Wednesday, 27 November, 2013
Rome is filled with historical landmarks, arguably overfilled. I mean, do they need that many incredible monuments? How about they give one or two to, I don’t know, say, Blackpool? They could at least share a little bit of that beauty with the far less fortunate.
Honestly though, the information your brain is forced to consume while meandering around Rome can be somewhat overbearing at times – by midday, you feel as though you have been cramming in some intense last minute revision for a history exam you’ll be sitting in two hours’ time.
Let’s take the Sistine Chapel as an example. Sure, it’s fascinating to hear that Michelangelo didn’t actually want to paint the ceiling frescoes at all, because he considered himself a sculptor rather than a painter.
However, that was just one fact of thirty thousand my mind was asked to take in – I’m just saying, there are times when Italy can be too much for the brain. At points we all want to simply give a nod and say, “Yep, that’s a bloody good painting.” Without having to worry about the exact date it was made and the paintbrush that was used.
Just to clarify, I’m not in any way downplaying the beauty of the Sistine Chapel, it’s clearly masterful art, and I appreciate the view – information just gets passed in such fine details that I was only able to remember one or two facts after leaving the building.
Image going to the supermarket, but before you can throw your parsnips into the basket, you’re informed that, “The parsnip’s unique flavour comes when its starches change to sugar. This happens after the first frost, when the vegetable is still in the ground. In Europe, parsnips were used to sweeten jams and cakes before sugar was widely available.”
This is quickly followed by a new fact about carrots, and then something new about broccoli. Within a minute you’ve already forgotten your new dose of parsnip wisdom.
Yes, I did somehow just compare one of the most historical buildings in the world with ASDA, but I think somewhere in the madness a point was made.
After a day of becoming marginally more intelligent, but all the while, feeling more stupid, I needed a fresh start. Therefore, I decided that I should become a rock star. International musicians are too busy taking pictures to learn about Michelangelo’s favourite analogues colours and they have certainly never eaten a parsnip. Yep, I slept on it and global music icon was definitely the career choice that now made the most sense.
While walking the streets of Rome, we notice a band of buskers playing some lovely folk music. However, something was evidently missing – a young Englishman shaking his butt to the sound of Johnny Cool’s saxophone, perhaps?
The group had rhythm, and this made us want to stand and watch for a moment. In fact, the sound was so groovy that I couldn’t help but sway my hips a little. Naturally, it wasn’t long until Peter ‘The Howling Wolf’ Scordo on guitar noticed my potential.
He started playing towards me for the entire crowd to see. At first, I thought that he was trying to serenade me – until he fairly aggressively grabbed my arm. Oh, so it was just a simple, harmless kidnapping then. By the way, a stranger had a death grip on my arm and the entire crowd were just smiling and clapping away. They were potentially witnessing a criminal act, and you know what, they were all bloody having a great time.
He yanked me over to the gang, plonked me in the middle, placed his hat on my head and then went back to playing the guitar. I was now front and centre, momentarily confused and no longer dancing. The focus of the crowd was suddenly mainly on me, so I really had to do something. I didn’t have an instrument, so I had no choice but to start dancing!
The crowd appeared entertained by my actions, and frankly, becoming a music icon was now looking like a much more attainable goal. It was easy; just dance a little and they will love you. I now had my band too. Sure, we all knew that Tommy on cello was clearly the weak link, but we’ll have to get past that I guess, you can’t put a price on loyalty.
Just as I was beginning to piece together the best cities to play gigs at on our European tour, the boys had finished their song and then demanded I tip them. Holy crap, I had been used. They saw my talent, exploited it, and now wanted me to pay a price. The music industry is not as pleasant as I thought.
I lived the dream for two thirds of a song, and then got hit with a life lesson – even your own band will stab you in the back for profit. I gave them a tip all right, in the form of advice – be careful who you kick on the way up, as you may once again see them on your way down.
The disappointment and reality did actually hit me fairly hard to be honest. I hit the bottle that evening and ate a lot of ice cream. After a few glasses of red, I was going through my contact list trying to decide who had the skill and image to join my new band, ‘Dragon Folk’. The group would have one sole purpose, to end each day with more coins in our guitar case than Peter and his buskers.
The band will demand some strong commitments, however. I mean, it may require a move to Italy and everyday spent in the streets of Rome, but trust me, the wine and ice cream will make it all worthwhile. Plus, on days off you can learn about the exact reasons Michelangelo painted God the way he did. It basically sells itself.
Another great perk that Rome offers, should you join my band and move here, is the Trevi Fountain. It’s probably my favourite spot in the city, particularly at night. We can write our songs with ice cream and wine there.
There are also a lot of girls or guys here for you to meet too, so a romance could easily blossom, should you so desire. Although, having said that, 90% of the men and women living in Rome are priests and nuns, so you may need some pretty impressive game – if you’ve already been carefully selected as a possible band member though, I have no doubt that you can pull it off.
Hold on, I’ve got it! I should form a concept folk band called, ‘Dragon and the Priests’! That will destroy the Italian busking scene! So, if you’re a saxophone playing priest that reads these blogs, please inbox me, we need to get to work as soon as possible.