Concert pianist, classical music genius and curly-bonced surf lover Julian Gargiulo is working on a cruise ship at the moment. Now we’re not saying that cabin fever has set in yet but he sends us this rather Hunter Thompson-esque postcard from the deep…
I was all psyched about having an article to you by the 20th (last week) but then somehow became distracted by all the food they were serving on this ship, and you’ll never guess what happened. Well, I wrote several stories but unfortunately an undercooked piece of salmon I was getting ready to eat did some eating of its own. So now I find myself in a very strange predicament: having eaten the fish that ate my pieces. You must understand. This must have happened to you countless times.
And all this compounded by the fact that I just visited Paracas in Peru, one of the single most brutal places an eye (or set of eyes, for that matter) could ever behold. Minutes after stepping off the tour bus I was attacked by a large group of locals all trying to sell me the same hat advertising a place that would much better be forgotten in the first place. Clearly any inspiration I may have had set sail long ago. (Though I did manage a rather clever postcard to my parents, who incidentally are a bit sore at me for having chosen to take my girlfriend instead of them on the cruise.)
Wake up, guests
Just got back from the soundcheck for my show tonight. I’m not sure if it’s the prospect of classical music or the intense heat but the passengers are looking a bit more tired than usual. I do feel confident however that Chopin and Beethoven will wake them up. If all else fails I’ll tell them the captain of our ship is a distant relative of the guy who brought the Costa cruise line all its recent popularity and has a flair for jagged edges.
Concert days are always a bit weird, they have their own special colour and shape. Meaningless things begin to take on an eerie importance. I will toss some nothingness into the trash bin and proceed to negotiate intensely with myself during the object’s flight as to how the place it lands will impact the outcome of the entire evening. Because I have very bad aim I will surely have time to ‘outsmart’ myself with an “if the banana peel actually goes out, that will make tonight an amazing performance”, kind of attitude.
My rather spiteful nature never allows me to happily do what I’m supposed to be doing at the time I’m doing it. Generally in the “bite your nose to spite your face” tradition. So when I sit down in the concert hall to rehearse the pieces I’m going to play tonight a new melody comes into my head, which I must spend my entire rehearsal working on. When I have a rare Internet signal good enough for sending emails inspiration hits for a short story.
And as I sit here writing this to you now I can’t help but think about that salmon. Such a perfect metaphor for getting from where you are to where you will end up. Voluntarily or not.
Julian Gargiulo is a pianist and composer who divides his time between wishing sabre-toothed tigers weren’t extinct and making paper pirate hats out of his old bios. In between his involvement as fundraiser for and friend of www.diabetes.ky, he also finds time for touring with his new album mostlyjulian, working on his nonprofit 16000children.org, curating the Water Island Music Festival in the US Virgin Islands and Crossing Borders of Hunter College in NY, and endlessly walking the streets of New York in search of people to add as Facebook friends.
Contact the globetrotting pianist on [email protected]