July 02, 2006

With Warm Water Cuddling My Head


Last week I went to the wedding of Beppe and Sara in Milan, Italy.

Beppe first saw my band when we opened for Green Day on an Italian tour c. 1995 and he has been a big fan ever since. He's a terrific guy, too. His friends all chipped in to fly me out there to play a song for the wedding as a surprise present. I don't know how that many people managed to keep it secret for so long, but as it turned out, it was a total surprise to the bride and groom. I walked up to his table with a guitar at the wedding lunch and played "You Today," his favorite song. Many of the guests were familiar with the song, though not the English lyrics, so a lot of them were humming along in English-y Italian sing-song syllables. Then I did "King Dork." Beppe sang the second verse and we both sang the end together. Then there was lots of eating and drinking. A really fun time.

Later that night we went over to Beppe's new apartment and played more songs and drank champagne. When the rain stopped, we headed out to the Milano streets. This happened to be the occasion of the "White Night," which is a kind of summer celebration where everyone is supposed to go the city center and go wild and act crazy till the next morning. I mean wild and crazy in the Italian fashion, which means that the wildness and craziness was quite a bit more stylish and warm-hearted than it might have been if they held a "White Night" in, say, London or Chicago. They set off fireworks at the castle (Castello Sforzesco ) which we viewed through and above the Peace Arch, which commemorates (if I have this right) Napoleon's victory/liberation of the city. (He was crowned with what is known as the Iron Crown of Lombardy, by the way: great band name.) Then we proceeded to the castle through an impressively blinding cloud of gunsmoke, which put me in mind of Napoleon and his Iron Crown also, somehow.

There was a big rock concert in the city's central square featuring two evidently huge Italian pop stars I had never heard of. I'm afraid I can't remember their names. Everyone was going nuts for the songs, including one in particular which Marta explained was about a guy who wanted to stay in the bathtub all day. She wasn't fond of the song and refused to join in the crazy dancing that everyone else was doing, despite continual attempts to pull her in. (I don't know if you've ever seen Italians dancing to pop music in a city square at 3 AM: it is a weird combination of jumping about, shouting the lyrics, waving and flailing arms, and yet it also includes certain traditional moves like the one where several people link arms and prance in circles around each other.) Anyhow, Marta just shook her head and wouldn't budge. The line, she clearly believed, had to be drawn somewhere. A woman of principle. I was intrigued, and I kept bugging her with questions about "the bathtub song," so she finally translated the lyrics for me. Here's a snip:

I want to stay in the bathtub for the whole day, with warm water cuddling my head

a foot hanging outside getting a little cold,
and get out of there when dinner is already on the table ...

I'll go back in time with my friends in front of the school,
but without entering, just hanging out outside

No one will fail any exam,
we'll just all be together in the same bathtub

Eventually the bathtub turns into a swimming pool, and there are around 120 friends swimming in it, drinking cappuccinos. Is this possible? Or merely a utopian dream? The singer leaves the question unanswered.

I imagine Marta was right about where to draw the line. I have never heard anything quite like it, though, that's for sure. (I wasn't dancing either by the way. We were the only two, I think.)

At any rate, congratulations to Beppe and Sara, and thanks to Marta, Pippo, Gabo, Matteo, Gippi and everytbody else. It was great to be included in the fun.

Posted by Dr. Frank at July 2, 2006 05:32 PM | TrackBack

Sounds like something They Might Be Giants would sing.

Posted by: Arnold at July 2, 2006 09:22 PM

Hi Doc, here's Gipi from Dublin....i had great fun with u and my friends in Milan.I hope to see u soon!!!!!!


Posted by: Gipi at July 3, 2006 05:37 PM

Seriously Frank, that is the cooleste story ever. What a most excellent surprise for Beppe. Seriously.

Posted by: Megan at July 4, 2006 08:45 AM

i want dr.frank to play at my wedding too..

Posted by: giulia at July 6, 2006 02:09 PM

wow , that is so cool that you went all the way out there for a fan. granted, they paid, but nonetheless, your quite a guy.

Posted by: luke b.lack at July 9, 2006 12:43 AM