13 March 2009

la primavera, contorni

This will be the last post in this little mini-series loosely based on the approach of Spring. I really need to find time to get to a thrift store soon, so I can bring this blog back to some semblance of it's original self.

Here we have an interesting old cotton neck tie, perfect with a chambray sport coat in the warmth of late Spring: from one of the innumerable long-gone men's shops that every town with college boys and grown men used to have. Anybody out there go to Princeton and shop at Langrock?In case you're wondering, those guys on the tie are from an Italian deck of cards. The standing figure, il Fante, is sort of equivalent to the Jack, and the rider on the horse, il Cavallo, would sort of be the Queen. Since Italian card suits only contain 10 cards, these two would also represent 8 and 9.

Here we see them on a very worn out, greasy old deck that belonged to my grandparents, Peppino and Elvira:

They played these cards for hours every night after supper. They had been playing their whole lives, but I think they used this deck for at least ten years. My brother and I used to sit and play Briscola and Scopa with them at night sometimes. I remember being about 12 years old, in their apartment with some friends of theirs visiting. The air was thick with cigarette smoke. Nonna let me drink a little bit of stove top espresso, or "black coffee" as it was sometimes called. ( as opposed to drip, or "brown coffee", suitable only for Americans with weak constitutions). I guess that explains a lot.They both used to cheat, a lot. Peppino was clumsy about it, he'd always get caught. Elvira liked to deal from the bottom of the deck.

Here we see the four Aces, as injected into the skin of my left forearm, a memorial to Elvira:

top to bottom: Denari, Coppa, Bastoni, Spade

Gasp! My tattoos! I guess you've seen them peeking out of my shirt sleeve here and there. When summer hits and the tennis shirts come out of the storage box, they'll be in every picture. Consider this a warm up. Every year, someone whose used to seeing me in shirts and ties is taken completely by surprise.

What's this post got to do with menswear? Very little. With Spring? Even less. This blog seems to be headed in a direction of it's own, sometimes. Could be that having a new baby in the house has got me thinking a lot more about Family, Tradition, and "The Old Days" lately. Maybe I should change the name. Any suggestions?


Anonymous said...

No problem here with the forays into non-clothing topics--just so long as you always come back, eventually, to the clothes.

Old School said...

From the Princeton Alumni Weekly on Langrock in 1955:


Anonymous said...

I see no need whatsoever for you to change the name of your blog. However, if you do, might I suggest that the new name include the word "tradition".

The word tradition comes from the Latin "traditio" which means "handing over, passing on". This Latin meaning seems to apply quite well to thrift shop-acquired articles of clothing, anecdotes/recollections of one's family,
and advice.

Memphis88 said...

That's an awesome tribute to your grandmother. If they are not too personal, you should do a post about your tattoos and their significance.

initials CG said...

Nah...you take the direction where ever you feel. I like it the way it is.

ADG said...

Great post. Don't lament the randomness of your topics! This one was superb. What a great story of iconography but an even greater revelation about your grandparents and then...to top it off...your tattoos. I've got 3 of 'em myself. Not remaining grandparents...tattoos.

ajvphilp said...

isn't clothing about projecting an authentic image of you? If so, excursions to other aspects of individual taste seem appropriate. It's your blog after all!

Pitboss12 said...

I agree with all the comments above. Many of the best blogs out there don't stick to strictly to one area. They wander from clothing to art/design to exotic places and personal history. I think that your non-clothing related posts are just as interesting as the clothing related ones.

Anonymous said...

That was a fun post! I would have never guessed that you have such an adventurous tattoo.

Like yourself, I come from an Italian background (Percy Chatsworth is a pseudonym, obviously), and I have grown up with those funny cards. The leaf things (Bastioni?)always make me laugh; they have such funny faces.

Sadly, I am terrible at any type of card game, which is why I'm almost never included with after-dinner games of scoppa. My father always chooses my brothers in law over me when it comes to playing with partners.

-Percy Chatsworth

ms. mindless said...

i don't think you need to change the name of your blog. but i agree with the anon. commenter, any new title should have the word tradition. i am toying with changing my blog name as well....

Giuseppe said...

Ols School,

Thanks for the link. What a perfect story!

Everyone else,

Thanks for the votes of confidence.

Giuseppe said...


the three of clubs, or tre di bastoni, with that weird looking bearded face in the middle...very funny, especially to a little American kid.

Anonymous said...

Howzabout "Tradition Unlimited"?

John Cooke said...

Love the post and the fact your tattoo has a story behind it. I find it interesting as i'm of mixed blood and my tattoo also represents that.

Keep on with the interesting posts Giuseppe, no matter how much they digress!



heidi said...

I have commented on the ink before.... nice to have the whole explanation. It's fascinating to me, the juxtaposition of the conservative style, opposite the big tatoo.