Inside the Coliseum

Tuesday, November 21, 2000 4:03 AM
Subject: blaine in roma

Found myself sitting in the Coliseum today, the sun came out, it was my first time inside the old colossus, I have seen it from outside many times but it never seemed to be open.  this place is crawling with tour groups of the faithful from all over the world since it is the Jubileum, the Millenium of Christianity. I find myself wishing that Julian the Apostate had been successful in re-instating paganism. Damn christians everywhere. We went to a Mithraeum deep within the bowels of some cathedral or other, an old temple to the cult of Mithra which was the immediate predecessor to Christianity as the going religion in rome and from which Christianity lifted much of its symbolism, its mythos, its sabbath, the birthdate of its deity (December 25) the fact that he died and rose, even the communal feast and on and on and on.

Ya caint spit without hitting some piece of ancientness chock full of history and roman good time stories. “This here’s where they flogged the prisoners of war to death. This here’s the cliff where they threw unwanted babies onto the rocks. this here’s where they fed lions to the christians.” Oh my god, they forced the christians to eat whole lions. what savages.

it’s morning we’re in rome, have to go out and rehearse soon. we’re all staying here in an apt. we have rented for five days then it’s more concerts. this is one hell of a large town and unlike athens the ancient co-exists with the modern. can’t walk down the street without seeing some old thang, some column or some pillar with 1000 year old inscriptions.

we rode out to the place where we will play here along the appian way its own bad self. turns out that Via Appia is a prestigious address (makes sense) and many of the great and the good vie to live there. the original road survives to some extent. i felt a sense of exhiliration to be moving through a perceived corridor in time, somehow at one with emperors and baggage trains full of the debris of empire on their way in to this city.

I feel ambivalent towards all of this papal voodoo as only a lapsed Catholic can. I just wish that the christians hadn’t planted the cross atop every phallic symbol around, every obelisk, Trajan’s column, everything. Ah well.

Here until Thursday, on to Germany, Russia, Austria, back to Sicily, Naples, then back to Athens.

Tuxedomoon Fridge Magnets and Bandanas

Saturday, November 18, 2000 6:35 PM

Subject: roma agin

Here I am back in Rome after going to florence for yesterday. We’s here until 23 november. Seen a lot, will see more, felt a lot, will feel more. We sellin’ records, t-shirts, mexican bandanas with tuxedomoon logo, fridge magnets, my particular favorite. I have been plugging these fine items shamelessly from my privileged vantage point on stage. Last night I came out wearing one of the tuxedomoon bandanas folded cholo style in order to demonstrate what it was for the benefit of the italians. I also demonstrated the fridge magnet (which is cunningly fashioned from old computer circuit boards, very cyber). Then, elvis-like I removed the bandana, anointed with sweat from my furrowed brow and threw it out into the crowd. what a cathartic moment. also the fridge magnet. I think these antics helped sell more.

I have also been playing toys in the show. I have two toy cell phones with voices in italian and a rather dandy ray gun, all very electronically noisy. I play the cell phones into my guitar and I fire the ray gun which blinks in a very theatrical manner into a microphone. I waves it all around and caper and cavort like a true bozo. It surprises people since we are supposed to be so serious. I have routinely been getting rounds of applause over the toy cellphone bit. go figure.

anyhoo, we are here on the road, sitting in vans, trains, planes, lugging equipment up stairs, being a band and it feels like old home week. not to mention that we are stars here. we sign autographs and the whole 9 yards. whoo.

Well, as I probly said, we’se back in roma, it’s rainin’ like a ol’ cow a pissin’ on a flat rock to quote my daddy Mort.

So much for my notions of renting a bicycle down the street and taking my life in my hands in Rome traffic. I finally found a place with worse traffic than Athens, as if I were looking for one. In athens, they might slow down a bit before they turn you into roadkill, here they don’t even see you trying to cross the street. A fine fine place to go cycling. Last time I rode a blessed bike was in zurich. that was sheerest heaven, as I may have told you. Even if I did get a flat tire and had to walk the damn thing back. T’wasn’t far. I had this big smile plastered all over my visage as I rolled at speed through banks of golden fallen leaves on the lakeshore. Switzerland is just so damn purty. And so dang CLEAN. You can swim in the river or lake and you can eat the fish you catch there, even if you are fishing from a bridge in the center of town. whoo. why am I on about switzerland when I am in rome? Me not know.

Ah well, we might just go out and eat. Eating is the predominant form of entertainment in Italy. Forget cinema, theatre, music, it’s TIME TA EAT! Andiamo mangare!!. I may just pass until dinner. Of course Italian cuisine is the finest on this planet in my estimation. Go into a restaurant and ask “Uh, do you have anything besides Italian food?” Hah. They got all the bases covered.


Thursday, November 09, 2000 7:30 PM
Subject: the eternal city

The 2000 Tour Bus “Rock and Rest”

The holy road, eternal adolescents still out lugging heavy cases full of electronic musical devices and huge bags of dirty clothes from taxi to train to plane to show to tv up the stairs down the stairs into the elevator down the street through the rain into the hotel crash pad what have you whaddya want where we goin’ anyway?

At least we are in italy italy italy, they likes us here, they treat us like respected elder statesmen of music, roll out the red carpet, let us stay in their theatres, houses, studios, it is an honor mr. reininger.

hyar i be in rome, just got in, feeling a bit worn out so i have remained behind in our quarters while the rest of the boys is out doing one thing or other. things keep shifting, this is kind of a beverly hillbillies tour of europe, but we are getting where we are going, we find places to stay and to work, we are making money and pretty much having a good time. of course we’s all old and wrinkled and the old grey mare ain’t what she used to be so shifting our enormous wad of baggage and gear on the fucking train, into cabs, up stairs hither and yon is a bigger pain that it once was. luckily we all seem to be in relatively good shape for old gits. I am a bit worn from climate change, lack of sleep etc. but holding up. hell, i just wanted to have some time with a computer on my own.

amazing how disorganized this is and how we are still managing to keep our peckers up. i guess the sense of adventure hasn’t disappeared entirely and we are getting plenty of press and so forth, not to mention that cd sales at the gigs are paying living costs nicely, thank you.

for once, and i don’t know why it comes to mind, we have some merchandise to merchandise. we are selling records at gigs and this is going well, steven has had t shirts printed up and peter has made fridge magnets from old circuit boards. for some reason the t shirts are held up at customs and the fridge magnets are on the way.

we were on tv last night with “red ronnie” whose name may or may not ring a bell with you, he is a journalist with whom we had a drunken altercation (or at least I did) 20 years ago. now he has a rock show on tv , we did it last night, a fairly painless session as such things go, he forgot all about it, we played and there you go. okey dokey. we saw the fabulous francesca bigazzi, steven’s friend chiara (the origins and significance of whom remain uncertain. her nice though. make us food at her place outside of boloney). there you go. update from your working boy.

well, I salute thee from the holy road, the endless highway one trudges in order to move plastic ware, keep them sms messages comin when you gots a mind to do so. I may change my cell phone subscription to an italian one so that my phone can be of more use in locating me or others in walkie talkie fashion, at the moment i am limited to sms messages