Letters from the Johnny’s pub – Smith


Letters from the Johnny's pub


The first chapters of Stars of dust: A gift for you


Translated by Emilia Maiella

I have things that are imaginary and I have reached a self-awareness: I am satisfied and did not know it. Yes, it is paradoxical, but only in appearance. When ignorance falls, awareness appears in its right size.

I was standing in front of a clothing store’s window looking at sweaters, sweatshirts and trousers with no interest. I thought how long it is since I bought piece of clothing. Years ago, when I did not feel right, I used to spend money buying anything compulsively: clothes, movies, perfumes. I did it a lot, owning my insecurity for a while, but when its level came down, I had to go back to spending. Then, I do not remember when, this process has stopped. I probably bought all the music that was possible and now it is enough for me. I find myself in this place of imaginary things, I do not possess anything concretely, I only have what I need. I do not care about my looking, or rather, I care the reasonable minimum, I am learning to overcome the people’s gossips, I am just what I am. It is true that I am alone, I only frequent the world of fantasy and I cannot keep in time with reality. Besides that, I feel good.


- Oh, it's a nice profile, Johnny.

- The great poetess!

- I'm just one who works.

- The only poetess, actually...

- They warned me that you were too complaisant, Johnny.

- I love who overcomes the concept of celebrity to just be a person. And so are you.

- You too, I like who accepts themselves for who they are.

- You're too complaisant...

- Didn’t I hear this already?

- Yes, it's my charge...

- You drink red ale in this place, right?

- Of course.

- One, please.

- Johnny? Red ale at this table.

- It’s on its road, Johnny - Johnny B. Strong replies.


Johnny B. Strong, approaches with two pints of beer. He looks at her and says: it's a real pleasure, Mrs. Smith. She smiles: the pleasure is mine. Johnny B. Strong engages in an improbable bow and gets back behind the counter. He puts music on background: Because the night, which with all the abundance of available material, it must be the first one he found.


- Oh Jesus: I've never seen him do something like that, to anyone! - I confess to her.

- Complaisance is the parameter by which you choose the staff, apparently! – She laughs.

- It seems so!

- Nice place, it’s quiet. The ideal place to sit down and collect notes. I live by words, Johnny.

- Oh, your words... many say that music is important, that it comes first...

- It is not a standard process. And then, for me it's different. I've always loved writing, so...

- You have very powerful lyrics...

- Mmh...

- People have the Power is strong, Mrs. Smith. The thing of dreaming and hunting the fools...

- Oh Yeah...

- I've always seen rock music as a great international party...

- What party?

- Politic.

- Ugh... I don’t know if I agree...

- Why?

- I'm not a politician, I just try to communicate. It is the politicians who manage the resources, even if they also have different balances and interests to deal with.

- So?

- Changes always take place over an extended period of time. Following these plots, the rock musician is likely to end up being the donor of vain hopes, he can convince public opinion and lend his face, but then politic has its biblical times. In reality, human beings love to complicate their lives.

- Yes, this last concept sums up everything...

- We have to go on and don’t give up, Johnny ...

- I guess it was not easy for you...

- Well, I had two children when I lost my husband, a bank account in the red like this beer. I had to work and look after the boys. Daily problems like any other woman. It was not like a star's life, rather it looked like a housewife's diary.

- You are…

- Listen: I'm sorry I can’t to respond to the cliché you have of a musician, but...

- Are you kidding? I'm looking for normality in musicians, even if this can disappoint somebody, but not me!

- Good, Johnny.

- Oh, that's right, you can swear.

- This beer is good.

- Well, it's just a normal red ale, like all the others...

- Ah, ah, ah...

- Why are you laughing?

- Oh, don’t be offended, but ...

- What?

- A normal ale like many others: trying to be coherent to please me again?

- No, it's... well…

- There is nothing wrong with exceptionality, when it is authentic: this beer is really good.

- Exceptionality... like meeting the Pope?

- He is one who carries his cross, for better or for worse. After all, we all carry a cross, right Johnny?

- You are able to simplify everything: it's extraordinary!

- Nice paradox, Johnny, congratulations...

- Oh, I know, sometimes I'm so awkward...

- No, it's fun. Really.

- Thank you.

- Don’t you have a girlfriend, Johnny?

- Me?

- Yes you.

- No.

- What's the problem?

- I don’t know.

- Mmh...

- I need to feel comfortable, I can not follow the rhythms of life. I observe, but I cannot participate. You know what I mean?

- I think so. Yet, one day you will find a girl, Johnny.

- Oh ... maybe I'll too play them Because the night!

- Nice choice, Johnny. Good luck!


  1. Introduction
  2. Pete Townshend
  3. Keith Richards
  4. John Lee Hooker
  5. Janis Joplin
  6. Chuck Berry
  7. Patti Smith
  8. Syd Barret
  9. Debbie Harry
  10. Cheeta
  11. Mick Jagger
  12. Keith Richards, James Brown, John Belushi
  13. Stuart Sutcliffe
  14. Keith Richards 2
  15. Sgt. Pepper
  16. The diabetic guitarist
  17. Bob Marley
  18. Queen
  19. The quick tempered guitarist


What is the main activity in our existence? To grow up? Be someone in our society? Find a road of your own? 
Whatever this task is, Emilio Santini - the main character of this story - and his friends, do not want to learn to move forward. They hang on, the only street they know is the one of the front door, where they have been living since the '70s, when they were kids, in a suburb of Rome. On the background of a season marked by social tensions, they observe the flow of life with indifference, convinced that getting busy does not help in this system because nothing can change. They have sterile motivations, they have childish justifications, life is good for them as it is, they have settled in the front row of daily greyness to attend the cycle of seasons.
In the messy chronicle of reported events that lead to the transition from the first to the second republic in Italy, Emilio and his old friends are preparing to live the new course supporting the rise of a rampant politician. Soccer and rock music are their only reasons for living, but they believe they can find in the congressperson Andrea Franzoni, a dear old friend of theirs, a shortcut to the difficulties of human life.
Emilio - a Beatles enthusiast - earns little money as a guitar teacher, the Reserved works when he feels like it, distributing advertising fliers, the Blasphemy works in the deli of a relative, always after 10 a.m. and never past 1 p.m., the Cobra makes a living as a driver in poorly licit works, and Rigatone is a rock music photographer.
There is an unfinished business, however, that everyone has with the politician and this will awaken them from the long sleep, giving an assist for the revenge and stem the maturated cynic.
History of a generation afflicted by Pete Best Syndrome.

"No one could be John, Paul, George or Ringo, but we all are Pete Best and in one way or another we had to live with what was left".
Emilio Santini