I used to like cool venues where bands were good, acoustics could be uncomfortable, and illegality was generally tolerated.

I used to like the Estragon in Bologna, but since its relocation I now loathe it, and I am not embarrassed to write so. I am prepared to admit that maybe it’s because I’ve become old and boring, but I’m quite convinced that this, albeit true, is only secondary. I loathe it because the present version of uncomfortable acoustics is no longer being uncomfortably LOUD, it’s just poor acoustics, and illegality now consists in smoking tobacco indoors.

Mark Lanegan is just great. You can’t hear the band because of the poor acoustics, but you can still hear his voice, because his voice vibrates in so many different parallel dimensions, that it vibrates even inside the Estragon. Mark Lanegan dresses in total black, grabs the microphone, sings his stuff, wipes his face with a black towel, thanks us in two occasions, never smiles. At some point he makes a strange face at himself and I suspect he’s actually fighting back a smile, or something like that, his way. We love him. Not enough, in my opinion. Never liked he crowd at the Estragon, too aloof, but I may be prejudiced. As for me, I love him big time. In fact I stay. I cannot breath properly, my oximetry is probably all wrong because of the crowd smoking tobacco, and still, I stay.  I tool salbutamol before leaving home, knowing how dangerous the Estragon is and hoping it would be enough of a precaution, normally is, but it turns out this time it’s not, and having to take salbutamol too often is bad news, so I’m a little worried because when asthma becomes uncontrolled it means having to call 118 (local 999) and have something injected in a reasonable time frame. And I would have to call 118 myself because I doubt the venue is aware that there is a condition called asthma and about 10% of the Italian population has it and every year about 30 thousand people are hospitalized because of it, and that’s basically why smoking indoors is now illegal. And you know what’s really depressing? That marijuana smells nice and contains a lovely natural brochodilator. It’s not a trigger for asthma like tobacco is, it actually cures it! Some passive marijuana used to be perfect to enjoy a good band in cool venues with questionably loud acoustics! We still have the good bands, but nowadays poor acoustics and tobacco indoors have become cool apparently, and I call this suffocating. You can call me old and boring and next time stay home you disabled person, if you like.

Anyway, I stay, I stay around, I’m still alive. Mark stays, he’s still alive. And it’s all about that. The heart will pound until the breath is gone. Literally.

(and a little rain would help with the seasonal asthma, by the way)