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From early January to mid February 1967.

- Umberto Tiboni locates a suitable place as a venue for the Mondo Beat Movement.
- Melchiorre Gerbino officially takes over Mondo Beat magazine.
- Vittorio Di Russo leaves the Mondo Beat Movement.


On January 1, 1967, while Vittorio Di Russo was hiding in his apartment, Melchiorre Gerbino made a phone call to Ezio Chiodini, the journalist he had met at the Cinisello Balsamo morgue, on the occasion of the identification of the body of Gennaro De Miranda. On that occasion, Chiodini expressed his interest in following the events of the Mondo Beat Movement, so now Gerbino has invited him to his apartment and has introduced him to Vittorio Di Russo.
Upon learning of Vittorio Di Russo's situation, Ezio Chiodini will tell Italo Pietra, the editor of Il Giorno, the newspaper in which he works.

On January 3, Melchiorre Gerbino went to the Chamber of Commerce, where he recorded a company denominated "Mondo Beat", intended for publications for schools. Subsequently, in the company of Umberto Tiboni, he went to the Order of Journalists, asking to be registered as the director of the student magazine "Mondo Beat". It has already been described how he met there the councilor of the Order, Luigi Marinatto, to whom he left in vision, a copy of the second issue of Mondo Beat magazine. On this occasion, Marinatto gave Gerbino a telephone appointment to inform him of the outcome of his request.

On January 4, Vittorio Di Russo told Melchiorre Gerbino that thanks to Fernanda Pivano, to whom he had previously phoned asking for help, he had been able to speak on the phone with Alberto Dall'Ora, a prominent lawyer, who was willing to go to the police headquarters to have a view of his file.
I became irritated when I learned that Vittorio, without telling me, had sought help from Fernanda Pivano. From my point of view, having phoned Fernanda Pivano and confiding that he was hiding in my apartment would have increased the risks for him and me, while in the end he would have had no real help. But I didn't make Vittorio understand how irritated I was, as he was in a state of confusion, because of what he had suffered.

On January 5, Ezio Chiodini brought Marco Mascardi, a well-known journalist from the newspaper Il Giorno, to my apartment to interview Vittorio Di Russo. A full-page article appeared on January 9th

 Vittorio Di Russo hid for three weeks in the apartment of Melchiorre Gerbino and Gunilla Unger
Vittorio Di Russo gave an interview while hiding in the apartment of Melchiorre Gerbino and Gunilla Unger

On January 10, lawyer Alberto Dall'Ora received Melchiorre Gerbino in his office and told him that the police headquarters did not intend to withdraw the mandatory expulsion order they had enjoined on Vittorio Di Russo, but that they would have pretended not to see him circulating in Milan, if he had refrained from acting against the institution.
On his return from the lawyer, Melchiorre Gerbino explained to Vittorio Di Russo how he had two options left: to leave Milan or, surrounded by photojournalists, to deliver himself to the police and consequently being sentenced by the magistracy to three months in prison. In the second case, the Mondo Beat Movement, inspired by his personal situation, would have promoted initiatives to assert civil rights. A third option would have been shameful for him and for the image of the Movement, namely that he would have crawled along the walls of Milan to avoid being noticed.
Vittorio Di Russo seemed undecided on how to behave. During the 10 days he had been held in the Milan police headquarters, before being handed over to the judiciary and imprisoned for one month, he had suffered beatings, mental torture, psychotropic drugs, which had left in him a profound trauma. He had lost self-confidence. His eyes, whose gaze had been impossible to counter, were now elusive.

On January 11, Melchiorre Gerbino phoned Luigi Marinatto, the councilor of the Order of Journalists, who told him that his request was accepted. As I have already said, Luigi Marinatto welcomed the Magazine's line and expressed his congratulations to Antonio Pilati for the article "The castrated choices".

On January 12, Melchiorre Gerbino applied to the Milan Court for authorization to publish the fortnightly student magazine "Mondo Beat" in the vest of editing director and owner (by law, the two responsibilities should not have been separated if a magazine was registered in the Special List).

On the same day, Umberto Tiboni found a place that seemed suitable as a venue for the Mondo Beat Movement. In his company, Gunilla Unger and Melchiorre Gerbino went to see it.
The local was on the ground floor. There were two large portcullises behind which there were two glass windows of equal width, one fixed and the other serving as an entrance. The room was about 40 square meters, in a corner there was a stone staircase leading to a cellar in terracotta bricks and with a vault, of one hundred square meters. The whole in perfect condition. The location in the center of Milan, 20 minutes walk from Piazza Duomo.
Melchiorre Gerbino couldn't believe his eyes, believed he was dreaming, so beautiful were those premises!
He said "Let's take it immediately!" - but Gunilla Unger and Umberto Tiboni have shown themselves phlegmatic, because they had fun seeing him excited, for once.

On January 14, we rented the venue for a period of 3 months. Umberto Tiboni provided £ 75,000; Gunilla Unger and Melchiorre Gerbino together £ 100,000. We knew well we would never recover that money. Umberto Tiboni, who had residence in Sesto San Giovanni, signed the lease agreement in his name, with the "commercial activity" as clause, so that the police could no longer expel him from Milan and the following day he resigned from the company where he worked.

On January 15, we took possession of the premises, to which Gunilla Unger and Melchiorre Gerbino gave the name "La Cava", since the cellar was similar to those existentialist "caves" they had attended in the Old City of Stockholm.

On the evening of the 16th, Vittorio Di Russo was secretly accompanied to "The Cave" (as I will call "La Cava" in English).
Vittorio had had some paranoia crisises while he was hiding in our apartment, but Gunilla Unger and I had been able to calm him down, thanks to the bond that has united us since the days of Stockholm. But once in The Cave, Vittorio felt bad and got angry with Umberto Tiboni, who was speechless for that, because he had never seen Vittorio in such conditions before.

On January 22, after three weeks hiding in my apartment, Vittorio Di Russo decided to leave Milan for Genoa, where he could move freely, as indeed he could in all Italian cities, except Milan. I have accompanied him to Genoa, where he was warmly welcomed by Barba, the most charismatic Beat of that city, who offered accommodation to him. But I had the feeling that Vittorio would soon leave Genoa to return to Milan, to further aggravate his situation. I was suffering a lot because of Vittorio situation, as it stressed me much, and nothing could I do to help him.
On the same day, back from Genoa to Milan, I met with the guys from Onda Verde. They were happy because hundreds of copies of the Magazine were being sold in schools, where students were delighted with the merger of Onda Verde and Mondo Beat.

The last week of January went away quietly. In the evening, Gunilla Unger and Melchiorre Gerbino met Umberto Tiboni and they opened The Cave, to welcome the most committed youths of the Movement. We opened The Cave late in the evening and with great discretion, to avoid the police noticing, as we did not yet have the license to publish Mondo Beat magazine, of which The Cave was registered as the official seat.

*

On February 2, Melchiorre Gerbino received authorization to publish Mondo Beat magazine.
On the same day, Gerbino resigned from the Alitalia airline, where he had worked for 2 months and 3 weeks. He did not need to anticipate his resignation, since he was not yet a permanent employee, since he had not completed the 3-month internship. On the same day, Gunilla Unger told attorney Pisano that she would quit her job after 30 days.

Umberto Tiboni and Melchiorre Gerbino immediately decided to keep The Cave open day and night and to let anyone enter for free and remain there indefinitely. Note that in those days there were very few places in the world open 24 hours a day and accessible to anyone indefinitely. Maybe only The Cave of Mondo Beat and the New York subway, but to enter the New York subway you had to pay at least once.

From the early hours of the opening of The Cave, there was the arrival of Beats and Provos who lived in Milan. After a few days, boys and girls arrived from the hinterland, then from all regions of Italy. And the young people of the Mondo Beat Movement, who had rushed to the rescue of Florence after the flood, begun to return to Milan and along with them were young people from other countries.
Giorgio Contini, who was one of the first to run in Florence after the flood, also returned and took responsibility for the cellar of The Cave. In the cellar there was a large closet where all could leave their belongings safely, without paying and without time limits. No one was required to present documents, but those who wanted to participate in The Cave had to strictly respect the 3 principles of Mondo Beat: no violence, no thefts, no drugs.
The Italian boys had nicknames like Ombra (Shadow), Grillo (Cricket), Zafferano (Saffron), Gesù (Jesus), Cristo (Christ), Giuda (Judah), Smilzo (Slender), Pasticca (Pill), Ercolino (Little Hercules), Roccia (Rock). Among the girls there was a tendency to keep the birth name, while some typical Italian girls wanted to be called Mamma, but there were also eccentric girls with names like Farfallina (Little Butterfly) and Sirena (Mermaid).

On February 5, Vittorio Di Russo arrived at The Cave. As I had foreseen, Vittorio would have left Genoa to return to Milan. Now he was with Rosa, a Milanese girl who owned a flower shop.
Vittorio stayed for a brief visit, fearing that police informants who would report his presence were in The Cave, and in fact this may have been possible.

In the following days, Vittorio and Rosa returned several times. On those occasions Rosa showed concern for Vittorio's fate and put pressure on Melchiorre Gerbino and Umberto Tiboni for not having him there. This made us embarrassed, since we did nothing to force Vittorio to stay at The Cave.
For his part, Vittorio was nervous. He feared to be caught by the police on one side, on the other, he was realizing how he had lost influence over the youths of Mondo Beat. He had been away from the front line of the Movement for too long, when exceptional events had occurred, such as the Rally of Handcuffs and the Rally of Flowers. After those events, the youths of Mondo Beat were prone to action, but Vittorio was prevented from heading them. If he acted, the police would have promptly arrested him and a judge would have sentenced him to three months in prison.

On Sunday 12 in the morning, most likely ill-advised by Rosa, Vittorio arrived at The Cave, followed by six young people from the Movement. Rosa was waiting for him in a bar not far from The Cave. Vittorio went down the stairs and entered the cellar, which was crowded with boys and girls, and shouted: "Enough! Let's get out of here! This is a rotten place! Let's go to purify ourselves in Barry McBuir's villa in Rapallo!"
Those who knew Vittorio remained stunned, the others indifferent.
I said out loud: "Those of you who want to go to Rapallo, go there! Here you can always return."
And Vittorio, with a commanding voice "Let's go!" - and he walked out of The Cave and of the history of Mondo Beat.
Half an hour later, the 6 youths who had followed him, including Barry McBuir, an Anglo-Italian whose mother had a villa in Rapallo, returned to The Cave.
Vittorio returned the next day, but did not enter The Cave, he waited for me outside. I invited him to come back to the group, but he didn't want... Vittorio didn't know what he wanted anymore.
During Mondo Beat time, we did not meet again. After the dissolution of the Movement, I went twice to visit him at his home.
I left Milan in the end of October 1967 and met Vittorio again after nine years, as I was crossing Milan during a trip around the world. I met him by chance in the park of the Sforzesco Castle. He said to me fondly: "In Milan, you left the memory of a great son of a bitch!" and he accompanied me to the central station, where I took a train to Brussels.

With a white pullover Vittorio Di Russo, to his left, Sisso, to his right in the same row, Pierluigi Perronace 'Principe' and Alfio D'Agosta 'Giuda', beneath, wearing a fur hat, Villy Augerau playing the guitar
Vittorio Di Russo and youths of the Mondo Beat Movement on the ground floor of The Cave in February 1967 (1)

In this photo, with a white pullover Vittorio Di Russo, to his left, Sisso, to his right in the same row, Pierluigi Perronace Principe and Alfio D'Agosta Giuda, beneath, wearing a fur hat, Villy Augerau playing the guitar.


To the right of Vittorio Di Russo there is Adriana, then Tella Ferrari. To the left of Vittorio, in the same row, Giorgio Cavalli 'Ombra', Daniele, Antonio Di Spagna 'Papà' and Alfredo
Vittorio Di Russo and youths of the Mondo Beat Movement on the ground floor of The Cave in February 1967 (2)

In this photo, to the right of Vittorio Di Russo there is Adriana, then Tella Ferrari; to the left of Vittorio, in the same row, Giorgio Cavalli Ombra, Daniele, Antonio Di Spagna Papà (the one looking at the photographer) and Alfredo.


Vitttorio Di Russo, Pierluigi Perronace 'Principe' and 'Cina'
Vittorio Di Russo, Pierluigi Perronace Principe (Prince) and Cina (China), in the early days of the Mondo Beat Movement


Vittorio Di Russo was the best of us from Mondo Beat because he was the most charismatic and generous of all. Three weeks of his activity were enough to create a historical movement from a scattered youth. Those who have known him cannot forget his smile of a dreaming lion.


History of Mondo Beat - Chapter 7