Alex Del Piero, by Tommaso Labranca
Tribute to the master of trash, from the latest book by GOG Edizioni.
Tommaso Labranca was a great writer and television author, the one who was the first to award one spiritual dignity to the term “garbage”, and eventually became one of his staunchest defenders and supporters. A keen observer and, in his own way, a sociologist of the merry-go-round that has populated the last twenty years, with all its protagonists: falsely engaged intellectuals, marketing experts on vacation, entertainment situationists, conceptual artists, coercive and neo-proletarians. And sports too. Sport that marked its ontological difference and also its exclusion in a republic founded on soccer. To the point that Labranca loathed their myths, perhaps precisely because they were (unnecessarily) revered.
ALEX DEL PIERO,by Tommaso Labranca
Strange how you can have no football faith at all and yet detest the exponents of this world. At least the very famous ones, of which it is impossible not to have passive news, since their presence goes beyond the pages of newspapers dedicated to stadium events. So they spread in the gossip stories for their frequent new loves, on the shows because they sing or DJ for charity, on the crime news because they get embroiled in business scandals as perfect Bietoloni. And between the sports, entertainment and chronicle sections of the newspapers, there are huge ad pages in which the protagonists are the same footballers, whose big face dominates the product, which sometimes doesn’t even appear.
There are footballers I only know because they are promoting something and only after a while does someone tell me that they are a football hero and not just a role model. I recognize my ignorance in two cases. First case: When I regularly hear the name of the Nobel Prize winner in literature every year and realize that I have never read anything by him, I don’t even know his name. It is humiliating to see how, the day after, all the authors interviewed by the editors of the cultural supplements showed, without envy, a precise knowledge of the concerns, the problems and the value of the prizewinners. Second case: When a player is nearby and I don’t recognize him.
On a Saturday afternoon in Milan heading towards San Babila, I was the only one walking on one side of the sidewalk while everyone crowded the other side. I thought there had been an accident. Only later did they tell me that Gullit was in a boutique. There was no internet yet, and with some difficulty I found out who it was. But then I never forgot it, but only for the hairstyle. I also need cross references to keep track of the Japanese ideographs. So for Alex Del Piero I referenced certain doodles that are designed like printed circuit boards and that he could create with a beard. It was these Anti-Loosian decorations that made me recognize him, although I kept pretending in society that I didn’t know who he was.
It always remains to ignore every element of the football universe a classic of snobberythe surest way to mark the territory between the circus-hungry populace and you.
Although forced, this attitude of rejecting the leather ball may have its origins extraterrestrial. Who knows, maybe when I was an embryo I fell off an alien spacecraft that was flying over Lombardy, carrying genetic material towards the Trifid Nebula. And certainly they didn’t even notice it on board.
So I found a father who had a Korean transistor transmitting instead of a right ear All football minute by minute, I ended up in classrooms full of kids just waiting to let off steam with the ball at halftime. Willing to exclude me among colleagues for not knowing the meaning of the term “praise”. Sentenced to suffer for non-stop football that invades television from Saturday to Monday. Sitting in trams next to people doing the exegesis of Gazetta dello Sport as if it were an obscure passage from the Torah.
How I was able to live in that soccer pool without getting infected is a mystery that can only be explained with the hypothesis of my extraterrestrial origin. In 1986, the case happened in a small hotel on the outskirts of Cologne, where I was at a trade fair because I was the only Italian reading Novalis in the garden, while my compatriots left the stands and roared in front of live transmissions from Mexico. The older Germans They looked at me like monkeys in the zoo.
And every time a World Cup returns, I return with nostalgia for the poetry of Novalis. But I confess that the eye cannot smack haughtily over the pages of the newspapers, stopping instead to read the misadventures of a handful of estrogenic and greasy children, more fragile than a gingerbread man. I may hate them because they are revered. They are forgiven for falling into drug addiction and are offered free meals in restaurants. So one night I decided to take revenge.
It was February 1999 and I was working in Sanremo at the dopo festival. One evening among the guests there really is Alex Del Pierowhat I knew of the elaborate pogonological structure of the face.
He was tanned like the Julio Iglesias of his heyday and was leaning on a crutch recovering from some injury to part of a lower limb. He was accompanied by several football managers, like the Pope when he advances between cardinals, secretaries and bodyguards. In fact, they were more numerous around him than around the Pope. Alex Del Piero walked on, staring into space amidst the awed drooling of those present.
It fell to me to greet him and persuade him to stay for the duration of the program instead of just a few minutes as the thoughtful executives would have liked, «so as not to tire him». As I approached the group I was tempted to do it…I was about to… I should have done it… then instead I thought it wasn’t worth it. But it would have been fantastic to arrive in front of the small group of executives, the small crowd that had formed around them and ask with a confused expression: «Which one of you is Mr… er…. (quick look at folder with guest list) Del Piero?».
The book can be purchased on the GOG Edizioni website at this link: Labrancoteque | gog editions