New Website


There is a story to this find.

On my way back from Rome, first with an airplane to Lamezia Terme where heavy rainclouds made the airplane shake heavily while descending from the skies, then on a train, seated at the sea-view side in the sun, it happened that I completely dozed away. I felt so relaxed in the puffing train (that moved on diesel, not on electricity, and stopped in ever more exotic small village stations where just few people got on or off, mostly Russian tourists, strangely enough, who made me think of Russian composers and writers who at the end of the nineteenth century flooded the spa’s and the Italian cities, but the thought disappeared soon enough and got into fragmentations, containing the Ukraine invasion, Soviet times and bad taste of the new rich,- who were not on this train, obviously.) that only after a text message (“where are you”) I got back to the reality of moving toward the station where I actually should get off, and which, as informed by the conductor, I was just leaving. I looked out of the window, and yes, there it passed, the stone, tomblike bench I had been seated on a couple of times this year while waiting for a train,-always announced by a penetrating thin megaphone voice and a long running fast tinkling bell. The next stop was Nicotera.

The station was right in between Nicotera town (visible uphill) and Nicotera mare (visible downhill). I encountered four drunk German tourists,- no party tourists, these were well in their midlife years, and had enjoyed a long supper, so was my impression. They waited for the same train. It would arrive in seventy-five minutes. As at all the small stations on the coastal track, the buildings are a pleasant bread-crust coloured brown, closed, the plants are growing on and on for their own sake, palm trees, reeds and evergreens on their conquest of surfaces. The storage houses are closed, some heavy rusted tools lie around, and any sign of life goes back a couple of years.

My walk out of the station, up on an asphalt road with some houses left and right, their balcony doors opened to a setting sun and the indigo line of land that was Sicily, dragging a red suitcase on wheels that added a ruttedirut sound to my steps, was with a low simmering hope to actually find a bar where I could wait. A man came out on the balcony; he responded that they used to have a bar, but it was closed years ago. (Later, a few minutes before the train arrived I found out that from this very station a night train to Turin, way up in the north, would leave every evening. Probably there was a time when the mere mentioning of the name of that city evoked images of modern life, far away from poverty and rural hardship.)

I had to wait. And when I heard the various sounds of the leaves, the sea washing upon the shore, I realised that the concept of boredom and waiting had disappeared from my life thanks to my dealings with sound and the recordings I had made all through the years, all of them on tape.

And then I decided to walk in the direction of the storage house at the farthest end of the platform, to sit on the small strip in front of it and look at the sunset. From that place I had an open view on Stromboli and the sun sinking in the sea. But before I arrived I spotted a car radio, leaned against the wall. I thought of a walk through the streets of Berlin with my friend Harold Schellinx. He is always at the look out for pieces of magnetic tape, and has developed a third eye for spotting the pieces of tape whirled around lampposts or tangled up in hedges. In Berlin he found a car radio with a tape stuck in it.

Well, I be damned, I thought. It would be really a real big coincidence if I would not find a tape in that thing, I thought following that first and second thought. My medal of honour, was my closing thought.

I was disappointed that it took only half a minute to get the tape out.

After that I sat, watched and listened (of which only two minutes to the tape; it had Italo disco on it. I preferred the wind moving the leaves of the trees, the sea in the back ground.)

I was alone. The Germans had long gone, in a taxi.

This entry was posted in Calabria, short story, Sound walk and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.