69 A fox, a beast, Jesus, a dude and a slice of lycra
It’s lunch on the streets of Milano. I’m standing on at a zebra crossing. They always remind me of the Beetles, you know the shot where they stride out across, on Abbey Road. Well this is Milano where the streets are cobbled and you ride a Vespa and stand up for your coffee.
It’s a first, warm day of Spring. Lately the weather has been low, grey, flat. Non-descript. And here’s what I see, on my way to lunch. I had no idea that the Giro was coming through town. I mean that’s what this place is like, there’s no fanfare or pomp, just the shrug of one shoulder and a single gruff word uttered – Giro – as if the world’s greatest athletes come past every day. See the orange t’shirt dude and the girl with pink hair walking past the column on the opposite side of the street – he couldn’t care less, she couldn’t care less. What the hell is the Giro in any case. Clearly, either American or oblivious, or both.
From left to right. A guy in a high viz vest, he’s got his back to what’s going on, typical, he’s herding away, god knows who, but he’s official.
Next is my Silver Fox. Nice shoes. Suede loafers. And a pressed shirt. But then what Italian man would be seen dead in a crinkle? His bike is very smart. Maroon. And shiny. But a woman’s bike, but no basket so I reckon it’s actually his for getting from apartment to work on sunny days. Look at him. All designer. Glasses. Watch. Slim, cool thread of a bracelet. Cigarettes, top left pocket. Chinos. Sleeves rolled up just so. Third generation, design family.
Beside the Fox, a chap who likes sport and to drink with his friends. Everything about him is practical. The baskets on his bike, his bike-lock. I suspect it is his bike as the seat is precisely adjusted to his hip. He’s married and still loves his wife, I can tell by the precise shape of his beard. He does this for her, or for his Receptionist. What I love most about this Mauve Breasted Beast is his love of the game, his smile, his child like nature, lost in the moment. He claps.
Central to my shot is Jesus. Prostrate on his cross. Proud of his badges all six of them, seven if you include his buckle. Jesus is practical. Gloves for the cold. Or for formality. A flashing light if required. A pithy helmet, a gun and a broad reach. Though not so broad, our legion of law is vertically challenged, though I find his angry focus comforting. Perhaps his eye gaze is on the stragglers, those who are yet to pass, making up the rear, completing the stage for the others. I sense he relates.
Then there’s a fit dude. A cyclist himself. A tshirt that places eyes on his pecks. Fashionable long shorts. His pockets bulge, I can’t help but wonder, what with? He looks sad, lost in thought, worried for the new wife he has left at home after refusing her lunch, on the pretence of a work meeting across town, yet what draws him the charms of another body. Someone new and funny. Some fresh and with no interest beyond the sheets. This is what weighs him down, this is what makes his heart so heavy and fills his pockets - that his love at home is not enough, that he has made a terrible mistake and that home is the last place he wishes to be. Gold running shoes et al. And now this Giro has made him late and on the other side of the road he has spotted his mother in law. And he tries to make himself invisible, but what with the groovy haircut and the gold wings of Nike on his ankles, invisibility is impossible. And it takes all his strength to stand here like this watching cyclists and life flash before him, wishing with all his heart he could mount his bike and go with them, these men on machines powered only by their legs. And then he could leave Milano and its mistakes behind him. When in reality, ahead all he can see is a tangle of lies.
Far right, the slice of a Cyclist. Unless able to decode his identity by the colour of his lycra and the makings of a number four, his simply implies for us, fact. Fact that the Girl did pass through my town. Fact that all have been halted, asked to stop, to let them pass. Me included.