LA PINA (Orsola Branzi)
Milanese from Firenze, 45 years old, speaker

TWICE A YEAR WE GO TO TOKYO. OVER THERE WE CHARGE OUR BATTERIES

by ANDREA SCARPA - Photo by ANDREA COLZANI

Video 1 La Pina and Emiliano Pepe
WE MET AT THE RADIO
P – We met in the hallway of the radio station. For me, in the end, Milan is the radio. Everything that happens to me happens here, and being here every day of the year… Thankfully, Emiliano, you passed through here…
THE CHOICE
E – I chose Milan, I wasn’t ‘forced’ to come here. I’ve always found Milan is wonderful. I like it so much.
THE FIRST STEPS
E – I arrived at the Stazione Centrale, the first time I came to Milan, and I was told to take the tram number 33. I saw it coming from afar and, even if I ran to catch it I didn’t get there in time. I thought to myself: ‘God, How long will I have to wait now?. On the contrary, it passed immediately, within two minutes (a good sign, I would say).
FIORUCCI, MILAN AND THE SURROUNDINGS
P – I came to Milan as a child, I was 3 years old. My dad had designed the Fiorucci store in New York and so he brought the family here… My mom designed Fioruccino. We were an aggregated colony in Galleria Passarella, when Elio’s (Fiorucci) store was there. After that I lived in Milan for the schools, then I went to study in Bologna, then I went to live in Varese, and then I came back to Milan. But let’s say that in Milan I live for the radio and Emiliano, which are the only two things I care about in life. For the rest, I like travelling and getting out from here. I like coming back here, I like the fact of having a home here.
CONVENIENT BUT COLD
P – Milan is a convenient city for those who work. Meaning that if you have things to do, it can be very practical, it can also be very adverse if you don’t have things to do, because it isn’t a warm or friendly city. It’s a city of service and facilities.
YOU CAN FIND WHAT YOU NEED
P – Other cities have more personality, perhaps even in the walls, in the streets, in the history. Milan is a city that is defined by the fact that you can find what you need. They deliver it at home, if you need, in a short time, it’s functional… I often post things on my social networks and people say: ‘Only in Milan these things (can happen).’
HOW MUCH YOU OWE TO MILAN
P – I think people owe to themselves the things (they are able to do). And being able to find them in the place where they are. That’s what I understood traveling. Emiliano and I often travel extensively, we had the experience of Pechino Express for example…. Therefore, even more so, you are and find what you’re looking for.
MY CITY
P – It is made of this place that is home, of some restaurants, some friends. But especially home… Milan is at hand, is convenient, it comes to you, in your favor. There are cities that are more challenging, perhaps the city where you come from, Naples, is a more difficult city.
INTIMACY AND THE METROPOLIS
E – Definitely. On the one hand it preserves the privacy of relationships.
P – It preserves it, yes.
E – And on the other, it’s an international metropolis…
THE MILANESIZZAZIONE
P – I think Milan flattens people, so you become Milanese in that sense. Socially you have an image that becomes more anonymous with regards to traditions. Then, fortunately, people have their own traditions at home, their habits, that they follow and respect.
SERENADE SERVICE
P – Now there is even a serenade service in Milan. If only I knew that… I think serenades are something that makes a difference, that makes you say: ‘We are in a civilized city.’ There is a singer who comes to sing a serenade at your house, as in Naples the night before the wedding. These are steps forward, in my opinion. However, in the end, I had him singing a serenade. Because we have a friend who plays neomelodico in Milan, Tony Arca, and on the radio I made him play the serenade.

Video 2
THE CRISIS SEEN FROM HERE
P – Working on radio I realize that objectively there has long been a major economic crisis, but not only: there is an ideological crisis.
THE RISK OF SOLITUDE
P – There is strong disorientation. I feel it a lot and I also feel a strong fear of loneliness. Not to be part of what was the social structure of the past, and being hired in a big company, working there for life and dying there… The ability to invent things, where there isn’t a cultural and also emotional formation, unleashes great fears.
POSH CITY
P – This is a city for posh people. So, either you are into the right things, posh things, or else you’re very isolated. More than in other cities, in my opinion.
WHAT’S GOOD IS…
E – I like, for example, recycling rubbish… I’m way better than her at recycling.
NEVER NOW
P – I wouldn’t want to get here now, it would be so challenging… Then from Florence, no… If there is one thing that Milan teaches you is that if you work well, you work hard, you make it…
E – I find that Milan is a very meritocratic city.
WORKING WELL PAYS OFF
P – Working well pays off, and this is something that gives me a lot of confidence, since I am very good… In Milan, people work 360 degrees. They don’t not stop at five.
NERVOUSNESS AND ANGRY ELDERLY
P – The rudeness, nervousness in Milan, the angry elderly.
E – Yes, the angry elderly, young people who get angry with old people…
P – The disrespect, always thinking that the person next to you is stealing something from you… like 10 cm of parking space. Seriously, what are they stealing from you?
E – Milan is the classic city where if you see someone on the ground.
P – You go straight past…
E – Yes, people find it hard to stop the car and help out…
RELOADING IN TOKYO
P – In Milan I feel constrained when, looking around in shops and supermarkets, I don’t see anything new. And then we go to Tokyo, twice a year we go to Tokyo. Over there we recharge our batteries and then we try to make our Tokyo here. In the sense of thinking things their way. We study Japanese in order to be able to stay there a little longer. When you will do I Giapponesi siamo noi, we would like to do the theme song!
NEAPOLITAN FRIENDS
E – The first times that my friends from Naples came here, and I used to hang out in that type of places, I took them to the Hollywood…
P – Good thing you’ve changed!
JAPANESE FRIENDS
P – The Japanese friends are delicate, they have to be protected. Some rudeness is annoying, I feel a bit ashamed , but I take them to the center. They like to see the sights, the Duomo, the shops. And then to eat. They go crazy for the food.
PROUD OF…
P – When our Japanese friends, and even our friends from Naples, go away, we like Milan more. All in all it always ends up that we’re pretty proud of the place where we are. Because we make them feel good.
CERTAIN FOSSILS
P – However, one thing I hate are these kinds of pasticcerie here in Milan, of the old Milan. They suck, with their 5 euro coffees, with those ladies who smell of mothballs, with their cups. Those places where: ‘Want to take a photo of a chocolate? You can’t!’. But who is going to copy that?
PRO-MOSQUE
P – This must be a city that guarantees one’s rights, not one that imposes them. We are pro-mosque, we are pro-temple, we are pro-church, we are in favor of using these spaces to pray and worship. Because it is a fundamental side of the human being.
IF LINUS HAD RUN FOR MAYOR ELECTIONS?
P – I would have blocked the doorway… ‘You do not go out from here, you have to govern us. You must keep up with Via Massena 2. Where are you going? ‘. We are like a small town in here. The man can’t give up on the cabin. Otherwise …