I have tonsillitis again. I spent Sunday trying fretfully and confusedly to write a lecture on the Resistance, immediate post-war politics and the creation of the Italian Republic, all the while incubating a fine fever. Maybe the beer that night didn't help. Certainly the spiritless, tedious, inevitable penalty defeat didn't.
That night I had torrid, feverish dreams, endlessly, about clandestine networks of armed anti-communist agents, about Nazi spies, failed free-kicks from the edge of the area, partisans in the wooded hills above Turin, balls grazing the cross-bar, dancing Spaniards, undercover anti-Fascist missions, firing squads, betrayal, penalties, implacable hatreds, vengeance, the torturous paths of long fraught histories. Mysteries, secrets, failures. The sabotage of democracy. The end of hopes. I woke sweating and clammy in the extreme heat, dozed fitfully, saw armed blackshirts slipping out of the old MSI centre round the corner from my flat, and sidling into the end behind the goal, heard whistles, or were they gunshots? Men fought side by side in the Resistance who had faced one another in the Spanish Civil War, I remembered, in a moment of lucidity. Spain had never previously beaten Italy in a game that mattered. Russian roulette is not really a very good analogy for penalties. Gigi Buffon had locked me in my dead grandmother's house, and was guarding the door. I woke before six, unable to swallow or speak, the sheets drenched, and lay in the dark, not wanting to move.
I am not well.