Once again this year an international setting will be hosting the presentation of the Calendar. This time the chosen city is London,
a city made fascinating by the fact that it is a European, Arabian and Oriental capital all rolled into one. A city which throbs to
the beat of culture, thanks to the presence of brand new museums and old exhibition spaces which have been renovated. A city which
continues to be the global hub of trends, thanks partly to the wealth of auction houses, great antique dealers and art galleries.
And it is right in the heart of London that the Calendar will be presented, in November 2014, in one of the most
outstanding international museums, the Royal Academy of Arts, featuring Naples as protagonist of an absolute merger with the British
capital, thanks to the photos of Massimo Listri. The Naples of Sir William Hamilton and his collections, of the visitors who took part
in the Grand Tour, the Naples of the places, palaces, monuments and artists, Capital of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, with its
magnetic attraction for painters, composers, novelists and playwrights.
The Calendar will bring that Naples to London, a city which continues to exercise a special charm over me, with its evasive nature.
“So easy to look at, so hard to define”. And just like in the novels of the great English female novelists, from Jane Austen to Ivy
Compton Burnett, in London, everything seems to happen between one meal and another, offstage so to speak, in an invisible and
inviolable “elsewhere”… privacy guaranteed.
The first impact with this city, and here Agnello Hornby (“La mia Londra”, 2014) is right, can be a little difficult: zero flexibility.
“If it works, why change?”. A wall. It is almost as though we need a course on how to live with the English, as suggested by Agnello H.
Yet still..., yet still... what initially seems to be nothing more than abstract formalism and absence of flexibility is actually
respect for the past and, at the of the day, for others, and can be an opportunity. If you accept the rules, the opportunities for
success are many and the hard work pays off.
London, probably more than any other place I’ve been, is not just a city to see, but also one to listen to.
The language, the way of speaking, the tone and the accents distinguish its inhabitants, by class, origin and profession and, at the same
time, they provide a common ground with which to identify.
It is easy to be affected by the precision of the language, the propriety and the accuracy of the vocabulary, and the courtesy, which is
sometimes slightly amusing, that seems to characterise every single sentence pronounced.
“If, during a lawsuit, the opposing lawyer goes beyond what is sustainable and bypasses all good sense - says Agnello – an Englishman will
say, in a very flat tone of voice, “interesting”, raising one eyebrow slightly, or maybe even both”.
This is the cultural baggage of a process which began possibly in 1755, with the publication of Samuel Johnsosn’s Dictionary of the English
Language, which offered the different peoples that were creating the British Empire “a sense of identity and pride in being the subjects of
such a great realm”. Way back then, Samuel Johnson. His home is still intact and if you would like to visit it, you will be accompanied by
volunteers who will answer your questions free of charge and will make sure that nothing gets damaged.
Obviously the fascinating city narrated by Alberto Arbasino in “Lettere da Londra” or at the end of “Fratelli d’Italia”, no longer exists.
You cannot visit the masters of literature, music and theatre with the ease of the young A.A. However, we invite you to seek, in this huge
metropolis, your own personal paths, following a literary, musical, pictorial, film-related or even a culinary itinerary.
Having always loved eating, even as a child I envied this population which eats five meals a day. And I sampled the delights reserved for
me by an aunt with a passion for all things British. Since then, every trip has been characterised by the consumption of butters, honeys,
sweet and savoury pies, cakes, jams, tarts, an endless variety of teas and meat served with the most unusual sauces.
There’s a London for everyone… And I look forward to seeing you there.
Generoso di Meo