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Morgan, great barman of the golden Malindi era, died

Covid-19 took an authentic italian character

12-11-2020 by Freddie del Curatolo

A real artist stays on stage until the end, you take away the theatre, the set and it's over.
This was also true of the counter behind which the great Morgan had performed for a lifetime, ever since he was a boy. The historical philosopher barman, who for many years was a drinking and chatting companion and friend of many in Italian Malindi, went away from the palm trees and the sun that for many years, in Kenya and even before in South America and Sardinia, had seen him as the protagonist of a life "at the top".
If it had been for me, Morgan would never have had to leave that natural stage, that fiction made up of characters from the past with stories to tell, which was and in part still is Malindi.
Even then, three years ago, I had written a farewell that seemed like a "de profundis".
It was not, because since Morgan left, he has lived three serene years in Trentino with his brother, until the epilogue, eighty years ago, in this dark period where you can say goodbye to everyone with the Covid-19 but not necessarily because of him.
The fault is always with the time, the cursed virus offered only the last round.
And time is memory. Those who have frequented Malindi for so long remember it in the mythical years of the Ferment, when evenings were not exclusive to entreneuse and future lovers, but also to those who spent tropical evenings in the shade of a cocktail prepared in the grace of God and in the artificial light of true life stories.
In this sense Morgan was the perfect "moderator", with his adventurous existence behind him, from the bookbinding on Isla Margarita to the nocturnal revelry with Enzo Jannacci in Milan, from his boxing career at a young age to the Africa embraced after other adventures from Friuli to Sardinia.
Whether he was the greatest cocktail wizard who landed in Malindi has never been a mystery: for years, anyone who wanted a mojito along the lines of those ordered by Ernest Hemingway in Havana or a frozen daiquiri that came out of the shaker as if it had been made in a factory, had to go to him.
And there he could have the free cherry (or olive, depending on the drink) of a lightning joke or a pearl of extemporaneous wisdom.
As I wrote some years ago in the volume "Malindi from the Askari to the Mosquito", 
"Captain Morgan, also known as "The Pirate", is a former boxer with air (but only air, mind you!) played, who has a long militancy of bar counters, especially in South America. His nocturnal tales and fulminating considerations are now part of the Malindino nocturnal imagination".
We missed you and already remembered you with affection. 
From today we will also add a smile and an extra raised glass. 
To our daughter Claudia and granddaughter Valentina a special hug.

TAGS: italiani kenyabarman malindimorgan kenya

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