by Guglielmo Greco Piccolo & Francesco Giuri – pics ©ourtesy of Tablet Community - Translated by Damian Killeen
Comment ca va Le Med Noir, Mounsieur Delacroix
from The Sixth up to Calm Beach, the delirious visions of Stefano Delacroix, last reporter of the urban med noir
Taranto it is not only the Made in Ilva city which the national and international media have promoted negatively for some time, ignoring the evidence of the very deep and aged historical and cultural roots that are present and visible in this, one of the first Magna-Greek colonies, still considered an important cradle of Hellenic culture.
After many decades, of achievement in the cinema, music, visual arts, contemporary literature and theatre, this capital city of the Ionian area has generated a new wave of literature from which, through urban fantasy and dark tales , has emerged a different genre in the genres: the med noir, a new narrative model, worth keeping an eye on.
Giancarlo De Cataldo, Giusy De Nicolo and Cosimo Argentina, just to name a few new Ionian authors, have finally traced a decisive chapter in the urban fantasy and noir cultures with a quick look at the past, along side the present and a possible, if sometimes decadent future.
Among the latest representatives of this narrative new wave, Tablet2.0 met one of the most eclectic and articulated authors, particularly active in this area: the musician and writer Stefano Delacroix, bank employee during the day and pusher of surreal visions in the heat of the night.
1) Hello Stefano, first of all, thank you for your participation. From your point of view, technical and artistic, in the field of the new med noir, why is it that such characteristic identities and styles of writings have come from the Taranto area?
S. D. Thank you everyone at Tablet2.0.
More than characterizing identity, I would like to talk of speciation, a word that challenges further the labeling of this school amiably called new med noir (and regarding linguistic expressions, you British are inimitable masters of synthesis!).
In fact, in the artistic field, historical and geographical elements determine greatly the formation of new vanguards, which are acting speedily compared to the world wide perspective which moves in the direction of one specific culture, in this case western culture. I think that now there are prematurely configured certain conditions and these have diverted the river's current, redirecting it towards an hyper-realistic vision, which requires a return to the imaginal world to be realized through myths and symbols.
2) Let 's talk about you now because, in terms of creativity, you began as a musician and composer first and then became a literary author. Why this change? What did pop-rock music do to you that you moved into such a different creative dimension?
S. D. I smile because for a moment I saw myself as a hitchhiker on the run -
The reality is there isn’t any particular reason for this; I probably have always needed to experience writing that extends beyond the metric limitations of a song. To be an artist, in any kind of art, we must be creative first and, therefore, acquiesce to our mutable expressive needs; catching this allows us to continue to create. Ultimately we are not abandoning anything, but we graft on new experiences and we enhance other capacities. Guitar and pen can coexist on the same table, sometimes alternating, sometimes overlapping.
3) In a bookstore, handling one of your most unconventional stories, The Sixth and other psychotropic noir stories, now in its second edition, we were very much captured by the incipit: "In June 2008 my time changed direction and did a twenty-year reverse journey.... ", that makes us read it and read it again, convincing us that this is your best work. How did you get the idea and why does the main character seem to move in such a markedly delirious and confusional state? Was he truly raving or can cities and large urban centers really divert us from parallel realities, almost invisible though they seem so obvious?
S. D. When I wrote that story I really had the perception that time, this impenetrable mystery, would change its course. I rode that perception indefinitely and it seemed very real. But yes, cities are time capsules in which time flows differently, contracting itself. You are almost always alone but you cannot realize this while living in contexts of apathy. Then you take an isolated house in the country and spend time in it for a couple of months and only later you realize that time is actually dilated. So you taste for the first time a wholesome solitude. Healthy because it doesn’t feeds on meagre feelings, such as judgment and competition, all nonsensical rubbish with which we fill our brain and from which we absorb nothing but bewilderment. In the cities, to regain a decent authenticity, you have to protect yourself psychically.
4) The mutation of time in the story seems to be a constant and dominant element but one which is skillfully ridden by the main character, just like Doctor Who, who used an old English phone box to move from one dimension to another, facing all kinds of threats and monsters. What, in The Sixth, is the worst monster to combat and why?
S. D. Addiction. It is a monster that devours slowly. Fixed Targets - most often caused by the system – almost always irrespective of the possibilities open to you; so we stop to look outside that trajectory, losing everything else. Commuters who, once they have abandoned the improvident need for discovery, implode sadly on themselves. Compared to a healthy balance, these habits represent a dangerous diversion.
5) Tell us a bit about the Multiworld, ... Does it really exists or, if you like, do they really exist?
S. D. Giordano Bruno spoke about this five hundred years ago. Today it is the physicists who talk about this and, fortunately, nobody has sent them to the stake. The theory of the Multiverse (or Multi World) is an intransgressible law according to quantum mechanics. Consciousness, whatever could be its expansion and standard of evolution, requires the inflationary model of the universe. I think this is something very concrete and creative. To define it as Pataphysics, that, yes, is a real restriction.
6) Let's get between the lines of your newest work, Calm Beach. Why this title?
S. D. It’s the name of a place. A nice shed on the beach near Taranto.
7) Having recently read your latest work and also met a few people, some of them, really unusual who gravitate around your life, how exactly have these personalities helped you in the process of drafting Calm Beach?
S. D. Certainly all of them have helped significantly. The characters in Calm Beach are true in general terms and I have observed their behavior and slang. The story, however, belongs to my creative universe with all its grotesque elements, which are not that grotesque if we compare them to a certain normality (forgive my oxymoron).
8) Molle Tarentum (Weak Taranto), a tag stuck on the city since times unthinkable . However, for us, Taranto never seemed so weak at all, although in Calm Beach, despite surreal and grotesque situations designed and experienced by the characters on their own, it appears as if they are still moving in an atavistic, indolent and almost irritating atmosphere. Why?
S. D. "Molle" suggests the Augustinian quiet, somehow reassuring, typical of all those sweet landscapes. We might rather consider it a form of lightness, more contemplative perhaps. In this sense the characters of Calm Beach become the perfect heirs of the ancient colony. Their response to the system is a subtle and powerful individual revolution.
9) Your writing, in spite of the use of jargon and direct and quick expressions, is configured in a quite complex matrix, in some passages very challenging. Is this a matter of style or character?
S. D. Character. Definitely.
We do not use knowledge; we are knowledge. What sets us apart is the modality; so, there are those who know little and those who know much more. I like to plunge my sword using the proper words. It is a very funny game, because words cling to the things of the world and represent their meaning without imprisoning them permanently. We need to explode them and, once exploded, we can know things better.
10) What could be the two or three names not to be missed in the literary scenario of the Ionian med noir?
S. D. Some of them you have already mentioned. I would add a couple more that I consider very significant, primarily because their presence can enlarge the spectrum, also because they are really cool. Giuse Alemanno and Ago Palmisano. Well ... pure dynamite!
11) We would like to salute you with a perhaps more mundane question: you are a bank employee, musician and very prolific writer, with a quite intense social life, all activities particularly absorbing. Do you sleep sometimes?
S. D. Sorry ... What were you saying? ... I must have dozed off.