FAQ: Rome, English, and Neil Young

— ROMAN HOLIDAY, 29 February 2004 —

(I thought of that. Except it’s no holiday and I’m not with Cary Grant…..Far from it. – CK.)

Pronto da Italia. We’ve been here so long that I’m finding it difficult not to think in Italian! Bear with Us. (He spoke Italian on stage in Rome. At least that’s what he thought it was. After the show he asked the woman from the Italian record company how his Italian was, she said he should never speak Italian again and if he knew what was good for him, he wouldn’t – CK).

The shows in Dublin and Edinburgh went very well. The audiences were great. Apparently they speak English in both Dublin and Edinburgh. I don’t know whether it helped me or hurt me. I’m going to be funny in a minute. I feel it coming. (I don’t – CK) We saw Susan, Jim, Scott and the new Little Criminal who looks like Paul McCartney, but younger. Show business is easier than most real jobs but the road isn’t that easy. Ask Jim or Susan. I’ve been playing Laugh And Be Happy, I’ll keep doing it until I get it right. One need almost be a virtuoso to traverse the complexities of the piece. I’ve shown it to a number of concert pianists. (Pollini, Uchida) They refused to even attempt it. They wouldn’t even talk to me. That’s how hard it is.

Bad news, LCs. Kathy (I did that on purpose) and I are fighting. Why you might ask? Did I try and corner her in an elevator again? Did I inadvertently bump into her in an airport line? Not this time. She persuaded me to play Rider In The Rain in Frankfurt. Need I say more? Knowledgeable fans will understand. Two and a half minutes of unmitigated horror unequaled since Murnau’s “Nosferatu”. I’ll talk to her again when I need something. For instance, I can’t find any socks. I played Zurich, Frankfurt and Rome after Edinburgh. These shows were not sold out. In each town, it was the holiday about which I’ve spoken so often, whereon the peasants of the town go to the theatres dressed as empty seats. (In spades – CK) As you know, I am an Optimist, also an Elk and a Mason. I choose to see the glass as half full rather than half empty. The shows may not have been sold out but luckily I wasn’t trying my hardest anyway. The tickets were expensive too! That’s not my fault. I swear it isn’t.

We had a great tour of Rome by a driver named, Antony, who was Indian but born in Rome. He still admires Mussolini though he admits he did some bad things. How can a big country like Italy have one man own all the television networks, the most important soccer team and run the country? I don’t understand it. There’s a comedian in Italy named Dario Fo. I saw him on television years ago. You won’t see him on television now. He does a stage show in which he makes fun of Berlusconi. I think that’s a good thing.

Hey! Don’t you know I’m just kidding? Berlusconi is a good friend of mine and I object to nothing he’s done. I’ve benefited greatly just by being a close, personal friend of this Great Man. He and I palled around during fashion week in Rome. Got some great stuff. (He’s babbling. I’m going to try and get out of here without having to use my side kick – CK) I’m sorry I split so many infinitives and did other bad things to the language. Eoio sono stanco. Ciao bambini.

Randy

I’ve enjoyed writing these reports for you and as I’ve told you before it means a great deal to me to know you’re out there. When I write songs again, to a greater extent than you might ever believe, it will be for you. I’m glad so many of you seem to like each other and if I’ve been the agency by which some of you have been brought together, that makes me greater than I already am. If the public only knew. Neil Young doesn’t do stuff like that. I have nothing against epileptics but come on. Neil Young once drew 80,000 people in Italy and he doesn’t speak a word of Italian (I won’t say anything – CK) Love to all of you.

–29 February 2004