Touring Italy (pt. 6)

Touring Italy (pt. 6)
 
Stefano agreed to leave by 1:30am. He wasn’t ready until 2:30am. It was snowing in the mountains between Genova and Milano. 90 minute drive became 3 hours because of falling snow and rows of snow clearing trucks. No snow tires, white-knuckle experience. We get to Milan at 6:00am and I suggest we do not have to leave at 8am to honour a 6pm soundcheck. We are a very simple show, he is solo guitar and voice, I am more complicated but I don’t care. Better for your health to get a bit of sleep. Soundcheck is a short ordeal ostensibly done to check everything works. I try to do it in 3 seconds. Love how many sound people say to me “that’s it?”. Many artists take forever, some even perform their whole show. Ultimately the person doing sound is going to alter things and respond in the moment so for me there is no point going over songs in advance. The sound person only needs to test that your equipment works. If you have a long soundcheck it guarantees nothing in terms of what will happen at showtime, we’re always at the mercy of whether or not they are paying attention during the show or on Facebook.
 
.
Turns out Stephano thinks this is a major thing and he gets self-righteous about it and lectures me about how to be a musician. The discussion is over, he decided we leave at 8am (in 2 hours) and reminds me it is all my fault. We go to sleep. I get up at 8. He wouldn’t get out of bed until 10:30. I try to be cool, I’m saving more than a thousand dollars because of this man. We drive to the next place. He prefers going between 120 and 140k/hr without a seatbelt. “I hate these country, I hate these people” he says when people are blinking their bright beams at him or honking at him straddling two lanes, the middle and the passing. He’s upset that they think there is anything wrong with driving in two lanes simultaneously. He assures me this old Renault has air bags but there is no air bag on either side. I try to show him but he doesn’t like contrarian views. It’s getting more fun all the time to hang with Stefano and then he discovered I’m a Jew.
 
.
“Why is it you Jews are like the Scrooge? I’m just saying so because it is true. What is it about the money business that does this to the Jewish? “
 
.
He’s got me, right in the middle of the limbic system, I’m compelled to respond and try shining light on his thought process maybe I can confound his intellect in some useful way like maybe towards reality. I itemize ways in which we are doing finances fairly and compare that to the established imbalances of power taken as ordinary in the music business. Opening acts like him sometimes pay for this opportunity, plus don’t get paid any of the profit later, plus have to absorb all their expenses. None of that is happening here. I’m also paying for oil changes/ maintenance. Everything I say agitates him. He thinks I think he is racist. He’s right. He wants me to know he is not racist just telling it like it is. Realizing anything I say is unworkable I tell him I do not want to talk further about Jews. He is insulted and thinks my refusal to endure more of his view shows my true colours; one more Jew at fault for anti-semitism.
 
.
We arrive on time and park in front of the club, the one that wanted us there for 6pm, the soundcheck Stefano lectured me about, here we are on time – they’re closed. Stefano starts cursing and calls Paulo the club owner. There’s a grocery store across the street I buy tomatoes, carrots, pink ladies, zuchinni, garlic and ginger. Paulo arrives at 7 he’s a little surprised we came for soundcheck. We start to set up and I have a shock – my video cable is nowhere! (Touring Italy pt. 4) We doubled back this morning and got the screen but I didn’t grasp until now the cable from two days before was never put away. It’s not common like the universal video cables.
 
.
I brought two audio adapters
 
two video adaptors
 
two extra ¼ inch cables
 
two sets of Casio batteries
 
But I should have also brought two of these power supplies. I lose. I have come so far and now cannot show what makes my show different than a zillion other singer songwriters. I’m ashamed. I generally never have screw ups and now I have had two screw ups in two days….I show the owner the kind of cable and he thinks he may have one upstairs. It would blow my mind if he did. He returns with the exact type of interface for the projector but for European power. We plug it in and I wonder if it doesn’t work will I in fact fry my North American projector with this experiment? But I must.
 
.
It doesn’t work. He goes back to his closets to search for another meanwhile, with Stefano’s help we retrieve the club’s ceiling mounted video projector and it will work so at least I can present my work tonight. Paulo doesn’t want Stefano to start until 11:30, this means I do not start until 12:30. There was nobody at the club until 10:30. I can’t help but curse how unslept we are and Stefano’s inflexibility around soundcheck when we could have had some rest. It’s so predictable.
 
.
Small crowd of 20 people many are musician friends of Paolo, at who’s place we will sleep. I enjoy talking with the musicians especially a skinny guy named Dario who also plays accordion, we talk perhaps of future touring together. Paolo’s place is from the 4th century. It is tall, stone and shaped weirdly, cavernously and twisty like naturally the 4th century would be. It gives one pause beholding the discord of human activity in this ancient place, modern advertisements for Pepsi or the many broken bottles of alcohol on the street. Then again lovely public water taps and archways of beautiful stone, you wonder about the generations who lived and built these places.
 
.
Paolo’s place is large but unfortunately Stefano and I are to sleep on two single beds adjacent to each other. The smell of cigarette smoke and booze follows Stefano each night in each room we share. Paolo has wifi thank the gods and I call my partner Magali in Toronto and ask her if she can send me the projector cable FedEx. Now she is Saint Magali. Perugia will be the smartest destination for sending the video cable overseas because we will be there for a day and a half, better odds nonetheless I check electronic stores in case the same cable exists here. They’re all closed, it is Saturday, shrug. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *