David Singleton

David Singleton's Diary

Friday 25 November 2016

Memories of Milan

Finally - late on Friday night - a moment to catch my breath. Not because the dramas with the new website are resolved (there will be ongoing teething problems for the next couple of weeks) but because the developers work sensible, conventional hours and have returned to the bosom of their families. So there is nothing that can be done until we resume on Monday morning. The payment system is now functioning, and a problem with "free" (zero priced) downloads has apparently been resolved. 

So perhaps a chance to reflect on the last weeks, including my trip to Italy. When planning the tour with Robert Fripp, I promised that I would attend the shows in Italy. Would those wonderfully keen and generous Italian fans respect the no photography policy? I arrived at the marbled halls of "Hotel Extremely Expensive" in Milan to be greeted by some twitchy band members. If fans took photographs would the guitarist leave his stool, as he nearly did in Antwerp? Everyone seemed very relieved that I had arrived, leading to the obvious question "What exactly was I going to do?" I could hardly glue the guitarist to his seat - and (as I have written elsewhere) I am in agreement with his view that photography ruins that wonderful, transcendent musical experience which all these musicians have dedicated their lives to making possible. With two thousand fans, if each take a photograph, there would be a flash every ten seconds for the entire show.

As it happened the greatest threat to the show came from a visit to the restaurant "Terra Firma" recommended by Mel Collins - where Mel had oysters, and received a dose of food poisoning for his trouble. Not that this stopped him climbing onto the stage the following night.

The first show was astonishing. I have not felt such a need for music in an audience since my first visit to Argentina in 1993. A whole crowd of people living every note. Throughout the tour, I popped backstage to give the band a sense of the audience - and there was nothing but a glowing report to give.

And what of the rest of Milan? Of everyone on the tour, I have the least to do. I am not getting on the the stage late every evening (with the drum solo regularly finishing on a different day to the start of the concert - must be a drummer joke in their somewhere). Nor am I settting up all the equipment. But in between mornings spent on office work, and evenings at the venues, there was insufficient time to properly play the tourist.

Highlights, would include :

The mirror lift up to the hotel gym (I discovered this on the way to my morning training and suggested to that troublesome guitarist that he might come for a photo session - too good an opportunity to pass up, so I did it myself)

And it would seemed rude not use the Maserati that the hotel keeps for its guests to visit the very wet Duomo...


And the Sforza castle...



I also have an astonishing photograph of a small detail of a classic Canaletto of The Doge's palace in Venice which hangs there. But you need to see it in the flesh. After all, isn't that the point?