03-30-2003
Babbling from Siena, El Corte dei Miracoli
 
Writing tonight from this remarkable club in Siena - El Corte des Miracoles, the Court of Miracles. It's one building in a huge psychiatric hospital, just inside the Porte Romana, which means you drive through this arch-de-triomphe-sized brick archway, take a sharp left, and drive into this centuries-old institute, through the parking lot, up the hill, and then you see this big building covered in paint and filled with dance studios and practice spaces, an outdoor cinema, a bar, a room for rock, a massive gorgeous courtyard with marble benches, looking out into a valley that jumps right up into a horizon lined with just a few of the ancient towers and cathedrals and buildings of downtown Siena. Fucking beautiful site, and if you were here you would have heard the silence of the view broken only by children shouting and screaming in Italian, playing in a schoolyard in the valley. Beautiful.

But now I'm trying to catch up, so this is not about Siena; this is about Vinkovci, maybe just a little more but I doubt it. Vinkovci is in Croatia, not far from the Bosnian border. My ignorance about the political and social situation in the former Yugoslavia became painfully apparent on this trip, as it did for several of us; and even more painful, I now know, is my ignorance of how much damage war can do to a place and to the people in and around that place. I promise I will not say anything dramatic about this, though; I'll just tell you what we saw and heard and did.

But first, let me babble for a second. We fly out of Rome in two days - tonight is Friday, tomorrow night we play Rome, Sunday morning we fly back to Chicago. This has been such a good trip, it's just fucking tragic that we don't all live in Italy - all of us. You know when you have a job in Italy you will generally get thirty days paid vacation per year? Thirty fucking days! I get ten fucking days. You can't do shit with ten fucking days of vacation. What the fuck? and if you want to live some alternative lifestyle that lets you take tons of time off, you will likely be eating shit for all meals, or living in, oh, I dunno - some inexpensive and small town with not much culture.

Got to go. Much more later.


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