Natalia Aspesi – Here is Mina fatter more beautiful and better – La Repubblica 04.07.1978

By Natalia Aspesi – La Repubblica

LIDO DI CAMAIORE – Mina returns to singing in public after six years away and immediately makes two mythologies of mass summer neurosis appear petty, absurd: she is of a luminous whiteness, untouched and haughty, amid people ashamed of their pallor, fixated on chasing wrinkled, sinister tans; she is large, opulent, richly carnal, in a crowd of desperate people who punish their dream of thinness with guilty, tireless eating and demean their thoughts with point and calorie calculations, diet gathering, disgust of their own humanly expanded bodies.
She is 38 years old, and she has been singing for 20 years and singing better and better. This curiosity happens: people have always been fine with the way she was, fine with the way she is, they loved her along her life that corresponded to life, and not to the gaps of good rules that extinguish and imprison; they love her now, with respect and perhaps, finally, without curiosity anymore. Instead, it never went well in the press, who knows why: newspapers specializing in defamatory moralism, but also knowledgeable and dignified journalists perpetrated, by using her, the continuation of an ominous custom already outdated by reality, they stoned by judging her sourly, a female condition that was changing.
In a country where a President of the Republic over seventy would be considered a young man and where cinematic female glamour is represented by young ladies close to fifty, Mina, mysteriously, at 38, is described as elderly: nonexistent wrinkles are evoked and still symbolic of the erasure of a woman buried in it, like Aida in her tomb.
And never mind that his songs, except for a couple, are all new, even unreleased: here are his decrepit female peers in the audience frantically applauding him because he reminds them of their golden days (probably when he sings “Lacreme napulitane,” a late 19th century emigrant song), now that they know they have no hope, their life is over, Men Don’t Want Them Anymore!
Mina’s laughter is thunderous and sincere: “How crazy, how crazy, old at 38! I’m here I still haven’t figured out if I should start living or if it’s still too early, I mean I feel so good, and then I’ve never understood certain obsessions. If anything, my obsessions are other….”
“One obsession is really with newspapers. I have a mountain of lawsuits, I never resigned myself to lynching but nothing ever changed. We were not in the Middle Ages, we were in ’63 and the newspapers were calling me a public sinner: a weekly news magazine, an important one, published a picture of me together with Corrado Pani, I had a baby bump, I was expecting my child, and I was laughing: and the caption said ‘but who knows what she’ll have to laugh about…’. And then they kicked me out of television, then, again because I was expecting a child with a married man, and no matter how much one cares, goes straight for her way, the marks remain, at least the fear, the horror of the newspapers, the defense at all costs of self….”
The child is now 15 years old and his name is Maximilian. When he was growing up, his name was Paciughino and his name was always in the headlines about the singer: “And Paciughino Knows Nothing” and underneath Mina hounded with known and unknown men, Mina marrying Virgilio Crocco, Mina giving birth to Benedetta, the child born of her marriage: always blamed, first as a girl expecting a child then as the mother of a child.
The other obsession is people, showing up among people. “The thing is that I never got used to singing in public, I’m afraid of everything, of forgetting the words, of stumbling and falling like a sack, I’m afraid I’ll get shot, like in “Nashville” like in “Fifth Estate.” I’ve always thought about this thing, that while I’m singing someone will kill me, it’s a lousy feeling that occupies all of me, when I’m there fumbling in the spotlight, and I can’t see anything because besides everything you know I’m half-eyed, an 18 diopter eye.”
Mina Mazzini lives in Lugano, with her two children, ages 15 and 7, and her parents: in recent years she has lived quietly, recording one double album a year, long-playing records that have always sold at least 200,000 copies. “I went to Lugano mostly for the children, so that they could go to public schools without being constantly bothered because I made them.”
He regrets his wonderful adolescence; he regrets Cremona, the little restaurants, the stall on the river, the village cheerfulness that he tries to recreate with his friends and no longer succeeds at anyone. “I read newspapers, I follow everything, but if I tell them how I think, they immediately judge me know-it-all.” And in fact, woe if he names a writer, immediately it is said that he “tempts the literary salon.” “And instead the only thing I like is really reading, actually re-reading. Now I’ve sunk into Joseph Roth, how can you not go crazy over someone like that? Otherwise debauched life: I’m lazy as hell, I don’t want to do anything, gymnastics sucks for me, sports I follow on television, especially soccer, nature does nothing for me, already a tree unnerves me, I even go fifteen days without leaving the house, I like to play cards, scopone and poker, chatting with the few friends I have. Reprehensible but at least I’m quiet. I had been offered, for example, to go sing in Las Vegas, nice maybe, but I had to stay there three months: three months in jail, away from home, I gave it up right away.”
Yet Mina must feel like trying, now that perhaps her loves no longer trigger the great envoys of feeling, a different life. Throughout the summer, she will sing on Bussoladomani every Saturday: she plans, quietly, a television program about herself; she is interested in films about entertainment, such as Scorsese’s “The Last Waltz” and Bob Dylan’s “Ronaldo and Clara.” That is perhaps why she is so good, alive, aggressive. Full of passion she unravels little by little, on the stage as if after making love, with violence and happiness: sweat slips down her throat as she sings “The important thing is to finish,” she frees her white neck from her drenched red hair as she cries “Start again, what’s the point.” When she bursts out, first bent over, then unfolded in the big black dress, “I ask you still, your body still,” people are lost inside an ancient, carnal and theatrical call. The discomfort of such loving fury, forgotten in the habit of sexual pretense, is like a slap in the face.

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They say about her

11 November 2023


Giorgio Bocca – The jukebox is too tight for Mina – ll Giorno 11.12.1960

Tonight Mina has crazy hair and a dress on which sequins shine. Pale. Slender, her eyes dilated with neurotic rage, the girl wrings her hands to overcome the disgust of strangers breathing down on her.
We are in a dance hall on the outskirts of Turin. With two thousand five hundred liras each (almost two days’ work) the young men of the neighborhood paid themselves, for one hour, for the physical presence of Italy’s most famous “screamer”; the lucky ones, now, surround her little table, under the orchestra.

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Oriana Fallaci – The siren of twenty years – The European 05.02.1961

But who, then, is this girl who in not even two years has become a kind of myth of Italians young and old, poor and rich, suckers and smart, communists and Catholics, and in one minute earns as much as a magistrate earns in a month (one hundred and fifty thousand traffic circles), in one week collects six covers of authoritative weeklies, and if you say you have never seen her sing they treat you as an ignoramus, a traitor to the fatherland, or a cretin?

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Tony di Corcia from “Mina Viva lei” – Clichy Editions 2023

It has become very difficult to write about Mina.
This oh-so-round and fateful birthday of 80, which falls today, has already been consumed by streams of words, hordes of footage, odd images.
Everything seems already said. Premature retirement in 1978-an anti-media seclusion-made her forever young.

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Indro Montanelli – Mina’s fragile secret – 04.02.1961

Two forces seem to sustain it, instinct and ignorance. But then it is not hard to see that it is a calculated fiction so clever that it appears to be the truth. Rome, Feb. They tell me that here in Rome, the San Remo champions who came to repeat their singing feats here have had bad luck.

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