Hello!

This is a project that Owen Powell and Alex Horne started on October 24th, 2006 (United Nations Day), and finished on October 24th, 2007. Our aim was to prove that London is the most cosmopolitan city in the world, by endeavouring to meet and chat to a citizen from every country in the world who currently lives and works in London.

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We managed to meet people from 189 countries. According to the UN, there are 192 countries in the world, so we've proved that at the very least, London contains over 98.4% of the nations of the world!

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We are still looking for people from three countries:

Marshall Islands; Palau; Tuvalu.

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The final encounters during our year appear below, but to follow our story from the start please click on the links under 'How we're doing' on the left-hand side.  The countries appear in the order in which we found their representative. (Any country with an asterisk * next to it has a brief account of the interview - longer versions will appear in the future!)

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To find out more about the project, including our self-imposed rules, then click here.

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Follow this link if you have the urge to see us looking awkward on Channel 4 news.  Or just below you can see us when we were half-way through the project being interviewed by George Alagiah on BBC World.

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Please email us on worldinonecity@hotmail.com if you want to get in touch, or if you know any shy Londoners who are also Tuvaluan, Palauan or Marshallese.

George Alagiah interviews us on the BBC

Monday, 30 October 2006

No.8: Italy


Raging Bull

Alex Horne - 30th October 2006

It was never going to be hard to find an Italian living in London. My next door neighbours on two of the three sides (I live in a ground floor flat) are from Italy and there's a Mr Pizza by Kensal Rise Station – they're bound to be Italian. In fact one of my neighbours told me recently that Italians are like parsley – they grow everywhere. I think it was parsley anyway. Does that grow anywhere? Either way, you get the point; it's easy to locate an Italian.

Especially when they work in a café called Il Pronto 'A Mangia on Buckingham Palace Road where the only fizzy drinks you can buy are made by a company called Sanpellegrino. We'd only actually gone in for a coffee to celebrate a Syrian but it seemed churlish to miss such an obvious opportunity.

It was my turn. I waited till it was quiet and uncertainly asked one of the two men (real men, over forty years old – not young childlike men like us) behind the counter if I could talk to them. They didn't see why not so I explained the project. "Ah!" one of them exclaimed as if this happened every day. "You'll be wanting to talk to Piedro!"

He was right. I did want to talk to Piedro. He's a 68 year old Italian chef who has lived just off the Edgware Road since 1967. "I have a famous Italian name!" he said, beaming, and wrote it in block capitals in our Panini-sticker-style funpack: Piedro Magnavacca. Literally translated – Peter, the Great Cow.

Unfortunately, we were quickly interrupted by customers demanding things other than stories from Piedro Magnavacca. I did manage to find out that his Great Great Great Great Great Great (Cow) Grandfather was the Count of Genoa in the 14th Century. He cooks full English breakfasts and likes fish and chips but thinks it's hard to find good ones any more. He also likes Yorkshire puddings.

But that was pretty much all we had time for. Italian chefs are busy people. But I'd got what I came for. And you never want too much parsley on your pasta, do you?

2 comments:

Augusto said...

It should be Pietro and not Piedro

The Greengrocer said...

Er, unless of course his name was Piedro... He did write himself, remember!