Life in Catania – Horn Warriors

A car has pulled into the courtyard of the palazzo where I live.  The palazzo consists of four apartments, a clothing business  and some sheds and garages.  The man in the car wants to attract the attention of somebody in the storeroom of the clothing outlet and so he beeps his horn.  He does this for about 20 seconds without stopping.  He, like every Sicilian, has in his pocket a mobile phone, as does the man in the storeroom.  He decides not to use it though as he prefers the sound of his horn.

The man in the storeroom does not appear.  The man in the car therefore hoots again this time for 45 seconds, ending with a few short hoots for emphasis.  Still the man does not appear.  He tries again.

In the meantime I am attempting to sleep.  Eventually the man gets out of his car and yells “Hooo! Peppe, hooooo!”  Peppe answers, “Hoooo!”  The man in the car shouts something in his native Sicilian language, asking Peppe to come with him somewhere.  Peppe is not happy and responds: “Mincchia!  Devu mangiari!  Hooo! / Fu%k!  I have to eat!”  The man in the car shouts back.

Another man arrives in a car and begins to hoot the horn.  The men shout at the man in the newly arrived car.  He ignores them and hoots the horn again this time for 20 seconds.  I get out of bed and shout down at them.  My neighbour shouts over at me.  “Che fai?  Gridi? / What are you doing?  You’re shouting?”

Later on the street and many cars are blocking the road.  People are trying to get home to eat, swear, complain about politics, watch Serie A, drink Nero D’avola, have sex, eat, complain about politics, swear, eat…  There is a small traffic jam forming as they approach the crossroads of via Sangiuliano and via Etnea.

At the crossroads a car is parked in the middle of the road.  The man in the car has seen someone he knows and decides to stop for a chat.  “Melo!  Com’e’?  Tutt’ apost? / How’s things?  Everything alright?”  The man in the other car looks around and sees his friend Peppe whereupon he shouts in Sicilian: “Ciau Peppe! Apost, beni, tu?”  The man in the car behind gets impatient and shouts “Arriminiti!  Dai! / Move it!  Come on!”  He adds more quietly: “Che figura di merda!”

There is a line of 15 cars behind the two men who are chatting.  The car in 10th position begins to hoot his horn violently although there is nothing the woman in the car in front can do.  She then also hoots her horn in annoyance at the man behind.

The young guy in 3rd position has his girlfriend in the car and she begins to complain.  The guy then hoots his horn repeatedly as if to show her he was trying to improve the situation.  The two men in front finally finish their conversation and everyone can go home to eat, swear, complain about politics, watch Serie A, drink Nero D’avola, have sex, eat, complain about politics, swear, eat…

Back to the Gaff

Scandalous Narratives of Contemporary Ireland

Dublin, Ireland, Irish writing, short stories

Back to the Gaff is a book by new author John P Brady, which describes the excessive and outrageous nature of Irish night life. Meet an array of eccentric individuals who populate the bars of Dublin, living lives of decadence and abandon. Their frolics inevitably lead to a trip ‘back to the gaff,’ which in Dublin-speak means gravitating towards someone’s place of residence where the depravity continues.

Ebook and Paperback available: 




John P. Brady is an Irish writer, Financial Trader and occasional journalist.  He divides his time between Ireland and Italy.  His interests include travel writing, social comment and eccentric debauchery. His first book, Back to the Gaff, described as "Trainspotting meets Dubliners" is available. Buy the ebook

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