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I am the Passenger

Posted on Saturday, October 6th, 2007

And I ride and I ride
5.45am, I was in Seattle driving down interstate 5 towards the airport, thinking to myself, “well robin, something’s going to happen today. I can’t imagine having to take a trip from Seattle to Lima, with all my equipment and it going smoothly to the plan laid out before me on my little printout from American Airlines, can I?”. You see, I’ve become a sort of realist and realize that my serenity depends on breaking down a travel day, in fact any day, into small bite sized morsels and, not only accepting them for what they are but enjoying them as well.
For I have come to believe that this is living.
Also it has saved the lives of a few airline employees and fellow passengers.
That morning, I knew, instinctively, that the day will be tiring and unpredictable. I wasn’t to be disappointed. I dropped off my car at the rental return, struggled with my two shinny new samsonites, just bought to replace the two that the TSA destroyed on my way into the United States (locks broken off, even although they were left unlocked unlocked, rendering them impossible to close). All was well, except that there were about 400 people in front of me in the line for the security check, which took an hour to clear, thus relieving me of my only chance of a cup of coffee and breakfast. However, with all that time to ponder upon a solution to the security issue, I finally realized that the war on terrorism has been lost. The bad guys won. The simple fact is that travelling around the US has become so fucked up that it’s become all but impossible to get anywhere on time, make connections and have your luggage arrive. I mean I could be wrong but have any of the bad guys ever been caught at a security checkpoint. Even Richard Reid, that fool with the bomb in his shoes didn’t get stopped by security. No, as far as I can see, all this extra security is just to keep ordinary folks fearful. I mean, I have to say, that after removing my shoes, having my laptop chemically tested and my nipple rings setting the beeper thingy off, three times the same day, I felt ever so much safer. I mean if the security folks could save me from doing really stupid things to myself, I’d feel safer, but generally speaking all they do is bully people with their petty rules. Oh, and while I’m at it, wouldn’t it be safer to take someone’s luggage off the fucking plane if they don’t show up for the flight. Like when my luggage arrived the day before I did in Seattle when I missed my connection due to increased security measures. I mean, the person who makes up these security rules must be a stupid as pig dribble.
Anyway, back to my little histoire.
I catch my flight, Seattle to New York, scheduled to be five and a half hours, and settle myself into my window seat and gently sob myself to sleep worrying about the plight of western civilization and what they do with all the toenail clippers that they confiscate. I was awoken a little while later by a little old lady sitting next to me and her wheelchair bound husband who was occupying the aisle seat. Yes, that’s right the wheelchair guy has the aisle seat. Well, looks like I’m not going anywhere quickly, does it. I nod off again, vaguely aware that breakfast, well a little pathetic bread roll and a polystyrene cup of pissy brown water, was being served. I opened my eyes and was told rather abruptly by a, somewhat less than agreeable, flight attendant that there was none left for me, and if I hadn’t been sleeping I’d have got one. So I went for the glass of water option and felt a twinge of sympathy for the bad guys who bring planes down. I drifted in and out of sleep for a couple of hours and when I awoke the little old lady informed me that we were in a holding pattern, due to inclement weather in the New York area. I picked a book out of my bag and started to read, while we circled around Cleveland for a while, and it was then she started to pray and then took the opportunity to ask me, completely out of the blue, if I had ever considered converting to the Mormon faith. You see, little old lady and her husband were from Salt Lake City and were believers and perhaps, young man, it would do you some good to stop reading books like that and start to read something full of goodness like the book of Mormon. She must have been looking at my book as I was reading. As it was ‘Blood Meridian’ by Cormac Macarthy, I guessed it was something not exactly on Brother Brigham’s recommended reading list. Now, I have to say, I am quite respectful of little old ladies and, while the deep rich prose, describing violence in an almost goyaesque fashion, of ‘Blood Meridian’ wasn’t something that she felt comfortable being near, I opted to put it away and read my only other book, but ‘Body Dump’ by James Ellroy didn’t pass the test either so I opted for the Sky Mall magazine and wondered over all the marvelous crappy inventions that I so often almost buy but thankfully don’t, and tried to find the one which was in the poorest taste. I was stuck between the ‘little dog steps’, a small staircase designed to help your dog be able to get into bed with you, which, frankly, is dis-gus-ting, and the ‘shoe warehouse’ which is a rack for storing a hundred pairs of shoes.
Like, isn’t that just a tad excessive? I mean I have, maybe three pairs of shoes.
Ah, maybe it’s for girls. Just a thought.
After circling Cleveland for an hour and a half, the pilot told us over the PA that we were running out of gas and would have to make an accelerated descent into Detroit at which point the plane dropped like a fucking stone and we were on the ground within ten minutes. Now to be in Detroit wasn’t exactly on the plan. Detroit hurts me. But, what the hell, maybe I could get a connection to Miami and on to Lima from there, my connection at New York already being missed, but instead of arriving at the terminal to deplane we got refueled at a distant corner of the airport and stood on a taxiway for the next three hours. Now, remember the snack I missed? We weren’t offered anything else to eat as there was nothing on the plane. Now we’ve been on the plane seven hours. I got another glass of water. I wanted to get up and stretch my legs but mr fucking wheelchair, whose name, by now, I had decided was Norman; Norman the Mormon, couldn’t get up so I sat and listened to why I should visit Salt Lake and go hang out at Temple Square. Now, anyone who read my account of flying with the really hip high tech rabbi recently should understand that I was very impressed that when he prayed for the flight to be safe and arrive on time, it actually was and did. Not so with Norm and his wife. Make your own conclusions.
We finally arrived in New York eleven hours after leaving Seattle. I’d been in my seat the whole flight and had two plastic cups of water. I’d missed my flight to Miami by five hours and had to spend the night in New York, sans luggage, which was checked through to Lima.
The airline gave me a toothbrush.
Next morning I got a Flight to Miami where I met Andrew Prinz who was there with Ana and her boyfriend Lloyd and Scott from Love Lies Crushing, who had also missed their flight the night before due to the same weather problems which affected me and gone through a similar scenario. We all took the flight to Lima, which, of course, was delayed and arrived seven hours later. My luggage didn’t make it.
The airline gave me another toothbrush.

19 Responses to “I am the Passenger”

  1. vanderlei

    I couldn’t agree more when you say that airport rules and staff are the most stupid ones in the world. As I was going through customs at Miami airport I overheard one customs agent tell another, “I told her many times that she looks much better with short hair, I don’t know why she had a hair cut”. Well, that really seems to be very important conversation.
    Later I was walking past some minions that seemed to be either in security or very busy doing nothing, their conversation and their accent was reminiscent of those dialogues one only sees in Scorcese’s movies, specially when Joe Pesci is speaking, which means incomprehensible.

  2. Mark Mushet

    Yes, Robin, but between all these moments of travel hell everything is bliss, yes? 😉

  3. bill (...of rights)

    +1 on the security bullshit. The founders of our country warned against this shite. “Those who sacrifice liberty for security receive neither.”

    Despite what America looks like from an outsider’s viewpoint, there is a growing disgust in the US that our government has grown too large and largely communistic in practice. This may seem oxymoronic that the Republican party resembles communism, but it certainly does. Police State, removal of protected rights, like Habeas Corpus, wars of empire. But alas, both sides including Hillary (Hitlery? – has weekly lunch with Rupert Murdoch) are controlled by the same elites that want to usher in world government.

    A widespread grassroots movement has developed to reject the liars in both parties. Ron Paul, a Libertarian who occupies a conservative seat in our Congress has vowed to bring all of our troops home from abroad and to stop meddling in the affairs of others. Pretty common sensical, since this is why bad guys are after us in the first place. Read about Ron Paul. Great guy. Abolish income taxes, return to gold as a currency standard, reject imperialism, remove vast layers of bureaucratic nonsense.

  4. Micah

    Robin, if you keep travelling despite all the severe insults to your comfort, convenience and belongings, you must still really enjoy it. 🙂 Or perhaps you’re too nice. 🙂 🙂

  5. ted

    Yeah, ironically a conservative Republican from Texas, Ron Paul, does actually have some keen insights. These two transcripts from speeches he made to the house of representatives are fascinating studies in history and politics. Not surprising our ‘free press’ hasn’t picked up on his key points, shame…..well, for those interested have a good read:



  6. ted

    Sorry for the political sidebar…more importantly, Robin, how is the recording session going with those talented and very nice guys from Lima? I was really impressed with their huge sound over the summer at Studio B, say hello to Luiz (sp) for me, I bought a few of their cd’s from him after they played. Did they turn you on to Pisco? Seems like a fine alternative to water….

  7. Philip Chatfield

    “for I have come to believe that this is living”.
    Just pondering over that thought. Then reading through the hectic ‘journeying’ here and there. In the sky in the hands of others, gear or otherwise. Curious how the journey ‘in the now’ contrast with us all. Those rushing about, and those lucky enough to live and work in a beautiful place, such as here in Tintern Abbey in Wales. The past musical sounds still echo and influence the journeys of the present. Work in the studio sounds a good option and to just create. Working with the past, for the present, is living too. Creating is living for those able to create. Just some thoughts as we all journey.

  8. Mark Kraft

    Sorry to hear about your airport ordeals in the U.S. Increasingly, it feels more and more like “my former country”. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if I wind up on the no-fly list one day, at this rate.

    On a completely unrelated note, I’m listening to the 3rd soundtrack of an extremely popular new Japanese anime called Death Note — a surprisingly well-written psychological/supernatural crime thriller — which features several guitar pieces in it that are remarkably similar to your acoustic pieces, as well as collaborations between a guitarist and a keyboardist.

    Maybe you and/or Harold have a future composing for anime that you weren’t even aware of…

  9. John Baum

    After I finished hyperventilating from laughter, I remembered. I recently went to Minneapolis from Philadelphia. Being the internationally sought after terrorist that I am I was pulled from the line twice to have my belongings checked for bomb making materials and devices. I may actually bring one for them next time. I was thinking gift wrapped with silver ribbon to make it complete. Idiots…..

  10. Cedric Caspesyan


    This is off-topic.

    I was reading recently about Simon Raymonde expressing how much a Cocteau reunion was the least of things everyone concerned wanted.

    I know this is none of my business but I always wondered, what is the essence of all that hate
    or bad sentiments between both you guys and Liz?
    How can such beautiful music as Cocteau Twins evolved in so much bad energy? I really have no need to know the details but..I’m interested in knowing what in the world can cause so much trouble between people who once had a fantastic time together. A key word? Was the source of conflict about Money, Love Conflicts, Creativity Conflicts, Pure Ego? Is it something like, one of you did something bad once that the other never forgave?? Life is short, make it sweet.



  11. vanderlei

    I’d like to thank Cedric below, it’s high time someone took the guts to ask this question. I’ll make his words mine too.

  12. Steven


    We all miss what the Cocteau Twins were – they had a special chemistry, but that was the past. And what happened is between the three of them and no one else. And in the end they lasted 16 years, so shit, sometimes it’s just time to move on.

    I think we should all be very fortunate that Robin has continued to make amazing music. Personally, I think the ‘Mysterious Skin’ soundtrack is up there with any Cocteau release.

    Steven in Atlanta

  13. bts

    smart cookie

  14. luca

    thank you for your gig in verona. i’m listening to ‘everlasting’ many times… and then the song end i’m lost….

  15. Harlon Mitchell

    I just loaded my copy of “Continental” onto my computer at work, which made me wonder what you’ve been up to, which eventually led me to your weblog via the Twins website. Didn’t know you had one. Very entertaining. And I agree, damn terrorists ruined traveling for everyone. Bastards.

    Not sure if you’ll actually read this, but FYI, of all the stuff I listen to, your music in particular creates reaaaally good ambiance, which helps keep me sane.

    I’m an associate editor for Werner Publishing in Los Angeles and your music really helps the day pass more smoothly. I write articles for their photography magazines mainly, but I do some editing of submissions too.

    You might relate to this part…

    Our posh offices are located on Wilshire Blvd in Santa Monica, 12th floor…almost the entire 12th floor. Most of the offices have a wonderful view of the Pacific Ocean or Brentwood or the Getty Museum up on the hill….except mine of course.

    I’m stuck in one of the few caves that have no windows. I have a view of nothing. So when I say your music helps keep me sane, I really do mean that. So get cracken on some new stuff. It’s been a while as you mentioned in one of your entries.

    And tell your daughter that her daddy does not have a little pathetic life…he’s actually a musical genious and one of the only original artists of this or any century. So there.

  16. Indyenna (Ian)


    I wanted to take time and apologize to you for being a smug prick to you last year. I was in a really bad mental space (Bad breakup. 🙁 ) then and want to start the year with good karma.

    I wish nothing but the best for you, your fam, and your artistic endeavors. Keep on making great soundscapes. Critics are failed artists.

    iNDY (iaN)

  17. jeff

    would love for you to come to atlanta. florida, if possible. whatever we as fans can do to further help, please let us.

    be well.

  18. nickylee

    hello guys! i had been listening to violet indiana and i just realized how great their music is. it sounds very French..all i could think about are places in france..anyways..did robin and siobhan abandoned the violet indiana project for good? i have not heard anything from the band or any release..i really love killer eyes!!

  19. nickylee

    for cedric..my biggest bet is that its because of love and not creativity! the three always comes up with something unique i guess its because liz and robin broke up and its hard to move on if they would still work together. imagine ending a very long relationship..thats not easy..i ended a year and 8 month relationship and i could not bear looking at my ex! anyone here who can give me the first album of violet indiana and other EPs please!! for free! in the only available album here in the phils is the russian doll…how sad..coz i need to complete them all…i love killer eyes!!

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