Milan in the time of Coronavirus: Balconies and Social Networks

iorestoacasa a Milano, Azzuro di adriano celentano

Singing and pretending to play the guitar at 18:00 this evening on the balcony!

I’ve just come off the balcony, there was a 12 noon flash mob of everyone clapping in honour and gratitude for the nurses and doctors here and rightly so, what incredible people they are. And yesterday, there was a balcony flash mob of people singing and playing instruments. Lots of videos have been posted on FB – absolutely brilliant. Where I am, there was a few of us out and one woman, a professional singer and music teacher, led the way with “We are the world”. I joined in, while N, not knowing the words, did her bit with a few bars from Vincerò. Today, at 18:00 there’s another national balcony gathering, this time with the song Azzuro by Adriano Celentano – even if you’re not Italian, you’ll probably know it when you hear it. Here’s the lyrics if you want to join in.

FB is another life line. Among other groups, I’m a member of IWM (International Women of Milan). There’s already been one virtual aperitivo (last night, I missed it unfortunately, but looking forward to the next one) and people, out of bordem, compassion, ingenuity or a little of all three, are networking, advertising or offering their services for free, or posting really important info such as Giving Birth in the Time of Corona Virus – Wow.

Then on Nextdoor.it (Gambara) there’s been quite a few posts about supermarkets and how people are behaving at the supermarket. One person just posted how they went to Carrefour on Via Soderini this morning at 11:30 – there was no queue (they must have hit it just at the right time) but after 10 minutes the fruit and veg department was thronged with crowds and many elderly people not wearing masks! The poster was so annoyed they asked to speak to the manager and threatened to call the police – shoppers should be staggered, let in a few at a time. “Proper order” said someone else, “I’d do the same”. Meanwhile, a new post confirms that the nurses and doctors at ospedale San Carlo heard the clapping at 12 noon today.

Balconies and social networks will get us through this. 

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