The Cheshire’s Crook (Letters from the Road)

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The following was taken from Gino Vannelli’s personal road diary.
Dear Tricia
At the book signing in Caserta, Italy (near Naples) a fan came up to me, entirely too close for comfort, especially in light of the fact that his breath reeked of an overflowing septic tank, and said, “Meeesterrrr Vannnnellliii, escooozza, batta iya mussss to tella  you datta I jooossa lav yew cheedeee, ” Bess n’ Behind.” Wonder if it was some Freudian slip. Young crowd tonight—some even in their late teens. Fell asleep trying to do the math in bed last night.  Love you
Sent from my iPod 

Dear B&T
My sense is that there were a lot of happy Norwegians last night in Larvik. Just about sold out, though I think too many post concert photos.  I can’t get the infernal smile off my face this morning…plastered on like a dried mud mask. Last night: big, big, I mean BIG, muscular men telling me how much they love me, after the show. If I were gay I would have had even a more spectacular night. A pretty Norski lady said ” I cannot believe you are 60”.  I whispered, “Me too.”The road is a crazy place where people say things they usually don’t say every day. I can tell a lot of folks are gonna have regrets in the morning, (including yours truly).    . . . .searching for words, knowing she had only a few moments to blurt out what she had been lugging around like a ball and chain for a long time, as she came up to the desk where I was signing books, a very nervous woman said, ” You know Gino, for many years, and even to this day, I dream of having your baby.”  I told her I was deeply touched, but she might have to clear the details with Tricia. Ciao amice -G -Sent from my iPod

Dear B&T
Liviv is beautiful—great food and warm people.After the concert a pretty young thing said she was sooooo in love with me.    Trembling a little, as we posed for the camera, she asked if would I consider having tea with her later. I said yes, on the condition I have a couple of prunes to chase the chai. (Don’t think she gets my blistering quick, disarming, self-effacing wit) -Sent from my iPod

Dear B&T
This is the view of the square where the Nobel Peace Prize winners give their speeches in Oslo. I am staying in the precise suite and at the moment on the balcony where winners give their acceptance speeches. (Nice touch by Stein the promoter).And guess what? My room truly smells of “peace”!! (the toilet is broken.)Right now I am only in my briefs—and damn! Nobody has as much as even glanced upward while I am taking this photo I am about to send you. Makes a man feel small, unappreciated and a little lonely. Off to sound check in a few. Mucho gusto G -Sent from my iPod

Dear Tricia
The hotel in Larvik is entirely over the top. My room juts out into the North Sea. Outside my windows is the sound of surf and sea gulls. (Helps dull the noise in my ears)The health club is a leap beyond co-ed. This morning the sauna was filled with happy old ladies and gents, baring it all, hangin’ loose, pendulous appendages bouncing high and low, swinging this way and that. A couple of accessories looked like shy little turtles hidden in their shells. I felt entirely overdressed, me in my bath towel. A sweet, very well-nourished lady decided she wanted to rise from the hot wooden benches and give it a good stretch. So she raised her palms high as she could, then headed due south for her toes. And by God! She did—with all four arms way past her knees. Kinda glad she was facing me. (I know, I know I’m bad). The fitness instructor asked me if I wished for his blood circulation treatment. “Why not,” I said, “I’m in Norway.” So he beat me with leafy branches till my hot and sweaty pink skin turned a deep shade of vermillion.Nothing like being whipped when you’re at a hot, live nudie show.Off to Naples in a bit. Love you
-Sent from my iPod

Dear Tricia
Love the Ukraine. Perhaps it’s just Lviv, but an outsider can’t help think how misguided his old impressions were. The Byzantine churches are in good tact: dark and scary but fascinating, larger than life blood-ridden crucifixes and spooky confessionals. The old city has this mysteriously vacuum-packed look to it, untouched by the bombs of the WWII. Considered buying an old beat-up Soviet war medal at a nearby flea market. Sundry acts of valor for sale—fifteen bucks. Sad when you think it through. Guess Nature doesn’t waste a crumb. . .     . . .Still find pleasure in singing that 7-minute treatise on getting old I composed eons ago.  (“Where Am I Going”) In the past few days I thought of changing “Will I be strong or barely keep alive, when I’m thirty-five”, to, “When I’m sixty-five”. But in the end, poetry won out over truth. Thus, I decided ‘thirty-five’ had an endearing, more hopeful quality to it, despite the complete absurdity. I thought, if I could sing the tune with eyes closed, deeply immersed in passion, and if the spotlights hit me just the right way, maybe nobody will notice the Cheshire’s crook at the end of its tail. All for now. Love you -Sent from my iPod

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