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This report is taken from PN Review 180, Volume 34 Number 4, March - April 2008.

From a Journal R.F. Langley

24 July 1972

Tyres squeal down town this morning and there are horns and shouts. Yesterday there was a rammed boot, police, suppressed frenzy. Streets hot as griddles. Tempers bouncing like balls of spit. Now, today, faces seem impassive, but, maybe, mouths pucker in resignation. People give long stares. There is coarse, tinny music, nasty rock. Cars arrive at where you are crossing when seconds ago they had seemed far off. The road surface is slippery, polished, treacherous even for careful pedestrians. Chrome handlebars swing and knees grip. Feet shove, bonnets crouch and judder, tyres splay, engines run fast on fierce little short-lived cylinders. Characters are worn hard. The café owner mutters and only looks down at his own professional slant, his large hand rinsing inside the glass, water flipped on, iced fruit-juice spout clipped in. The attendants at the Bargello are really watching, not pretending to. Almost, you think, they are hustling you, twisting their arm-bands, moving with ducked heads towards you then swinging away. Here we get in twice, free with our passes, and there is, at least, some welcome easiness in this.

The dry, yellow, Gothic courtyard with the staircase and the carved coats of arms of the Podesta scattered up the high walls. You are in a wide well. From windows you see roofs with other yards let down through them like pits, bright plants in pots on walls, wavering spines of tiles, balconies with clothes hung out, ...


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