Anthea’s Travels :: European Diary Entry 1

So it’s been a year. A whole year. I almost feel obliged to be a bit depressed about the fact that time has gone so quickly… One year since I started my blog, since I packed up all of my things and embarked on a musical adventure across Europe. After a month in Germany, arguably the heart of Techno, several trips to Ibiza – including one for the IMS (international Music Conference) – a week in Amsterdam and plenty of time on London, I came back to Cape Town having just had the most incredible four months of my entire life. I saw more artists live than I could ever have imagined – Richie Hawtin, Sven Vath, Deadmau5, Monika Kruse, Sasha, Adam Beyer, Josh Wink and Chris Lake, to name a few – became (almost too) well acquainted with Fabric in London and met some hugely influential people in the industry. On top of all of this I had an amazing holiday and on either side of it I played two incredible gigs, one in Kenya and the other in Dubai. Okay, I am now depressed.. Time machine please?

This year things are going to be slightly different – I will be visiting places that I didn’t visit last year, and spending more time in each place, as opposed to the four month whirlwind of trains, planes, taxis, more trains, backpackers, and then some. This statement, of course, does not hold for Ibiza – there is no chance that I will be missing the mayhem of the White Isle while I am in Europe.

Right now I am in Milan. I have totally fallen in love with this city.

Milan, as the metropolitan part of the country, is considered to be “less Italian” than places such as Florence, Venice and Rome. It lacks the lengthy history, the story-telling architecture, and the romanticism that is generally associated with Italy. And where smaller towns have family-run restaurants serving home-cooked meals, Milan is more americanised. Nevertheless, the people here are the friendliest of any I’ve ever met and the city still manages to retain that creative/cultural Italian feel – there are exhibitions everywhere, art galleries, quaint deli’s, vintage markets, photoshoots… and models. Lot’s of models. With it being the modelling season in Europe, and Milan being at the heart of the European fashion world, this place becomes home to hundreds of the world’s most beautiful people. It would sometimes seem that, due to this, Milan holds an air of arrogance and pretence – but if ignored, it really can be the most fun city in the summertime.

As a warning to the girls – Italian men could be deemed a different species entirely. I’ve learnt that their “Italian Stallion” reputation is a total fallacy – unless your idea of ‘Stallion’ involves men who sit on the side of the road whistling at every woman who walks by. “Ciao Bellissimo, Ciao Bellissimo” being the most common phrase. This isn’t only the men in construction or on lunch breaks from work – most of the Italian men really do have no shame. Married men walking with their wives will happily stop and stare at anything that even remotely resembles another female (anywhere else in the world I’m quite sure that said wife would’ve delivered a solid right hook in this situation). I even experienced a priceless moment involving a guy on a bike and a near-collision with a car. I maintain that that is not because I’m special – this behaviour is pretty much standard with every girl. Having said that though, I did meet and party with some awesome guys, and the perverted ways of everyone else has provided so much entertainment – I literally couldn’t stop laughing at how ridiculous they were.

From a musical point of view, Milan seems to have a long way to go to catch up to her European neighbours. The pretence of the city obviously extends to the nightlife – clubs filled with beautiful people, David Guetta-type tunes playing and champagne everywhere – think midsummer’s night in Camps Bay. I’ve done research, and it seems that there is not much of an electronic scene here, other than a club called Plastic, which isn’t often open, and the rest of the (few) clubs that do play techno are very strongly linked to the gay community and apparently not entirely safe. In fact, the closest that I have been to techno while I’ve been here was a car parked outside of my apartment playing Paul Kalkbrenner – a hugely welcomed change from the usual Rihanna or J Lo reverberating through the block, but still a far cry from any kind of musical education I may have hoped to have gained in this city.

Without much to tell from a musical perspective, this first post of my trip serves more as an introduction to the blog than anything else. Although I will be so sad to leave here (and my awesome roommate) there are some amazing things lined up for this trip which I hope will keep you entertained and interested over the next four months of the European summer. On the cards are events such as the LED Festival in London, Sonar in Barcelona, Hamburg (and hopefully a quick stop by in Berlin), and a few weeks in Ibiza in August. Who knows, perhaps I may even manage to convince a few of you to come over!

Love to my beautiful South Africa xxx