95. Milan, Arena Civica, 18 June 2008

The first rule of Radiohead club is no one talks about Radiohead club… Edward Norton and Brad Pitt (wearing ostentatious sunglass and a hat respectively – so you know they must be conspicuously famous) were watching tonight’s show from behind the sound desk (which I was standing in front of).

Best sound of the tour so far (well best spot for it, directly in front of unsung genius Jim Warren and all his magical kit). This tour has had AMAZING sound so far – everything is really clear and even a cloth ears like me can almost detect the separate instruments.

I ended up not queuing. It was really, really hot and the thought of sun stroke rather put me off. I took myself off to have look around some of the galleries in the Castle, including an impressive collection of historic musical instruments. I ate some very good gelato and discovered the cooling effects of granita.

It was a varied set with Wolf At The Door and Go Slowly making an appearance. Much better conditions than last night. At the end of the show, a rope was dragged through the arena to keep the Italians calling out for “Brad! Brad!” away from the chosen few still allowed close to the stage. I lost sight of Keiko who somehow had a pass and spend the latter part of the evening wandering the area with Astral Chris, looking for food and taxis.

*

The following day I meet up with fellow tourist Ricci and we climb to the roof of the Duomo, Milan really knows how to do a cathedral. The sun is shining and being here makes sense again.In the FNAC record shop, there is a small exhibition of Radiohead photos – and the Italian edition of a book of “the stories behind the songs”.

Later I head to Saronno to stay with super-fan Georgia for a couple of nights, after a day sacked out in front of her TV, I take an excursion to Lake Como and get bitten by mosquitos.

Back to Milan to catch another train (sharing a compartment with a nun), this time to Turin, my detour while the band are in Spain playing festivals. Some of the others have gone to see all the shows, but this time I want to see something of Italy, spend some time by myself.  I have a hectic 48 hours in the city – I visit the Mole (for the view and for the cinema museum which I’d seen in a film called Doppo Mezzonotte), eat some Nutella-flavoured ice cream and frantically search for a pharmacy to get some hydrocortisone for unbearable mozzie bites – I feel like I should  do all the tourist stuff, but really what I’d like to do is sleep.

Another train back to Paris again, then a small panic attack negotiating the Metro. Heavily laden with luggage, I decide to visit the Louvre (cloakrooms! air con!). I wander the huge rooms, dodging tourists on the Da Vinci Code trail, enraged as they pop photos in front of the eternal masterpieces. I despaired as I came into a room to discover David’s magnificent Oath of the Horacii, in a room full of over blown history paintings to overhear a woman say “Oh it’s that David Jack Louie guy” and another points out the “people fighting naked,” in the Grecian scene hung on the opposite wall.

Tiring of the underground ambience of the gallery, I go out to the arcades. I spent a fantastic day here last year just wandering about, but it’s hard to be a flaneusse with a backpack and a wheelie suitcase weighing you down.

I need a proper cup of tea, a hot bath, some food that doesn’t have any cheese in it. I spend another night at Nazare’s then it’s back to London on the Eurostar. I drag myself to Hammersmith (to Clara’s) and feel my first cup of tea hit every nerve ending.

Thus refreshed, I meet up with the others at a pub near Liverpool Street and get ready to face the crush of people heading to Victoria Park…