Milan Arrival

All I can remember of the last time I was in Milan was walking far too long in the blazing sunshine swearing like a trooper because Vicky wanted to see the bloody cathedral, and then having my mind blown by that same cathedral and understanding why she wanted to see it. The Duomo. It’s stunning. I’ll be working right by it. Fuck yeah.


Right now I’m in a piazza with 14 theatre people, breaking the whole sober October thing because what happens in Milan stays in Milan unless you’re a fucking idiot and blog about it. But this blog wouldn’t be this blog if I didn’t compromise myself occasionally through honesty.

I’m lying on ancient stones in the ruins of what must have been a forum. Dogs are barking. People are singing, sharing claps, intermingling. Everyone is outside still – it’s end of summer weather. I remember from my time in Italy that the right way to drink is to get affordable booze and then hang out in the piazza. So I’m glad that’s how we are spending our first evening.

There is so much elegance here. The men and women move with poise and dress with care. There is action in people’s bodies and elegance in their mien. People move like cats. I’ve fallen in love with an Italian before many years ago. I’m remembering why now I’m back.

Today was nuts and bolts. We got up, flew, got on a train, didn’t eat, went to a hotel, tried on costume, worked out who we were sharing with, walked the route of the show, talked detail and finally decided far too quickly – because we were starving – to eat at a place that has twice as many 1 star reviews than five star on TripAdvisor. We didn’t check. Too hungry. Internet ratings are not gospel. But those numbers speak volumes, and it’s evidently worth checking. They saw us coming. We got stitched up. But that’s supposed to happen when large groups of British people are traveling. Essentially we ate at an Angus Steak House equivalent.

I’m sharing a room for the next few nights. As it happens, oh constant reader, I’m sharing with someone I met at the golf tournament from hell. Marco. I really didn’t expect to see him on this job. But that’s the joy of acting and the random associated jobs. You build a community, commit to it, then it disbands. Then you start again with a new one, but over time feathers of an old community show up in the wings of a new one, and you fly better. You have a shorthand. Marco and I lived in Pontins for a week. We both bonded on a grey beach overlooking mudflats and an oil rig. We slept in a gulag with cartoon monkeys on the walls.

I’ve been writing this post on the move, in between conversations and stopping to admire beautiful buildings. I’ve hacked it piecemeal into my phone over hours. I’m in this city again after all these years. We walked a long way, through streets broad and narrow. There’s plenty of age and beauty here. It’s alive, alive oh.

But now Marco is dead to the world about three foot from me. I’ll be close behind him. I’ve been waiting to hear his breathing change because I can’t guarantee I won’t snore and he says he can’t sleep at all if someone does. It’s changed, his breathing. He’s deep. I can dive down. I’m thrilled to be here in Milan. I still don’t know what I’m doing. I think it might involve standing on a Jeep. I’m not yet sure if said Jeep will be moving. If it is, great! Chances are it’ll be driven by a friend of mine, which helps. I’m up for that. My dad taught me how to stand on a moving car when i was something like 12.

I expect health and safety won’t allow that despite me being game. Hey ho. Whatever I end up doing, it’ll be fun. And I’m in Italy. I love this country.

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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