Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Cook threats and sensual voice 14/11/09

It’s been a while now since we’ve had any major staff problems, so of course something had to come up. The aiuto cuoco wanted to talk last night. Horrible to have these aggressive talks at the beginning of the night. He said two days a week wasn’t enough and for him he was doing ‘extra’. Like when cooks are called upon to fill in for someone else. I knew he was too subversive to last long. Muttering quietly to his friends in the corner. Anyway, he threatened that he wouldn’t be here next week if we didn’t start paying him a lot more for the two day week. Mio marito calmly said that this was just the second week it had had happened, that we were doing our best but the situation had changed dramatically, and that in any case he had done 6 days a week for two months when he had only wanted three or four days week. So now he has two days less instead of two days more but in any case it would all even out. ‘I’d rather be at home’ he said, 'than do just two days a week.' Well stay at home then. It was blackmail. Knowing that we need someone. Mio suocero said, ‘He wouldn’t be able to permit himself this luxury if my wife was here. You know, I once went to work in a kitchen as a cook in Australia. You know what I did for two months? Washed dishes. So who knows what experience he even has.’ We were very annoyed. I said I could make the tortilla and the smoked salmon paté and the two desserts he does and then on Friday and Saturday mio marito would work in the kitchen. This guy has been sitting and reading the papers for the last few nights, it has been so quiet. He lets the aiuto cuoca do all the washing up.

The guy from the piano shop came and suggested I get the old piano he had in the shop, for €500, the one I had noticed in the corner, but take out the instrument and put in a keyboard! As if it would contribute to the aesthetics of the restaurant and not have the problems of tuning. But I don’t want a things that looks cool for the restaurant I want the real thing. Business must be slow if he actually came the whole way to town to have dinner in our restaurant, I thought. Anyway it was nice of him to come and dine with us, we were pleased to see him. And another guy from Montalbano came down, the guy who organises the pageants. He’s a nice guy too. The trumpet player came too; he had played with a saxophonist and keyboard player a couple of weeks ago and they had asked me to sing a few songs with them on the spot. He was telling me how he had liked my singing, I sing just how he likes it and ‘hai una voce molto sensuale’. Wow. He especially liked Summertime which, he said, was much smoother and less carico than people here sing it and he thought it was great. He wants us to play together with a guitarist from Palermo and we’ll chat next time. He probably needs to organise return gigs for the ones his Palermo friends have invited him to. Would still be fun. 'You have a beautiful way of expressing yourself, when you sing it is like this' – he drew a line in the air - 'smooth and flowing, you have this intuitive sense of timing and fit in perfectly with the other instruments. You move people, you move me, mi fai emozionare, and I am a musician so think how the audience feel it. Trasmetti emozioni … I hate playing with singers here in Sicily, mi stanno su le palle, they have huge egos and they impose themselves and sing all over the place. But it would be an honour for me. I have only played twice with you but you struck me immediately, and have played with so many singers. I would take you to play in Palermo, Messina with me ... but you need to believe in yourself more, put yourself out there, you need more ego!' he grinned.

Nice end to a night that didn’t start so well.


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