MORE on ITALY from Dagmar

Well, I didn't make the first two, but here's what my erratic surrealist tour diary says about the latter two:

- Maniago nr. Pordenone 13/10/00 - ..met Stuart in the street (the only familiar face here) & tipped him off in the direction of the Jin Liu for after-show repast. He seemed genuinely pleased, as a broken-down PA maent no supper break... it seems to have done the exact anti-create (blame Banks!) of my car stereo and blew. Paul's still trying to fix it in the balcony... and that guy behind me who looks like a younger and more attractive Fish is humming something I can't place... somebody is reading the Ancient Mariner, adn Paul's gone so grey...

- after the show - Phone home - it took me a while to recognise this man, as it took him a while to pick up... suprising was an absence of Tango and Fell, two I'd been certain of. Instead, Veronica rears her ugly head and gets dressed accordingly, mercifully devoid of the falsetto-isms of the record. High points were without a doubt a brimming, flowing Better Time and a sublime Still Life, in full control but totally gone at the same time.

The deadlines we forget indeed. I felt for Paul during the crackles and wumps that was Amnesiac - that show-off red (and abalone-trimmed) new semi-acoustic guitar was just impossible to get right, and had way too much chorus on it for a start. A slow start, but a worthwhile one after the long absence (for me at least). The Fish guy was having orgasms half the time, and is still around;

"Arriva subito" - for the third time. Is he really coming back? Getting late, almost night... (yes he did, and after the photos and autographs came back for me after having spotted my face in the crowdlet. Hugs, words, smiles, hurrying off into the night for warmth of bed.)

Set list: Siren Song/ Easy to Slip Away/ A Better Time/ Nothing Comes/ Touch & Go Been Alone So Long/ Nightman/ Amnesiac/ Out of my Book/ Veronica/ Patient Bubble/ Faculty X/ Unrehearsed/ Still Life Shingle Song

- Mantua, 14/10/00, Teatro Bibbiena - Well, what can I say... everything here is made of wood & just this side of Shakespearean :) Jokes about big bottoms (the piano's), and Stuart's pedal still squeaks. Not any more now - my Lipsalve did the trick!) Stuart want= s a dickie bow, badly, and the sendorfer is getting a last-minute re-tune, well. Willi Rupp is here; some people start crowding to the three tiers of boxes, looking to all the world like the Muppet Show.

I'm seated, following Paul's advice, in the middle of the auditorium, behind yet another kid girl. Daring fathers, these Italians... there's a bloke in a cloak, and a worried-looking curly 30something who just _looks_ like Peter. Oh no, he's getting on a mobile now... spoils the image!) No Poggi neither. Rupp's pics of last year are excellent - so much better-looking than any of the recent official ones!

Enter a fat biker in orange dungarees and a bright red shirt hanging open to reveal a big hairy belly. The Peter lookalike quits looking like Peter and grins. Applause for no good reason, the applause for a reason. Cue PH.

- after the show - Mantova, rainy Saturday, money and friends in attendance - a middle-aged couple outside the place, she a quizzical, sharp-looking Giulia, he the only person here who speaks English. My Italian is generally judged to be good enough by everyone except me. Blame the lack of obvious foreign accent.

They hadn't got in, it had been a sell-out! And what a show - so playful and so wide. Nothing was as it seemed, and nothing came as a shock. Do I recall the set list? Barely... as proof of good night, my memory was disengaged.

Easy to Slip Away/ Nothing Comes/ Bubble/ Tango 'per uno'/ A Better Time Comfortable/ Come Clean/ Time For a Cange/ Shingle Song/ Veronica/ Primo Unrehearsed/ Faculty X/ Traintime/ A Way Out/ Refugees Patient Primo on acoustic! Comfortable all quiet, then raging, A Better Time all groovy, Fac X all improvised down the middle (wonderful playing - the BF6se did him no end of good!), A Way Out making use of the extra 3 keys of that piano, ending on the very bottom G, and missing that notorious fifth verse altogether this time!

God, Refugees. Refugees! That piano painting soundscapes, the voice ringing out like a bell. Refugees. Refugees...