Puccini: Lucca

I didn’t think I was an opera fan though I did take to “Nessum Dorma” as an introduction to a football competition some years ago. It used to make the hairs on my neck stand up and if it comes on the radio now and I’m alone in the car I’ll sing along at full volume. I was written by this chap: Puccini. This is in his home town of Lucca where we visited some years ago. I think it’s a fine sculpture and he looks very relaxed and successful, which he was.

I wonder if the non smokers out there might have noticed that he’s enjoying a cigarette. Perhaps militant non smokers will think that this statue should be taken down. Who knows? I used to smoke myself some years ago, and although I regret it now, I can still recall the pleasure I got from it. I used cigarettes as a chance to sit and reflect. I did not smoke nervously as some do, but found it calming and it made for a break to consider what I was drawing. Perhaps he used to have a smoke break as he noted down the notes to his masterpiece.

We were recommended to Lucca as a holiday destination by my good friend Richard, who’d been there and enjoyed it. He mentioned Lucca and said it’s famous for Puccini as we were walking somewhere in Somerset. I love mushrooms I said, I’ll look forward to that. “P u c c i n i, not porcini you ignorant oik” he said to me, and filled me in on the details.

We had a great time there. Italy recommended. Opera, mushrooms and football, very civilised.

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