Estremità della Campana | Phase One | The Ruin

Ever bitten off more brick than you can chew?

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Ciao, Ca’ Selwyn.

Smouldering Venetian sibling to big brother Bell End, her hand-dipped genealogy evidenced by her name: Estremità della Campana. She squats daintily two-thirds of the way down Calle Degolin, sneaking a girlish pee in the shadows. The calle is itself a capillary of Calle Lunga San Barnaba which connects the traghetto at San Samuele with Veronese’s church at San Sebastiano. Long referred to by locals as Passaggio Posteriore della Vecchia Suora (The Old Nun’s Back Passage), it was perhaps a short cut for the Holy Sisters between Chiesa di San Barnaba and the convent at Santa Maria dei Carmini? Or the murky setting for vestal encounters of a non-progenitive nature, all under the cover of a crusty wimple? The extremities of these antique thoroughfares dribble on across Dorsoduro to the very steps of San Nicolò dei Mendicoli, where in 1973 Donald Sutherland dangled from the the frescoes dreaming of Julie Christie’s tits and dwarves.

Over the course of a chilly January, every fleck of plaster and lath from every wall and ceiling was burnt and purged away. Every toilet bowl, tile, rusty boiler, stove, fridge, wardrobe, sink, faucet, fitting, pipe, pole, plug and plunger torn from its socket, hand carted down the alleyway to a waiting boat on Rio del Malpaga. Thence a thicket of waterways, the Giudecca Canal and on, on, me hearties, all the way to mainland Italy.

And now he sits, Selwyn, like Jonah in the belly of the whale. Munching frittelle alla crema from Tonolo, swigging from the Campari bottle and singing all four parts of the quartet from Rigoletto. On his own, yearning, yearning, with a heart full of shards and old Kleenex. Same old shit.

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