In the hushed silence of the competition area, illuminated by the first light of morning, the rising and austere succession of tolling of a bell in mourning becomes increasingly perceptible.
As aftermath of the few hours of sleep, for the first time over the weekend do resurface in the mind the voices of those who can not understand. Being here means giving up: money, time, sleep. So much sleep. And those to whom you told it do not even know all the details. They would not understand, as do not understand already. The giving up two days of leave and the only rest Sunday, the shoot of 800 km in the night to go there and back, the assembly and disassembly of the site more alike a relocation than a campground, a competition lasting 30 hours for grabs very often a handshake or a little more, the 4 hours of sleep in two nights. I must admit if I had to look at me with foreign eyes I probably would judge myself a little freaked out. But it’s just a moment.
Suddenly the rough and familiar sound of a guitar solo is added to the collection. I knew It was coming and yet it’s able to surprise me every time.
The cutting boards are arranged, the knives lined up alongside them with the blade sharpened on stone, in a ritual similar to winding up the good clock immediately after wearing the dress for special occasions. You know that the gesture will have no influence on the outcome of the day but you go along with its illogic, knowing that this will let you deal with it with the necessary security.
The shrill voice of Brian Johnson starts Hells Bells and I raise the volume: nothing let me concentrate more than a song of AC DC and suddenly everything is channeled back on track.
Resurfaces alive the feeling of the previous night’s Silent Time, the moment I love most. When the clamor of the festival suddenly gives way to the sobriety of the competition, in compliance with the strict KCBS rules, as wanting you to remember why you’re there. The music stops, and in the dark already full, the fires of the braziers are the theater to a riotous as intimate late dinner and ideal environment for sharing: croping out sweets from dontknowhere Counties, meats that you know by heart embraced to recipes that dress them in a brand new way as well as an infinite number of traditional drinks with the sobriety have nothing to do but which have the unique ability to wrap even the cool nights of autumn competitions in a hot and comforting blanket of which you can not in the long run longer do without. A night walk in a barbecue competition should be made mandatory to anyone who wants to understand the true meaning of the word “Europe.”
The Thighs slip away smooth. Gestures are now more a ritual than a procedure. Yet you know that the small drops of attention that accompany every gesture will constitute the sea of difference between a lead role and a second floor one. The rest is a series of events that succeed to be always new in their cyclic every time: the throbbing frenzy in turn in time, the devastating exhaustion that assails you when you have to dismantle the camp, the electrifying thrill of calls. If you think about it, nothing new compared to what experienced by participants in other competitive environments at the end, but it’s different here. Barbecue carry the humble and simple beginnings from which he was born, a kind of rustic as sincere country ethic you feel as a side at the beginning, but then you realize that being its true soul. The barbecue competitions are to the world of cooking what rugby is to sport: your most bitter rival will be the first to help you if you need something, everyone wants to win but he will be the first to hug you if the winner was you.
I love all of this and as it usually happens with the good things, they ends too quickly. For a while, I think, for the second time over the weekend, to the people who can not understand and suddenly a slight smile buckles on my lips. I’m glad that it is this way. This is our small and crazy world where everything makes sense in the eyes of anyone who wants to taste the true and authentic values. And like all that really worth, it may not be for everyone.
I get in the car, a long journey is waiting for me. I let the last notes of Rock and Roll is not Noise Pollution smudge before changing album. It ‘s all just finished, am devastated and already can not wait to start it again. Spells of Barbecue