The Null Device

Scenes from Rome

Apparently, the Italian/European name for Twisties is "Fonzies". Perhaps the Happy Days trademark wasn't valid there, or perhaps it has to do with the Italian infatuation with post-war US pop culture.

A graffito seen on two adjacent payphones along Via Nazionale. Either the gigolo culture is alive and well, or someone wishes it was.

A rather unfortunately named brand of calculator, for which there are ads all over Rome. Apparently they make mobile phones too, which promises even more possibilities for poor taste.

Seen in fashion shop windows.

As I mentioned before, the Italians seem to be rather fond of American pop culture, at least of the post-WW2 variety. Where the French are muttering darkly about McDonalds, the Italians openly embrace Coca-Cola (which is more popular here than in Australia, it seems), Disney and the like. The image to the left, a montage of three rather retro icons of American consumer culture, was seen in an Italian café. Elsewhere, you find Disney icons everywhere. Near the Colosseum, a street vendor was selling Mickey-and-Minnie-Mouse puppets which danced to music. The music in question was a rather tinny Eurodance loop, which cqame out of a boom box; for a moment, though, I thought that the embracing-Mickey-and-Minnies were fitted with a chip that plays Eurodance as they move, which would have been even more postmodern.

Another thing the Italians are into is small motor vehicles. Those 2-seater Smart microcars are everywhere here, and seem to be quite the fashionable way to get around. And, of course, there are motorscooters everywhere, ranging from ancient Vespas in various states of decrepitude to shiny new models, both Italian and Japanese.

There are 2 comments on "Scenes from Rome":

Posted by: kstop http:// Tue Sep 7 18:07:46 2004

Another reason for the glut of Smart cars is that a lot of people actually have two, as there is/was an anti-congestion scheme brought in in Rome which involved only letting a given car into the city on either odd or even days. So everybody went and bought two cars.

Posted by: Chy http:// Tue Sep 14 14:02:12 2004

Twisties were originally called 'fonzies' too, in Australia, in the 70s when they first came out. I remember this clearly (I was only 5 or something). I forget whether it was tied in with Happy Days, or even if the show was on air then. The name was changed soon after.