Happy Birthday Mik, Welcome M.B.O.T.W.!

Howdy partners! In the evening of Mik’s seventy-fifth anniversary on November 28th, we gathered with family and friends at Arbusto, our favorite Saloon run by local heroine Morena. We “painted our noses” – as they’d say in the Old West, right? – with good wines as we celebrated Mik, our many years together and our passion for western movies. New friendships were made, old ones were rekindled: Rodrigo and Luigi, who shared many youthful adventures together with Mik, met again for the first time in twenty years.

Mik & the gang
Mik & the gang: Sonia, Sergio, Loriana, Piero, Paola, Mik, Rodrigo, Luigi, Vanessa.

Old frictions were rekindled as well: shortly after laughing together about their last quarrel a couple years ago at a Bryan Adams concert, Alberto and Canna had another heated little skirmish. Growing up as next door neighbors and sharing interests and friends is sometimes not enough to get along, as these two charming rascals also share an appetite for insult jokes and an occasional bad temper – but we’re thankful for that, because there’s no good saloon night without a fight!

Aperitime gang and friends
Piero, Canna, Alberto, Sara and Nico enjoying the good times.

Had they been characters in a Western movie, it all would have ended with a deadly gunfight outside the bar; in our civilized (kind of) non-Western dimension, the two “adversaries” shared a coffee – and some more jokes – when we met for breakfast in the town square of Faenza the day after the party. All is well again – for now.

Mik received some pretty awesome gifts, including the books below on his favorite themes – history, mystery, cars, Romagna and the West – and some bottles of excellent “tonsil paint”.

Books for Mik: Wu Ming, Cormac McCarthy, and many more.
Excellent readings for the winter season – but there’s an “intruder”…

But now let’s come to our favorite topic: western movies. Our friends shared their thoughts on the greatest masterpieces of the genre. Sergio mentioned High Noon as his all-time favorite: he feels moved by the character of Gary Cooper, an aging sheriff on the verge of retirement who prepares to fight a gang of criminals in search for revenge, alone amidst the townsfolk’s indifference. Luigi loves Soldier Blue because of its fair depiction of Indian culture and its realistic account of the cruelty of the US cavalry – but the Western movie he watched the most is The Magnificent Seven. He saw it “four times and a half” in a week at the cinema with Mik, when it came out.

Rodrigo told us the story of Clint Eastwood’s casting for The Good, The Bad and the Ugly: Eastwood didn’t smoke, but Sergio Leone told him he couldn’t leave out the real protagonist of the movie – the cigar hanging from Clint’s mouth.
Nico likes The Wild Bunch for its unrestrained violence; Canna likes the comedy-infused City Slickers the most, and observed that “Westerns in the end are an imaginary depiction of what in reality didn’t really exist … it’s fiction, but a fiction that you’d like to think it was true”. Well said!

You can hear all about it here (head over to Soundcloud for full English transcriptions):

It’s at this point in the evening that we got ready to launch Mik’s Best Of The West, finally making it available for the world (or at least a small part of it) to see! Mik pushed the button, and “offered” us (was forced into giving) a short speech about the evening:

Mik at the party, thanking all friends for spending the night together

We would like to join Mik in thanking all our friends who shared the night with us: Luigi, Piero, Sergio, Loriana, Rodrigo, Paola, Delia, Sara, Canna, Nico, Fra, Lori, Alberto, Silvia, Jacopo, Fiodor, Marco and last but not least our cherished first MBOTW contributor Enrico, who joined us for a whiskey!

What’s next? We are planning some very interesting articles, more movie recommendations, an Instagram channel, an inline-dancing lesson, and possibly maybe even a few western movie screenings in Faenza and Berlin in the next year! Follow us on Instagram to stay in touch. Head ’em up!

Header photo: Clan Destino, Faenza.