Saturday 5 January 2013

If The Heart Is A Bell - A Tribute to Gigi Giannuzzi


If the Heart is a Bell 

A Tribute to Gigi Giannuzzi

I write for you Gigi,
And its not easy at all,
To write of you in the past tense,
The last orders call
Time, gentlemen, please,
Stop the clock, its gone too fast,
So I will write of the sound of your beginning,
Your first breath - not your last.

You once told me,
Late one night,
You were born in Rome
At the strike of midnight,
And that every bell rang out,
As you opened your eyes to see first light.

Every cathedral and church bell swinging,
Chiming, ringing, clanging, singing,
A cacophony of pealing bells beating,
Sonorous and resound,
Intensified, glorified,
Reverberating and profound.

 It's odd the things we remember,
And it doesn’t matter now if this was true,
If all the bells in all the world,
were merrily ringing out for you,
But it’s the passion of you I hear,
We won’t let that music disappear,
Its the people we love, we met through you,
the Trolley family, far and near, and, dear

Tonight I write for you,
How quiet this winter seems to be,
But if I listen carefully I hear summer time,
Your boisterous laughter, a restless sea,
I see you beam your generous grin,
A smile that skids across your cheeks and chin,
Lips stained blue with wine, Gigi,
Raucous banter, to just get a word in…

And you’re wearing your Venetian slippers,
Your sarong or your velvet suit of red,
Redchurch Street, the roaring chorus of artists,
A clatter of chatter, dusk ‘til dawn ‘til bed.

Most of all though its this -
Your birth in Rome and in July,
I imagine the bells chiming for Gigi,
Italian moonlit stars in a midnight sky.

And it’s the sound of you I'm listening for,
A boom, a bark, a buzz of energy,
And how you believed in us all -
Believed in this - believed in me.

If a heart is a bell - 
Then mine is swinging.
Together, we’re all chiming, 
Ringing, clanging, singing,
We are a symphony of one love,
Hearts gathered, beating,
Sonorous and resound,
Intensified, glorified,
Reverberating and profound.

© 2013. Salena Godden
 A Tribute to Gigi 
Read at the celebration of his life  - Shoreditch Church, January 4th 2013.

'Gigi in the Blue Grotto' by Nan Goldin (1997)

Born in Rome, Luigi Giannuzzi, known as Gigi, grew up in northern Italy. He worked as an editor at the book publisher Allemandi, but left in 1997 when he got a chance to collaborate on a catalogue of Nan Goldin’s work - it was a huge success. In 2001, Gigi found financial backing to start a new company, based in Venice. Trolley got its name when Gigi used a shopping cart to push his book proposals around the floor of the Frankfurt Book Fair. In its first two years alone, Trolley Books published such award-winning books as Alex Majoli’s Leros, Chien Chi-Chang’s The Chain, Carl De Keyzer’s Zona: Siberian Prison Camps, Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin’s Ghetto, and Thomas Dworzak’s Taliban. Giannuzzi published the first books of many photographers, including Deirdre O’Callaghan, whose book Hide That Can won an ICP Infinity Award, and Carrie Levy’s 51 Months. In 2005, Trolley Books won a citation from the Kraszna-Krausz Book Awards for outstanding contribution to book publishing.  

My brother and my friend Gigi Giannuzzi, founder of Trolley Books, died of pancreatic cancer on Christmas Eve, 2012.  At the celebration of his life in Shoreditch Church, the priest called Gigi 'a saint' he then went on to salute this man that will be so sorely missed by us all - and i remember he said 'that the books Gigi promoted and published are like arrows...' -  His legacy is immense. I agree wholeheartedly and urge you to visit the Trolley website to find out about this incredible work for yourself. Yesterday's celebration was so moving and so magnificent. Reading this aloud was very difficult yesterday, I share this with love and thanks to all Trolley friends and family.



"Bravo, come mi pace a me,

senza programmi"


"Good, how i like it,

without a plan"


Viva Gigi!

© Sarah Shatz/
Gigi Giannuzzi in the Trolley Books office in New York, around 2004, 
photographed by Sarah Shatz

"If A Heart Is A Bell" Gigi's Soundgarden & The Trolley Radiopicture by Salena Godden, audio now on Mixcloud  here!   

Since writing this poem for Gigi's funeral - Jan 4th 2013 -   
I have been recording vocals and guitars, editing clips of poetry and music and borrowing sounds with the sole aim of trying to capture the sound of our friend and his work. This piece begins as a 'sound illustrated poem' for Gigi, And then in parts i try to make the sound of the truth and guts I find in all the books published by Trolley over the last decade. Its made in three movements created intentionally to be played on a loop. Each movement begins with the sound of red wine pouring into a glass - but of course it does!

Part One: Gigi's Sound Garden
Part Two: The Trolley Radio Picture
Part Three: La Vita è Bella (Life is Beautiful) 

Presented as a sound installation with images from Gigi's vivid 
life, it premiered at The Trolleyology Exhibition, Londonewcastle Project Space, Redchurch Street, January 2013. It then travelled to the 'Paris Loves Gigi Party' in February at Au Café Le Béguin. Next this work will be shown and performed at the Trolleyology book launch, Venice Biennale, May 28th 2013. 

The Trolleyology Kickstarter campaign is now LIVE!