The next Monday I started working for Emilio’s Pizza Factory. The factory was set in Farringdon, East London, somewhere in Smithfield Rd, if I’m not wrong. We made packaged pizzas for big markets, Sainsbury, Tesco, things like that, if you know what I mean. The staff was all made by a small group of Egyptian Copts, a bunch of Italian guys, an old Portuguese named Pinto (who was often kidding the Egyptians in a mixed of Portuguese and English but spoken with marked Iberian pronunciation ) and a retired old Easter Londoner, who was able to mark with three or four fucking a speech of five or six words. It was him that I first started with my job that Monday of August 1977. Our duty was to cut the cheddar cheese (which took the place of Italian soft mozzarella in packaged pizzas, and not only, as I quickly learned in London) and send it upstairs, through the lift.
-“ Fuck you, and fucking shut, ‘you know, the fucking door!” he used to shout from
underground space, in order to call the elevator and send the cheese up.
The cheese was kept in a large fridge, down there. Old Jim (that was his name) didn’t allow me to get in the fridge. He did, all the time. It was stocked in big packages of fifty pounds. We were busy on cutting them, by means of wooden handles sharp iron, on strict, long slices to be shred in the electric grater before to be sent upstairs on big plastic hampers.
Upstairs there was the production chain.
In a large electric mixer they put flour, yeast, salt and water. After an hour and a half the kneading was ready. Then it had to be pressed to obtain a plain leaf from which they made a circles of five inches diameter. With a trolley they had taken and put in the oven for about ten, fifteen minutes. With the same trolleys, after the baking, a boy took them
on the assembly chain where the round pizza was flavored with tomatoes juice, cheese and some spices ( besides the plain pizza, we made mushroom and yellow or red pepper’s). In the end we put a brown preservative powder (the only ingredient we avoid when, at lunch time, we made our own pizzas). Finally they were wrapped in cellophane with the seller’s mark, and good appetite.
We went on that way from height a.m. till 4 p.m..
At that time I had a thick beard and I talked to none, a part those few words with Jim, needed for unroll the work.
When later, I made friendship with the Italian colleagues, they confess had thought I was a sort of fugitive man, hiding himself to escape from someone or something.
As a matter of fact I was just escaping from myself, and I was too shy and insecure to make friendship easily.
After a couple of months I asked the boss to go upstairs and he wanted to please me.
2. To be continued…