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I couldn’t make this up…

Posted on Saturday, January 27th, 2007

So as we all know there is a price to pay for everything in this life, not of course for those who stick to their diet but rather for those who sneak in a Wahoo’s fish burrito, something certainly not in his diet plan and then, barely a week later, repeat the sin with a shrimp burrito at Poquito Mas.. I should have been aware at that point that the following calamity was inevitable. I’ll explain.
I was meant to leave California a few days ago but due to the fact that Dany Saadia, the director of my next movie, was in LA working on the film, it was decided that I should stay a few extra days there and spend it with him, thoroughly planning all the score and other relevant music that should be included, mapping out the scenes and bouncing around all the ideas that we had in order for my music to be empathetic to the story that he is trying to tell. So far, so good. I’m quite good at that sort of a thing. It’s far enough removed from real world issues that I can thrive in that sort of an environment. Real world issues in Hollywood would appear to be remembering to get your parking validated and ensuring that your credit in the movie is something very pretentious sounding, you know, like ‘director of negative silence’ or ‘creative sonic ambiance consultant’ other than the ‘music by…’ that I was expecting. I am sooooo out. Anyways, the important thing, and with my usual disregard for relevance to this story, is that I now have a very good excuse for watching the sex scene over and over again.
So where was I? Oh yes I was leaving LA. Now as has been my good luck in life I am able to travel quite a lot but have yet to solve the mystery of why I always need to buy more luggage whenever I travel somewhere. To start with dirty laundry takes up more space than clean clothes : fact. Also the US is the only place where I can buy shirts that both fit me and say MEDIUM on them. The ones in Europe that fit me say EXTRA LARGE. Now, I don’t know about you but I prefer being a medium to an extra large. It, sort of boosts my morale and compensates for my draconian diet which I mostly try to adhere to, except when in the vicinity of a good Baja taco stand, something which seems to have a kryptonite effect on my resolve. Anyway the point is, the US dollar is very poor compared to proper money at the moment and I could afford to indulge myself on this trip with some very fine garments which, not only fit me but have the prerequisite morale boosting M on the label. OK, and I seemed to acquire some other stuff along the way, come on, there was a sale at Fry’s and I had a chance to buy books in English for Violette, oh and…and … OK, let’s just say I’ve been a good capitalist while in the US and, in my own way, been trying to help the countries flagging economy by buying lots of shit. Not very existentialist, I know, but hey, it’s January, the sales are on…
Ah, so, I’m rambling. So there I am at LAX checked both my bags, went through security and my little USB drive set the alarm off, so I had to put it through the X-Ray machine and,well, that was the last I saw of that, and after a great deal of looking around for it the security people suggested that another passenger had ‘accidentally’ picked it up.
Well, you know, that happens, people are forever picking up other peoples laptops / shoes / small children etc at security points…Unfortunately it contained both of the albums that I’ve recently finished with Harold Budd…
But wait, it gets better. The film production company who provided me with my replacement ticket routed me through London to get back to Paris, where I could then take a 3 hour train journey back to my part of France. Now, this sort of connecting flight situation always makes me nervous because whenever, in the past, I’ve lost my luggage, it has been under such conditions and most often through Heathrow. So needless to say I stand around at the luggage carousel at Charles De Gaulle until everyone else has left and then make my loss known to the staff who tell me that it’d be a good idea to wait until the next flight from London which arrives some three hours later. Umm, Did I mention that it was 26 deg C when I left LA and 0 deg C in Paris? Or that my coat was in the aforementioned luggage? Well it would be, really wouldn’t it, it was, after all, turning out to be one of those days. The type of day when it becomes obvious that I am an entertainer, even without my guitar. So as the snow prettily started to flutter down outside the terminal I decided that I had to wait, perhaps change my train ticket as I’d already missed my train, so I stared towards the TGV station.
That’s when the soldiers with the machine guns accosted me. No doubt I had attracted their attention by wandering outside an airport, in the snow, with no coat and no luggage. While one of them held me the other slipped away with my passport and, after an eternity on his walkie-talkie, returned to tell me that I didn’t have a problem.
Fucking right I had a problem, I was freezing my tits off, having lost my albums, my luggage, missed my train and about to be shot or, at the very least, arrested for vagrancy. I was set free and decided I had to get warm, so the twin arches seemed my best bet, a fact who’s irony was not missed by me given the hard time I’ve given Macdonalds in my weblog previously. But a momentary lapse of concentration made me forget it was a French Macdonalds and it wasn’t until I’d ordered my filet-o-fish and was told that I’d have to wait for it to be cooked – at which point they’d bring it to my table, that I realized my naivety. After some 15 minutes waiting (I was glad of the warmth) and my pathetic little sandwich hadn’t materialized, I went to the counter, reminded the young person, who apologized, (well, as much as someone with a plastic name tag can ever really apologise) then handed me a cheeseburger to placate me while she prepared another filet-o-fish.
Now, call me an optimist, but I really did believe that I’d get that filet-o-fish, but hey, c’est la france and when I returned to the counter a few minutes later to ask about my missing filet-o-fish she told me I’d already had a cheeseburger and couldn’t have the filet-o-fish as well. My expression perhaps suggested to her that she was about to have her arms ripped off and put in the McFlurry machine so she had a word with her superior and gave me a cup of coffee instead. I didn’t have much fight left in me so I went into the airport concourse and sat with my coffee until some kindly person tried to put a coin in the empty cup that I was holding and a CRS officer came and moved me along.
I’m rather fond of the next part of the story, for I’m sure that this sort of thing is unique to me. I can’t quite imagine this happening to the likes of Bono, Morrisey or Sting, or even to nice, talented people. But they sure happen to me… I went back to the carousel to retrieve my luggage which was meant to arrive on the later flight, the one I’ve waited three hours for, only to be told that, not only was it not there but that they have no trace of it. Merde alors.
OK, I’ll just have to fill in the paperwork and they’ll deliver it later, right?
“Are you insane Mr Guthrie? it’s Friday and our baggage handlers don’t look for things over the weekend so the soonest that they will look for it is Monday”.
Ah, sorry, I forgot I was in Europe for a moment there. I foolishly thought that the word service as in baggage service above your desk meant exactly that. Fortunately for her she didn’t have a McFlurry machine nearby.
So, it’s snowing, I’ve no coat, been detained by the military, lost my album, my baggage, been offered change because I look like a homeless person, been cheated out of my filet-o-fish and now told that if I ever see my luggage again it won’t be for a while. I’ve missed my train home and now have to try to get to Paris in order to get another train from Montparnasse which costs more money, as my previous ticket was non-transferable. I’m getting really tired as my body clock is 9 hours out and I really just want to be on my own, so I jump on the RER to go to Paris, choose an empty compartment and gently close my eyes. About a minute later the train stopped at the ‘parc des expositions’ and about a hundred excited, chattering, middle aged women, obviously returning from some convention and, of course, a fucking accordionist, who, despite being very good, came pretty high on my kill list at that moment, just for playing about 30cm from my ear. I did think he was good though so when he finished and was handing round his cup asking people for money I was prepared to give him a euro for his effort. I was not, however, prepared for him to hold out the cup to my neighbour, look at me with a look of pity, pass me by and hold out the cup to my other neighbour. The same euro coin, it should be noticed, ended up in a coffee machine in Montparnasse. I think by now I don’t have to tell you that the machine kept the coin but didn’t furnish me with my required beverage.
I’m home now.
I had thought that when I returned home it’s be really cool to write something about being in Hollywood doing a movie. Well, that’d have been fun, and true even. But perhaps not as entertaining, right?
I’ve checked about my bags with the airline. It’s as though they never existed. The contents were probably sold at a London market this morning. If that’s the case it’ll be a long time before I’m able to do any more concerts as every part of my live set up was in the second case.
And all because I ate a burrito.

42 Responses to “I couldn’t make this up…”

  1. jeremy

    that is the saddest tale I’ve heard in a long time. Sorry.

  2. edmur maia

    Jesus Fucking Christ,Robin!
    Do you have a copy of the albums?
    I think you should buy a Private Jet. 🙂

  3. edmur maia

    Robin,You should consider taking proceedings against airline company.

  4. mark

    so sorry to hear about all that shit you have been in thats very very sad,
    airports are a terrible place to be these days with all this shitty stuff you got to do because of terror.
    hope you are able to get your gear back,
    bet your glad to be home

  5. Markus

    This is also a quite good story to making a movie about.
    The McDonalds scenery is always going the same way here in Germany…

  6. Si

    Maybe you should go back to Hollywood with your stript for the remake of Trains Planes and Automobiles…

  7. Kerri

    CDG. Missed a flight back to the states there. all because the freaking elevator on the coucourse near the train station didn’t work and lugging the bags up the steps was too much. Finally, bags were lugged. got to concourse C 55 minutes before the flight. Apparently 5 minutes too late. sucked. no pleading would do, so we watched the other passenger who missed the flight wail and scream.

    Couldn’t be bothered to train back to Paris, so we got a room at an IBIS hotel at CDG. Went one trainstop (and a bus ride)towards the city and stopped off at IKEA, thinking we could eat there. Restaurant was closed. It doesn’t close in the US when IKEA is open. We were in some sort of strip mall and wouldn’t you know, there was a mcdonalds express there. Sigh. Can’t escape the freaking place. Hungry and tired, one gives in. I got a happy meal, at least I could bring the toy home to my kid. Saved the mayo packet, as they don’t give mayo here.

    24 hours later. Same flight. On time.

    My luggage bag was raped and ripped when I got home, but at least my stuff was there from what I could tell.

    all I can say Robin is I hope the people that got the drive don’t know what it is and just went ahead and erased the content.

    If you file with the airline….file on the US side, you know 😉

    good luck. glad you are home!

  8. Lucy Belle Guthrie


    Sorry, but that’s the funniest thing I’ve heard all day 😀

    And you were right, making me wait and read it WAS better!

    I particularly thought the “penny for the vagrant” part was the icing on the cake.

  9. jessie

    my oh my, what a day you had. I wish that you did make that up. I am admiring the humor that you somehow found in the myriad of fucked up situations you found yourself in…that mcdonalds chick did deserve a proper beating however. when a man orders a filet o fish that is what he wants-NOT a cheeseburger.

  10. Win Harrison

    Well, there’s certainly a wonderful comedy record or film script in here somewhere. I hope for the best…

  11. Micah

    NO. PLEASE tell us the music was backed up somewhere else.


  12. ted

    Next time bring some pate with you…….luck of the Scottish?

  13. clive Booth

    I’m sorry to hear that story. I really hope you get your gear back. Now, if the USB stick has gone, you’ve surely got the data elsewhere? It must have been somewhere in order to have put it onto the stick in the 1st place non?

  14. likeuntomurphy

    i heard a snippet of “Loitering” between segments of All Things Considered on american NPR this afternoon.

  15. Bernie Thomas

    Jesus Harold H fucking christ. The odds were against you on that day. I am really sorry that such a shit load of domino’s fell down against you and not any of which were at all in your favor. You sure had to deal with a bunch of empty head cock suckers who shrugged their shoulders at you. Not being able to muster even the slightest comfort of decent customer service and just some fundamental respect for you just as a person. You often describe things with impeccable clairity and visuality for all of those of us who are reading in here in your blogs. I really hope that you will be satisfiably redeemed for all of the frustration and annoyance that you had to endure

  16. dirty johnny

    merde – that’s a rough story.
    bizarrely – at the exact same time – i was having a really fantastic mini-break in Miami, and even got an upgrade on the BA flight back to Heathrow.
    which was nice.

  17. while we are here

    brother, that’s some awful truth-tellin’. sympathies for you and your lost music. agreed re: proceedings–this is real potential money we’re talking about, not some book of crap poetry.

  18. Dan

    Poor poor Robin. Sorry to hear that you ran into such bad luck. Next time you’re in Los Angeles, I’ll be more than happy to buy you a “Good Luck” burrito. By the way, did you buy your burrito at the Poquito Mas located on Olympic and Westwood? If so, I will remember to avoid that one.

  19. steve

    Bloody hell!
    modern day travel is shite isn’t it?

    Sorry to hear all this…

    I guess the little USB drive’s gone for good (those bloody things are too easy to lose anyway)
    were the files protected?

    hope the cases and your ‘M’ labeled shirts turn up (somehow?!)
    also hope your live gear surfaces – I want to get to see you when you next play UK/France.

    hang in there and create some hassle for someone to chase your cases!

    Thanks for tip about U.S. ‘M’ sizes though 😉

  20. ted

    You know Robin…..I think this all happened because you forgot to take your immosel…..taking that, plus some perrier could have made you a security risk and could have helped you to literally ‘blow away’ all those numb nuts people working the ‘help desk’ (oxymorons)….

  21. Martin

    Nothing to do with this story at all actually.
    A friend recently re-introduced me to cocteau twins after many a years gap. Wonderful..!! Even better second time around.
    And have just today bought your album ‘continental’. Beautiful. Pale….the most beautiful. Thanks..!!





  23. Lysander

    I’d like to second that– Pale is a fucking HOT track!

  24. mateo

    – that worse than a bad day; that’s a dang X-File!

  25. vivian

    vive la france ! of course, it sucks here. gread landscapes but they don’t know what a client service is in this country. and it’s a french man who tells you this.
    but next time you’re stuck in CDG or waiting in Paris for your next train, step by here, i live 3 stations from “gare du nord” and we can cook you some fine “steak au poivre”. and of course you can rest for a while. think about it.
    vivian (aligre)

  26. Mathieu

    Continental (and all Guthrie’s Works)is modern answer to Claude Debussy… Pure beauty! My favorite on this record is ”As I Breathe”

    Robin, please, keep breathing!!!!

  27. Steve Dodson

    I’m sorry for your bad luck, but that’s the funniest story I’ve read in quite a while. It’s good that you can turn tragedy into great comedy.

  28. Ikram

    whoa robin, didn’t wake up on the right side of bed did you? hope the situation normalizes soon

  29. katylin

    My husband read this and then sent it to me.
    We adore you, and are very sorry for your totally unreasonable days. I have to admit, I thought ONLY I had days like this. I hope that you had copies somewhere (else)

  30. dani

    im still giggling away here. your misfortune has brightened my day, although i feel terrible for laughing so much. tormented! i thought that shit just happened to little ol me. if thats not a perfect story for a bill murray film then i dont know what is… i felt so guilty for my mirth, i finally bought a copy of continental today… all the best rob


  31. Mr Lustre

    I once was picked up my parents at an airport, collected my luggage, went home, told everyone I had presents for them, so they all stood around as I opened my case, and there staring out at me was a pair of red of stillettos, a wig, some sexy lacey black underwear and lots of toiletries, sittting on top of the usual clothes.

    Well, being a male, It didn’t go down well and mum started to cry and everyone looked at me in horror. There was a bit of explaining to do.

    Never did get my case back with the semi expensive presents and my clothes, but there was enough to keep the niece busy with for dress ups.

    Sorry to hear of your sad story Robin. I think I would have murdered someone by the time I got to MacDonalds.

  32. R

    You’re even bigger looser than me mr Robin–which is
    kinda sweet…


  33. jason

    I dropped you a line at myspace. please check it Robin :).


  34. Steve

    You have a natural talent for comic storytelling Robin, Bill Bryson himself would be proud 😉 (hope you get either a) your stuff back, or b) some decent compensation).

  35. Olof P.

    …I mean…what the fuck?

  36. marconiplein

    That sounds like the entirety of 2006 for me! One thing after another. I seriously, seriously hope you find your album.

  37. Dennis

    This reminds me of last time I had a calamity-day…first I accidentally caused a small explosion, burning my coworker’s hand with sulfuric acid, then broke a fragile oven, which costed me a fortune…then got shut in an elevator – and all in one day!…
    I just haven’t your talent to make a funny story out of it! You should really start writing a book!!!

  38. Ted

    Mssr. Guthrie….Your Filet-o-Fish is ready!

  39. Commodus

    Did you locate your stuff?

  40. Mathieu

    Hi Robin,

    Hope this bad luck wont push the date of release for this new Guthrie/Budd CD any further?

    Also, when will you reprint ”Argentia” and ”Waiting for dawn”? Do you know how I could get them?

    Thanks +++

  41. mateo

    – Dear Robin: you’ve never – NEVER? – gotten a thing out of a recorded live C/T track? not even the “Seekers…” rendition on VH1? not even the live performance of TISHBITE that i’ve seen on youtube, taken form some tv show? not even the Mark Clifford augmented BLUE BELL KNOLL? or the live “Pitch the Baby” that you offer so generously at the C/T website [sexiest thang i have EVER heard in my natural born days!] i could go on and on and on… to me, a song that entrances me like, por ejemplo, “Seekers…” is something i cannot get enough of. give me the studio official version, plus five different live versions, and i’m almost as happy as if ya gave me ten live versions to go with the official. each rendition has something special. to some of us… kind of like there are three live versions of Jimi Hendrix’s MACHINE GUN [even one by The Isely Brothers], and who’s complaining?

  42. Victoria

    Al fin vienes a Chile…
    No sabes cuánto esperé este momento.
    Amo tu música…
    Y te espero con toda la ilusión, el mar y la emoción imaginables…

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