less than 24 hours (you have to admit that it's impossible not think that we rule a place when things like this happen). As Ann-Kristin is part of the Elle team in Oslo, I thought that after sharing that theory with one or two friends I should do it with someone in the same business. And, like all in life, it’s always comforting to do it with someone we don’t expect to meet again than with those we meet on a daily basis. That theory, not that innovative anyway, encompasses two simple premisses. The first one is that the online editions are winning market share when compared to its printed counterparts. I don’t know how it will be in 5 or 10 years time but things will probably be in the same inconceivable level that they were 5 or 10 years ago. The second is that bloggers are some sort of John Does that, without any kind of support or structure, won the attention and respect of Internet users by themselves. I cannot imagine a more democratic way for a perfect stranger to publish his work online discussing issues that his academic history or career never allowed him to address, or simply talk about what he wants. And, little by little, for this or that reason (or simply because when we do what we like the most, we risk doing it well), the blog builds up a faithful and regular audience that, with time, provides respect and status.
Some time ago I met Ana Garcia Martins (next to the “pussies guy”, they seem the perfect Portuguese references to document this idea) and told her that I considered fascinating that a personal project like a blog could provide such satisfaction [I suppose there is no need to talk about Scott Schuman or Yvan Rodic]. Not that I think that Ana or others owe something to their blog. I just consider that the blog was the perfect vehicle for them to express a certain talent. Something that wouldn’t happen 10 years ago and that possibly won't make any sense in 10 years time. But until then this is just the way it goes. When someone asks me about the personal satisfaction that a blog can give us I always remember that basic theory. "If the press can't live without the online world, the online world can’t live without the blogs… (can the press live without bloggers?)" Ann-Kristin thinks it can’t
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Meeting friends in strange cities always makes us go through that stupid (but quite nice) feeling that we just got there but we already rule the place. We know that x is the trendiest zone, that y is more adequate for this or that and that if we cross through that tiny street we’ll get to the most wanted place in town. The first time I met with Martino I was eating a Milanese specialty while chatting with a Japanese couple. This couple was staring so lavishly at my camera (which, by the way, is also Japanese) that they were starting to fall on that stereotype of Japanese tourists and their cameras. Martino’s Napoleonic look delighted me so there I went and asked if I could take his picture. He reacted so naturally to my request that it was like I had asked him for the time of day or about a tourist info.
The second time was different. I was having lunch with a Danish girl that I had run into by chance at Via Brera and that I had met a few days earlier. She was drinking white wine like if it was water but unlike most women that usually don’t appeal to me when they get drunker than me, I was absolutely delighted with her and her enchanting drunkenness. She transmitted femininity through her every pore. Through the look (and her eyes), through the smile (and her lips), through the semi-naked shoulder and through the cleavage that she showed when she laughed. Even through her clumsy English that 48 hours earlier had seemed so perfect. When we find enchantment in all these details we run the risk of the person in front of us realizing the good impression that she is leaving on the other side of the table. So there we were, she was drunk but lucid enough to notice my growing surrender as she oozed femininity. Nordics are known for their practicality and this girl was no exception. At a given moment she reminded me that her availability was not proportional to the quantity of alcohol she had in her blood and that, although she was enjoying the moment, she didn’t want to make the wrong impression. I guess this was just a sophisticated way of saying, “just because it’s Sunday, we’re both drunk, we’re both reasonably attracted to one another and our apartments are close by, that doesn’t mean we’ll be having our desserts there”. I told her, with a mocking look that aimed at making her feel a bit ridiculous, that she had found more good reasons for that to happen than I thought were possible. By now, Gonçalo, whom I was waiting for, and that was not an imaginary friend (as she probably assumed), was finally arriving. I got up and reminded her that the only reason I hadn’t suggested taking her photograph was because if I did it wouldn’t be proper to write about her and that lunch. But Martino was different. When a friend asked him the purpose of those photographs, like any good Italian he raised his hands to the sky and mockingly replied something like “you know, me and fashion, fashion and me”.
So there we went still with that stupid (but always nice) feeling that we already rule the place