Ahh a fun few days that was. A race into London to beat the rush hour traffic, parked up near Kiera’s pad in West London, a race to Heathrow about lunchtime, and see her check in for an Alitalia flight to Rome.
20:05 hrs I am on a similar flight to Roma, 2 1/2 hours later, one Billingham bag full of camera equipment and laptop, and no clothes. At the ‘duty free’ I pick up a little point and shoot digital because I have managed to lose or break the last three; a little Casio EX-Z750, which has been reviewed for http://www.togsblog.co.uk
Then follows a hair-raising taxi journey from the Airport the taxi driver must have thought he was driving a scalextric car, as he straddled the white line all the way to the Locarno Hotel on Via Del Penne. Having arrived at the hotel at about 00.15hrs, check-in and retire to the bar, only to find that it is shutting in half an hour and there is no smoking anywhere within the city walls of Rome (OK that is a slight exaggeration).
Keira Knightly arrives back in the hotel some 20 minutes after me (I am sure she is following me) and goes straight to bed, me? I am here for the long haul, persuade the barman to stay open for another hour, and hopefully she will not go anywhere.
Whilst in Rome, I picked up a little Italian, her boyfriend didn’t like it but ‘hey what’s a matter you, gotta no respect, ahh Shaddap Your Face!’. Up early-doors next morning and loitering around the hotel, standing out like a spare prick at a wedding in street, with a British reporter who has lived in Rome for the last 5 years, and speaks Italian just like a Brit who has lived there for 2 years.
A local pap turns up, and we spot him immediately, at least I am being discrete, posing on street corner in my Hugo Boss suit and Italian shirt and silk tie, chatting to the reporter. After about three hours standing in the cold (it was about 6 degrees, which was about 6 degrees warmer than the UK) and the two hotel-owned Mercedes pull up, out she comes, I drop a few frames and then, placing my life in the hands of a Brit, who nearly drives like an Italian, I jump onto the back of his fire breathing moped.
Screaming around the streets of Rome (it was actually me that was screaming) following these two Mercedes, we ended up in Via Del Gracci were she went to a nice little restaurant called the Taberna del Gracci, I assume that would be similar to the Wood Street Cafe, in Wood Street? It just sounds better in Italian.
So we drop a few frames as she enters the restaurant and then loiter about in the street until she has finished, so being incredibly adventurous I suggest that the reporter investigate getting something to eat. Two minutes later he is back with a Pizza (I wonder do they deliver Pizza in Rome on mopeds?) Piping hot, Cheese and Tomato Pizza(I didn’t think to ask if they call it a Margherita) and a bottle of Coke, just how Italian is that? I am living it up Italian style. So standing around outside this posh restaurant looking like some kind of refugee eating Pizza from a soggy cardboard box swigging Cola from a bottle. Drop a few frames as she leaves and a quick follow across town. The light is fading fast, so we knock it on the head.
Anyway, with my feet frozen into two blocks of ice, it was time to head back to the Hotel, find a tabacci (for some cigarettes) and a gentlemen’s outfitters for a clean shirt, shreddies and socks, then back to the hotel to wire the images.
Fortunately, the Hotel had an Internet connection, as Vodafone (despite having a Vodafone Italy network) don’t have a roaming agreement in Italy for GRPS or 3G. Whacked the images across to the picture desk and then a bit of R+R (so to the bar we go).
A pleasant evening in the bar, discussing things like Italian engineering, (how cars go faster, the older they get, it is called rust) Italian political corruption, Italian banking corruption etc with the bar staff.
Booked an early morning alarm call, and a limo to the airport (I though a chauffeur in a new Mercedes might drive a little more carefully than a taxi driver in a battered on Citroen Picasso) and off to my pit. Fortunately I had the iPod with me, so six channels of Italian and no Sky TV didn’t worry me too much.
Up at the crack of dawn (this little Italian I told you about earlier) and off to find some cigarettes to take home with me, only to recall that it was the day that Italians celebrate epiphany, so everywhere is shut. Actually, I didn’t recall it until I got to the tabacci to find it was shut.
Any hooo, back to the hotel, meet the limo and race to the airport. It would appear that as the Mercedes didn’t actually belong to the chauffeur he drove it as though his name was Fangio, but with rather more swerving and swearing, but as the little Italian I had picked up didn’t include swearing I was saved understanding it.
Airport arrived at, safe and sound, short hop to the UK, taxi home, and the phone goes, ‘can you go to Madonna’s address?’
I will save that story for another rainy day….