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Sunday, 26 April 2009

Monday 13 April 2009

Easter Monday has arrived and yesterday’s warm sunshine has changed places with drizzle, there’s a bleakness hanging in the air and the sea looks solemn today. Breakfast is typical of an Italian hotel; cappuccino with bread and jams, there’s also thick slices of Colomba pasquale, an aromatic yeasted cake, dusted with sugar and shaped like a dove: This traditional Easter cake goes down well with the hotel guests and I watch a woman opposite as she crumbles her slice into her coffee. The television in the corner belches out the daily news to no ones attention until a report from L’Aquila appears, suddenly the room is silent and every pair of eyes are fixed on the TV, the lady with the cake takes out her handkerchief and dabs at her eyes, the cake forgotten for the time being. It’s my turn to drive the hire car, initially I give the two-seater, that looks like some madman has lopped the back off with a chainsaw a spin around a car park. It’s an odd feeling sat inside such a tiny space, it feels quite claustrophobic, and I have to have my seat as far back as it will go, also I have to lower my head to see through the windscreen. Driving in Italy is an experience no driving school in the UK could prepare you for, cars seem to randomly stop, start and pull out with no indication or explanation, you really need your wits about you some days. It doesn’t help when the car I’m driving is slow to pull off at junctions; it’s rather like a slug with stabilisers. Pescara in the rain (I think there’s a song title in there somewhere) is wild, windy and woeful. The beach looks dull as white horses crash upon it under a slate grey sky. The streets are devoid of pedestrians, no shops are open and a solitary bar opens its doors. Trust me to come over at Easter, when everywhere is closed. Sadly the only establishment that we find open is that well know fast food restaurant (restaurant is that an oxymoron?) that reckons, ‘we’re lovin’ it’. Lunch over, I walk along the seafront, ‘Red Dress’ by the Sugababes puts a lift in my heel and before I know it I’m at my destination, the corner of viale Europa, where I’d earlier seen some interesting abstract shapes I want to recreate back home, in my kitchen cum art studio: It starts off as kitchen but after I’ve finished it’s splattered with acrylics and looks more like a studio. I take several photos of varying angles of a sculpture; Il Nuotatore (the swimmer) outside the farmacia on the corner of via U. Foscolo. Paul Simon is shuffled forward ‘Me And Julio Down By The Schoolyard’ bounces around my head as pear shaped raindrops begin to bounce on the pavement, I stop to photograph a concrete bench emblazoned with graffiti, the red white and green paint becoming emblematic. As the song finishes so does the rain. I stop the music as I navigate my way around some roadwork’s that take up half of the road and all of the pavement. I become amused by a stand off for right of way between a large orange autobus and a surly youth in a Fiat 500. No prizes for guessing who won this particular battle. I turn the music back on and U2 break into ‘New Years Day’; the Edge’s guitar echoes the crashing waves and Adam Clayton’s bass the bounce of my footsteps, I think about the people who have recently lost their homes and loved ones in the earthquake, and the lyrics begin to take on a new meaning. Hope. “I will be with you again”.

Il Nuotatore

I turn the corner and take the last few steps towards the hotel, Thin Lizzy announce my return with, “Guess who just got back in town?” My smile is short lived as I walk up to the main doors expecting them to open, nothing happens, people stand inside watching me as I stop just in time, inches before my nose comes in contact with the glass. To my right up a ladder is a squat man wielding a screwdriver; he nods his head to the left, indicating the sign that tells me to use the side entrance. I press to stop button and Phil and the rest of the band are silent once more.

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