Skelets On Me – They Come / They Go

 Three encounters

She is the lady of the boss
She comes from nowhere and nowhere is her place

I had recently arrived to Trieste and was working as a receptionist for a big company. I saw people pass by all day, but from that period I especially remember a face: one morning at the door showed up an elderly lady looking quite messy, scruffy clothes, heavy makeup, a lot of jewelry, dirty hair and an almost indefinable color. She claimed to be the wife of the general manager, and was determined to talk to him, insisting that she would save us all. While repeating these words our eyes looked at each other for a moment, I still have not forgotten them. Clear and distant. After many attempts we managed to calm her down and convince her to leave, but it struck me that in her madness and disorder there were also a certain gentleness and elegance, a kind of detachment from the world as if she were above everything else. Nowhere Is Her Place is a song inspired by that look. It was written and drafted a long time ago, but I could not consider it finished until I happened to listen to the Cocteau Twins. Only then I understood how to do it again from scratch, stripping it of everything and letting those eyes fully shine.

Moon man where are you going
Why do not you follow me

I was at the emergency room, waiting for the response for my blood test, in the same room beyond a green awning there was a man in his seventies with his shiny gray hair, his skin was of a pallor so intense it seemed he could disappear at any moment. Beneath his denim jacket and the white T-shirt (with shit on the bottom side), he stood up, and to me it was a mystery how he managed to do so. He kept coughing and complained because the needle for the transfusion hurt him damn bad. It went on for almost half an hour until a nurse arrived.
“Excuse me, ma’am, is there anything you can do to make this thing faster?”
“No sir, it’s just going to take a minute. Now I take your blood pressure and heart rate, the doctor will come to see you soon.”
“Ah. All right. Anyway I’m leaving soon.”
I recognized the doctor’s steps because they were louder than that of the nurses. She entered the room, did not consider me and began her speech. She knew she was in front of a tough cookie and the way she spoke sounded like it wasn’t the first time they met: “Well sir, we have almost finished the first blood bag and then we’ll put the next one on. Given your condition I will prepare the papers to keep you here overnight because there are several things to look at and keep monitored. Now let me go find you a room.”
“Ah no, no. I’ve got things to do, I can’t stay here, don’t even mention it! And this bag of blood is enough for me.”
“I don’t think you understand, sir. The results of your tests are completely abnormal, your red blood cell and platelet values are ​​far below average. If you go out now you can faint in a half-hour and then you are back here, but not on your legs.”
“I don’t care really. And I’m starving. Perhaps I return tomorrow to do another one of these things …”
“Oh no, if you leave you have to sign the discharge sheet and then it is no longer the responsibility of the hospital.”
He would not give up. At one point he fell silent and the doctor went into another room. But in that silence I could tell that something in the mood of my neighbor had changed. In fact, shortly after: “Doctor! Doctooooor! – Look, I thought, maybe if I can go out for a moment to drink a coffee and smoke a cigarette, then I’ll return and do the other bag. But please, a bit ‘faster than this! I can not handle it anymore!”
“Yes, yes that’s fine, just don’t exit the hospital grounds!”
Silence again.
“The thing I regret the most is that this is all my fault.”
The old man puts on his denim jacket and begins to walk with difficulty in his mushy brown loafers, and leaves the room with the pack of cigarettes in his hand. I would have bet that he wouldn’t return, but instead, as promised, after half an hour he was back for the second transfusion. Later I felt him getting restless and trying to get out of bed. Oh God! I thought he had changed his mind and wanted to leave. Now he’ll fall out of bed, the needle will come out and I, with all that blood will not know what to do. Instead he starts walking calmly dragging his blood bag and looks at me: “Hi! If the nurse comes please tell her I’m in the bathroom. I can not bear it anymore.” And he left the room like a ghost. Cik. Ciak. Cik. Ciak. The old moccasins are unforgiving. When he came back he seemed quieter, almost resigned to having to spend the day in the hospital and maybe the night. I figured that sooner or later he would speak, it was only a matter of time. “Look how funny life can be” – he said -“Those five lighted windows in the opposite building are the home of a friend of mine. Who knows why are all those lights on. If my cellphone was still charged I would call and I would tell him I’m here. I know that my friend loves to travel and he does it by train, where there are always lights on. Haha.” At that point I could not help but ask him if he wanted to use my phone to call his friend, as long as he remembered the number.
“Ah yes, it will be three-four, three-four-eight, three-four-eight-something. I do not remember. Thanks, now it’s too late anyway.”
Eventually he gets up, takes his jacket, wishes me good luck and slowly leaves the room. Cik. Ciak. Cik. Ciak.
And I remained there, waiting for the verdict on my tests, with my many questions. I felt a sense of revulsion and at the same time concern for the strange character. Why was he there alone and totally abandoned in that condition? What life had he had? Had he no kids to help him? Was he the victim or was he paying the consequences of his choices? Yes. No. Maybe. My thoughts back then don’t count now, but if there’s one thing I really, really hope, is that the old man did not walk out of the hospital with a blood bag attached to his arm. At least that, please, no.

Thrown like a star in my vast sleep
I open my eyes to take a peep
To find That I was by the sea
Me gazing with tranquility

Last year was a year of boredom, of mishaps, medical problems, uncertainties; I had no idea which direction to take, but then came the Hurdy Gurdy Man, which is a kind of minstrel, but also a wise man, and I can not say if we chose him, or if he chose us, but he definitely changed many things in our lives… especially perspectives. In the end it became the year of Donovan, with his records and his travels, and it became much better for everyone. Let’s face it: it was the Hurdy Gurdy Man in person to guide us to Prague, which is now our new home. So we decided to record these three songs when they still felt “live” because we [band] wanted to stay together before leaving for a far away city. The songs speak of encounters that I had in Trieste so it just seemed the right way to celebrate the end of an adventure and the beginning of another. The songs have been recorded by Guido Giorgi of Beat Degeneration, who also played the guitar solos and the mini sitar in Hurdy Gurdy Man. Francesco Puccinelli plays drums, Francesco Candura is on bass and guitar and I  [Valentina Giani] am on vocals. They Come / They Go is Skelets On Me new EP now available for streaming and download.


 Tre incontri

She is the lady of the boss
She comes from nowhere and nowhere is her place

Ero arrivata a Trieste da poco e lavoravo come receptionist in una grande azienda. Vedevo passare gente tutto il giorno, ma di quel periodo ricordo soprattutto un viso. Un mattino si presentò alla porta una signora anziana dall’aria piuttosto confusa, gli abiti trasandati, il trucco pesante, un sacco di gioielli, i capelli sporchi e di un colore ormai indefinibile. Sosteneva di essere la moglie del direttore generale, voleva assolutamente parlare con lui, insisteva nel dire che ci avrebbe salvati tutti. Mentre ripeteva queste parole incrociai i suoi occhi: non li ho ancora dimenticati. Chiari e lontanissimi. Dopo molti tentativi, riuscimmo a calmarla e a convincerla ad andarsene. Ma mi colpì perché nella sua pazzia e nel suo disordine c’erano anche una certa gentilezza ed eleganza, una specie di distacco dal mondo che la rendeva superiore a tutto. Nowhere Is Her Place è una canzone ispirata da quello sguardo. Era stata scritta e abbozzata parecchio tempo fa, ma non sono riuscita a considerarla finita finché non mi è capitato di riascoltare i Cocteau Twins e ho capito come rifarla da capo, spogliandola del tutto, asciugandola e lasciando che in fondo risplendessero soltanto quei due occhi.

Moon man where are you going
Why don’t you follow me

Ero al pronto soccorso, aspettavo il responso delle mie analisi. Nella mia stessa stanza, al di là di una tenda verde, c’era un uomo sulla settantina con i capelli di un grigio lucente, la pelle di un pallore così intenso che sembrava potesse scomparire da un momento all’altro. Sotto quel suo giubbotto di jeans e quella maglietta bianca con l’orlo sporco di merda, era un mistero come riuscisse a reggersi in piedi. Continuava a tossire e si lamentava perché l’ago per la trasfusione gli faceva dannatamente male. È andato avanti per quasi mezz’ora fino a quando non è arrivata un’infermiera.
“Scusi signora, non è che può si può fare più veloce questa cosa?”
“No guardi, manca poco. Adesso le prendo la pressione e il battito cardiaco, tra poco arriva la dottoressa e le parlerà.”
“Ah. Va bene. Però tra poco vado via.”
Ho riconosciuto il passo della dottoressa perché era più deciso di quello delle infermiere. È entrata nella stanza, non mi ha degnata di considerazione e ha iniziato la sua arringa. Sapeva di avere davanti un osso duro e dal modo in cui parlava non doveva essere la prima volta che si incontravano: “Allora signore, abbiamo quasi finito la prima sacca di sangue e poi ne iniziamo un’altra. Vista la sua condizione chiederò un ricovero, perché ci sono varie cose da esaminare e tenere sotto controllo. Ora penserò a trovarle un posto letto.”
“Ah no, no. Io ho delle cose da fare, non posso stare qui. Non se ne parla nemmeno, e poi questa sacca mi basta e avanza.”
“Allora non ci siamo capiti, signore. I risultati dei suoi esami sono completamente sballati, lei ha i valori dei globuli rossi e delle piastrine di gran lunga sotto la media. Se ora lei esce rischia di collassare tra mezz’ora e la riportano di nuovo qui, ma non sulle sue gambe.”
“Ma non mi interessa proprio. E poi sto morendo di fame. Al limite torno domani a fare un’altra di queste cose…”
“Eh no, se lei esce mi deve firmare il foglio di dimissione e poi non può più tornare a fare trasfusioni quando le pare. Non è più responsabilità dell’ospedale.”
Ma lui non si arrendeva. A un certo punto è caduto il silenzio e la dottoressa se ne è andata in un’altra stanza. Ma in quel silenzio si capiva che qualcosa nell’umore del mio vicino era cambiato. E infatti, poco dopo: “Dottoressa. Dottoressa! Dottoressaaa!” La dottoressa è tornata, pronta ad ascoltare. “Senta, pensavo: magari se mi fa uscire un attimo a bere un caffè e fumare una sigaretta, poi rientro e faccio l’altra sacca. Però, per favore, un po’ più veloce di questa. Non ce la faccio più.”
“Sì, sì va bene, basta che non esca dal perimetro dell’ospedale. Mi raccomando.”
Di nuovo silenzio.
“La cosa che mi dispiace di più è che questo è tutta colpa mia.”
Il vecchio si infila il suo giubbotto di jeans, comincia a camminare a fatica nei suoi mocassini marroni e sfatti, ed esce dalla stanza col pacchetto di sigarette in mano. Avrei scommesso che non sarebbe più tornato e invece, come promesso, dopo mezz’ora era di nuovo lì, per la seconda trasfusione. A un certo punto sento che si sta agitando sempre di più, stava cercando di scendere dal letto. Oddio, ho pensato che avesse cambiato idea e volesse andarsene. Ecco, ora cadrà dal letto, si staccherà l’ago e si farà malissimo e io in mezzo a tutto quel sangue non saprò cosa fare. Invece, per miracolo, ha iniziato a camminare trascinando calmo la sua portantina. Passando mi saluta:”Salve! Se passa l’infermiera, per favore le dica che sono in bagno. Non reggo più.” Ed è uscito dalla stanza come un fantasma. Cik. Ciak. Cik. Ciak. I vecchi mocassini non perdonano. Quando è tornato sembrava più quieto, quasi rassegnato al fatto di dover passare la giornata in ospedale e forse anche la notte. Immaginavo che prima o poi avrebbe parlato, era solo questione di tempo. “Ma guarda un po’ che buffa la vita” ha cominciato a dire. “Queste cinque finestre illuminate nel palazzo di fronte sono della casa di un mio amico. Chissà poi a cosa servono tutte quelle luci accese. Se il mio telefono fosse ancora carico lo chiamerei e gli direi che sono qui. Mi ricordo che il mio amico ha la passione di viaggiare e guarda caso lo fa sempre in treno, dove ci sono sempre le luci accese. Ahah.” A quel punto non potevo fare altro che chiedergli se voleva usare il mio telefono per chiamare il suo amico, sempre che si ricordasse il numero.
“Ah sì, sarà tre quattro, tre quattro otto, tre quattro otto e qualcosa. Non me lo ricordo. Grazie comunque, adesso sarà troppo tardi in ogni caso.”
Alla fine si alza, prende il suo giubbotto, mi augura buona fortuna e piano piano abbandona la stanza. Cik. Ciak. Cik. Ciak.
E io sono rimasta lì, ad aspettare il verdetto sulle mie condizioni, con le mie mille domande. Provavo un senso di repulsione e al tempo stesso di preoccupazione per quello strano personaggio. Perché era lì da solo e totalmente sperduto nelle sue condizioni? Quale vita aveva avuto? Non aveva figli che lo aiutassero? Era lui la vittima o stava pagando le conseguenze delle sue scelte? Si. No. Forse. Tutto quello che ho pensato ora non conta più, ma se c’è una cosa che spero davvero, davvero tanto, è che quel vecchio non sia uscito dall’ospedale camminando con la flebo attaccata al braccio. Almeno questo, per favore, no.

Thrown like a star in my vast sleep
I open my eyes to take a peep
To find that I was by the sea
Me gazing with tranquility

L’anno scorso è stato un anno di noia, di disavventure, di problemi medici, di incertezze. Non avevo idea di quale direzione prendere. E poi è arrivato Hurdy Gurdy Man, che è una specie di menestrello, ma anche un saggio, e non saprei dire se siamo stati noi a scegliere lui oppure è stato lui a scegliere noi, ma ha cambiato molte cose. Soprattutto le prospettive. Insomma, alla fine è diventato l’anno di Donovan, con i suoi dischi e i suoi viaggi, ed è stato molto meglio per tutti. Diciamolo: è stato proprio l’Hurdy Gurdy Man in persona a guidarci fino a Praga, la nostra nuova casa. Così abbiamo deciso di registrare queste tre canzoni “live” perché volevamo trovarci, stare assieme prima di partire per una città lontana e divertirci un po’. Le canzoni parlano di incontri che ho fatto a Trieste e quindi ci sembrava il modo giusto per
celebrare la fine di un’avventura e l’inizio di un’altra. Le canzoni sono state registrate da Guido Giorgi dei Beat Degeneration, che ha anche suonato anche gli assoli di chitarra e mini sitar in Hurdy Gurdy Man. Alla batteria c’è Francesco Puccinelli, al basso Francesco Candura e alla chitarra e voce io, Valentina Giani. They Come / They Go è il nuovo EP di Skelets On Me disponibile per streaming e download.


Skelets On Me release new single “Sailors”

With perfect timing for a Monday in July, Skelets On Me release today their new single Sailors. Premiered by Impose Magazine, you can click above to listen and download the song (for free!), plus you should check out the following interview that Sjimon Gompers from Impose did with Valentina Giani, voice and guitar for Skelets On Me. Enjoy!

Impose – How did the three of you band together, as a project that first began in your living room? Describe for us the story behind the name Skelets On Me.

Skelets – Me and Francesco (Candura) were already living together when I had started to write my first songs. He asked if I wanted to record them and I thought it might be interesting. So we did it, and after a couple of months I received a mail from Samuele of WWNBB asking me if I wanted to join the label. I discovered that Francesco had put the songs on Soundcloud and sent them to WWNBB, and I was like “WOOOO, that’s incredible, I’d never thought that someone would like or even HEAR them!”. So we tried to rehearse with Francesco on drums and a bass player during last year, but it didn’t really go well for many reasons. Knowing that we had to find another member, we thought that it would’ve been a better idea to search for a drummer instead, since Francesco preferred to play “his” instrument (bass). We met Francesco (Puccinelli) through a mutual friend, and knew that he had played drums for many years, so we simply started to rehearse together. I had a good feeling, and in fact we have been playing together since.
I have always been a huge Yeah Yeah Yeahs fan, and I really liked the expression “Skeleton Me,” which is in one of their songs. I thought about using it my way, so here it is in short words: Skelets are all the worries and paranoias that I sort of befriended: I’ve kind of got used to them. I think that the “Sailors” cover art, made by the talented Chiara Leardini, explains that perfectly. But the thing that I like the most about that name is that it has no meaning, besides the one that I have given to it.

Impose – We have read that the principle philosophy of Skelets is to make a sound that is “loud and clear.” Why are these values of sound so important to you all?

Skelets – Sometimes I overthink, forgetting that the most beautiful things happen by following our instinct and without pretending that everything is perfect, but when I write songs I do it in an impulsive and spontaneous way. When I started recording songs on my phone I didn’t have any expectations, except that I wanted to sound loud and immediate, and I have to say my bandmates are helping me maintain these standards.

Impose – Tell us about following up your “Sometimes I Wish Your Eyes Could Speak” 7″ with the upcoming “Sailors” single and more for WWNBB.

Skelets – We thought that “Sailors” would have been perfect to be released as the second single, because we were really happy about the recording and how it sounded. I think it sounds different from all the other songs, and it’s also the first one that the three of us have recorded together with proper equipment, thanks to our friend Guido (Giorgi), who helped us a lot and is really smart. Now we are about to record another song and I hope that in the future there can be a full album, but I’m not forcing it. I’m really happy about how things are going so far.

Impose – Tell us what the scenes are like over there in Bruneck.

Skelets – I moved from Bruneck 5 years ago, but I go there once a month to visit my family, and I consider it a very peaceful place, where I can enjoy nature and meet dear friends. I must say that I don’t have a clear idea about what’s happening there right now musically. And when I went to school I didn’t go to many shows there, because I wasn’t really interested in the music my friends were listening to, so I practically missed the whole “scene” when I lived there. There is a nice place in Bruneck called “UFO” that puts on shows, and I know there’s a bunch of folk and rock festivals all around the whole Suedtirol region.

Impose – Who are some other local artists you all dig?

Skelets – There’s this really good psych-improv band called Gerryorsomething? — they don’t have songs as much as one long piece of music, like Miles Davis used to do. We always go to each other’s shows and dig each other’s stuff, even though we’re so different!

Impose – What can we expect from Skelets On Me this summer, fall, winter and more?

Skelets – It would be great to continue doing what we are doing now: recording, doing more and more shows and playing better and better. We’re having fun and I really enjoy making music, it feels great. I would like Skelets On Me to keep growing and growing.

Out now! Skelets On Me – Sometimes I Wish Your Eyes Could Speak

 Valentina Giani comes from Bruneck, between the mountains of Trentino, but it is in the city of Trieste where she writes, plays and records her songs. Maruška Kapić and Francesco Candura (Jennifer Gentle, Stop the Wheel) complete the trio. They take the name of Skelets On Me, and their first work is titled Sometimes I Wish Your Eyes Could Speak, pressed on 7″ vinyl with a track per side, and available also as a digital download EP of 6 songs. Skelets On Me’s sound is gaunt and direct as K records’ school taught us to love.  Joining together rough electric assaults and innocent melodies in the tradition of bands like Sleater-Kinney, Breeders and Huggy Bear, seems entirely natural and spontaneous for Skelets On Me. And listening to their music, comes natural to crank-up the volume more and more.

 Valentina Giani è originaria di Brunico, tra i monti del Trentino, ma è nella città di Trieste che scrive, suona e registra le sue canzoni. I suoi compagni di avventura sono Maruška Kapić e Francesco Candura (Jennifer Gentle, Stop the Wheel). Prendono il nome di Skelets On Meil loro primo lavoro si intitola Sometimes I Wish Your Eyes Could Speak, stampato in vinile 7″ (una traccia per lato), e disponibile anche in download digitale come EP di 6 canzoni. Il suono degli Skelets On Me è quello scarno e diretto che la scuola K Records ci ha insegnato ad amare. Unire ruvidi assalti elettrici e melodie innocenti, nel solco della tradizione di band come Sleater-Kinney, Breeders e Huggy Bear, riesce ai Skelets On Me del tutto naturale e spontaneo. E ascoltando la loro musica viene voglia di alzare sempre di più il volume.