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For most of the month of October, Arts Desk contributor Justin Moyer and his band, D.C. modern rock quartet Edie Sedgwick, are touring Europe. Here is his latest dispatch.
We have a short drive from Massa to Florence, and stop in Pisa to see its famous leaning tower. People pretend to hold the tower up in photographs.
Driver D. and I eat cecina—-a flat pancake made out of chickpea flour—-at an outdoor café. We also have coffee, bread, and mineral water. We think this lunch will cost 10 euros, but it costs 19 euros because we are charged for the bread (4 euros) and for the table itself (4 euros). Instead of arguing, we wander through a street market along the Arno River that mostly sells leather jackets and leggings. I look for a gift for my daughter. There are a variety of onesies at the market featuring either SpongeBob Squarepants or sassy messages like “Property of Dad.” I do not buy a onesie.
On the way to Florence, we put gas in the van for the first time. This costs 100 euros. We will try to avoid fueling our vehicle in the future.
In Florence, the venue is called “Ex Fila.” “Ex Fila” is some kind of community center that has yoga classes, conga drumming support groups, and prenatal workshops. When I played “Ex Fila” in 2009, there was also a radio station, but the station has closed. This sad development, like many, seems to have something to do with Silvio Berlusconi.
The opening band is a duo with a singer that sounds and looks like Lydia Lunch. They are Italian, but sing in English, and have a song called “Desire as Spermicide.” It’s a pretty good title.
During the show, bassist K. turns 30 onstage. The crowd sings her happy birthday. Later, she jumps into the crowd while playing bass and accidentally hits a girl in the face. The girl doesn’t seem to mind. We are paid 300 euros and sell about 100 euros in merchandise.
After the show, we stay at the “Hotel Ungherese”—-that is, “The Hungarian Hotel.” A picture of a Hungarian nobleman who looks like Vlad Dracul hangs on the wall. When I stayed here in 2009, I had a long conversation with the owner and his son, who do not remember me. They direct us to Room No. 1—-a room directly to the left of the entrance with five beds where we sleep dormitory-style, just like Hogan’s Heroes. In one of these beds, I dream that I am living in a ultra-modern house in Switzerland where I am visited by the Ayatollah Khomeini. Khomeini is being pursued by the Swiss Guard, and the commandant of the Swiss Guard is George Clooney.
“Please,” Khomeini says. “Convince these men that all I have done, I have done for the people.” But it is too late—-Clooney and his minions are breaking down the door.