After an intense (intensive?) first two days I had decided that I would take things a little easier on the third and final day of the Festival, despite the usual rich palette of events which lay ahead. I dropped by the press office to book a couple of events and was glad to bump into David Randall of The Independent, a Festival regular who this year had been holding a workshop over the weekend Come diventare un giornalista quasi perfetto, (his book The Universal Journalist is translated into Italian under the title Il giornalista quasi perfetto).
Main event of the morning was to be the discussion on food waste and recovery Dalla spazzatura alla tavola led by Bologna University Professor Andrea Segré with guest Tristram Stuart (pic. left), freegan and author of Waste, effectively exposing the global food waste scandal, from the producer to the consumer. I was lucky enough both o get there early for a front row seat and to exchange a few words with Tristram (and get him to autograph my copy of Waste!) before the talk got underway, and pointed out to him that just yesterday there was an article in the local press about a supermarket which had been forced to lock up its bins in order to deter scavengers, or rather should I say people recovering completely edible food which had been thrown away by said supermarket. The article was actually to publicise a new poor-aid project by a local comune although the ‘scavenger’ headlines had been used to attract attention. Actually I’m not entirely convinced that Italians are as ‘wasteful’ as, say, the British at least in domestic food use and (non) consumption although facts and statistics on how much is wasted in industry and so forth are, I fear, universal at least in the ‘developed’ world. I really don’t think Italian consumers (and supermarkets) are as fussy as their British counterparts about the shape of their carrots; but, note to self, must read Prof. Segré’s book for perhaps a more local viewpoint.
Although the consecutive (as opposed to simultaneous) translation into Italian made things a little long-winded, it was pleasant enough experience to sit in the warm sunshine and ‘discuss’ food, which in any case took us neatly up to lunchtime. An, per usual, just time for a quick bite of pizza before going back over to the press office for an impromptu meeting with one of the guests who had expressed s desire to meet the Festival’s accredited bloggers. Whoever could that be? Anyway, a neat occasion to – at last – meet fellow bloggers and twitterers from around the country and hold a brief exchange of opinions.
Sure enough our guest arrived: none other than Joe Bageant, the American writer who had struck me during the discussion the previous day for his incredibly left-wing ideas..as an American. Sure enough Joe openly told us of his disgust of the US journalists of today and his hatred of middle-class, no, make that “most of ” America, as is in fact well documented on the web and in his
various publications including Deer Hunting with Jesus (translated into Italian as La bibbia e il fucile ed. Bruno Mondadori 2010). Joe came across as an extremely affable ‘wise old man’ who was eager to transmit his message to us younger folk who, as bloggers, have the means to go out there and tell the truth. He warned us that all this wonderful technology available will run out ‘pretty soon’ and so best to get moving. He mentioned that he no longer lived in the US, partly as the government gave him ‘a pretty hard time’, although he avoids the terms ‘socialist’ and ‘communist’ preferring ‘universal humanist’ .. right on Joe.. che personaggio! We gloated in the photo opportunity with Joe, our left-hand fists proudly held high.
Time was going on and so I grabbed my faithful bicycle to head back into the centre just in time to hear the Q&A session to the discussion on Muslims in Europe, hosted by Lilli Gruber, being held in the Teatro Comunale shown on the big screen in Piazza Castello. After a quick macchiato it was time to join the queue for the finale debate on investigative journalism Reporter Top Secret, featuring among others Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Dana Priest. Although we were running late at long last the accredited press and bloggers were given priority seating and we took our places in the platea with plenty of leg room! As we listened I couldn’t help but marvel and what a great weekend this had been: just in front of me were eminent journalists from Italy, the USA, China and Argentina all together on the same stage giving advice on how to be a good journalist..where else could that happen in Italy? Grazie Internazionale!