photo: Alberto Constanza
We did it. Familiar anxiety returned to the unMoaning walls. As the steps to ECCHQ were closed for a last minute (and ill-advised) facelift, we became hosts to people of salary. Finishing touches were touched upon. Jokes of a certain nature were cracked.
In the right hand cave we reestablished the mapping the Commons map, the unDoc screen, the philosopher's work bench. Fortunately, the in-a-box card set still just about hung. It was oddly silent for at least a few midday minutes before Marc and the Coder Dojooers descended.
If the Matera bid prevails, it shan't be because of the the flags suddenly hanging everywhere like so much dirty laundry. ( We are taking bets if anyone will be recruited to remove them.) The jury's guided tour program itself had some definite high points. Bused up from Lecce, the well-rested commissionaires were first fêted with ten minutes of silent contemplation of the city panorama from the perch of Belvedere. A quarry or two, and then bread baking classes at a Piccianello bakery with guest flat inhabitant Nadezhda Savova. They then dispersed for lunch.
Word had gone out that the 5 member jury were to be hosted for pranza by 5 individual families. 60 families responded. Not to leave so many disappointed in their wake - a last minute call went out for suitable impostors. Katalin got a good gig; she accompanied the genuine article; she dined with one juryman, one of Lucia’s lively informants, and dearest Paolo. In a large flat that looked down on the arena of our famous I Piccolo Popolo di Piazza stunt, as they neared the meal’s sixth course the eldest child was nudged forth for a piano recital. The jury man was also a proficient pianist. Soon Paolo was being paolotic and our very own Katalin accompanied him on a tour around the rug.
I got a somewhat different assignment: Casa di Robin, a shelter for children temporarily without parents. Once an uncle, always... For some reason familiar faces from the local TV got wind of this and arrived pre-cake. Claudia reports that I was spotted on her flatscreen unpacking a mini Matera whistle with two fresh pepperoni perched above my eyeglasses. In Norway they describe such shameless behavior as being a lens louse. I got a good warm-up for my language skills, and an infinite source of future free lunches. Maybe it helped that I could explain that I've a brother named Robin. Giovanni, at the sharp age of around nine, declared that he is changing his to Bembo.
We did the unMonastery proud. As a sudden downpour further slowed down the official procession and a horde of eager onlookers amassed on our terrace. A conspiracy of three broke a taboo. We'd stopped the flow of wet feet invading our precious square meters by erecting a scrap of plastic fencing cadged from the last remaining taste of renovations on our neighbourhood. As the workers hacked the last Luigi loves Donatella declaration off the wall, we devised an exposé. The jury would be met by a multilingual confession that all was not as it always had been...
Antonio Elettico sent the next shot just after i'd put everyone through the classical unExercise of Listening to the Walls
Once again Paolo came in handy to pass out pages from the Book of unMentionables, before word went to Katalin and Piersoft.
After our six minutes in the spotlight the delegation shuffled off upstairs as dusk fell and the Sassi was filled with candle pans. Somehow every time I see more than 12 Materani in one place, I think of the deconstruction of the Bruna and fear for my movable parts; the hordes outside suddenly wanted to view the inside of the unMonastery and empty the cake plates.
In the riotous post-mortem at Baccus with our nearest and dearest, the unMonastery was thanked for rendering visible the European dimension.
– Lo nostro duro lavoro sara tanta leggendario quanto i nostri baccanali –
The next morning as jury members awoke at the Monacelle, they each received an edition of the regional newspaper from 8. oct 2020. It includes a full page announcement of the 2020 annual symposium in Composing Traditions at La Scuola di unMonastery a Matera; most of you will be leading a workshop.
Also next morning, paths crossed at the Brindisi airport, Katalin sent this report:
“I ran into the commissioners on the airport. I gave them the 15 minute intro to unMonastery. They kept asking: but somebody must have paid for people to do al this work. I kept saying, we got paid 400 euros a month, out of which 200 was voluntarily paid back into the common pot to cover food expenses.”
Humour remains high among the players three days later.