Interview with Tino Adamo: history of Milan in the Eighties and comics

Interview with Tino Adamo: history of Milan in the Eighties and comics

Interview with Tino Adamo

We met this novice writer, but a long-standing comic artist, thanks to his recent book, Il bar degli zanza, which we talked about in the past few days in depth in our review. Tino Adamo, however, hides several secrets and curiosities that he has decided to share with us, telling us anecdotes of the Milan of the past, where his novel about him is set, and of his professional career, in an in-depth and really interesting way. We just have to tell you in detail what the author of many small metropolitan stories had to tell us, able to create, taken together, that macrocosm that is the Milanese capital.

Interview to Tino Adamo, novelist and illustrator for Sergio Bonelli Editore

Tell us about your experience in Milan and in the areas you describe in the book, how much is it taken from real life and how much from your imagination?

Il bar degli zanza is a novel born by chance. When I started writing it, it had to be just a sequence of anecdotes, just to remember the old days and the characters that gravitated around the suburban bar where I worked, at the end of the 80s. Later I enjoyed writing the first story, the only unpublished one ... then, following that adage that reads "Hunger comes with eating", I never stopped. Although the time span of the "Zanza" is consequential, narrating the events in a linear way with the passage of time (one year), I have divided it into 26 chapters that can also be read unrelated, as if they were stories in their own right. Almost every chapter starts with ideas and real characters, then reinterpreted with the imagination, as if they were a cocktail in perfect balance between reality and fiction.

What was it like being a bartender in Milan in the Eighties, in an area like Baggio?

In one word: fun! In those days, Baggio, the neighborhood in the Milanese suburbs where I still live, was a "hot" area. The underworld was king and the saying “Come to Baggio if you have courage! ". The bar was almost under the house and most of the zanzas who frequented it lived in my neighborhood. Those people were familiar to me from childhood. They were players of cards, horses, dice and blacks. Criminals of all kinds, robbers, drug dealers, scammers ... a fruit salad of idlers without the slightest desire to "pull the file". They were hopeless losers, but generally very likeable. The time passed between a blast and a crude joke, and there was a lot of laughs. Ultimately it was a lively and cheerful environment.

Do you think it is a world that has now disappeared, or that we can still breathe in some hidden corner of the metropolis?

Times change, but certain things are immutable. The atmosphere of the bars in the popular neighborhoods is still the den of the zanzas. Wherever you go, you will find crowds of people grinning rudely, beer in hand and cigarette in mouth ... there will be a Vito "the mother" ready to dispense pearls of small wisdom, a "Buttafuoco" who warms up when he discusses, becoming purple, a table rummy with fierce grannies like the "Gamba de legn" or a histrionic and drunken "Duke", grit such and such to the characters that act as supporting characters in my book.

In several places in the book, as we said in the review, you use "politically incorrect" expressions and tones; Do you fear the reaction of the public? Why these lexical choices?

Fortunately I continue to receive very enthusiastic feedback, especially with respect to this style of writing. In the first place, I started with a more “literary” and detached flowering, narrating voice in the third person, and as a time the present past. But it didn't come back to me, there was something that wasn't working; the stories did not take off and I seemed to betray, in some way, the authenticity and "realism" of the context. So I decided that it was not the right way, that I should be honest as much as possible towards the "zanza". I made the characters speak and think with their own language, slang and sometimes ungrammatical (you should have heard what came out of those mouths) and, coming from the most disparate regions of Italy, these people used dialect interlayers. Finally, politically correct was certainly rarer than a dodo, among the walls of the bar. And the novel then practically wrote itself.

What is the reason that led you to write this book? Who do you want to talk to and what do you want to tell?

The idea gradually increased to become an almost physical need of mine, every time I met the old customers of the bar in the neighborhood. Defeated, penniless and badly in gear, they hadn't got much out of their certain way of life. People who would sooner or later disappear, taking away that world of homemade underworld whose imprinting still derived from the ancient Milanese "ligera", supplanted by today's much more ruthless and organized crime. Who would have saved them from oblivion by writing their deeds? Well, I'm not Homer, but I knew them well; those zanzas were my neighbors, the parents and siblings of my playmates and I served them coffee and liqueurs, sharing their adventures and confidences. I tried to tell them without being judgmental, with humanity, frankness and a lot of irony. And, in all humility, I believe I have succeeded.

Let's talk about Milan: an advantage and a defect of how it was, how it is, and how you would like it.

Damn, answering this question involves a great effort of mental clarity. The amarcord effect is a difficult wall to climb, because in the 80s I was a beardless, and returning to those times is equivalent to crossing the threshold of an enchanted world, where everything was beautiful, better than today. Ultimately I think it was. If at the time of the "Milan to drink" in the central areas of the city the boarding of the Yuppies had begun, here in Baggio and in the suburbs the smell was that of the usual soup. But there was more respect among people, civic education and dignity were not abstract concepts and young people were much more imaginative and vital ... I remember the tanks in via Torino, on Saturdays, cutting through a crowd of heterogeneous "tribes" of metalheads , paninari, rockabilly and dark, for example. Now there is a flat homologation, a lethal disenchantment and technologies, in my opinion, have overwhelmed us and distanced us from interaction. Milan is like a betrayed girlfriend, the city feels that it is not loved, unfortunately, although in my opinion it is beautiful and I would not trade it for ten Paris. What I would like is more empathy between people, we take ourselves too seriously ... it would be worth remembering that we are human beings, in need of relationships and mutual attention, and that the smile is precious, although these days fatally hidden by surgical masks .

Finally, speaking of you, how did you then come to Sergio Bonelli Editore?

I am aware that I am a lucky person, because my passion has also become my occupation, and I kiss my elbows every day, entering the editorial office. Together with three other friends and fellow designers, I take care of making corrections and changes on the pages of all the outgoing publications, the last stage of processing that precedes the printing of the books. I joined Bonelli in 2001, after a long apprenticeship. Since I was a child, I developed a great passion for drawing and writing, and a reverence in particular for comics, of which I was and still am a bulimic consumer. I have always longed to live in the world of comics and to follow the dream, while I was attending illustration schools and the workshop of Maestro Paolo Telloli, I earned my loaf working as a bartender and at the same time I published my first works. I consumed the counter for a decade, then I found myself in the right place at the right time, as sometimes happens in life, and I was hired by the prestigious Milanese publishing house. Being part of the editorial staff, which is the heart of it, I was lucky enough to meet, in addition to the immense Sergio Bonelli, a large group of the greatest Italian and foreign artists, beautiful even as people, which does not hurt.

Will you write another novel or pursue your career in the comic industry?

I love Bonelli! I started buying the books - all of them! - at the age of 8, and since then I have been attached to this brand like a mussel. To make me leave my job, they would have to chase me away with torches and pitchforks. That said, I am also drawn to the world of literature. My debut novel is doing well in the bookstore and the flattering judgments of the readers are giving me unprecedented energy. I feel obliged, and I do it with great affection, to greet and thank the entire "family" of Unicopli, the publishing house that offered me the opportunity to publish this novel and that literally adopted me. I have just started writing a second novel, but I will write it without haste. I know well that, although I started off on the right foot, repeating ourselves and perhaps improving ourselves is a rather difficult and delicate process, and getting caught up in the heat is not a wise thing.

Powered by Blogger.