Monday, March 06, 2006

Lab 12 , Vigevano - € 2,60 West of Milan

First there is Milan and the entrance hall of the railway station. 30-feet flags hang down on you, reminiscent of black&white pictures of the fifties that show narrow streets with full washing lines above the passing scooter.

Then there is a short glimpse outside, a wide stretch of asphalt, trees on it, and high office blocks at the other end greying away in dusty sunlight.

The underground entrance sucks you in - roars and echos, tapping feet and the shaking, rattling and rolling wagons that move through the invisible city.

Porta Genova - here the silence of Saturday's awaits me, few passengers step on the train, an old one, hardly comfortable.

Then outskirts dissolve in wasteland, turn into a village in the front line of commercial progress, make way for some nature: minutes of curiosity eat time : here's Vigevano, on the platform a brass band starts playing.

The morning after a sunny day awaits me - it's cold, but it's golden, and it's early - Pati, my host is still asleep. I have earned 24 euro with my concert, plus another 22 euro from CD-'s I have sold - I am rich. I offer myself a cappuccino and a brioche, and it will be had in one of the bars on the main square.

I enter the square through a little tunnel. People live over my head. The sound changes; suddenly it's cupped. Furs and perfumes stand in a group of fifty in the far corner - the source of the myriad voices that hop over me, trip on me, swirl around me - the voices play with each other like leaves that are taken by wind.

Everything is gold and glass in the bar. It's small and cosy. There's cakes and women's morning gazes as far as I can see. I am rich, o yeah, and it's a beautiful day, and I am sure it will take an hour before I finish my coffee. The sports paper in front of me is my excuse.

The main square of Vigevano is one of architectural splendor, unity in design of the houses that surround it, galleries, an army of pillars. An egg yolk colored baroque church holds out its ceremoniously sleeved arms to the believers. The tower of the castle is immediately behind the roofs. It rises up like a fist, reshaping the square to maquette proportion.

Tourist steps can lead one further to the horse stables designed by Da Vinci, and further to tales of history and further to Italy's golden age. Then city's and palaces were build to send the visitor back home with a great book full of stories. In the age of airplanes and mobile phones, palaces are build to make you gaze at the sky, as if one day a voice will be heard from there.

I returned to Vigevano a few weeks later as if it was a natural thing to do. I was invited to play together with Vri-il. I hope I didn't draw awkward sound lines in their dreamscaped music. The next day I saw Mondocane and Justice Yeldham with his glass-solo - raw and exciting - which made me wonder how raw and exciting John Coltrane's solo's must have been, because Lukas (Justice Y.) made me jump up and down from my seat.

Vigevano is just a small town. But Pati is not a small town girl. Every week she organises concerts at her house - an ex shoe factory, small factory, big house. Every week there is performers - those passing through Italy, like Lukas from Australia, or those on a little tour, like Luca and Gio' from Mondocane.
I am sure every concert is the same for its unpredictability; every concert could be expected in Berlin, Moscow or Tokyo; every concert transmits energy; every concert attracts twelve visitors.

Pati thinks of moving.



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