It seems the politicians of Naples want to make the same mistake they made in Glasgow. The Neapolitans want to forbid the hanging of washing on lines that stretch across the street, not to please the residents but for the tourists. Now you may not regard Glasgow as a tourist trap and may wonder what the connection is. Well, once upon a time, the ordinary people in Glasgow lived in tenements. The tenements were built in a square with an open area in the middle, where there would be a wash-house for washing clothes and where the children could play. The tenements were three or four stories high and, once in a while, a mother would open a window to check on an offspring.
‘Ah’m hungry, maw,’ the child would shout up. ‘Throw me doon a jeely piece (a slice of bread spread with jam or jelly).’
The mother would prepare the morsel and throw it down to the child.
All very well when the mother was four floors up, but the politicians decided to replace the tenements with multi-story blocks. When Ma threw the jeely piece down from twenty stories high, you may remember how hard it is for a cricketer to catch a high dropping ball, but that wasn’t the problem. By the time the morsel got to the tenth floor, a vigilant pigeon would seize it for lunch. Billy Connolly lamented how the children were starving as a result.
Now let’s turn to Napoli and a boy walking along under the clothes on the line. He’s quite unconcernedly eating a Neapolitan ice-cream. But take the line with its flapping clothes away and, Naples being by the sea, any self-respecting seagull will immediately recognise a boy with an ice-cream with predictable results for the health of the youth.