The Falling of the Roman Empire
Rome, Italy – 19.02.07
Rome had been left off the tour last year in favor of Milan, so we were anxious to see it. Unfortunately, the sun was setting by the time we arrived, parked the van, and took the train to the tourist things. The coliseum was indeed large and crumbling and old, as I expected. The path through the old ruins was closed because of the late hour, but we peered through the barred gaps in the wall around them. That shit is old. Pillars everywhere and current excavation still going on, new ancient treasures popping up daily.
Nina was our guide, but she was a bit rusty so we got to see lots of city life and pedestrian type visuals while hunting for desired locations. We finally arrived at this famous fountain/statue/building thing swarming with all manner of humans, speaking numerous languages. They were all very excited to have their pictures taken in front of this admittedly impressive construct, often while tossing a coin into the large pool of water. Nina said that the fountain had been in a few movies and I think I vaguely remembered it from a Fellini film I saw years ago. As we sat around amusing ourselves by watching people and taking our own pictures, I found a little snack cake sitting on a bench next to me, still wrapped, and congratulated myself on being able to provide for myself as I ate it.
Back at the show, we met up with our hosts, had some great food and began the drinking. The show was not too crowded, but the kids there were ready to party and the bar was ready to provide drinks. Dirty Power Game played their brand of noise with some of the craziest vocals I've heard recently. I did not understand how he made these sounds, nor did I understand how he did them while playing guitar at the same time. Perhaps my mind is too simple or just bereft of musical talent. Or both.
After downing enough beers to stagger myself while we played, I decided it would be a good idea to slow down. However, through a confusing series of events, I ended up at the bar with the singer from DPG buying me a drink. I thought I was supposed to down the whole thing after the cheers, so I did. When I put it down, he was just sipping his and someone asked me why I did that. I didn't know. I did know that things got softer immediately and a fuzzy curtain started to come down over reality.
Outside by the van, a group of young Italian punks asked me to take pictures with them. They seemed very excited; they were blushing and smiling a lot. I think they were drunk, too. It was difficult to load the van because the world was hidden behind mosquito netting or something, and what I could see was rocking very slowly back and forth. That shit got loaded though, and we collected our group of drunks to go to the sleeping place.
This journey had already been made once earlier in the evening, and it was only a 10 minute walk across the parking lot, down the walkway that took you over the train yard, through the tiny metro station, and then 2 short blocks to the house. Being as drunk as most of us were, and weighted down with our bags, we looked at each other in confusion when we got to the steps for the walkway and found a large wire gate blocking our path. We began to help each other climb over and this was difficult as the gate was about 8 or 9 feet high and the gaps in the wire were too small to use as footholds. The energy expended getting over the gate left me in even worse condition than before and through the soft focus, I could see that more than a few of us were getting close to passing out.
At the end of the walkway, another gate. We were fucked this time. Then we saw a cleaning lady pushing a mop bucket and one of our friends spoke the native tongue asking her to let us through. She looked fearful when she turned and saw the lot of us, 9 people, drunk, all in black at 2 in the morning. But we only needed to get across the 20 feet of tile that she was mopping. We asked our translator to beg her to allow our entry. She lied of course and said that she did not have a key. I would not have let us through either.
Things took another bad turn when we got back to the other gate. I tried to climb it again. There was no energy, no power. I hung from the wire mesh for awhile then dropped off. Some people began trying to climb it again. It didn't look good. I was desperate and unable to focus my remaining strength. I trudged up the stairs to the first landing and looked over the wall. It didn't look too far. I put one leg over and fell, landing in wet grass, confused. It took a minute to get back up, while everyone made much more graceful descents around me.
The route back was a hellish inferno. We had to get around the train yard and this was no easy task. The world was collapsing around me and inside me, as I was confronted with endless city blocks and step after step after step and no jesus to carry me when I was weak. Brett was also having difficulty maintaining, he had 2 beers and asked if he could put one in my bag so he didn't have to carry it because he was weak and wanted me to be jesus to his beer. I was drunk, I accepted and found the next day that he had put the open beer in my bag, keeping the other, and soaking my goods with the wetness and aroma of hops. Straight edge people do not have such dimly remembered accidents, or perhaps with orange juice and sodas, maybe soy milk.
Back to the struggle to succeed as a biped. The steps came with more and more difficulty. There was bumping into things, knocking over things, kicking things, breaking things. Cursing things. So many blocks walked in the dark, with Brett as my evil, drunken walking partner, himself causing the breaking and smashing of random encountered items. And then it was over.
We got to the house and one of the other inhabitants was making pasta for us. It tasted so good, and was the only thing that saved me from waking up in a pain cave. Somehow, I was in my bag unclothed and sleeping and I did it all by myself.
but after the gig...
The city of crust punks and the site of last year's most chaotic show. We didn't have time to walk around much, but it was all about the Atlantide anyway. The small two story building is set right on the corner of a major intersection, and was soon packed with even more people than the time before, blocking up the sidewalk and spilling into the street. The four bands that played covered the grindcore, the screamy hardcore, and the crust punk sounds thoroughly. The humans in attendance looked pleased. Crazed bodily motions accompanied our set. The assault and picking up of band members occurred a few times and general chaos, too. Strangely, I did not get tired at all under so much physical duress. A small miracle. So many songs were played. So many beers were drank. This was my favorite show I ever took part in. Thank you Bologna.
We retired to the home of Mila and laid ourselves down.
La Spezia, Italy
This was a show I was looking forward to because we got to play with Giuda, one of the Italian bands that played a rowdy show with us in Bologna last year. Mila is their singer and he runs the Agipunk label, responsible for many quality releases. He is also older than me and I like hanging out with older punks that are actually friendly and still active.
The venue looked like it was the cafeteria for the old power plant overshadowing it in the background. From the outside, it also looked like it could have been some kind of barracks or military installation. In the main room, on the opposite end from the stage, was a huge kitchen that looked capable of preparing food for hundreds. There were also various side rooms, one with a bunch of computers, another with beds, and another with a bar that hosted smaller shows and dance nights. It was in this computer room I speak of that an hour or more of digital computer upload was erased by a simple pressing of the shift key. I cursed technology and wiped my tears with my sleeve.
The food and the hospitality were great, there were many records for sale, and over a hundred people showed up. We were told that they had never tried to have a crust punk type show in La Spezia before and that they were surprised so many people had come.
There was a punching bag on stage.
A photographer sent by an American magazine came to capture our performance visually. I got drunk and fell down during some song. The flashes were really attracted to this event. I made a mental note to fall down more during our shows.
The drinking was excessive, with mounting numbers of passed out punks laying about the room. There is photographic evidence of two such sleepers laid out on the stage using Brett's guitar case as a shared pillow. I reached a point of alcohol saturation bordering on bursting and sent myself away to get flat in the dark.
The continued Euro updates
We woke up to the sweat necklace signature of the van sleep, heated by the rising sun over the beach outside, Euro joggers and Euro bladers and assorted other Euro physical exertion enthusiasts seen rushing past us through the between curtain cracks. Stretched and scratched, moved along to collect the others, made an attempt to purchase fluid for contact lenses, and Timo led us into a grocery that seemed to stock a lot of meat, and then revealed itself to only stock meat. We walked outside and looked at the sign above the door: CARNE.
The van pulled into the tiny coastal country of Monaco to get some pizza and see what the popular vacation spot for wealthy shits had to offer. It had to offer many yachts and expensive cars and expensive shops and luxury hotels and beautiful seaside views littered with the toys of those with only the finest tastes. We walked around a bit, looking good, until some civilian affairs type told Brett that he had to put his shirt on. This was indeed the playground of the gilded elite.
The chosen route into Italy was a two lane road that wound its way through the cliffs and mountains along the coastline of the Mediterranean Sea. While it offered nice things to look at for those of us on the passenger side, it made progress slow and threatened us with car sickness. It was determined that we would take the highway the next day.
Imperia was a small town with a rocky beach that we took a break to enjoy due to our early arrival. I was forced to fall asleep on a big rock because there was a perfect mix of sun and cool air and wind and clouds. This mix is rare to be found and demanding of relaxation. On the last Ludacris record, there is a song called "Ultimate Satisfaction". Within this song, one of the highlights of the record, is a slowed down refrain of the word satisfaction. It is glorious. It sounds like peanut butter and foreign substances and blurred vision. Life was good during the entry and execution of this nap.
There were bad directions to the show, as in, the show was in the next town over, and not technically in Imperia. This small bit of omitted info caused our GPS to stare back in confusion when asked to locate the show. A call was made, directions clarified, and we still arrived over an hour early for the show. I did some push ups.
We were fed lasagna and other edibles until we were bloated and hateful, victims of over indulgence. It appeared that everyone at the show was over 30 and/or college professors, or aspiring professors or failed professors. Another interesting thing about the show was that no one was taking money at the door. There was a small, clear plastic box with a piece of paper that said 5 Euros, and everyone placed their entry fee there, making change from the existing Euros within when necessary. Curious, and a little re-assuring when asking the question of whether humans suck completely or not.
The only band playing this evening was ours, and the crowd did not seem especially excited by the sounds we were making. We rewarded them by playing the worst show of the tour. I did my part by having terrible vocal sounds for their ears and a low level of physical performance moves. In fact, I felt like garbage and finally accepted that the tour sickness had made its way to my body.
It was cold inside after the show. I slept on the merch table. The table came up to about the middle of my chest and was maybe 2 feet wide. I was very still in the night.
February is not cold