London is now such a bright, electric place, so different from the London of the Sixties, gloomy and depressing (apart from the pop & rock music of the time, which was absolutely fantastic: the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, The Shadows, The Animals, The Who, The Kinks, Donovan, Pink Floyd etc. Wow!)
I remember a melancholy evening at Piccadilly Circus, August 1967 I think. It had been such a rainy day I was wondering why the hell I had decided to spend my much-awaited vacation in such a horrid climate. Suddenly this guy came up to me asking cautiously if I wanted any blue movie. His face was so unusual since he was weirdly blonde but with dark skin, this dirty offer making him look even more equivocal (the colour combination struck me: I had seen only black Africans so far but surely no blonde guys like that.)
Well, that ambiguous person’s episode in Piccadilly Circus became in my young mind like the symbol of a society I found decadent, unmoving, traditionalist: everything looked old and demodé (cars, doors and windows handles, and those incredibly small wooden houses with two floors and wooden creaky stairs.)
Italian society was instead very active and inventive at that time (see pictures above and below.) It had recently experienced its post-war economic boom together with Germany and Japan: the three big losers of WW2 had economies weirdly blooming, while the winners (in Europe) were stagnating.
Italy for instance was Europe’s China in some ways (although on a smaller scale) and produced very good (and cheap) products which swept the European and World markets. Italian cars, it is an example, were both inexpensive and excellent and were sold everywhere, from Europe to Russia and India.
London now, quite reversely, is not any more annihilated by the loss of her empire and is so future-oriented. Such a great capital again, London! Italy instead, struggling desperately to be inventive again is ending up in just stagnation.
The ups and downs of life.