sulla strada, capitolo tre

Posted by Whitmore, January 29, 2008 10:09am | Post a Comment
Now, let me be your travel guide, speaking to you in my big television Edward R. Murrow announcers voice: "Tuscany is an insanely beautiful land, a weird blend of man's orchestrated genius and  misadventure punctuated by the chaotic beauty of nature. Think of rows of arrow-straight vineyards marching gently up rolling hill sides, surrounded at every mind-blowing vista by natures perfectly sculpted cypress trees calling you into the shade for yet another glass of vino. Every gently winding, narrow road leads to ancient farmhouses, moss covered castles, stone walls, cream colored villas, more stone walls, swimming pools, and the earths finest tableau of golden browns, sienas, burnt umbers and deep rich greens. Add the dizzying effect of too much wine, the visual and sensual overload of too many attractive people, midst the ensuing hangover from the previous nights folly at a Tango Club and you'll understand why Tuscany still enchants us today like that forbidden dance enchanted our touristy-grandparents of yesteryear."

Now back to our Winter 2008 tour of Italy and perhaps I should warn you ...  you should anticipate a terrible, terrible pun. I apologize now, but I had too use it.

Years (decades?) of bad habits, an ever shortening attention span, little actually useful talent, and the never ending need to disrupt and push the limits of wholesome god fearing good taste has taken a toll on my musicianship. There is little precision in what I do, I'm not really a loose cannon, but more like an untethered crate of oranges cracking against the hull of a Listing Ship.

The catastrophic effect of such imprecise methods was really hammered into my heart last year when I mistakenly took a gig playing pieces by Erik Satie in a classical guitar duet. My performance, lets say, was flawed. Flawed like you've never seen flawed before!

But here, now, the oddest thing happened during the Listing Ship set in Florence. Every glitch, sour note and wrong instrument change that I seem to endlessly make, every single gig, suddenly took on a warm graceful glow of its own. Every glitch balanced into a rhythmic and curiously provocative beat, every sour note transformed into the something blue and cool and bop, and every wrong instrument change ... was still wrong, but as any critic worth his cliché might say, "but what a fascinating choice!"

The club, Libreria La Cité, was packed, as another cliché goes, to the rafters. Another 30 or 40 people were outside watching through the foggy sweat streaked windows, band manager Tonia kept on wiping down the glass so the displaced out in the cold could still get a view.  Libreria La Cité doesn't really have a stage but an area off to the side where bands perform on the floor, but tonight as the show went on the crowd pushed closer and closer into the band. At one point I stepped back to pick up a different instrument, and when I returned to my 2.5 square feet of stage, 5 new people were sitting there. OK! I'll just push singer Shawn over a foot, she'll move Julie over 9 inches, Julie will push Heather over, etc. etc. until double bass player Martin is standing on top of the piano. I've said this before, and hopefully I'll say it again and again: nights like this don't get much better. A perfect evening filled with great food, excellent  wine and chaos. Chaos take me home! And take us home it did to a 15th century farmhouse without heat or hot water but high in the Hills of Tuscany, beautiful, beautiful Tuscany. I have no real complaints ...

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Blather (58), Travel (23), Italy (14), Tango (2), The Good Life (7)