The week that was (4 August 2017)

- I have posted the trailer for Massimo’s Theatre of Life before, but it’s recently available on Netflix (and it still gives me goosebumps). You should watch it.
- SproutX, an Aussie ag tech accelerator program, held their inaugural shark tank type pitch day last week(ish). The winner was Farmgate MSU a mobile abattoir. This has been practiced successfully around the world – last year at Parabere Forum I heard the incredible Britt-Marie Stegs talk about the system they had set up in Sweden. This is important. As ag gets bigger, and local abattoirs disappear, or become specialised for specific production in the hands of few (I have even heard of abattoirs being purchased simply with a view to shut them down, and consequently the competition), we need to find smaller solutions. Tammi Jonas and her family are exploring options to build their own, Burrawong have one for their birds, but these are the (very rare) exceptions. Sadly, these poor people only won $500 (that said, by simply being included on the day they are part of a $40,000 start up program) … and, it’s a start, right?

- For more on this, and plenty of other thoughts beside, check out the program for the Slow Meat Symposium in Daylesford this September. 
Postcards from Pantelleria:
This week, Melbs have announced new smoking laws, following the path of Sydney-siders. The smoking I can deal with, but, as we well know, it's a slippery slope (#keepsydneyopen and all that). It got me thinking. I love Melbourne, the laneways, the relaxed atmosphere, the cosmopolitan vibe. I mean, smoking is terrible for you, but a little leniency can't go astray. 

Here you drink where (and when) you want, smoke where you want, live how you want. In fact, Pantelleria is largely an unpoliced island. People don’t wear seatbelts (don’t worry Mum, I still wear mine). The party starts at 1am and goes through until 5 or 6 in the morning. RBTs are rare. You don’t lock your car (actually if you park at the port, you keep your keys in it, so if someone needs to move it they can). People are relied on, trusted, to make good decisions. I'm not going to sugar coat this, there are drugs, there is smoking, people drink (and likely drive) but somehow it works.
The island's magnetism makes for an interesting motley crew. Last night I had an argument with two pirates about the virtues of respect over love. They quoted poetry and then created their own while describing the happiness that comes from soaking a little bread in the roasting juices of meat. 

I have made a friend, Velasko, a gorgeous six-year-old who takes me fishing and teaches me Italian. Today, when he arrived at my café his Dad sent him over to kiss me hello (he starts every day a little shy and warms up to our friendship) and when he proffered a cheek and then returned to his Dad’s side, his Dad sent him back to kiss me. Two kisses, the Italian way, one that you give and one that you receive. I had never thought of the double kiss like that. The pirates say you only get as much respect as you give. It's the same with kisses. How beautiful.
Velsako's life is how I imagine Gerald Durrell’s. He lives 100m from his Dad’s restaurant and floats (like me) from restaurant to bar to café to the port, where we swim. Everyone looks out for him, it’s a real community. An unpoliced one. And yet it works. People generally do the right thing when they’re given a little respect and freedom. 

When I first arrived on this island I mentioned how they all live in the present. Today I discovered that their local dialect has evolved so far as to not include a future tense.
And so, from Gerald to his brother … and this beautiful quote I found in Elizabeth David's Mediterranean Food:
“The whole Mediterranean, the sculpture, the palms, the gold beads, the bearded heroes, the wine, the ideas, the ships, the moonlight, the winged gorgons, the bronze men, the philosophers – all of it seems to rise in the sour, pungent taste of these black olives between the teeth. A taste older than meat, older than wine. A taste as old as cold water.” – Laurence Durrell (Prospero’s Cell)

A taste, and a lifestyle, as old as cold water.