Journals from Italy

We went to what I would learn was an acid house show last Friday night.  I was invited by a local drug dealer turned pseudo-friend who goaded me with the idea that it was at the best club in Turin, lovingly known as the Bunker.  It didn’t hurt that he informed me he had gotten his hands on some of the same goodies I had bought from him at Club to Club.  Most of the regular American crew were out of town on what I consider a skillfully avoided incestuous black out in the Swiss Alps, so there were only a few of us around.  Mitch, Adam and I left the apartment after polishing off a couple of beers and walked down to the nearest kebab shop.  While they piloted the Italian language through a sea of mired conversation, ostensibly about what type of cheap shredded vegetables to fill between two pieces of pita bread, I busied myself mixing two bottles of coke with a fifth of cheap whiskey I had brought along.   In a new trend that I am painfully aware of, it seems my yellow fever is starting to manifest itself even when I don’t intend it to.  I’m not entirely complaining but its a bit too much sometimes, you have to keep a white girl or two around before it gets weird.  That being said, we swung by Rachel’s apartment after what seemed like an eternity at the kebab house, and dispatched Booner to hail a cab while we waited for her.   Passing the whiskey around in the cab, the Juventus game came in brief flashes of understanding from the Italian’s radio.  Niccolo was clearly drunk based on his garbled english WhatsApp messages.  A flash of fear when I considered that the drunk Italian may prove unable to get us the drugs that I had promised my friends.  Fei was already in the northern part of Turin with her Colombian friend, surely looking for new ways for Turin to seem like home.  The 20 minute cab drive flew by in a haze of what seemed like tenement housing, and the whiskey was starting to bury me under the influence.  The cab dropped us in a wide, empty, dirty street that reminded me of a fire break high up in the mountains.  An open, friendly looking guy sat on a stoop not too far away, and we struck up a conversation predicated on making sure we weren’t lost.  He told us that we were just early and the club was down the street but not open yet.  After a bout of casual conversation, a well-dressed friend of his approached.  I immediately recognized him from a stop light about 10 minutes before.  Something had made my gaze linger on his discarded cigarette as he had walked in front of our stopped cab.  We learned that he was a club promoter and had plenty of the tickets that we needed to get in on the cheap.  They passed around wine and we passed around the whiskey.  We learned that we know very little about house and trance music.  Fucking American EDM.  Fei and her friend Cat cruised in after about 15 minutes and joined us.  The club opened and we went in.  I found Niccolo in line and his friend who’s name eludes me, the guy with the pony tail.  There was a bonfire inside, a small covered area with seating adjacent, and a larger open area to the right where the stage and a few side attractions like a face painting booth were set up.  I met Niccolo in the covered seating area and made the deal.  After distributing it to my friends around the bonfire, we settled in for a good time.  I snapped back into consciousness standing over Fei passed out on a bench. An Italian dude was barking orders at me to pick her up and come with him.  I grabbed her shoulders and he had her legs.  It didn’t really cross my mind at the time that anything was wrong, I just felt at peace with everything.  We somehow made it out to the street after a couple unplanned falls, and the Italian dude started eating Cats face while I dealt with Fei.  We hailed three or four cabs but each one peeled out after one look at me, face painted, holding a small passed out Asian girl.  We stood around at the bus stop for an eternity, until she could stand up on her own and hold a conversation.  Fei and I wanted to go back inside.  My only memory here is of Cat’s face, at the time I perceived distrust and maybe even general dislike.  She wanted to take Fei home.  We went inside anyways and had a great time.   Eventually riding the bus home with Fie, Cat and her newfound Italian boy, each of us sitting across from each other, faces painted, with a girl on our laps.  On the walk from the bus stop, it started to rain lightly.  The misty amber glow from the street lamps in the early Turin dawn. She clung on to me for a few minutes as we paused under a balcony, and I gazed into the rain.  The next day we slept in till after nightfall.

Good women are to the rest like music is to sound and shes sweating, roaring 20’s jazz music at 3 in the morning.

Our last night in Torino was just about like you would expect.  I couldn’t help but feel the smug satisfaction of a victorious suitor watching my past competitors squabble over her.   I let them flirt with her for close to 10 minutes, while finishing my drink and discussing the past few months with Itai.  After letting their appetites vociferate (is this a word?) handedly, I casually walked over and motioned for her to follow me for a drink, which she instantly obeyed.  Its the simple pleasures.  The night expectedly degenerated into a drunken orgy of goodbyes and promises to keep in touch.  Poomba across the room growing more agitated as the American asylum he has cultivated begins to show its dark side.  He motions for us to leave, claiming the bar was closing.  I glanced back to the rear of the bar to notice several groups of Italians, casually enjoying their drinks. It was instantly obvious, he wanted us out.  I left, unphased.
The only goodbye I found difficult was Fei.  I have fallen more in love with her in the past month than I ever have before.  Shes raw, unfiltered, deliciously sweet while at the same time horribly wrong.  Daughter of a jailed Thaiwanese spy, world traveler, raging sex addict that packs me snacks, a touching chinese amulet coupled with a Buddhist folk story and a walk to the train station.  She tells me the story of her fucking two swiss guys in the back of their van, and then leads me by the hand to do my Christmas shopping and cooks me dinner. She seems to be an impossible dichotomy of pure, sweet, generous and completely insane. She reminds me of an early America, torn between playful, childlike hits like “Jusjajsdsad” at home and a carnal, visceral war raging in some distant land.  I’m not sure if I can judge her reality by the same standards as my own.  You could say there are universal human morals and would be correct in many cases, but the unequivocal positive treatment of ones father and mother is not a requirement.  She was treated poorly by them as a child and responded in kind, but it seems that a positive loving force in her life was constructive.  I dread the days progress and the slow decay of her memory.   Precipitate as weather, she appeared from somewhere and then was gone.
     Read music, speak spanish.

Liverpool is a comfortable little city.  I got in on Thursday night and made my way from Manchester to Liverpool via train and help from a couple locals.  I got into Bidston station around 10.  I got off the train and was immediately transported to a rainy day last year at Pickering station in Toronto.  I was taking the train from Dirty Mikes place to see Aimee and had picked up a 5th of gin on the way over to the station.  By the time I got into downtown the gin was gone and you could say I was tight.  I wandered around the city looking for the intersection in question, talked to a few people and ended up sitting with some hobo until she arrived.  This time I was in Liverpool, not Toronto and I was sober.  They picked me up in her moms little hatchback and we squeezed in the backseat.  The boot was full so I had all my bags in the rear of the tiny vehicle, but it was a short ride so no worries.  Two of her friends, Jack and Rachel, were at home smoking in the carport when we got in and I talked to them for a while.  Jack left, with work early in the morning, and Rachel told me about the company she had started.  I was a bit out of it and hungry, conversation didn’t flow too well until I had some food in me. She had been a shot girl up in Glasgow or somewhere, promoting whatever alcohol the bar wanted to sell.  I took her for a quick-witted, old soul.  The past few months she had started her own shot girl company, and now just collected money from the rest and arranged their affairs.  Good gig.

Friday we met Joe, Ollie, Helen and Nile at Wetherspoons and started drinking around 3.  The christmas-do was at 7 at a nearby hotel and I still needed clothes.  After a few pints, jaeger bombs and I’m sure a myriad of other drinks me and Aimee drunkenly went shopping.  In the inexpensive Primark it was a liberating experience.  I bought a scarf and gloves for the chilly Liverpool weather, as well as dress pants for the christmas party.  The party was thrown by Jon, the father-in-law of Aimees older brother, a police officer at The Liner hotel.  These Liverpool folk are stout-hearted, gregarious and like to drink.  At some part in the night I started thinking of Fei, somewhere in Adelaide, or another universe, I forget.  An older woman tried to make moves on me as I stumbled around on the dance floor.  A bottle of wine disappeared and I end up on the floor, comically over-sized martini glass tipped upside down on top of me.
The next day we all went to Chester in Aimee’s moms little hatchback.  We did shopping for Christmas and met up with Scott and Rachel.  I bought fudge.  The roman walls were impressive and we did a tour of the city, where she had gone to college for a year about 5 years back.  I imagined her running along the canals, before I had ever met her.  Before so much of her life since had elapsed.  I wondered what that person was like.

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