Thursday, 30 June 2005

What's in a Name?

I love the names of shops here, the way that they use English (or rather english) to attract attention rather than to mean anything. It's a form of tourist vulgarity I suppose. So there is an ice-cream shop very close to the Duomo called "Very Good!" - with the exclamation mark, that's important. I like that one. Then there is the use of the phrase "Self-Service", of which it appears nobody in Italy knows the exact meaning. You see it in restaurants that are certainly not self-service, and I have seen it over the entrance to a....clothes shop! Now what can that possibly mean? Another of my favourites is a shop on via dei Calzaiuoli, a rather posh street leading from the Duomo eventually down to the Piazza della Signoria. It is called "expensive!", that's with the small "e", and the exclamation mark. Is that a sort of piss take of tourists who are easily parted with their money, or maybe it's directed at the Italians who wouldn't quite get the sfumature of the word? I might buy something there just to have the bag with the name on it.

Classes are going well, in the sense that nothing has changed. Yesterday one of the barons said that he was conscious that some of the doctoral students might have trouble following so his paper would be directed at us and apologised to his colleagues who would know all this already - he then proceeded to give exactly the same paper he had written for the seminar, written for his colleagues. A couple of us asked questions but there were not really listened to. This is not for us. I don't really know what to say about all this. I'm torn between enjoying the high level of philology and the complete lack of respect for the context.

We were supposed to eat with some of the students who had travelled from the south but they didn't wait for us and started eating without us. We didn't join them. It didn't seem worth it after such bad manners.

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