I was living in Rome in 2009. One summer night I was wandering around Trastevere after dinner. I had just come out from Gildo restaurant, or 'Mammola and Donnola', the nick-mame I choosed to rename it because of the two beautiful girls that hold it. I was reaching Viale Trastevere, passing through Via della Scala, Piazza S.Egidio and Via della Paglia when, while crossing Piazza di Santa Maria, I noticed on the steps of the fountain a guy playing a guitar with a good style, singing some Doors' tunes, some Neil Young songs, hence good music from my generation. So I decided to stop for a while and listen to that unusual concert, sitting on the only free step right behind the guitarist. I listened to many well executed tracks, appreciating the Jim Morrison-like style, letting myself do some choirs with a crowd of english-speaking students who filled the steps.
When that moment came in which every guitarist feels tired after a performance like that, the player turned to me and told: - Wanna play? I know you can... Virtually, he understood that I could play by my technical behaviour.
I could not say 'no' in that moment, so when I realized I had a guitar in my hands and a crowd of many students was waiting for me to play I tried to think of what could I play, having a maximum of thirty seconds before starting, not to give a bad impression. Since I was on the wake of the Doors and knowing that the most there spoke english I started playing some chords of that kind, and when there came the moment I had to sing I decided to improvise something.
In the audience there were mainly students, and they usually are in enduring discord with politics and with the ones who rule, so, thinking about the world crisis gripping that period, a song came out. This song, severely in English, essentially celebrated 'shit'. Okay, it's not good, but in English the word 'shit' is more elegant than the Italian 'merda'. In fact 'shit' is not as dirty as our corresponding word. In English you can use 'shit' as a common interjection, e.g. 'I don't give a shit', something that in Italian does not exist. Sometime English prefer to use 'crap' that seems to be a little less gross, in Italian 'cacca' but to me it's more 'dirty'.
Anyway, the lyrics I invented were about a guy that from the moment he woke up in the morning, everything he had to do with was 'shit'. For example, this guy woke up, opened the window and what did he see? Shit. Then he opened the wardrobe and what did he find? Shit. The he went out from home and what did he find? Shit there too.
But now I am just doing a summary that does not reflect the creativity assaulting me in that moment. I was so absorbed with that improvisation that it went on at last twenty minutes or more, singing in a perfect English (as you see it is not a language I usually can speak well) the themes in object in a pure Doors' style, showing off a voice not too different from good old Jim's, with variations, colours, chords and shades so cohesive and suitable with the background that at the end of the exhibition I gained an out-and-out standing ovation from the numerous crowd, that in the while had even grown with people from every place in the world.
I was really satisfied. After, I thought it should be impossible to recreate the lyrics and chords I had improvise, so I limited myself to be happy with the fact that I had lived that day as a lion, and it could not happen again. But the things did not go that way. That night many students talked to me, asked about who I was. I knew many new people until I went to sleep very satisfied.
The day after I decided to go back to Trastevere for dinner, this time I went to Augusto, a restaurant in Piazza De Renzi.
Augusto is a place where since the moment it opens, around 7 p.m., a big queue takes form, so that if someone wants to eat there must resign himself to wait for at least half an hour. Sometimes the period to wait gets however pleasant because in that square everything can happen. After dinner I found myself back in Piazza di Santa Maria, not more than a hundred meters from the restaurant. It was July in a Rome summer night, and I did not think that what happened was foreseeable.
In fact on the steps of the same fountain there was some of the people that I saw the day before plus someone new. The same guitar I played the night before was there, laying down among some boys that were talking. One of them looked at me and recognized who I was. Immediately he turned to the crowd and told them there was the one who yesterday played 'shit', so that many guys that had been there the night before rushed to greet me and incited me in high demand to play again that wonderful composition.
With the same guitar in my hands, as the crowd expected, I played again, but with a new creative inspiration. Remembering some chords, surely the ones I began with, I was able to improvise again, for a period of time similar to what I did the night before, the same song named 'shit' by all the bystanders, but this time I invented a different text as good as the other one, keeping the themes again in a perfect English, now on other experimental directions.
I was astonished by this spontaneous creativity, so different but likewise cohesive and positive, but I understood it happened because of the glorification by that wonderful audience. I seemed to be an old-fashioned rockstar in an arena with people venerating me.
So, the day after, despite I forgot again lyrics and chords that unfortunately nobody recorded and it was impossible to reproduce, I decided to create a song, lasting three or four minutes, following the same themes, and I decided also to name it 'Smell' not insisting on the word 'shit' because it should be too hard as a title.
'Smell' was born.

Smell (Words and Music by Mauro Filigheddu)

Every time I wake up in the morning
I open the window and I feel something in the air
There is something like a smell all around me
The more I smell the more it seems like stink
Just like a stink that's spreading everywhere
So I realize that it just smells like shit

Shit - yeah - shit
Shit on the right, shit on the left shit everywhere I look
Shit on the ground, shit on the table, shit on the window pane
Shit in the kitchen, shit in the closet, shit

Then I try to go out and walk down in the street
But all I see is just like fucking shit

-------solo guitar-------

Then I try to talk to a man I find in a coffee shop
And in a while we're talking about shit
About how much shit is there in the world
And how much shit we need to fill it up
Then I take my car and try to drive
But even when I drive what do I see?

Shit - yeah - shit
Shit on the road, shit on the cars shit on the traffic lights
Shit on the shops, shit on the windows, shit
Shit on the mountains, shit on the rivers, shit every fucking where

Then I stop my car and try to think about it
I look at the horizon and I see
I see the sky is getting quite a bit darker
And if I take a look in front of me
The clouds I'm looking at are turning brown
So all I can expect what else can be ?

Shit - yeah - shit
Shit on the mountains, shit even in the sky

So in a minute it'll be raining shit
Yes in a minute it'll rain fucking shit

Smell 1000.jpg

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A delightful, even if smelly, background story, Mauro!


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