In October, I took part in the travel literature festival in Venice, Invito al Viaggio, in conversation with the British Muslim travel writer Tharik Hussain. Our conversation was moderated by Shaul Bassi.
Take a look — it’s a great conversation (though I didn’t realize how much I fiddle with my hands…..)
In late October I spent an afternoon at a country western festival in Bologna, Italy. It was the very last day of the two weekends that the festival took place, and I was eager to see what it was like: though I have been to wild west and country festivals in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France and the Czech Republic, I have only been to a couple of them in Italy.
This one, called “Festival Country,” took place at the Bologna Fairgrounds, and it shared space in a cavernous hall with a sort of “October Fest” beer festival (featuring what was presented as German food). In a separate cavernous hall there was a so-called “Irish Festival:” vaguely Celtic music, and stalls that mainly seemed to sell “Lord of the Rings” type clothing…..
The path to all three led through the grim industrial landscape of the Fair buildings…..
Once there, what did I find?
The scene — at least on the day I was there — was a sort of distillation of all the most common stereotypes associated with “the west,” “the frontier,” “country-western,” and, in a certain way, “America.”