Monday, May 29, 2006

Bologna Monday 29 May 2006

aaahhhhhh........ITALIA!!!!! Bella!!!! more on this later.

ever heard "Bremen Nacht" by The Fall? Fantastic number. So we were in World Cup land and there was very little evidence to suggest that the Germans are ready for the biggest sporting event in the world. No flags, posters, souvenirs, nothing. In England and Holland, you couldn't move for being tripped up by world cup feverabilia. The Schlachthoff is a venue that has existed for years.....I first went there with The Membranes in the late 80s. Not much has changed....the people who work there nowadays are still as friendly and caring towards the bands who play there as they always were. I can't tell you how much of a difference it makes to your working day when the staff at the venue treat you with respect and put in energy into making your stay as pleasant as possible. Breakfast when you arrive, showers, internet access, food all day, and a clean environment. Found out that Desmond Dekker died that day, and so we had some Desmond playing as walk-on music. The audience outside the venue was a mash-up of punks and new goths and oldies. Turned out there was a grind band playing downstairs. Kids were getting lashed on cheap booze outside and comparing their mohawks and blackness of their make-up. Inside at our show, friday night was alright. A moshing and a leaping we shall go.
Dresden got a fair old battering by Bomber Harris and co. some 60 years ago. But walking around this beautiful city, especially near the Frauenkirche, there is very little evidence of atrocities from the past. I'd heard about right-wing organisations and skinheads taking an active part in extending the hand of friendship to foreigners in these parts, so walking through town as I did, I had my Oi! antennas set to maximum alert. I saw one skinhead with 20 holer Doc Marten's and a "Cocksparrer" shirt on with his girlfriend walk towards me. They didn't notice me until about 10 paces away, but a firm stare into their eyes and they sharply diverted their attention and walked elsewhere. Take that ya tosser! The hosts at the Star Club are wonderful people....always welcoming and they really look after you. Excellent show too. Went searching for World Cup souvenirs in the afternoon....took me an hour to find one store that sold measly, crappy number of items. Pathetic. I'm looking forward to attending Holland's first match against Serbia-Montenegro in Leipzig on 11 June.

Vienna...last show with "The Drones" from Australia. Check out the track "Australians In Europe" by ..... yup... The Fall. Gave "The Drones" a masterclass in table football. Ruey their drummer, was champion of Australia at table football when he was 7 years old! But against the cock o' the north, he was no match! If you are ever in Vienna, be sure to check out the museum for Hundertwasser....master artist, architect, anthropologist, etc

And then to Italia!

In Dresden we were joined by Luisa and Livi. Livi is Italian and comes from Bologna. And our first stop in Italia was....Bologna! Got up early to go to town and with Livi as our wonderful guide. Caught the splendid square in the centre of town which had been invaded by schoolkids....they were entranced by the fountain with Neptune on the top and bare-breasted ladies who spouted water from their mammary glands. Masterful design. Wandered through the small cobbled streets admiring the fruit and veg...cor blimey guv. A beautiful medieval city with splendid buildings everywhere, and the townspeople live life to the full....the oldies gather in the square and debate the latest bit of scandal to hit the country (stand up Moggi with yr Juventus bribing buddies), ladies looking stylish and bashing everyone with their umpteen shopping bags, and babies always get preferential treatment in Italy. If there is a crowd of people in front of you or a restaurant is packed, you just have to hold Hannelore up where she can be seen my one and all, and she gets treated like a queen. They love-a da bambinos! Livi took us to a fantastic little restaurant in one of the many back streets of Bolgna, and we had a magnificent lunch. So simple and yet unbelievably tasty. The whole process of going to, and being at the restaurant becomes a wonderful event. You spend hours talking and drinking, plying your way through about 5 courses, and just enjoying each others company. Extremely civilised and highly enjoyable. After lunch, a siesta is vital! But not possible when soundchecks have to be done. Aargh!
In Roma, we repeated the same process as the day before. We drove through town and took in the Colosseum, and old town, and straight to a small restaurant which was only known by the true Romans. It was like joining a secret society for the privileged few. The food was fabulous. Great company, the wine flowed, the restaurant mamas scurried around us like busy bees, and we lived like emperors. Exquisite pastas, sensational artichokes, sexy salads, trippy tiramisu, and espresso to kick start yr brain (and ass!) into gear. In the evening, dinner took so long to prepare...hey its need to hurry.....that we were still eating when we should have been onstage! I had to have my food packed and rush back to the venue to start the show....late.
Torino....the huge charm-free Teatro was near the Juventus stadium.....horrible place. Managed to go into town in the early evening and walk around the majestic town square and palace. Mussolini, in his infinite wisdom, had designed and built a huge ugly tower overlooking the town square. Completely out of touch with the surrounding architecture. Well done Benny. The 3 shows in Italy were ok......I thought the audiences were a bit laidback.....kinda like Australia was. I had expected kids to go mad, but I guess they were just being cool.....just like their new fellow countryman.....Morrissey!

Winterthur....I've had problems sleeping in that damned sleeper bus. The bed/coffin is to small for me to fit into properly, the airconditioning is cranked on full so we get Arctic conditions the whole night, people stumble and crawl through the galley and chunder aloud without actually thinking of the other mateys onboard, and the baby has been singing operettas at 4 in the morning. Last night was pure hell. I got up at 4.30am having "slept" for 3 hours and that was it. The other thing on the bus is that if you go through long tunnels (as you must do when you are in Switzerland) the vent system of the bus picks up all the disgusting fuel fumes from outside and spreads the love inside the bus. So with the airco blasting arctic winds at 100mph, you get bursts of diesel fumes pounding your lungs. I love the smell of diesel in't mornin'...........
Read John Robb's fantastic book until Winterthur and then crashed into the afternoon at the hotel. Plus these busdrivers are a w.e.i.r.d. breed. The current ones LOVE their house rules....check out the photies. Tonight we have a 1300 mile drive to Barcelona for the Primavera festival! mmmmmm.....lovely!



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