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Milan, January-February, 1967

- Umberto Tiboni finds a suitable place for the editorial board of the magazine Mondo Beat -
- Melchiorre Gerbino receives the license of director in charge of the magazine Mondo Beat -
- Vittorio Di Russo leaves the Movimento Mondo Beat.


On January 1, 1967, while Vittorio Di Russo is hiding in my apartment, I call Ezio Chiodini, the journalist I have met in the circumstances of the death of Gennaro De Miranda, and I invite him to my home, to introduce Vittorio Di Russo to him.

On January 3, I go to the Chamber of Commerce, where I register a company denominated "Mondo Beat", intended to publications for schools. After that, in Umberto Tiboni company, I go to the Order of Journalists of Lombardy, where I ask to be registered as director in charge of the fortnightly magazine "Mondo Beat". Luigi Marinatto, the councilor with whom I am speaking, leafing through a copy of the second issue of Mondo Beat, asks how many copies were printed of it. "Five thousand two hundred" I answer. Mr Marinatto jumps out of his chair. I explain how we are a dynamic group. Mr Marinatto lets me understand that he has heard about Mondo Beat. He asks me to fill out an application, which he kindly helps to formulate. He keeps the copy of the magazine, for reading the articles, and gives me a telephone appointment, to inform me about the outcome of my application.

On January 4, thanks the help of Fernanda Pivano, Vittorio Di Russo is able to speak by phone with Alberto Dall'Ora, a prominent lawyer, who is willing to go to the Police Headquarters to inspect Vittorio's dossier.

On January 5, Ezio Chiodini leads to my apartment Marco Mascardi, a journalist of the daily Il Giorno, to interview Vittorio Di Russo. The article appears on January 9.

(Il Giorno - January 9, 1967)
 Vittorio Di Russo was hiding for three weeks at the home of Melchiorre Gerbino and Gunilla Unger
Vittorio Di Russo grants an interview while hiding at the home of Melchiorre Gerbino and Gunilla Unger

On January 10, lawyer Alberto Dall'Ora receives me in his office and tells me that in the Police Headquarters they are not willing to withdraw the mandatory expulsion order, but they will pretend not to see Vittorio Di Russo circulating in Milan, if he refrains to engage in anti-establishment actions.
Back home, I explain to Vittorio that there are two options left to him, or he is spectacularly arrested by the police, then sensationally sentenced to three months imprisonment, or he goes away from Milan. Indeed, it is unacceptable that he smears along the walls of the city to avoid being noticed by the police.

On January 11, I phone to Luigi Marinatto, who tells me that my application was accepted and I am registered in the Special List of the Order of Journalists of Lombardy. Luigi Marinatto welcomes the line of the magazine Mondo Beat and congratulates Antonio Pilati for the article "If the choice has been castrated" (Le scelte castrate).

On January 12, I submit an application to the Court of Milan, to be licensed to publish the fortnightly magazine "Mondo Beat" as director in charge.
On that same day, Umberto Tiboni finds a place that seems suitable as a venue for Mondo Beat.
The location is currently on the ground floor, it has two portcullises behind which there are two glass windows of equal width, one fixed and the other as entrance. The room is about 40 square meters, in a corner of it there is a stone staircase leading to a cellar one hundred square meters wide, with a vault in terracotta bricks. Everything is in perfect condition. The location is in the center of Milan... I said "Let's take it at once!" - but Gunilla Unger and Umberto Tiboni showed themselves phlegmatic, because they had fun to see me excited.

On January 14, we have collected the money to rent the place for 3 months. Umberto Tiboni provides £ 75,000 and Gunilla Unger and Melchiorre Gerbino, together, £ 100,000. We put our money on losing, knowing full well that we will never recover it.
That same day Umberto Tiboni, who has his legal residence registered in Sesto San Giovanni, signs the location contract in his name, with the clause of "commercial activity", so the police cannot expel him from Milan. The day after, he resigns from the company where he is working.

On January 15, we take possession of the keys. Gunilla Unger and Melchiorre Gerbino give the name "The Cave" (La Cava) to the seat of Mondo Beat, since the cellar is so similar to those existentialist caves which they frequented in Stockholm.

On the evening of the 16, Vittorio Di Russo is secretly accompanied at The Cave. Vittorio has been subject to fits of paranoia, while hiding in our home, but Gunilla Unger and I have been able to appease him, thanks to the bond that unites us from the times of Stockholm. But once in the cellar of The Cave, Vittorio feels sick and gets angry with Umberto Tiboni, who becomes very upset because of this, since he has never seen Vittorio in such conditions. For sure, the week when Vittorio was jailed and mishandled in the Police Headquarters, before going jailed in San Vittore, has left in him a deep trauma.

On January 22, after three weeks in hiding, Vittorio Di Russo decides to leave Milan for Genoa, where he can move freely, as indeed he can in all Italian cities, except Milan. I accompany him to Genoa, where we are warmly welcomed by Barba, the most charismatic beat of that city, who offers accommodation to Vittorio. But I have the feeling that Vittorio will soon leave Genoa to return to Milan, attracted by the great fire of Mondo Beat, as a butterfly attracted by a candle... I feel frustrated because of this, since I can not help him.
On the same day, back from Genoa to Milan, I meet with the guys of Onda Verde. They are glad, because hundreds of copies of the magazine are sold in schools, where students are pleased of the merger of Onda Verde with Mondo Beat.

Youths of Onda Verde were almost all of them of the Milanese upper class     Gianfranco Sanguinetti would become an outstanding member of the Situationists

- Picture on the left. Two guys Onda Verde under the arcades of Piazza Duomo, late at evening. In the poster reads "Conscientious objection" (to compulsory military service).
- Picture on the right. An article by Gianfranco Sanguinetti on the nonviolent revolt of the youth in Italy.

The last week of January passes quietly. In the late afternoon, Gunilla Unger and Melchiorre Gerbino meet with Umberto Tiboni. They open The Cave and receive the most committed youths of the Movement.

On February 2, Melchiorre Gerbino receives, from the Court of Milan, the authorization to publish the magazine Mondo Beat as director in charge. On the same day, he resigns from his job at Alitalia, where he has been employed for 2 months and 3 weeks.
On the same day, Gunilla Unger resigns from the studio of lawyer Pisano, where she has worked for one year.
Finally, Umberto Tiboni and Melchiorre Gerbino decide that The Cave will be open day and night to anyone who wants to enter it. Note that in those days, there were very few places open 24 hours to every one. Maybe only The Cave of Mondo Beat and the Subway of New York (but there you had to pay, to enter).

From the early hours of the opening of The Cave, there is a bustle of all beats and provos who live in Milan. After a few days, boys and girls are arriving from the hinterland, then from all parts of Northern Italy. Many youths of Mondo Beat are returning from Florence and along with them there are youths from different European countries. Italians have nicknames like Ombra (Shadow), Grillo (Cricket), Zafferano (Saffron), Gesù (Jesus), Cristo (Christ), Giuda (Judah), Smilzo (Slender), Pasticca (Tablet), Ercolino (Little Hercules), Roccia (Rock), Scheletrino (Thin Skeleton)... Among girls, there is a tendency to keep the birth name, when they don't call themselves Mamma, as many of them do, but there are also bizarre girls, named Farfallina (Little Butterfly) and Sirena (Mermaid).
Giorgio Contini, who was among the first youths who rushed to Florence after the flood, has returned to Milan and has taken the direction of the cellar of The Cave. In the cellar there is a wardrobe where anybody can safely leave his things, without having to pay. No one is required to produce documents, but, who want to frequent The Cave, has to comply with the principles of Mondo Beat: no violence, no theft, no drugs.


(Agency Franco Sapi)                                                                                                 (Epoca)
 Great was the contribution of Stefano Mondo to the printing of the second issue of the magazine Mondo Beat    The Cave was located in the very center of Milan

- Picture on the left. From left, Melchiorre Gerbino, Gunilla Unger, Maria and, with a cigarette in his lips, Stefano Mondo. This picture was taken on the ground floor of The Cave in the early days of its opening.
- Picture on the right. Tella Ferrari and Cristo di Monza sitting at the entrance of The Cave. At the top of the window, the poster reads "Students, shout it from the benches!" (STUDENTI, GRIDATELO DAI BANCHI!).

(Epoca)                                                                                                                                                      (Agency Franco Sapi)
 At the windows of The Cave were shown slogans and posters of the Movement   The windows of The Cave were photographed by photojournalists of newspapers and magazines

- Picture on the left. Adriana and Ercolino. The poster reads "A truncheon blow or a mandatory expulsion order don't kill an idea" (CON UNA MANGANELLATA O UN FOGLIO DI VIA NON SI UCCIDE UN'IDEA).
- Picture on the right. The two windows of The Cave and the poster "We speak of peace and freedom and the establishment oppresses us" (NOI PARLIAMO DI PACE E LIBERTÀ E L'AUTORITÀ CI OPPRIME).

Some links to see the cellar of The Cave Mondo Beat Cellar 1 - Mondo Beat Cellar 2 - Mondo Beat Cellar 3 - Mondo Beat Cellar 4.
A link to see The editorial staff of Mondo Beat at work on the ground floor of The Cave

*
On February 5, Vittorio Di Russo arrives at The Cave. He has left Genoa to return to Milan. He is together with Rosa, a Milanese girl who owns a flower shop.
Vittorio is on the alert, fearing there may be police informers in The Cave, who may report his presence. In fact, this was quite possible.
In the following week, Vittorio and Rosa make short visits in The Cave. In these occasions, Rosa shows concern for the fate of Vittorio and puts pressure on me and Umberto Tiboni for not to keep him there. This embarrasses us, since we do nothing to have Vittorio in The Cave.
For his part, Vittorio is very nervous. On the one hand, he fears the police, on the other hand, he realizes that he is losing influence on the youths of Mondo Beat. He hasn't been active in the Movement for three months, when many exceptional events have occurred, as the Rally of Handcuffs and the Rally of Flowers. Now, one can lead the youths of Mondo Beat only by programming and performing concrete actions against the establishment. But Vittorio can not act. If he does, the police will arrest him and a judge will sentence him to three months in prison.

On the morning of Sunday 12, most probably ill advised by Rosa, Vittorio arrives at The Cave, followed by six youths of Mondo Beat. Rosa is waiting for him in a bar not far from The Cave. Vittorio goes downstairs and enters in the cellar, which is crowded with boys and girls. He shouts: "Enough! Let's go away from here! This is a rotten place! Let's go to purify ourselves in the villa of Barry McBuir in Rapallo!".
Those who know Vittorio remain interdicted, the others indifferent.
I say in a loud voice: "Go to Rapallo, those of you who want to go there. Here you can always come back".
And then Vittorio, with a commanding voice "Let's go!" - and he walks out from The Cave and from the history of Mondo Beat.
Half an hour later, the 6 youths who had followed him, including Barry McBuir who had that villa in Rapallo, return to The Cave.
Vittorio returns the next day, but he doesn't enter, he waits for me outside The Cave. I invite him to return to the group, but he doesn't want... Vittorio doesn't know anymore what he wants.
During the time of Mondo Beat, I did not see him any more. After the destruction of the structures of Mondo Beat and the dissolution of the Movement, I went to his home twice.
I left Milan in late October 1967 and I met Vittorio again after nine years, as I passed through Milan during a trip around the world. I met him by chance in the park of Castello Sforzesco. He told me with affection "In Milan, you have left the memory of a great son of a bitch!" and he accompanied me to my train to Brussels.
Vittorio Di Russo was the most generous of all of us. Those who have known him can not forget his smile of a dreamy lion.

                               (Agency Franco Sapi)                                                                                  (AGI)
 Vittorio Di 
Russo in The Cave, among youths of Mondo Beat    Although impulsive, 
Vittorio Di Russo was a honest anarchist, who candidly obeyed to the dictates of reason    Unfortunately, Vittorio Di Russo didn't know much about the mechanisms 
of the power system against which was acting

- Picture on the left. 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, Villi Augerau playing the guitar.
- Picture on the center. 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 (who is watching in the direction of the photographer) and Alfredo.
- Picture on the right. Rosa Di Russo is protesting because of an umpteenth detention of Vittorio, whose problems would not end soon after Mondo Beat.

*

Returning to the chronology of the history of Mondo Beat, on February 16, Umberto Tiboni finds a typography near The Cave, Tecnografica Milanese, which is ready to print an issue of Mondo Beat, at full speed and at an unbeatable price, provided that we pay in advance. We have some money from the sale of the second issue of the magazine, but it is not enough, consequently, Umberto Tiboni, Gunilla Unger and Melchiorre Gerbino have to put of their own money again. But from then on, Mondo Beat has to be self-sufficient, and money can come only from the sale of the magazine. We think that we can succeed, since the Movement has greatly expanded after the opening of The Cave. So, on that same same day, Umberto Tiboni and Melchiorre Gerbino deliver to Tecnografica Milanese the money for the printing of four thousand copies of a new issue of the magazine, which will be the first one fully licensed and in letterpress.

On Saturday, 18 February, the Police Headquarters has encircled The Cave, predisposing a large number of plainclothes cops in the streets adjacent to it.
From the beginning of February, the Police Headquarters had suspended operations against Mondo Beat, because startled by the opening of The Cave, the official seat of a magazine which had all trappings of legality, given that it was registered at the Chamber of Commerce, the Association of Journalists, the Court of Milan. But now the order from Rome (better say from the Vatican, through the puppet Italian government) has arrived and it's "REPRESS!". So, the Police Headquarters has encircled The Cave. And now it is easy to intercept youths who have not registered residence in Milan. The lurking cops have just to check identity documents in the streets adjacent to The Cave. Consequently, Mondo Beat is decimated by mandatory expulsion orders. And this praxis of mandatory expulsion orders, and warnings not to stay for 5 years in a given city, has become common praxis in those cities where the Movement has expanded, Turin, Genoa, Bologna, Florence, Rome, Padua, Trento... So, those youths who are warned not to stay in Milan, leave The Cave, while others, who are warned not to stay in other cities, tend to converge to Milan and to The Cave. Among those youths who converge to Milan, there are some who are warned not to stay in almost all major Italian cities... And to make the situation even more paradoxical, in The Cave there is a continuous line of curious people, each of them asking the same question "Why do you protest?". Being impossible to send people to hell, impossible to explain to each one what we were doing, in the despair of inability to communicate, at one point it was spontaneous for Melchiorre Gerbino to paraphrase the bureaucratic terminology of the Police Headquarters, who "contested" mandatory expulsion orders to us. So, to the old lady with the doggie, who asked "Why do you protest?", I said "We don't protest, Madam, we contest!". Then, I flashed in the brain the slogan "l'inserito protesta - il beat contesta" ("the one integrated is protesting - the beat is contesting") and to the gentleman who followed, the grocer of the street near, who asked "Why do you protest?", I said "You are protesting, because of the taxes! The beat is contesting, since he refuses to live in the family, to attend school, to bend to wage labor".
The slogan "l'inserito protesta - il beat contesta" had an overwhelming success, because people finally figured out which was our attitude!

(Agency Franco Sapi)
Every day hundreds of people visited The Cave   People were friendly with the beats, because understood that they wanted a better society
Every day hundreds of people visited The Cave, many stood at the entrance until late in the evening.

- On the picture on the left, sitting on the ground, Eros Alesi 'Pasticca', wearing a poncho and Villi Augereau, who plays the guitar.
- On the picture on the right, Melchiorre Gerbino in t-shirt, going from The Cave toward a bar, for drinking a coffee.

(Agency Franco Sapi)
 In this picture, from the left, Zafferano, Daniele and Loredana   The last two on the right are Franco Sapi,who keeps under an arm a copy of the magazine,and 
his young son Ezio   Franco Sapi,a writer and photographer,and his young son Ezio,took pictures of the many events of the Movimento Mondo Beat

- Picture on the left. On the ground floor of The Cave there was a collective, permanent exhibition of paintings, which were easily sold because of the many visitors. In this picture, from left, Zafferano, Daniele and Loredana.
- Picture in the center. Editors of the magazine Mondo Beat. Sitting in the center, Melchiorre Gerbino, to his right, standing, Giorgio Cavalli Ombra. The last two on the right are Franco Sapi, who keeps under his arm a copy of the magazine, and his young son Ezio.
- Picture on the right. Editors of the magazine Mondo Beat. Sitting in the center, Giorgio Cavalli Ombra, sitting to his right, Giò Tavaglione, then Roberto Antonelli. Standing, from the right, Melchiorre Gerbino, Ezio and Franco Sapi.

(Agency Franco Sapi)
Because of the acoustics,the best place to play was the cellar of The Cave   The Base of Mondo Beat was international,
it numbered about 400 youths

- Picture on the left. With a guitar Lino Paterlini, the most talented guitarist at Mondo Beat.
- Picture on the right. Youths of the "Base of Mondo Beat" (Base di Mondo Beat). The Base was international, most of the youths were Italians, then Frenchmen. It numbered about 400 people, but when we gathered to take collective actions, we were never more than 200, being the others in jail or in hitchhiking.

History of Mondo Beat - Chapter 7