## Monday, 8 October 2012

### Turin break

It often happens that a band are quite popular for a bit and then sort of disappear from your radar (or actually, pretty much anybody's radar).

I used to like Turin Brakes in the early noughties; I also liked their name [digression: apparently, they didn't choose it because Turin was their favourite city (they hadn’t even been to Turin up to that point), or that they have brakes on their cars that originated from Turin (well they very well could have $–$ but that wasn’t the reason for the name). They just thought it sounded good. To me it was just a bit weird, but I liked it anyway...].

One thing I have in common with them is that I hadn't visited Turin until a couple of years ago (well, in fact I'm not sure they did too $-$ but you know what I mean...). Of course, in my case it's probably much worse, since I've lived for 20 odds years in Italy, so it really should have happened earlier.

However, since my first time, not only have I gone back in quite a few occasions, but I've also made some good friends who are, for one reason or another, related with Turin.  Last week I went to give a talk at a conference and then I stayed over the weekend to see some of them.

The talk was about Bayesian methods in health economics (the slides of the presentation are here). I thought it went well and people (most of whom, if not all, were pharmacologists) were kind enough to come and tell me after the talk that they've understood the basics of Bayesian analysis. I was deliberately vague with the technicalities, but hopefully they will have become interested in the approach and grasped some of the main points.

Apart from the conference, I was, again, impressed by the city, which I think is really beautiful. It's quite big as well (~1 million residents, I'm told), but it doesn't really feel that way; you can easily walk around the city center and enjoy the elegant buildings and chocolate shops (and no: I did not get money from the local tourist information office!).

What was really funny is that I had a strong realisation of being in Italy while we were taking a stroll on Saturday after dinner. Imagine something like this:

In fact, the picture is not us, or even Turin; but the point is that it was so familiar to see so many people walking around with no purpose at all, just for the sake of being seen and seeing other people, and the only possible distraction of an ice cream.