It just wasn't the same. Not that anything in the temperature-inverted city of Milano reminded me of my recent trip to Rome and her surrounding hills. Even the Duomo seemed a spaceship apart.
But having been cut adrift by Mr. Simon Shack---at the behest of some duck named donald---I had to find my way somehow through the cruel, lonely streets of an unfamiliar Italian city. Simon and I had talked about his bringing his crew up to join us for several days of shows and fetes and galas. Alas, it was all for naught, as Simon chose to withdraw his affection from me. If it were a test Simon, you failed.
In the absence of his warm embrace, I even got to the point of socializing with rightist politicians, such as Letizia Brichetto-Arnaboldi Moratti, the mayor of Milan. She was kind to me! And I returned the favor! Any port in a storm, I say!
(She ran as a candidate for Mayor of Milan in the 2006 municipal election, winning the election with over 52% of the votes. She is a businesswoman who worked in insurance and telecommunications, is married to the oil magnate Gianmarco Moratti, brother of Massimo Moratti. Between 1994 and 1996 she was president of the Italian state television company RAI. In 1999-2000 she was responsible for the growth of Rupert Murdoch's group in Europe. From 2001 to 2006 she was Education Minister in the second and third Berlusconi cabinet.)
And I'd even dine with Berlusconi if he'd have me! The food is better! (With apologies to Christina.) So, when it's time for heads to roll, I'll be happy sitting with the friendly fascists of Italy, and not the loathsome duckian liberals of Scandinavia!
We went to a mad party at the house of rich modern-art collectors named Orsi---who collected bears too, out the kazoo. Let me just say, their food was fabulous!
Their collection of memento-mori was also most impressive.
There were more galas then you could shack a stick at---and if I meant shake I would have said it.
At the big dinner at the Triennale Design Museum, on one side, I sat next to Pepi Marchetti Franchi, who recently opened Larry Gagosian's gallery in Rome...
and on the other side, I sat next to an old friend, Barbara Bertozzi Castelli, the widow of Leo. It must not have been easy adjusting to a marriage with an over 50-year age difference between the partners. When people mistakenly asked if she was Leo's daughter, she would say, "oh no, Leo's daughter is 68!"
Oh well, the spy business is fraught with soured relationships and broken love affairs I'm learning. But, if I ever got the chance to say I'm sorry to Simon, I would, because---I am. I'd even apologize to that old duck guy. Till then, I just have to pumpitout, I guess.