Sunday, August 26, 2012


As the world mourns Neil Armstrong I suppose the thoughts of many of those of us who are old enough to remember that extraordinary night in 1969 have been wandering back to where we were at the time.  I was in Italy for the first time in my life and have tears streaming down my cheeks right now as I remember the impression the country made on me, even then.  It was a love affair that would last a lifetime. 

But I was in the midst of another love affair too and I confess I was much more interested in snogging my Italian boyfriend than the technological feats being performed by NASA!  We were in Foppolo, in the Italian Alps and, after we'd watched the grainy live pictures, we went out on the balcony to look at the moon.  On TV, this song was playing:

Fred Buscaglione - Guarda Che Luna

I thought then, and still believe now, that it was terribly romantic of the Italians to play "moon music" while the rest of the world was trying to explain the science of it all....

My parents' generation were much more impressed than mine and the next day my dad called me in Italy - not an easy thing to do then - to check that I'd seen the news.  Back home my old grandpa went around scratching his head for about a year afterwards, remarking that he'd "never expected to live to see the day" whilst I, with all the coolness of a generation brought up with transistor radios and television, shrugged and said I couldn't understand why it hadn't happened before.  Only now do I appreciate what a "giant leap" that really was and how it made us believe that there were no frontiers. Women's liberation was to come in the next decade and barrier after barrier and icon after icon fell.  "Where did it all go, that hope?" one might ask now but to do so is not to belittle Armstrong's achievements or those of the men and women who came after him.

But that's enough philosophising - let's be Italian and get to the music!  Here's another favourite Italian song of mine that features the moon:

Renzo Arbore e L'Orchestra Italiana - Luna Rossa

Here's one for the ladies:  Before she was rich, sings the great Patty Pravo, she lived in phases like the moon with fantastic explosions of blue light:

Patty Pravo - La Luna

This one too was written, I believe, with women in mind.  If you don't "even want the moon" but just a little more time to yourself to dream, without waiting around for a man who has wronged you, this is the song for you!

Fiordaliso - Non voglio mica la luna

Who has not, at some time in their life, seen the moon as a "big pizza pie" and felt like this?

Dean Martin - That's Amore

This song sets me dreaming:

Ana Oxa - Bianca Luna

And now, because Francis Albert is of Sicilian ancestry....

Frank Sinatra - Fly Me to the Moon

and Mr Bublé is an Italian Canadian:

Michael Bublé - Moondance

Henry Mancini, of course, had Italian parents and we hummed this song of his throughout the moon landing decade:

Andy Williams and Henry Mancini - Moon River

The post would not be complete without Italy's sweetheart:

Sophia Loren - Guarda la Luna from Nine

Last night there was a glorious, golden moon over Sicily and I'm sure she was shining in tribute to Mr Armstrong.  I went out on my balcony and gazed at her as I did all those years ago in Foppolo.

Before I go, I've decided to slip this song in because my dad loved it and tomorrow would have been his birthday:

Dorothy Lamour - Moon of Manakoora

Goodnight, Dad and buon viaggio, Neil Armstrong, wherever you both are.


Lee said...

I remember exactly where and what I was doing. It was during the day here Down Under. We closed up the office and watched the landing in the main street of Brisbane, the capital of Queensland. Coles-Penneys had televisions set up in their store windows and I joined the crowd. It was a Wednesday.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, Lee. Thanks for sharing that here.

Gledwood said...

You know Niel Armstrong is sposed to have bodged those words, which were meant to have been "one giant leap for A man, one giant leap for mankind..." who cares now. The words actually spoken are kind of better.

I was watching High Society the other night. It is one of loads of DVDs I got home then didn't want to watch till months later. Frank Sinatra ~ Bing Crosby ~ Satchmo all in the same film as Princess Grace of Monaco!

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, Gleds. Yes, I think what he actually said was better. Oh, I love that film!


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