lowbrowculture

collects stories and ideas from John Kelly

Before Sunset, Rome Edition

Herself indoors was away for work last night, so I had the house to myself. What kind of wild and crazy shenanigans did I get up to? Did I throw an awesome party that will be remembered through the ages? Did I fuck. I watered the plants, put on Before Sunrise and sat down to do some ironing.

Woo! Being 31 is great!

If you don’t know this film, it’s about two people, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, who meet on a train, realise they’ve got an immediate connection and decide to spend the night walking the streets of Vienna before Ethan Hawke has to fly home to America the next morning. Throughout the night, they keep coming across all sorts of interesting things, such as: late night fairs, palm readers, late night cafes, dive bars with pinball machines, churches that apparently stay open all night, bums that will write you a poem for some money. I’ll save my opinion of the actual film for another time (quick spoiler: thought it was a great film when I saw it in my early twenties; in my early thirties, however, I thought they were a pair of hateful douches). What I was thinking though is how I’d love to see that movie set in Rome. Because you know what’s open in Rome after midnight? You know what’s happening around this city once it gets dark?

FUCK ALL.

Seriously. I really cannot believe it sometimes. Most bars close around 1am - except for the ‘social clubs’ - speakeasy-type joints that are well-hidden and very wary of strangers. You could go to the coked-out clubs in Testaccio, I suppose. They’re too busy snorting and preening to notice the time. But in general, after 2am, this city is a ghost town. A really sketchy ghost town. We used to have a McDonalds near us that would close at 10.30pm. 11.00pm on Saturday nights - as an Irish man who is used to his battered sausage and curry chips after a night in the pub, this was the most painful for me: there’s nowhere to get any kind food after the bars close.

Things are only worse during August. Already, a load of bars, restaurants and cinemas are already closed in anticipation of ferragosto - a month-long celebration of whateverthefuck. I honestly have no idea what’s being celebrated. I just know that the end result is that most Romans disappear off to the beach or somewhere less oppressively hot. Which has its benefits too. Sure, more things are closed and you have to think about what shops are still open when you want a pint of milk, but the lack of crowds means that the city is a much more pleasant place to be. Still, doesn’t help my initial point: there’s almost nothing to do in Rome after dark.

I’d really love to see Before Sunrise: Rome Edition. I bet it would be a real short film.