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Sijmadicandhapajiee (Avion Travel)

I know that the name of Paolo Conte attracts some interest from the visitors, and I hope the video below (produced by Guiseppe Ragazzini, whose work you have already seen in Notebooks) will inspire you to learn more. And no, I don’t expect you to be able to pronounce the name of the song (I do look forward, however, to seeing if this post generates any AT-related queries).


It has taken me some time to deliver my own promise, mainly because my Italian isn’t as good as the song demands. I had to resort to my friend’s assistance, and I sincerely thank Marco for being a great friend and, well, an Italian, too. The text below is the result of my effort at translating and his brainstorming and brushing of it. Mille grazie, Marco!

One of particular difficulties must be the dialect. As Giorgio Maimone, the reviewer of the album Danson Metropoli deftly put it, “Sijmadicandhapajiee” non è un mantra indiano (isn’t an Indian mantra), but “siamo dei cani da pagliaio” in the dialect of the Asti region in Italy. I found the explanation on another site of what this expression means: Questo è un detto tipico dei contadini delle nostre terre per indicare le persone che coltivano pochi interessi o che comunque non escono mai dalla propria ristretta cerchia di conoscenze ed attività, persone “per cui le arti stan nei musei”.” That is: “Sijmadicandhapajee” is a person who has few interests or who restricts themselves by a very narrow circle of knowledge and activities; somebody “for whom the arts are in the museums“.

So, over to the translation:

Somebody is a mechanic,
Someone sends him to me
To fix the steering wheel,
And doesn’t ask me
Neither money nor thank-yous,
It doesn’t matter because
In the other room
He sees the bed occupied
By his deep sleep.


At the end, it doesn’t matter
If there some woman
Has taken from the stars
The music that won’t give
To anyone
A permission to dance with her,
These are the folks for whom
The arts are in the museums.


I have to say, you are very welcome to leave a comment with corrections, if such still need to be done. Otherwise, I and Marco shall content ourselves with the thought that we did a decent job.

The Kiss. The Story of a Dream

On Monday, I received an invitation to look at the video The Kiss by the Italian painter and animator, Giuseppe Ragazzini. At the time I was also listening to one of the songs by Paolo Conte, and the melody of that song, together with the video, became the inspiration to the text below.

Julia Shuvalova, The Kiss. The Story of a Dream.

I already told this…

And now I will tell this again. Because I love. Telling.

Once I dreamt of a woman. She was kissing me.

My eyes were closed, but even if they were opened I would never recognise her. She resembled all women I had. But she possessed something mysterious – not that kind of mysterious that the women I have not yet met and known could have. This mystery belonged to a woman who was not yet.

In my dream I was lying in the hall. The stone walls were covered with dark tapestries. The windows had shutters on them. The bed on which I lay stood in the middle of the hall, and the heavy Bordeaux cloths of the canopy hanged around. I lay on my back, with the arm under my head, and the light nightly breeze was blowing cold on my chest through the half-open shirt.

She came from nowhere, and in my dream I felt her breath on my face. She looked at me. I didn’t see her. My eyes were closed. I slept. She looked at me. This is how the mother looks at her child. This is how one looks at their beloved who seems dear and of whom they know everything. Her intimacy was warm, and I smiled, feeling her breath on my temples, between the eyebrows, on the tip of my nose, on my cheekbones.
Her lips moved closer to my ear. My smile became wider. Gentler. I think I stretched my hands out to her. But she eluded. She lay next to me, resting her head on her hand, and looked at me.

I slept and thought: who is she? Why did she come to me? Where was she before? Why does she look at me? She is smiling. Does she love me?

Suddenly a shadow entered my dream. The smile vanished from my lips. The shadow didn’t go away. It was she. She was looking at me. Then she ran along my face with her finger, from the temple to the chin. In silence. And I was silent, too. She was half lying on my chest, but I felt neither her heaviness, nor her lightness. I closed my eyes.

Her breath was approaching. I wanted this to last. And she was slowly moving closer to my face. I felt the movement of her breasts through the transparent cloth of her nightdress, on top of which she wore a cloak with rare ornament. Her plump lips. Her eyes that looked at me with such kindness. Her body was pressing intensely against my hip.

My eyelashes flickered. Her lips lightly touched mine. We both didn’t move. I let her tongue enter my mouth. Blood was pumping in my temples. I barely breathed. She was kissing me. I kissed many women. No woman has ever kissed me like she. I lay on my back. Her breasts were touching my chest like a light nightly breeze. My arm was still under my head. She was pressing her entire body against mine. I didn’t even hold her. Nothing but our lips bound us together.

Occasionally she was pulling back, and through the dream I felt that she did it in order to look at me. She didn’t say a word. Having pulled back and thrown a look at me, she was returning to my mouth. Her soft lips quickly touched its corners. Her tongue teasingly moved along my lips. Sometimes after that her lips simply touched my mouth. This calmed me down. The warmth spread in my body. And she simply looked at me, smiling. Like the beauties on the old paintings look at their beloved. Like, perhaps, I looked at women whom I really loved.

But sometimes her tongue, having moved around my lips, forcefully penetrated my mouth. She was searching for my tongue. I gave in to her. Having found each other, our tongues entwined, and her moves became slower. Gently was she holding my head in the palm of her hand, and I barely felt it. And her tongue was entering deep into my mouth. She would slowly pull back. Her tongue almost escaped from me. I followed it. Then once again she possessed me.

And it lasted. And lasted. The strength and passion of her kisses varied. One time she was kissing me like Shulammite kissed King Solomon, with all fire of the first innocent love. She was kissing me like a Parisian hooker, and in her kiss there was a suddenly awoken tenderness towards the man. In her kiss there was a lust. In her kiss there was a mystery. The impossible. Something yet impossible. But there was no fear in her kiss. She was kissing me, as if I belonged to her forever.

Somewhere afar the music is playing. Just simple chords. Their rhythm resembles the moves of her tongue on my palate. The chords join in a melody that she’s playing on my lips, on my tongue. I want to listen to it forever. And she smiles at me, and looks at me, and touches my mouth with hers, and we unite in a kiss, then she pulls back, then moves her lips closer to mine again, her tongue enters deeply into my mouth, and I lose my breath, lying on my back and feeling through the transparent cloth of her nightdress the barely heard beats of her heart against my chest.

I don’t know when the dream ends. In the morning I wake up in my room. My arm is under my head. Slightly amused, I move my hand across my bare chest, trying to remember when I took my shirt off. In truth, I always sleep without a shirt. I look around. She is nowhere. At all. I sit up in the bed. Every time I wonder why, after such passionate kissing in my sleep, I am barely aroused. I get up. Get dressed. The day goes by as a particular day needs to go. I am working. Or meeting friends. Or marking time.

This woman comes to me at night. She resembles the women I had. Those women that I occasionally meet these days have something of her. But she always retains that which none of them has yet got. There is no such woman. Maybe she is not in the city where I am. Maybe she doesn’t yet exist at all. And she always only kisses me. Like, perhaps, I kissed women whom I really loved. Like no woman has ever kissed me. And when I walk in the streets of my city, it seems to me occasionally that she swiftly passes me by. I turn around. She is not there. Perhaps, I should stop turning around, but then she will stop coming to me at night.
I love telling about this. At night I dream of a woman. She kisses me. I don’t know when it ends. They say that once a marble statue came to life. I tell about the woman who kisses me at night and I think: maybe the night comes when the dream doesn’t end. Or maybe the day will come when I meet this woman.

I dream that a woman kisses me. I already told this. I often tell this. Because I love.

English translation
© Julia Shuvalova 2007

One Week Before Christmas. Listening to Paolo Conte

When winter comes to my town, but the grass is as green as in summer, – if only now it is covered with the withered leaves, resembling coffee with milk by their colour, –

When in my town the clouds freeze and become like the heaps of snow, – though, most probably, they remind me of some other town where the heaps of snow are as white as clouds, –

When in my town on the news they speak about shops, turkeys, puddings, presents, postcards, santa clauses, babies in the cradles, – even if not everyone believes in the feast and celebrates it, –

When the streets are silent because nobody likes the cold and tries to leave the house as seldom as possible, – although, of course, one has to go out for newspapers and milk, –

When in my street they hanged about ten multicolour boxes and garlands on a streetlamp, and on the next one, and on the next one, – granted that all boxes are, obviously, empty, –

When from my flat’s window I see the street where people are walking and speaking about the shops, turkeys, presents, and they don’t like cold, – just like the streetlamp where the boxes hang, –

When I hold in my hand a cup with hot chocolate and simply look from my window at people, who walk from the shops with turkeys and presents, – and who don’t like the cold, just like me, –

When the hot chocolate takes me back to my childhood, when you are waiting for a holiday not because this is how it should be, but because you don’t know what a holiday is, – this is the wisest, isn’t it, –

When childhood is visiting as the memories of the snow outside the window, and of the heaps of snow that look like white clouds full of snowfall, – it was so long ago, but I still remember, –

When something pinches strangely in your chest, because there is memory, but the time has gone so far, that, it seems, it’s impossible to remember, – and you don’t want to talk or to listen to anybody, –

Then, finally, I turn a recorder on, and with a husky “tara-ti-tara-hey” begins a miracle, of which I know nothing, – but this is exactly why I believe in it…

*The text references the beginning of  Sparring Partner by Paolo Conte.

English translation © Julia Shuvalova
Image credit © Julia Shuvalova

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