The Parsons Day 2: "Hearing The Time Machine"

by Giorgio Rizzarelli, organizer

Photocompositions by Alessandro Palmigiani


The Second Italian Parsons Day took place in Trieste (the first italian city in which played Alan Parsons), in the days 20-22 August 1999.

The participants were 5 male fans, all subscribed to The Avenue and 3 girlfriends (including my own, Jin, also a fan), giving a total of 8 people.

It's been a dream within a dream to have so many great fans of Parsons as my guests. We realised, after the First Italian Parsons Day (Rome, April '99), that time flies, so we PROJECTed and planned in advance for the occasion, and this time we shared more time. To meet again will surely enrich our friendships.

The Miramare Castle


Friday 20 at 2 p.m. the guests arrived by train. I took them to the hotel that we had booked. Then we visited the best place in the zone of Trieste, a beautiful castle on the sea (with park) called Miramare, which was built when Trieste was part of Austria. The castle is half our by car from the city, so there and back there was just the time to listen in car to The Time Machine (the girls were in another car). In fact, although at the time the album hadn't yet been released in Italy, we all had received the Japanese import, just a few days before the Parsons Day. In this way everyone of us had had the opportunity to listen at the album on his own, before passing first comments to the others. We visited park and castle taking photos, and we spoke about TTM.

Piazza Unità d'Italia, the square with the best buildings of Trieste


Particular of the Verdi Theater, copy in smaller scale of the Milan's Teatro alla Scala. On the background, Piazza Unità d'Italia.


After a short tour of the city's best buildings, at dinner we went in a chinese restaurant, and we managed to put the tape of TTM on the stereo of the restaurant: for the first time TTM was "aired" in Italy.

Then the guests came to visit my collection of vinyls and CDs, and they wanted to take away all... I also let them hear the sound of an electric piano, playing the beginning of I Wouldn't Want To Be Like You, and at that point it's been inevitable to sing together a few tracks from I Robot: a small variation on the program, but really we couldn't wait to begin the so-called parsonian karaoke. We then did the first part of the parsonian contest, that Jin had prepared using as source the albums' credits. Torturous questions (she had great fun); among the most difficult, "Which is the complete set of vocalists on Freudiana?" and "How many razor blades there are in the gatefold sleeve of the vinyl of Pyramid?" (See the answers at the end of the page).

Saturday morning there was a projection of rare video material. Then we shared the parsonian lunch, for which I had conceived, and Francesco enabled, a pyramid table-center (with album logos on the sides) and themed place cards. The latter had an I Robot logo on a sky-like background (recalling On Air), to celebrate the release of this website, that happened some weeks after then. Francesco added some circles from TTM cover to celebrate the album's release. The menu of the lunch was:

Prime Time roulades with Mammagamma sauce

Chinese whispers

A Dream Within A Dream Tortellini

Egyptian eagle with hawkeyes

Jigue skewer with Gaudì sauce

Imperial Avignon Potatos

Nucleus Farced Olives

Secret Jardiniere

Walking on Ice-Cream

H. G. Champagne

Gold Bugs With Stock '84


Really, the chinese starters were consumed the previous night at the Chinese restaurant. The brandy Stock 84 has been associated to The Gold Bug because of the italian TV spot.

After the lunch, as agreed, we phoned Steve Martin (publisher of The Avenue) with whom we spoke about TTM and the website. We then gave a general and collective revision to the website's files.

Then there was the second part of the contest, in which everyone of us had prepared 5 question, with the relative answers in a separate envelope. This could have been a few level-headed method, instead no problem: everyone presented his terrible questions. Here the most difficult questions were "Say eight animals that appear in Project’s lyrics" and "Which is Eric Woolfson’s second name?" (See the answers at the end of the page).

The fans that won the two parts of the contest (Lorenzo won the first part, Francesco won the second) went through to the final match, in which they had to guess the name of the song after I had played the first notes on the piano. The first excerpt chosen was Let's Talk About Me, of which I did all the piano introduction without the two matchers got it: they were too busy to think! In fact, when the introduction ended, all the others (girls included) presented the answer singing loudly "Let's Talk About Me"! This was an unexpected moment of extreme happiness, because we all continued to sing until the end of the song: by coincidence the Vulture Culture sheets were ready on the piano so we had the lyrics ready. Something of an anticipation of the "karaoke", and we all agreed to sing all the song without saying a word: It was the music that communicated. After some other songs, guessing Children Of The Moon from just the two starting notes, Francesco won, and got the prize: the Tales vinyl, 200g, Original Master Recording from MFSL, limited edition numbered, that we purchased at the First Italian Parsons Day.

The prize won by Francesco Ferrua from Carcare (SV)


Then at last started the real "parsonian karaoke". There were three parts. First at the acoustic piano, in which we sang (in order) all the songs of I Robot, Pyramid, Gaudi and much songs of Vulture Culture, Ammonia Avenue, Eve and also TTM. Second part was most part of Tales, done at candle's light; I first did Arrival playing an electronic church organ on a base that I had prepared (using a storm I had recorded early); in the middle, like in the album, someone knocked on the door, opened it and entered covered by a sheet with two holes for the eyes then we did the Tales' songs with piano (Jin). Part three, after dinner, was done with the midi instruments; for this part I used a home made Projector, to project on the room's ceiling a few album logos. Among the bases that I prepared there were The Ace Of Swords, H. G. Force, Out Of The Blue, Sirius/Eye In The Sky and Psychobabble, for which I managed to synthesize perfectly the alarm sound and I employed a police-like rotating light.

Sunday we visited the wonderful Venice, obviously continuing to discuss about Alan and company. We had an extraordinary full sunny day.

Dario says that this was his best holiday since he was born. For me, the best party. Special thanks to Steve Martin, because it's The Avenue that introduced us one to each other.

Poster of the Second Italian Parsons Day, elaborated by Alessandro Palmigiani


Answers to the contest’s questions here reported:

1st part:

The Freudiana vocalists are (in order of appearance): Eric Woolfson, Leo Sayer, Graham Dye, The Flying Pickets, kiki Dee, Eric Stewart, Frankie Howerd, Marti Webb, Gary Howard, Chris Rainbow, John Miles

In the gatefold sleeve of Pyramid there are 4 double razor-blades.

2nd part:

There are at least 14 animals in the lyrics and titles of the Project’s songs (without counting the albums by Alan Parsons, Keats and Ladyhawke): in order of appearance, Raven (Tales), Vulture (Tales, Vulture Culture), Horse (Tales, TTOAFC, Eye In The Sky, Vulture Culture), Eagle (Pyramid), Dog, Firebird (Eve), Snake (Eve, TTOAFC), Monkey, Bug (TTOAFC), Hawk (Vulture Culture), Lion, Lamb, Bird, Rat (Gaudì). Please note that every animal has a character close to the themes of the context. This doesn’t amaze, given the big coherence of the Project’s lyrics with the concepts.

The complete Eric Woolfson’s name is Eric Norman Woolfson (sources: BMI Repertoir Database (Internet), Steve Martin).