Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Rooftop Dancing for Wanton Women

This is what can happen.

It's Saturday and you play your Haydn sonata, the second and third movements, over and over in pieces on your maestro's divine grand piano. He whizzes through the trio you are going to play together.
You walk out onto the street, pooped.



You sit in a bar where the internet connection is so much faster than the Fred Flintstone pace you have in the sticks.
You spend two hours on just one ginseng coffee. One euro thirty.
There are lots of flashy families about. Men who've thought way too much about they're going to wear.
And they are wearing it.
You read the words to the Frost Scene in Purcell's King Arthur, which on the CD you've never been able to decipher.

 
What power art thou, who from below, who from below,
Hast made me rise unwillingly and slow,
From beds of everlasting snow?
See'st thou not how stiff and wondrous old, 
Far, far unfit to bear the bitter cold,
I can scarcely move or draw my breath
Let me, let me freeze again to death.

You realise this music was created in the late 1600s and it kills you.

On the way back to the car a very nifty Nigerian beggar called Kevin asks you for his fare to Bari. Says he came up here looking for work for the vendemia - grape-picking.
You tell him the vendemia was over ages ago and you admire his crocodile tears.
You know exactly how much petrol is in your tank.

Some hours later you park the car in another city, the evening is closing in. You pass by a Pentecostal church milling with Ghanaians in green printed shirts, all of them the same material.
Your eyes fill with tears.

You walk into town with mates, walk through the people, over the cobbles. You try on those boots you've been ogling as much as you would ogle a man. More perhaps.

In a bar an old painter who has had a very bad accident tells you you are a fairy and he wants to paint you.

You are led up to the bar on the roof of the Basilica, unexpectedly. You are invited to drink by some rowdy men from Emilia Romagna, one of whom has a chequered blue and white sweater which is a little startling.

The setting is flawless. Palladian sculpted statues are set along the balustrade, each naked stone body hoisted upright by curved iron supports that look like bondage devices. The light is rosy on the broad stone wall reaching up into the copper dome against the night.


You hear some good music and take your gin tonic up to the small area where two older German ladies from Dusseldorf with spiky haircuts are dancing in crazy eighties movements which are totally off the beat.

Somehow, they have made your night.   


15 comments:

  1. Dear lord. One day in your life is more exciting than a year in mine.

    XO
    - Averil

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    1. Oh but Averil that was Saturday. On Friday and Monday I was in my tracksuit and uggs swearing at the computer!
      Xxcat

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  2. I always love how tiny moments like this stay firmly in our minds. BTW, love the locale of the rooftop dancing!

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    1. Well when the ladies of the BEST Roman Writers' Group come to Vicenza I'll know where to bring you!!

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  3. Thank you. This is beautiful. This is the beauty of life when you reach for it and laugh even if and when it burns you. x

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    1. Yes and sometimes writing about it seems to show you things you didn't even realise were there.

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  4. You are a great story-teller, Catherine. One of my favourite place names is Dusseldorf. Doesn't it just roll of the tongue. I was so thrilled when it worked out that we would fly home from Dusseldorf on our recent trip because it meant I got to say the word multiple times. I would have loved to have met your spiky-haired ladies from Dusseldorf.

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    1. We didn't or couldn't hear to talk too much, but they were pleasantly uninhibited, unlike the (chic) self-conscious crowd. Or maybe they were old disco babes like myself! Glad your trip went well.

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  5. Beautifully done! I was right there with you...the pointed comment on mens' sartorial peacockery was well-aimed! God,how I've tried to be a peacock...& ended up as a sparrow! Great names? Fortuna Dusseldorf is a football team...a not very good one! But what's in a name? I can't get away from McNamaras!...they're coming out of the autumn foliage like shiny conkers!

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    1. I think you know how important appearance is for the Italian male. Mostly. Sadly though, this means they are often too cool to boogie.

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  6. I don't know about that old painter's skills, but you just painted a fabulous picture with these words of yours. Wow. It was like I was right there. Sadly, I was probably in Ohio, in my bathrobe.

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    1. Well Sherry next time you're in Italy we'll throw away our bathrobes and hit the town! (I also spend most of my life in old cardies and uggs at the computer) X

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  7. Yip. A beautiful montage of such acutely observed moments - creating the seamless feeling that we are there, with you, experiencing it all.
    I've so much to catch up with Cat. I've missed that opulent tapestry you weave - rich with all the jewels of this life because even the ugly becomes a jewel in your hands, revealing some little truth to us. Yx

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    1. I know you've been so busy! Hope you can rest and enjoy some recreation over xmas. I can't find your email address!! Xcat

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