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Archive 2011

The rice-weeders

I decided to try to do a [small] media project-slash-presentation with some of my photos that could include text and/or sound. I wanted to keep this as simple as possible. The result is extremely modest, but I have worked seriously at it. It gave me a taste of how much work goes into these kind of projects. There are a few mistakes that I was not able to correct, as for some reason at some point the program decided to revert the whole project back to the first draft and all other changes were lost (I managed to find this version in the bin!). I also wish the quality of the photos was better – I am not sure if it’s a matter of program used or camera…

Anyway, here it is:

Early last june I went back to Novara for a week. Among the bric-a-brac I found an old cassette: a few years ago I had decided to secretly tape my grandad talking and telling the stories from his youth. 

Unfortunately the recording is too low quality to be incorporated into any project. Nonetheless I have decided to transcribe his stories one by one as he was telling them. 

This is one of them.

Free translation:

The rice-weeders
Once upon a time, during summer time, the rice needed weeding…        
You don’t get to see them anymore, but back then…
They used to take these girls to work the season or 40 days
They were all from Parma or thereabout
And back then we were 18, 20 years old
And we went everywhere by bicycle…
And the girls were living in the sheds in the countryside
just outside Novara,
and during daytime they were weeding in the rice fields
but at night-time, what would they do?
They would go out in the front yard and dance…
And so there was always one of us with a concertina,
another one playing the trumpet,
but you couldn’t see much, because there was not light;
only if the moon was out you could just get a glimpse…
You danced and danced
patapim patapom…
One saturday night,
it was the 4 or 5 of us
we go and the girls are there
and we stopped to chat…
And this one girl, was very nice
you could tell she was kind
and we decided to meet the day after,
for they didn’t work on Sundays.
On Sunday we go
and as soon as I see her I think to myself:
‘Is she THAT one?’
O dear, she had a beautiful voice but she was so ugly!
Such a nose!
And she kept saying to the other girls: ‘Look for Dante!’
But I replied: ‘He’s very sorry, but he couldn’t come’
since because of the darkness she didn’t know what I looked like either…
Well, anyway,
that’s pretty much it…


3 thoughts on “The rice-weeders

  1. Hi again. I like this very much with the footsteps, but the story (when read) is full of sound… and I really think it might be an idea to play the tape recording anyway. Try another one..? Despite low ‘quality’ I think in the context of the accompanying typed-up words and the eerie and gentle nature of the photographs I think it would work here precisely because of the low quality. Also what about some singing on there also…maybe mixed low in the back like a memory? Steve

    Posted by stevemepstedblog | August 30, 2011, 3:33 pm
    • I need to find a way to transfer the recording from tape to the computer – any idea? The recorder was quite far from him and the audio is pretty low that’s the problem… i guess if i could get the track onto digital then i can polish it a little…

      Posted by Alice C. Macchi | August 30, 2011, 3:48 pm
  2. che bellezza, mi sono immaginata che voce potesse avere questo nonno e come suonassero gli accenti…
    Grazie! 🙂

    Posted by ladoratrice | November 6, 2011, 6:42 pm

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