by ANDREA SCARPA - Photo by ANDREA COLZANI
A FOREIGN CITY
I arrived in Milan in November 1999, I’ve now lived here for 16 years. I came for a job interview at Radio 24, it was very cold. Milan for me, until then, was simply the place where, sometimes, I had come to see La Lazio playing at the Stadium. The city immediately seemed alien to me.
LIKE TOTO’ AND PEPPINO
The first impact was like the classic one of Totò and Peppino arriving by train…
A BIT ALLERGIC
Going to Milan, the idea of starting a job in Milan, at the beginning upset me a little bit… Let’s say I was a bit allergic to the idea.
FROM BARONA TO THE NAVIGLI
After six months I made peace with Milan, that is when I got my own place. At the beginning I lived in the suburbs with my relatives because I didn’t know if I would have stayed yet. I was in the suburbs, in Barona.
AND THEN I FELL IN LOVE
Then I got a place on the Navigli, I started to adapt to Milan, and then I fell in love with it. Just like that.
GOING BACK TO ROME?
I don’t think so. Once I was offered to move back, I thought about it… In fact, I didn’t sleep for a week and so I realized that I didn’t want to leave Milan. Then I have my daughter who lives here. Milan really became my city, Rome now feels foreign to me.
FEW FRIENDS, SUCCESS AND PARTIES
At the beginning I saw very few people. My friends in Milan, people who had moved from Rome to Milan. I’ve always worked for the radio, so I never needed to frequent the Milan that counts, I began to frequent it after La zanzara, the program that has become famous. A cult. Then I started to go out a bit more, not to the salotti, but to parties.
WHAT’S GOOD ABOUT MILAN
In my opinion what’s great about Milan has always been the total absence of an accent. Whereas in Rome there is a strong Roman accent, Milan is completely anonymous, extraordinarily anonymous, meaning that the Milanese doesn’t exist, there is the Pugliese or the Sicilian who became Milanesi, there are all kinds of accents. Now, also in Rome it happens, however you can feel a strong Romanità in bars, in places, in the street… The Milanesità, on the other hand, is sulfurous, it is almost nonexistent. And I like that.
A HUMAN SCALE CITY
This city, in my opinion, is a great place to live in, here I live like I never lived in any other city. And I lived in Sicily, when I was little; I lived in France, in Lyon, when I worked for Euronews; I lived in Paris for a year, and of course I lived in Rome. And I can say: Milan is the only city on a human scale where I happened to live.
HERE I FULFILLED MYSELF
It’s the place where I did what I wanted to do and where I got, let’s say, my small success, or at least it is where I fulfilled myself.
DESTINY IS STRANGE
Destiny is strange, so when you arrive you want to leave… If in the first months someone had told me to go back to Rome, I would have left immediately. But I found myself in Milan, in the place where I did something that will remain in the history of the radio, I hope.
LA ZANZARA AND FREEDOM
Some people see La Zanzara as a place of perdition, vulgarity and foul language. This is ridiculous, this thing doesn’t make sense. I don’t even know what foul language means, I don’t even know what vulgarity means. A word in that context has a completely different value than in others. So I think it is about envy and the desire to do the same thing, to want to be free and not having the possibility to… Because the essential tone of the program, its originality and peculiarity, its uniqueness that can’t be reproduced in another context, is that it has become a great place of freedom, where we can also make fun of the director, name him on air. You know, naming your director on air, your editor, saying his full name and sometimes joking about it, is not an easy thing to do.
LINUS AND RADIO DEEJAY?
We talked, we agreed on a few things, then I decided not to go. For the time being it wasn’t right to close a chapter. This chapter at Radio24 isn’t closed yet, maybe it will be soon, and then we’ll see. At one point while I was talking to Linus at Radio Deejay I realized that what I’m doing now hasn’t finished yet. And I told him. But we are on great terms, you must never look back on things, I made a decision and that’s what it is. For now.
COMPLAINTS AND ADMIRERS
There have been many situations in which there have been complaints, part of Confindustria is not happy with the language. But, you know, we are lucky to have a very composite editorial direction, there isn’t only one editor, there are many editors. Therefore there are always some admirers, as long as they are at least the 51 %, it’s fine…
JUST SEX AND PROVOCATION?
It’s not that we chose to set the program this way, because two years ago it was different. Today it is different again, in the future it will be different. Now the program is seen as a place where we talk about sex freely, where we use a certain language. But it isn’t like that. In two and a half hours there is a bit of everything: the high and the low. We try to make more or less serious interviews, always with our tone. Maybe we talk with a porn star about squirting … But that is our goal: to talk about the reform of the Senate and squirting soon after. It is not a simple thing, I understand, but that is our attempt.
THE NAKED TRANSSEXUAL IN THE STUDIO
I also risked the closure of the program that time: the editor didn’t like the fact that alongside with the names Radio24 and IlSole24ORE there was a naked transsexual showing his willy… Then many noticed more the dimensions than the event itself, that is, the combination of Radio24 with a willy. That was noticed only by the editors who didn’t like that combination. But we hadn’t organized it on purpose, the few times I organized something on purpose was always a failure. That’s why one should never organize things. She, Efe Bal, came to talk about the usual things, the legalization of prostitution, then she began to undress, to touch me. I clearly… In that moment you have to be lucid to get involved in what is happening, or pretend to be aloof, almost disgusted, which of course I wasn’t. But I realized that if I had participated in this thing I could have been in trouble.
IS TV A CLOSED CHAPTER?
On television it went how it went, at Mediaset, but the very fact that people remember… That someone still remembers the name of a program that closed after only one episode, Radio Belva, already means something in my opinion.
A WONDERFUL DISASTER
Radio Belva was a wonderful disaster, a wonderful disaster in organization, schedule, everything, also a disaster in the managment. But I remember it as a night of great fun, eventually there was a final consultation with the leaders of Mediaset… I laughed a bit because I knew that the program would be suspended. I’m not saying that I was happy, but I was sure that a night like that could not have a follow up. In the end, the next day, when they suspended the program I was almost relieved.
CRITICISM WORTH FRAMING
There aren’t many programs that the day after they close have a full-page on the newspapers with critical comments of all kinds, even about the language, the reason why the trash talk shows have failed, why they can no longer be proposed, why Cruciani and Parenzo will never do anything else in life… I hung them on the wall, I framed all the pages of criticism of that program.
TV NOT RADIO
I understood that it isn’t mandatory to work on television, but that we must do only the things that we like, only the things that we 100 % believe in. I hope to do so. I’m not demonizing television, although I am a man of the radio, but one must find the right project, the right things. At that time, one of the things I regret is that almost everyone was telling us that it was inevitable to make a program on TV when the radio program was so successful, it made people talk because we made jokes. That’s what we should have opposed, what we should have thought about. I didn’t have the right people to help me, I was carried away by this thing, then I thought, oh yes, let’s do television as we do on the radio, making a mess, but the rules are different.
TALK SHOWS AND BOREDOM
I don’t watch them because they bore me. I like Formigli because he always has an idea behind it that is always different from the others, because he is different, sometimes he does something original. I also find incomprehensible this absurdity of Tuesday night when two talk shows contend each other an audience that before, when there was only Floris, was 12 to 13 percent, and now they divided it into equal parts. I find this really incomprehensible.
THE MOST SUCCESSFUL PRANK
The prank involving Odifreddi was the most successful because a priest hater who prostrates himself before the Pope who calls him – our fake Pope who called him – for a controversy about the Holocaust that now no one remembers… And he keeps speaking and doesn’t let the Pope speak. He’s so full of himself that he was the only one speaking. At one point he even asks the Pope for the preface to the book, crazy.
SUING THE RADIO
He sued us for impersonation, defamation, anything… But fortunately the judges rejected it twice. Filing a lawsuit on jokes is like suing the radio. Like suing the history of radio, it would be the most ridiculous thing in the world.
My nights in Milan are at the same restaurant for many years, always the same people, home, I don’t drink much, I don’t do drugs and I don’t like cars. I like women, but everybody does.
MOSQUE HERE, CHURCH THERE
In theory building a mosque is better than having people who you don’t know where they end up praying. But the idea of having 20 mosques in Milan and not even a church in Saudi Arabia is not beautiful. A bit of reciprocity should be observed. I hope Salvini will run for mayor in Milan, so we will have a good fight. I think he should present himself as a candidate in Milan.
SALVINI IS SCARED
So far Salvini got himself elected to the European Parliament. He does the national leader of La Lega, he goes aroundfor polls, but the electoral strength of a person as a leader must be proved on the field. Milan could be a good chance, but I think he’s afraid to lose. If you are a Leghista and you lose in Milan then it’s over.
OK TO GAY ADOPTIONS AND MARRIAGE
I’m in favor of marriage and adoption. In my opinion they’d need to change only one article of the Civil Code, a small article, and say ‘all dispositions are valid also for people of the same-sex’. I am married and separated, yes. I support it with all the limitations of adoption that are for heterosexual couples… A child can easily grow up even with two men or two women.
ROME’S BAD SIDE
I can’t stand the concentration of Romanità, a group of five Romans bothers me. I don’t know why it gives me an idea of vulgarity, because it is not about vulgarity, it gives me an idea of the noise… Rome is a city where there is a lot of noise, and I can’t stand it anymore, the noise.
A VERY STRONG ACCENT
Rome is a city with very strong accents in which the tone of the people and of their being Roman is very strong. Either you live with it or you go mad.
AN EASY CITY
You can’t help to measure yourself with this thing, in Milan. It’s like living in a totally anonymous place, in which there is no strong character, there’s not one thing that during the day you feel is a burden. Or that excites you. For someone like me, who thrives on adrenaline, if I had to deal with the city I’d go crazy. The city has to be work-friendly, on a human scale, in which you have no problems.
THE OFFICE AT THE SPA
Who told you that? Yes, I am a friend of those who many years ago created it, before they created the spa. Yes, for a while, now less, I didn’t have editorial meetings at the Spa, but meetings where we decided what to do on the radio. It’s true, at the Terme di Milano, which may seem ridiculous.
THE BIGGEST FEAR
Growing old in a bad way, getting fat, not training like before, running. In short, all those normal and bourgeois things.
Someone has to bring me back to having ambitions, because I think I have done many things…
HONESTY AND TRANSPARENCY
I base all my radio on a very simple rule; intellectual honesty and transparency, meaning that I don’t have filters of any kind and I have no one to tell me do this or that. I do whatever comes into my head, and that’s that.
THE BIGGEST REGRET
Turning down a lot of money… A few years ago I turned down an offer of a lot of money. From one point of view that was a big screw up…
SEX AND BOREDOM
I could have avoided many things, many sex relationships, for example, but I didn’t avoid them. Many relationships I had with women I had out of boredom, to cover moments of boredom…
THIS IS WHO I AM
I’ve always said this is who I am. You know that sketch of Verdone’s driver’s license… I have always presented my license and also my identity card. That’s just me: I cheat, I am unfaithful.
LOVE? NO THANKS
I’m not one who says bullshit, I don’t say you’re the only woman, I madly fell in love with you. I say it is almost impossible for me to fall in love and usually I cheat. And I don’t want permanent relationships.
As a single you meet some deranged woman, who is unbalanced and doesn’t understand this point… And who is possessive, I hate the feeling of possession.
On the radio I often do reckless things without considering the consequences, but I think that’s the strength of this program and perhaps one of my strongest features.
A NICE PLACE IN MILAN
I’m fond of the Naviglio from 15 years ago… the part of the Naviglio that leaves the city, the place where I always go running, the part towards San Cristoforo. The part leading to the Barona district, the one I was telling you about, where I was at the beginning. I’ve always liked that place.