mum is from Puglia, the region, and their hometown was Acquaviva delle Fonti
from what I know, it's not too far from Bari, about 45 minutes inland from there and
there's still some family there mum, I think she'd spent like up until like
moving to Australia, had spent her whole life living there
and how old was your mum when she came to Australia?
for a really long time I thought she's 16 I'm pretty sure she was actually 14
so she came to Australia when she was a lot younger
yeah, but she actually spent like quite a lot of her childhood there
yeah, quite a bit
and she was like second oldest, my aunty was like a few years older than her and like my two uncles
and her younger sister, my aunty Rosa, was like the youngest and
- she was like, pretty much like a little toddler before they moved - yeah right
did they come...did your mum come with your grandparents too?
yeah, they all came together the lot of them, all seven of them
what sort of things you feel like you do that affirm that part of your cultural background?
I did live with my grandparents for a bit and you just kinda... you get taught from a young age how to put the coffee on
so the family wouldn't have to get up haha
you know, they could then put it on the kids to like
go put the coffee on it's a good skill to know
it's pretty cliché but like just always talk about food when it comes to Italy and stuff like that and my family but at
the same time like that was like parts of like kind of communicating with that
other culture which was around family time, which was always around food and those kind of things
are there are particular dishes or traditions that are specific to Puglia or to the specific town where your mums from?
I never asked that, like I did think about a little bit when I was telling you about
panzarotti and like kind of realising that not all Italians know about it
and like, well definitely, I don't know... I haven't found other families that's
made it besides mine, like generally if people know about it it's because it's like also
sometimes a festival food
like it's a big deal for my family to make that... not a big deal but like
it's reserved for like more special occasions
there appears to be like a separate Italian Australian cultural identity and it's very different from Italian culture in Italy
do you think that's true?
cause they've kind of like held on to this stuff that's happened and they've held on to what they've thought of that culture
and they haven't kind of like moved past it and stuff, yeah
I'm sure they do lots of stuff just to like kind of remind them of home
and that kind of thing and help themselves build like, their own little like
comfortable wog bubble in regional Victoria
have you been to Italy?
nah, I haven't gone, I'm hoping next year with mum
has um, has she been back to Italy?
no, she hasn't been back it would be a big deal
what was it?
1974 when she moved here, so 40 years? 43
it will be 44 by the time we go
I mean for a really long time in my life I never really had any desire to travel at all, full stop
and I think once I did yeah like the idea of it more...of travelling
I think from that time as well I kind
of felt a stronger connection to that culture too
to Italy, yeah
and I'm not too sure why exactly
in what spaces do you feel like you belong?
I think we get talked about this briefly before as well and I think a lot of migrant communities can kind of relate
on like a lot of levels and they're actually quite similar, especially personality-wise and I just in
and I definitely feel like, in terms of spaces, you feel pretty comfortable with that
I was like in the Lithuanian club months ago and looking at like all the pictures of newly arrived families
who are like hanging out with each other and their doing
their trips um, going to the snow or like you know, in these big halls and that kinda thing
I'm just like, it's just like exactly what my family were doing
you know, like they’re people from a fairly different culture but looking at those photos it
felt very familiar and I've definitely felt it like with other friends' families, who like, are from different migrant communities and cultural backgrounds they’re people from a fairly different culture but looking at those photos, it felt very familiar
can you talk about being part of the Shabbab?
I think like being in the Shabbab did kind of help me identify with my family's heritage a lot more
it helped me feel more comfortable with that as well
I guess like Kosta and I are like Greek
Italian and like are probably the most similar out of the bunch
and I guess like in terms of our upbringing and that is more similar, in terms of...cause we were born here
and other different things as well, like I mean like, obviously like all of our cultures are so
...I feel like they’re like, at least everyone in the band like appreciates food heavily
it's been really nice as four separate people to be able to share these like
kind of things with each other too
it's funny like Jad and Shuki, like they've known each other for like years and years now but they're still like 'ah what's
this word in Arabic?' you know, like 'how do you say this in in Hebrew?' and stuff and
like they're still kind of...almost feel like we connect the dots with
each other, in terms of our cultures, which is really... it's fun
so you feel like your connection towards Italian culture has changed over time?
and that you feel like it's strengthened through being part of the Shabbab?
yeah I think like it's always something that
I knew was different about me but for some reason, at some point like I just
kind of got used to that, or just almost forgot about it in a way
this like different part of you?
yeah and in a way just kind of like didn't really embrace it in any kind of way
- as well - yeah that's interesting
yeah I think like meeting those boys has made me want to, kind of like, hold on to that part of me a little
bit more and learn about it more from family as well
growing up I think I was pretty conscious like understanding that my family was different a lot of the
kids I went to school with, and like, I think there was even one point where I didn't really
like, you know, being in an Italian family as well, didn't really like being different
was it like...did you go to school with like predominantly Anglos?
definitely in Primary School there were more Anglos, there were definitely other wog kids around and stuff but yeah, no other Vitos
definitely like the name stuck out heaps there
yeah cause I guess that's a pretty big marker for you
you can't hide from that
nah, I remember asking my mum why she didn't
call me something like 'Josh'
l went to school with like five Joshs at the time, all like...five Joshs in my year level
I think I like very much wanted to just have the most 'normal' name, yeah I hated it, I really didn't like it...being so different
I always remember never being able to find a key ring with my name on it, being misspelt, mispronounced
yeah I don't know maybe that's also like you can be particularly sensitive when
you're in primary school as well, at least around like being different like I didn't
really want to be different to the other kids
I felt pretty different in other ways outside of my culture as well so
I didn't really feel like I needed more...
I mean like in terms of like where my family stood
financially... by the time I was around, they were pretty comfortable
I think maybe my mum struggled the most being a single parent
but she was pretty good at making it work
like that was never something I was embarrassed
about, I don't think either, like when I live with my grandparents for a bit that
was embarrassing, I didn't want to have friends around my grandparents... like having a friend
coming around after school
more like, just my grandmother treated me like I was like 3
years old like that up into my twenties you know, like before she passed away like
having a mate around, while my grandmother was like kind of babying me
would have been like pretty embarro
I think when I was living there I had a
friend around maybe like once or twice or something like the whole two years I lived there
I definitely notice my family don't draw the similarities
between them and other cultures, which is probably why they like hung out so
strongly with mostly other Italians
other migrant cultures, you mean?
yep, like they don't see similarities that maybe like our generation would?
yeah, I don't think they do at all
I know they don't
I know they don't, maybe they did at one point, I'm not too sure maybe they could identify with like, identify more with cultures that moved here around a similar time
or were probably moving here to Australia around the same time, like the 70s
yeah I don't think definitely they understand like race and migration happening right now
a part of me thinks like, I don't know if it's exactly right, cause I haven't really talked to my family that much about
you know, if they came across like any kind of racism when they first moved here
but part of me thinks that I don't think they really did, because they did have that bubble
that they were all kind of like able to jump into umm
just because of the sheer number of Italians here?
yeah, in Shepparton especially
so there's a big Italian community in Shepparton?
mmm, quite a bit
see the agriculture industry is quite big there, around the time that they moved
lots of work in farms and fields and sheds and factories and stuff
yeah I think they were kind of like, able to kind of like cope pretty well, umm not having to
interact with too many Australians every day
maybe also by the 70s they had gotten a bit more
used to like Mediterranean people moving over over
I think all of them, when they moved here, like they all had to
start from the bottom and work their way up that's for sure
my mum works as a
clerk in Radiology at the hospital but when she started off the hospital she was the janitor
and was the janitor there for quite a while and when I come around...or was about to kind of come around
she was thinking 'oh well I'm going to have to be making more money if I'm having a kid
and started learning how to like use computers and stuff like that so she could get a job
like I honestly, honestly think that Nick Giannopoulos ruined it haha
I was going to ask you, what do you think of 'Wog Boy' and all those send ups and stuff?
yeah, those movies were pretty empowering like for a lot of migrant communities and stuff, they were great
yeah I think they were really good for those communities, but like that movie was so popular, like it was everywhere
and you know, Nick Giannopoulos' character is like so proud of being a wog, you know
and he starts calling himself 'the wog boy' and people start referring to him as that and people from like...Australians
looking at that movie they're probably like 'it's fine' and I don't know...
this thing of like, who is laughing at that?
and like, you know saying that, I'm sure like heaps of people from Mediterranean backgrounds are okay with
Australians using the word 'wog', I don't know, I also feel like it's okay for me to feel uncomfortable with that
I think anyone who comes so far to come to Australia, I mean
everywhere is far away from Australia, it's a fuckin' struggle to get here
it's hard and even if your family helps you
I had other family who were here a little bit beforehand who sponsored them to come over
which wouldn't have been cheap
and then, you know, my grandfather being the only person working in the
family, you know, feeding five kids and a wife and paying for everyone's flights over and the sponsorship or their permanent visas
over here it would have been...
where do you think that our generation fits in within the current social political sphere in Australia?
like I always felt positively about people seeking asylum in Australia and migrating to Australia
but I think when I started to align with my family's culture a lot more, it kinda connected the dots a bit more for me
and like I understood, for me
why I felt strongly
you can see that your family have had these opportunities to migrate here and why shouldn't anybody else?
yeah and I think there are people out there with stronger voices who are doing a better
job of it than I am for example, shoot what's Kon's last name, from the ASRC?
yeah I think you're right, yeah yeah
and he talks a lot about people seeking asylum or immigrating to Australia that, you know, if it wasn't
allowed you know back when our families were doing it, wouldn't be here
imagine how different this country would be if it wasn't for immigration?
at the same time, I don't know if...well I know my family don't understand or like I was saying
other immigrants now but also like they definitely...they don't understand how, you know, they're occupying stolen land right now
yeah, they don't get it
um is there anything else you want to say?
I think that's kind of everything I wanted to ask
I don't still wish I was called Josh