10th: milano, IT :: bitte, solo with wallis bird
i woke up in the morning early, had a shower and a walk in the garden as the sun rose over the cliff that has been exposed by the light of day, and the green rolling valley, leading away from it!
the owner of the b&b was working on his garden and as i sat down to breakfast he came in with a variety of plates prepared with the fruits of his labour. i was sat in a veranda with chillis, thyme, rosemary and baskets brimming with tomatoes, corgettes and all sorts of wonderful colours hanging from the rafters. i leafed through a magazine filled with photos of wartime france with a warm sun now falling on my back - how strange it must be to live in a war zone... my friend, zlata, published her journal when she was a child living in the war in bosnia. she also did a book called "stolen voices" a few years ago, assembling war diaries from the last century - it was very interesting to read.
before long i was joined by wallis, rosella and agata and we chatted about the various places where we live, have lived and what we miss from home - we all aggreed that if the politics and the economy of this country were better, we'd all find it very attractive! we ate with a dog wandering around giving us eyes, but turning his nose up at the string beans we dropped - picky beggar!
i sat in the garden to enjoy the first mix of the first song on my album that marcus is currently mixing in sandhausen in germany - very happy about this... it's into the future and he has made the gospel choir sound like a hug :)
we loaded up the car and hit the road... back down the windey streets towards the venue where we played last night, down to the river, left and we'll follow it until we find a nice spot to go for a walk.
we drive along the riverside, with cliffs shooting up to the sky on both sides until they recede and allow a few hills that locals have taken advantage of to grow vinyards... there is a beautiful old village climbing up the mountain on our left to a church about two thirds of the way up. we drive down to the waterside and stop for a walk as the river opens into lake garda. it's a beautiful setting and wallis and i swap the camera - capturing the sun run along the water's surface; the ducks bouncing on the small waves; the golden trees; revealing themselves briefly while they await winter's blanket; the mountains and their snowy peaks propping the sky up all around us - as we walk further into lake garda. on the way back we follow the streets winding up the mountain until we get to a square with a church (a different one a little lower on the hillside!) and a beautiful view over the valley - we stood in silence for a while - we know each other well enough, now, to feel comfortable doing this.
the next kilometers were accompanied with valerie francis' album - scoring the hills and villages to milan perfectly until, as the fog began overcoming us, agata had us discover the wonder that is carmen consoli... amazing!
we arrived in milan and went to visit the cathedral - really nice - before going for some risotto in an old school café playing sade, and the likes. walking through the streets in the fog, rosella told us about her work and some of the other bands they have organised tours with in the past and some that they hope to work with in the future... fog makes everything eerie!
by the time we found bitte and drove down the darkly lit industrial horror movie streets to get there, the fog had turned to smog. as i got out of the car, the smell slammed me instantly back to winter-time cycles to school in dublin when i was 12!
tonight's sound was going to be a challange - i have, at my disposal an 8-channel yamaha desk and 3 speakers! the room is great - a great big open space with 2 floors and a few poles dotted around for dreamers.
this evening, i have made an executive decision to drive the car to the hotel before the show and get a taxi after it so that i can have a few drinks - ray, a friend from ireland and his wife, elisa are coming, as are bruno, with whom i work in belgium and his girlfriend doudou... should be shits and giggles!
indeed it was... wallis did a killer loopything that seemed almost as though she had rehearsed it! the vibes were there and a lovely couple gave me a bottle of their home-brewed beer - it was really lovely. the bar had a barbera d'asti that i enjoyed with my dinner, and kept on enjoying during the gig, and after when ray, wallis, the dude on the bar, and i kept on jamming - i kept enjoying that fine grape... and in the taxi back to the hotel, yup - barbera!!