Across the Europeverse: Massa, Italy
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.
I am 34 and have played at Tagomago at least twice before. Tagomago is a pizza restaurant; every band that plays there is offered a pizza plate to sign. S., Tagomago’s owner, hangs many of these pizza plates on the wall, much like clubs in America used to hang signed glossy, photos of bands on their walls in the days when there were glossies to hang instead of downloadable press shots. I look for the two plates I have previously signed on the wall, but cannot find them. When I ask the soundman where my old plates are, he says: “We have three crates of those plates in the back.”
We sell 50 euros worth of merchandise. Italians will not buy vinyl; they would rather buy a CD I made in 2001 than a record I made last month. We will have to sell our vinyl to the Germans, known for their studiously curated record collections. If I can’t sell records to Germans, there is no hope left in this universe.
Idea for travel article: Why don’t Italians like vinyl?
We stay with a metal sculptor after the show. His bookshelves are stacked with heavy hitters—Freud, Barthes, Borges. I sleep near these bookshelves in the sculptor’s dining room under the dining room table, but am awakened at 8 a.m., when I must move to the floor of the sculptor’s bedroom because someone will be renting the dining room for Sunday brunch. This seems an unusual set-up—who rents out their dining room for Sunday brunch?—but I do not question it. After all, I am the one who has chosen to sleep under the dining room table.
When the sculptor vacates his bed, I stealthily move from the floor and take his place. Wrapped up in my sleeping bag on the sculptor’s bed, I dream that I am at a Bruce Springsteen concert in what, based on the Boss’ attire, looks like the late 1970s or early 1980s. The E Street band is playing “Born in the U.S.A.”—specifically, the drum-heavy breakdown near the end. “Max Weinberg is a fucking awesome drummer!” I scream to an unidentified companion while air-drumming.
When I wake up, the sculptor explains that he has often visited his sister in America—specifically, in Chicago, which is “flat and windy.” I ask for mint tea, but he serves me what looks like green tea. However, since I’m not sure it actually is green tea, I pretend it’s mint.
Within this simple mind game, I’m sure, lies the secret of life.