Tommy belonged to the old guard of the Italians in London.
He worked illegally and at the same time he perceived the weekly unemployment allowance which officially was due for being fired from the factory where he had previously worked.
But according to his personal opinion it was instead a form of reimbursement of the taxes paid in those years.
Afterwards, he sentenced, in a society like the English, where a pair of gloves for fox hunting cost a hundred pounds (that he was more or less how much he earned for a selling mirrors for a month in the street ( inclusive of Saturdays and Sundays) is not surely up to the proletarians like him make economy.
Moreover he had to defend himself in some way from the inflation invented by bankers and masters to exploit the working class.
And since the escalators in London were only in the subway, he defended himself by perceiving that little government aid that, coupled with the variable payroll of the mirrors, allowed him to live quietly.
Tommy (as they called him in London, but his real name was Tommaso) was a bourgeois guy, of those who, in the eyes of the majority, could never justify their anxiety or their dissatisfaction in the society.
High, long-limbed, and with regular facial features (I admired him and a little envied him for the ease with which he attracted the women’s gaze) Tommy was endowed with a willing and determined character that, combined with his affectionate and altruistic charisma, instinctively wore you to love him, well despite some of his contradictions which himself was unable to explain and which he did not even realize.
But the latter thing was a common trait of the generational movement which I also belonged to.
He had left Rome in the early seventies, when the dream of a more liberal society had already been broken on the barriers of respectability and bourgeois hypocrisy. So, disappointed by the betrayal of that working class in whose union he, activist of the student movement, had blindly believed; still overwhelmed by that youthful rage that in the ideal years of '68 had released the highest vital energy; shocked, unbelieving, that the bloody boom was just the outbreak of an air bubble rather than the first crunch of the fatal collapse of a weary system, to be cut off at all costs; with the desire to forget and to find the more than ever living animosities of emancipation; driven by the fascinating cultural appeal of the new frontier of the movement, which in the shadow of the Big Ben sought refuge and regeneration in those years where the instances and the search for a new identity of a restless and shaky West seemed to find, if not an answer, at least a reverberation of hope and ransom in the crises and illusions of Oriental myths, of which the capital of the former British Empire for its past colonial and vocation constituted the ideal and secure outpost; uncertain, helplessly, confused, and bitterly left almost passively dragged to London by one of those energetic currents, as mysterious and inexplicable as invisible and uncontrollable that impetuously are capable of dragging the fate of whole peoples and nations.
- "You bloody scared me," it was his lusty response.
- "Excuse me Tommy! You were so overwhelmed that I could not resist the idea of a joke. How are you?- "Well, well .... And you? Did you find a job at last?
-"Yes I did! A company for which I have worked in the past has promised me to summon me ..... maybe next week ....! Do you know those machines that turn milk into cream, hang on by souvenir shops along the streets ...? "
- "Ah, yes, I seem to have noticed them, sometimes. Tourists seem to be crazy for them, don’t they?-" surely they do! But also British seem to like them a lot.
- "Then it is even better! How much do they pay you? "
- "I work a 10%, ‘you know?"
- "And how it comes weekly?"
-"I do not know! It depends on the position! There at Oxford Street there would be a lot, but I will not be sure of that! Given my past experience, however, I could also have a good pitch! Ihope well...
- "I have spoken to my boss anyway! I was waiting for you to call me at home ... "
- "Yes, I called you, but you didn’t seem to be there..."
-"Didn’t I?! When did you call? "
- "He said the place is available for you"
- "well I'm glad hearing it; thank you. Anyway, I try in the ice cream now; Later, if they do not give me good wages, I might be asking them .... "
- "As you like! Do not worry, the work here is easy. And then maybe you'll take my place. Here is good enough ... "- "How are you leaving?"
- "I’m going back to Italy"
- "Do you go on holiday?"
- "No, not on vacation. I'm meditating a more challenging step, a more important choice. Here in London I just broke. Think that yesterday the police broke into the house while there was no one and when I came back I found all my stuff out of the door ... "-"Do not tell me! Another certainty of London that crumbles .. "
I was genuinely sorry for that news, not just for my friend, but for the fact in itself. I paid five pounds of rent for my furnished room on Caledonian Court Road, but I had always been fascinated by these free-lance communities that in London were called squatting houses, because, according to my way of thinking at that time, it was more appropriate to occupy unlived houses that let them empty and lifeless.At that time, I only considered the sociological and cultural aspect of the squatting phenomenon without worrying about the economic aspect, especially from the point of view of the owners of the houses .
Anyway, so things were going to happen, even if the situation was to change seriously very soon.
- "Bloody Hell," Thomas continued, "only last year they would not be allowed to do such a thing! Crushing a squatting! "
- "I heard that they were about to issue a new Squatting Act .... do they have already done it?"
-"No I do not think so. I would have known if they did. The Conservatives are still on the opposition but they are getting stronger ... "
- "I have sheltered in the house of friends, in Fulham; They are organized; There is always someone at home and if they all leave, especially in the evening, they leave the lights on. And even the houses on the side are occupied by squatters: families of unemployed workers, poor devils. There they will not dare to break through …"
- "So you're okay, right?"
- "Yeah, maybe it was all there!"
- "No! Enough it’s enough!" He interrupted me abruptly, "I want to go back to earth, I have to tie myself to my past, to my true story! And, by the way, what movement are you talking about?"
13. to be continued...