The Fourth Italian Parsons Day has been particular also since in USA, only a week after, happened a meeting, organized indipendently of ours, yet similar (though the first of its genre): the USA AP August Fan Fest 2000, coorganized by Scott and Sara Holder. Steve Martin of the Official International Fan Club The Avenue was so surprised by the appearing of these two meetings, that he decided to dedicate to both an article on issue 18 (November 2000) of the official fanzine. We have been happy to give this contribution to The Avenue, overall to let Alan and the band know better our activities, push Alan to persist in fighting the promoters to come here in tour (something that almost happened in 1999) and convince the band that, in that case, we would be able to organize a wonderful after-show.
if it wouldn't be enough, this PDAY has been special also for
another aspect: it coincided with our formalization as the Italian
AP Fan Club. Since the article on The Avenue contains a photo
of the PDAY4, we decided to anticipate for the occasion the realization
of the Italian Fan Club's T-Shirts, in such way that, wearing
it, we would give an image that reflected our care in organization.
The preparation began moths earlier with the selection of the possible participants and the inspection of various hotels of Trieste. Then we began to collect in a file all the ideas that came to us about the activities, and step by step this file became the PDAY4's programme.
Out of the programme we took an invitation for the participants, having fun to carefully "censure" the details about the surprises. To the invitation we added a questionnaire about various practical details. A last email update to all the participants communicated the rooms' prenotation, and allowed them to accord for the trip.
But the most of the preparation was dedicated to the activities. We had much to do both outdoor (rehearsal of the organ concert, choice and booking of the premises, purchasing of lights, instruments, food and industrial drinks for the karaoke voices) and indoor, overall the preparation of the games and the representation of The Tell-Tale Heart. We parsonicized the living room, substituting the usual knick-knacks with books as I Robot and The Time Machine, parsonian mugs and issues of The Avenue, and hanging the PDAY4's poster.
A morning in particular was particularly animated, that of Friday August 4, 2000. To the alarm clock's sound Jin answered with a Tales-green face, more or less like the cucumerus that we had to buy that morning. It was the third shopping for the big lunch, that of the fresh ingredients, and the vegetables's salesman remained surprised to our request of a giant cucumerus of 9 Kg. Jin wanted definitely to carry it by herself, and under an Arrival-like rain she dragged it to the car. Suddenly beeped the cellular phone: "Here Gregorio, I'm coming, I'm there in half our". After a rainy traffic worse than Urbania, we ran home, collecting in a hurry the Parsons Day icecake, that almost squashed on the windscreen. While Jin was trying to fit the cucumerus in the fridge, in which it didn't fit in height nor in width, I quickly put on the Time Machine Tour T-Shirt and the AP hat (recognition sings) and ran to the hotel, to welcome Greg and Sara. And it was only in that moment that I realized that the 4th Parsons Day was reality.
Gregorio represented the perfect example of new participant: after half our it was as if we knew since always. His girlfriend Sara showed to be from the beginnings a fan in quick evolution. But two more participants were coming: Enrico, pleasant new entry, and Guido, that was again welcome, as we hadn't seen him since the PDAY1. Then we got to the train station to pick up the others. This time the password was "Excuse me, where is the Time Machine?" to which the participants had to answer "Far ago and long away". We picked up Dario and Francesco, that with me are the co-founders of the Fan Club, as well as Lorenzo and Viviana, with whom, just two weeks before, we assisted to a Flying Pickets' show and we did an interview to Gary Howard.
While taking the guests to the hotel, we all stayed in the big Dario&Francesco's room, in which soon arose the happy feeling of the Parsons Days, and we distributed the Fan Club's T-Shirts. For Francesco we had prepared also, for joking, a T-Shirt of dr. Evil, the character of the Austin Powers movies that mentions more times Alan Parsons and his Project.
In the hotel's hall we signed two postcards that we sent to Steve Martin and Scott Holder, organizer of the USA Fan Fest. These postcards had been previously realized by our official designer Alessandro Palmigiani (the image is the same of that in the telephone-card here at left), and we had previously organized a postal tour in order that all absent Italian Fan Club members could sign the two cards.
Equipped with cars we started
the traditional touristic tour, beginning with Revoltella Park,
in which we began to talk about Alan, other members of the band,
and related musicians.
Then we got home for the parsonian activities. As always we began with the exposition of material, starting with the only two DVD now available with AP material: "I Robot" remastered, and the track "The Time Machine" included in a compilation. We showed and saw coloured and rare vinyls, the On Air DTS, and tapes. We also did exchange of material, and Francesco distributed the first Italian Fan Club's visiting cards.
at last, the first surprise: the projection of video material
unseen for the italian fans. To celebrate the 10 years since
the Freudiana, we projected a spanish broadcast that included,
together with the video of Freudiana and an interview to Alan,
something more singular than rare: a performance of Eric Woolfson,
that plays and sings Freudiana in playback, something that left
our guests with very surprised faces.
The brandy Stock 84 has been associated to The Gold Bug because of the italian TV spot.
The Italian Fan Club's foundation happened at 12:45, finally giving a meaning to the misterious hour that appears in the video of The Time Machine.
The fact that the participants were 10 allowed me to associate to the Project's albums, according to the individual preferences, the glasses and custom napkins, realized by Viviana, while I and Jin realized the placecards, based on the circles of the artwork of The Time Machine (the circle at left is from the Japanese artwork).
After the thematic lunch, another suprise: the pipe organ concert. The idea came to me while I attended a pipe organ concert. I remembered the lot of church organ competitions that I had won as a child playing Bach, but with enormous sacrifices, and I realized that I could do a concert choosing the music that I liked, and playing for the people important for me: a concert of parsonian music, with a real pipe organ, to perform in the church near home, at the PDAY4.
To avoid scandalizing the parson (I said the parson, not the Parsons), I decided to execute as ouverture Bach's Toccata in D Minor (without Fugue), that really I chose because it allowed an interesting medley, being in the same key as the excerpt I chose as following. Here is, in fact, the programme:
Don't Let It Show (Woolfson/Parsons)
La Sagrada Familia (Woolfson/Parsons)
Knight Against Dragon (Suite) (Rizzarelli)
I Robot Suite (Woolfson/Parsons/Powell)
objective was that the concert communicated the fact that Parsons'
music, also the pieces composed or played with electronic instruments,
could be played also on instruments of other times, like a church
Back home, we served the dessert: Jin had thought of a cucumerus filled with a fruit salad. I observed that the name Some fruit within a fruit, as well as the cucumerus' dark green, would furnish a perfect connection with Tales, so I drawed on it a white mummy. When Jin introduced the dessert I played with flute the introduction of "A Dream", while Francesco did the piano carpet. The dessert, however, was dedicated to Dario, who conceived the first Parsons Day, whom I and Jin, together with Francesco, presented with a rare copy of the green Eye In The Sky vinyl. The opening of the dessert also signed the opening of the first formal assembly of the Italian AP Fan Club, in which we talked about our primary activities, that are website, mailing list, meetings, fanzine and contacts with medias.
But the guests hardly waited for The Parsonian Music Game, in which the player had to guess the name of the song after having listened the first notes. The songs were in raising difficulty, from Sirius (1 point) to Far Ago And Long Away (5 points) (prizes and winners are showed in a table in this page).
After having carefully compared the I Robot DVD with the CD version, and that all of us reached the conclusion that they play indentically, we shared a chinese dinner, during which we did the projection of excerpts of the movie The Time Machine, to illustrate some possible Parsons connections.
After dinner, the surprise musical representation. Since the success that had the Arrival representation the previous year, we though to organize again a "musical"-like representation, using as soundtrack a cover realized by ourselves. After considering all the Project songs, we discovered that the album that most adapted to this kind of representation was again Tales, simply because Tales, as the title says, is the only album in which every song tells a story. And the most animated story in Tales is certainly The Tell-Tale Heart.
But, unlike Arrival, The Tell-Tale Heart would have been far more complex. I interpreted the main character, while Jin interpreted the old man. Soon we had the idea of realizing a lighting pale blue eye that Jin would turn on and off to liking. She constructed a costume all black in such way that, when she appeared, one would see only the lighting eye. To make a surprise, at the beginning of the representation she came out of a secret passage. To succeed, we had to project and experiment every detail, since we would have moved in the dark. Following Eric and Alan's steps, we mantained the top secret until the last moment, even the name of the song.
Regarding the prerecorded soundtrack, I had realized a base with keyboards and had sent it to our official guitarist Fabio of Brindisi, that added some guitar tracks; we chose an interpretation faithful in feeling, but with also original elements.
Music and lyrics inspired the scenes almost straightforwardly. During the first verse, when the lyrics alternated with the instrumental passages, I (singing in the dark with a torch illuminating my face) alternated with Jin's pale blue eye. For the instrumental crescendo, we though of a variation of the part in which the id of the murderer makes him believe that the old man is still alive: a resurrection of the old man, helped by an explosive guitar solo and a stroboscopic light; this was obviously the most exciting moment.
by terror (I'm joking), we closed the night with a game of (The
Alan) Parsonopoly (Project), our thematic Monopoly realized by
the Italian Fan Club and premiered at the PDAY3 in Rome.
Sunday morning Jin woke up tired as the mummy of Pyramid, but ready for the country trip. The first activity was really fanatic: a surprise visit to a chemical plant immersed in the grass. We took out of the car the white coats for all the participants. The projectologists didn't wait a moment to put them on, found soon themselves in the world of Ammonia Avenue, and we took a lot of photos. We had even fun to stop the cars saying that there were radioactive escapes, but when we stopped a surveillance car we had a bit less fun; luckily we were already putting the white coats down...
We then got to a look-out over the Natural Park of Val Rosandra. We proposed to Francesco to do Fall Free down the valley but he said no. We then had the picnic On Air, during which we listened On Air. Particularly emotional was listening Blue Blue Sky lying on the grass and looking the sky, as the advice that gives Ian.
Back home we began the acoustic performance, with me at the piano, performing for the first time entirely, and with a lot of fun, Ammonia Avenue and Stereotomy, the two Project's albums with the most elusive concepts. We also did songs from The Time Machine and, as always, of TTOAFC. In some pieces we divided us in parts, in others we sang all together; in both cases there was a great feeling; this always happens at the acoustic performance, it's the power of the music that joins together.
a "Rubber Pizza" and the Parsons Day icecake, everyone
of us told a little story about his parsonian life.
To end the night, Jin conducted her surprise thematic game: The Hunt to Parsonian Treasures. A masterpiece in structure as well in detail. But, since it's Jin's work, I leave to her the word...
"My luciferian mind had had the idea of realizing a series of riddles and rebus that led to recovering 10 parsonian treasures, one for every Project album, plus a final murder enigma associated to Freudiana.
My favourite riddle is the
one of Tales. I read all the tales that inspired the album, and
found the inspiration in the Cask of Amontillado : in the riddle
I inserted the key verse "One of 11 I will pile", that
referred to the 11 bricks' layers, and not to the so-called 11th
Project CD (Freudiana), as initially all the participants thought...
After the EitS rebus (whose solution was Mammagamma), the participants had to search a microscope. For Vulture Culture, an album related to the dialogue, I made a word puzzle, as well as for Stereotomy, in which the solution was the word Stereotomy itself, like it was in "Murders of the Rue Morgue" from which the word originates. And finally for Gaudì there was a little jigsaw puzzle whose solution was the image of La Sagrada Familia."
But the strong piece was the murder story at the end. The story was set in London, with meticolous care of the geographical environments. The main character was a musical writer called Eric Wulp, and there was a murder of the first actress in a musical called Freudiana. The players had to guess the murderer. The theatrical representation of the "11th Project album" has hence furnished the perfect environment for a murder story, that represented an epilogue, dramatic as that of the Project, as well as the enigma for excellence, as perfect conclusion of this wonderful thematic masterpiece.
We never did a so big pyramid of things, but Monday, the departure day, we were a bit melancholic. After some more acoustical performance, and a nice improvised lunch, all the guests departed. But it was only an
*relative to the TV documentary directed by Storm Thorgerson and with AP music.
CD, DVD, vinyls: Giorgio
Additional vinyls: Francesco
On Air DTS CD: Gregorio
Collection of tapes: Lorenzo
The Turn Of A Friendly Card stained glass: no, this we haven't, Eric has it
On Air sealed tapes: Fabio
Chris Rainbow, Lenny Zakatek: Francesco
Camel: Dario, Francesco
Primary contributions: Jorge
NTSC-PAL conversion: Giorgio
Secondary contributions: Dario, Francesco, Guido
Some fruits within a fruit conceiving: Jin
Starters Project: Giorgio
Menu and realization: Giorgio, Jin
Helps to kitchen out of the kitchen: Dario, Francesco
Conceiving and realization of thematic glasses and napkins: Viviana
Placecards: Giorgio, Jin
Scannering for the placecards, update to Pyramid centrepiece: Francesco
Hungry cavies: All
Conceiving, programme, performance: Giorgio
Parson that didn't found keys: Parson Alans
Conceiving, script, scenography, lights, costumes, play and shouts: Giorgio, Jin
Base: Giorgio (keyboards), Fabio (guitar)
Piano and keyboards, lights and projections in the electronic performance: Giorgio
Realization of lyrics books: Gregorio
The Parsonian Music Game: Giorgio, Jin
(The Alan) Parsonopoly (Project): Previously realized by the Italian Fan Club
Hunt to the Parsonian Treasures: Jin
Has kindly taken other parsonians outward and back: Enrico
Drivers at the PDAY: Jin, Gregorio, Enrico
Project: Fan Club's Direction
Graphic realization: Dario
Print: Giorgio, Jin
Project: Fan Club's Direction, Lorenzo
Graphic realization: Alessandro
Poster, Far Ago And Long Away postcards and PDAY4 telephone card: Alessandro
Fotographers: Viviana, Francesco, Gregorio, Giorgio, Jin
Scannering: Dario, Giorgio, Gregorio
Cameramen: Mr. Tripod, Jin, Francesco, Giorgio, Guido, Viviana, Sara
Videocamera furnisher: Giorgio
Emergency videocamera furnisher: Guido
to all which contributed, particularly to the external collaborators:
Alessandro, Fabio and Jorge, to which we
send a special thank you for having sent us as loan his original
NTSC VHS in order that we could convert it. To these, we'd like
to add the following thanks: