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Lonely Planet

Posted on Thursday, July 5th, 2007

Words fail me right now.
Anyone who has ever read my weblog will understand that I have a special gift in life, namely blurring the boundaries between what is unlikely and what is possible while traveling by air. This time, with a direct ticket from New York JFK to Paris CDG it’s only natural that I should end up in Toronto, right?
The concert I did a few days ago was obviously just an excuse for me to travel and therefore gather interesting and self deprecating little vignettes for me to entertain y’all with. You see, right now as I start to write this I’m sitting on the floor of a crowded airport terminal, in a small pool of my own tears. I’ve just been told I can’t fly home with the ticket that I have as it is invalid for travel and, as it is the one provided for me by the people who arranged my concert in Brooklyn, there’s not much I can do about it as I can’t raise them on my cell phone. Did I mention that my cellphone battery just ran out. Or, that they could let me on the plane if I gave them $2500. Or that I don’t have $2500. Or that the wi-fi in the terminal is temporarily down. Or that I am traveling alone with all my equipment and luggage which is less than manageable for one person. Or that I just paid $3 for a luggage cart with a wonky wheel that wants to go around in circles all the time. It goes on…

What to do? I’ve already returned my rental car so I’m a bit stuck at the airport. Umm, OK JFK… Airport hotel, I ask a shuttle driver to take me to the least expensive airport hotel. Fuck, $300.. I’m being held to ransom here, as well they know it. Ah well, at least I can get online. I’ll have a shower, get some food from the restaurant and get online to sort out a ticket.

me…. Excuse me, where’s the restaurant?

receptionist…. We don’t have a restaurant sir.

me…. Sorry, I think I misheard you, I’m retarded, it sounded like you said this $300 hotel doesn’t have a restaurant.

receptionist…. That’s correct sir, however we have a complimentary breakfast consisting of pissy american coffee and donuts with icing so thick you could wax your legs with it.

I ask, already knowing the answer, if there was a bar with little snacks in it but I was answered with a look which said ‘don’t be pathetic sir‘…

I got online, contacted the person responsible about my travel and secured a ticket to Paris via Toronto the next day. From La Guardia. Cab fare $40. I went to sleep and, well, I have to say it is probably the most comfortable bed I have ever slept on and my sleep was deep and refreshing, something I wouldn’t have thought possible given my loathing of spending so much money on something I couldn’t get years of use out of.

Now, recently traveling to South America with my wife I was reminded of how much easier life is for a young attractive woman than a middle aged man with too much luggage. She has such a lovely smile and manner that I feel sure she could smuggle a bomb onto a plane and have the security people carry it on board for her. All it would take is one little flutter of those eyelids or a few words in her charming foreign accent. She is forever getting free upgrades or not having to pay excess baggage charges all because she has a nice smile or so it seems. So with this in mind I thought I’d try it out myself at La Guardia, I mean it’s worth a try right, so I smiled my nicest smile at the security people, who led me off to a small room as I obviously appeared to be high. I was relieved of my toothpaste by an officious TSA officer. This, sort of, pissed me off and I spent the first part of my flight scheming revenge by thinking of witty acronyms for the letters emblazoned on her shirt, you know Totally Stupid Asshole and Toothpaste Security Agent, and the like but I soon tired of that and spent the rest of the flight wondering how to bring down an airliner with a tube of Crest Whitening should I be able to sneak one on next time.

I met a very cool rabbi on the plane, who said lots of prayers out loud as we took off. He explained to me that he prayed for safety, and I have to say, he’s rather good, as we landed without incident some time later. He asked me about living in France and I said my usual joke about it being nice but it would be better with less French people and he answered with the same for Israel. More room for the Palistineans then? I asked, just fucking witcha rabbi….He was cool though and I enjoyed talking to him. He was a kind of high tech rabbi as well as he had loads of consumer electronics, ipods, laptops, cell phones and stuff. And a big assed hat and curls. I’ll have to see if he’s on my space.

Last week my travel to the US had been mostly without incident, unless you call not being able to get on several flights and having to wait in the airport, without incident. I do nowadays. The low point of my eventual flight to New York was being seated exactly one row behind business class, having that curtain pulled over in front of my face to stop me seeing all those people up there getting champagne, food that looks like real food, blow jobs from the flight attendants and all of the other things you can have if you spend $12000 on a ticket. However I felt happy with my seat as I got to witness two old men trying to have a fistfight over the honour of one of their wives, whom the other had been, allegedly, kicking under her seat. It was like a John Wayne movie with things like ‘you will apologize to my wife right now, feller or I’ll bloody your nose’ and ‘the hell I will’. It was really funny and attracted the attention of all the flight attendants, well the ones not busy blowing the business class passengers, whose training had evidentially not prepared them for septuagenarian fisticuffs. If truth be told the wife was so disagreeably ugly that I wanted to kick her myself…

But to get back to my story, I had to wait a while in the airport in Toronto and got a introduction to Canadian culture while viewing TV in the lounge. The program was called Swimsuit Poker, or something of the sort, and featured girls with big breasts, in swimsuits, playing poker. This explains a lot to me about Canada.
I’m sure I gave Air Canada a bit of a bashing in a previous journal and it was probably for good reason. They have really, really uncomfortable planes, a strange thing for a national carrier. There are no-frills budget airlines in Europe with more comfort and facilities. Should there ever be another holocaust I’m sure Air Canada would get the contract for the transportation.

And now, well I’m back in Paris at the airport. Amazingly, my luggage arrived this time, albeit last on the carousel, which, naturally, made me miss my train back to Rennes by about 3 minutes. I have to wait 3 hours until the next one. I’ve a bit of battery left on my laptop so I’ll compose these words for you while it’s still fresh and before the tears dry up.
It’s now 36 hours since I left for the airport in NYC.

Studio B

Posted on Wednesday, July 4th, 2007

My concert at Studio B in Brooklyn didn’t suck but, overall, it was somewhat of a disappointment to me. I found the conditions in the club less than favorable for a nice performance and I didn’t really get into it.
Everyone told me afterwards it was good but I know they were just sucking up …
However what didn’t disappoint was the four pieces of music that I played with my friends Andrew Prinz and Odell Nails who had kindly sat in with me. Yes, that was rather cool. Hope I can do something like that in the future.
I really have to rethink these club shows as they simply don’t work for me. It’s somewhat disheartening to ask for certain requirements, which I feel are vital to my performance, only to have what I ask disregarded by the people in charge of such things, you know lights, sound and that stuff. OK, I played, tried to do my best but, hey, don’t ask me to enjoy it or even give any more than the bare minimum of what I’m capable off. Sounds Harsh? I don’t care. A successful concert requires more than the careful attention to detail that I try to give, it requires a little understanding from those involved in the production and it involves the audience as well, as, lets face it, the concert is pretty much all about the audience. In this instance the audience were warm and appreciative, apart from some fool shouting for ‘from the flagstones’, I played OK but the sound, lights and projection was pretty bad. Why do those people continually try to make my show into a rock concert, cranking the sound level up to deafening volumes and filling the stage with disco lights? Especially as they have been given instructions to the contrary. I don’t understand.