lungo lago


I was supposed to be going to the Rock Master boulder comp but it meant clashing with Milan rush hour traffic, a desperate urban drive potential of 1.5 hours. That wasn't my idea of fun so I dropped that idea. The evening was fine so I fell into line behind the couples promenading along the lakeside. It was nearly 8pm and the sun had just begun to cast orange light over Resegone and the walls of San Martino.

I ended up picking out a dvd from Blockbusters and was heading home when I passed the Sala Ticozzi. It just happened that the Gammese were hosting an evening of climbing, bonus! In fact I had known about it but had forgotten. It was the presentation of the 8th Carlo Mauri award, an annual literary award named in honour of the Italian climber and explorer who died in 1982.

The theatre was well attended, a lot of the regular faces were there, mostly middle aged and above. These kind of things never seem to attract younger people.

The award was preceded by a film directed by Fulvio Mariani of the recent Swiss/Italian attempt on Gasherbrum 4. First climbed in 1958 by a team including Riccardo Cassin, Walter Bonatti and Carlo Mauri the mountain continues to repel ascents. Kurt Diemburger has described it as "the most difficult mountain on Earth". This attempt was unsuccessful but the film, 'A Ridge between Past and War (Una cresta tra passato e guerra)', describes well what constitutes failure or success for the alpinists at a time when India and Pakistan were on the verge of nuclear war. Following the film an attractive girl introduced the awards which were dished out with uncharacteristic speed. The winners were invited to smooch it up a bit but to be honest I have no idea what their submissions had been. Nobody else seemed especially worried about this so I assume it was just me. It is quite strange to sit through an entire prize giving without knowing what it was all about.

Anyway, leaving that behind I headed off to my old apartment with the dvd. It was titled 'Kitchen Stories'. Even from the cover image I could tell it would be the kind of film I get off on. Nothing happens. It's just stuff, real stuff, you have to watch out for the nuances otherwise the films a bore. It's Swedish, or was it Norwegian? and about observation. This guy, as part of a Swedish research team is sent to observe the movements of a 'volunteer' who in this case was a solitary Norwegian farmer. The aim of the observation, (carried out from the vantage point of a high chair) was to scientifically monitor movements in the kitchen and discover how to improve efficiency. The volunteer is far from obliging and as a result just pouring a coffee becomes an event.

Sometimes things end without conclusion or punch line.