Rock & Roll, Ferries, Hookers and Snot.
My friend Dominic got me some much needed work as a backline tech on the European tour for a pretty successful indie band that I actually really like (the band that is) I mean I could have just as easily ended up being a roadie for a cross dressing Abba cover band or something, but no, I'm working for a Danish indie band followed by every nineteen year old kid with a long fringe, droopy trousers and a tendency to feel like their favorite band is saving them from the trials and pain of a teenage life.
The beginning of this trip was supposed to be a long but easy 12 hr drive from London to Arhus Denmark. Instead it ended taking me almost 4 hours just to get out of London to the ferry at Dover. I don't know if you have done it before but driving a truck loaded full of heavy equipment on to a giant boat along with hundreds of other trucks much bigger and heavier than yours, doesn't fill me with the confidence that this boat wont instantly drop to the bottom of the ice cold english channel as soon as it leaves the harbor. After all the visions of me floating away in my neon orange life vest watching as the ferry takes it's last peek above the water before sinking in to the abyss, I decide to go up to the top deck and buy myself a snickers bar and a cup of coffee. I have never been on a boat/ Ship this big before, at least one that is moving. As big as it is you can still feel every pitch and roll it makes as it pushes it's way through the water. The effect this has on everyone on board makes it look as if every one, including small children, have been hitting the bottle hard and can barely stand up or walk a straight line. If only it had been that fun, instead it was an hour and a half of cryin children and snoring and farting truck drivers just waiting to get moving with the next long leg to wherever they are going to next.
Calais at last! I had such high hopes for this journey, I had a hero's optimism that I would be able to speed my way up to Denmark in record time with lots of time to spare. I had to be at the venue setting up at 3pm the next day. I got through France ok "Hello France!" I managed to bet through Belgium without too much trouble "Hello Belgium!" And then there was Germany, It started when the main road to where I wanted to be going was completely shut down! An entire major highway closed! The only way around was to take huge detour that would add about two hours to my journey, so I took a deep breath and soldiered on. Mind you by this time it was totally dark and when your driving at night on long boring road trips all landscapes look the same, I could have just as easily been traveling thorough Kansas let alone beautiful Germany. I Drove until nearly 3am when I decided to pull over at a truck stop and sleep for a few hours before setting off for the second leg of my odyssey. I could go on for ages and ages about the next seven hundred hours of driving I did, How many times I tried to pay for things with British pounds in Germany and Belgium and all the cringe worthy moments of communicating in that ridiculous sign language that people who dont speak another language use. I'll let you use your imagination.
I managed to Arrive in Arhus Denmark 4hrs late, the band had to rent equipment, because I couldn't get there in time. I was wasted tired, and completely fed up at this point and just wanted to go to bed. Luckily I didn't have to do much once I was there. Just pack it all up when the show was over and go to bed! I have come into this profession as a total newbie, Beyond setting up really small punk rock gigs and my own stuff, I have no clue what I am doing. I have arrived with the basic knowledge of how to tune a guitar change a string and plug stuff in, if anything major or minor for that matter happens during the show I have to use all of my acting skills to bullshit my way through it with a smile on my face. Luckily it all goes off without a hitch and I'm off the hook for tonight! Whew!
What do we do now? I'm thinking, a beer and then bed, oh yeah, that sounds nice. Oh no wait! I know, lets go drink at the local Danish strip bar/ Whore house! Yeah Yeah! That sounds like a great Idea! Nothing could have prepared me for the David Lynch world I was about to enter, I mean that literally, the only thing missing was a backwards talking dancing midget! The bass player really wanted to go there he said "It's a really nice place". You had to knock on the door and a man would peek through the door to make sure you weren't police I suppose and when you passed the test, you entered La Belle! La Belle is completely draped in red velvet with really awful Grecian paintings of muscle bound gods and flirtatious goddesses on the walls. There is a small round dance floor surrounded by gold painted corinthian columns. At the front of the dance floor is a stage and on this stage is a man in his 60's, balding, glasses, wearing jeans and a T-shirt playing a red stratocaster and singing along to every known song you have ever heard on the radio, Pink Floyd, Prince, Dire Straights, Madonna, Rick James and on and on. The funny thing is that as cheesy as it was the guy was amazing, he actually shredded on the guitar and had a voice like crystal!? WTF? The man made magic, With a press of the play button on his minidisc player the drummer would count him off One, Two, Three, Four, Rock & Roll! We were all so mesmerised by this guy we almost didn't notice the table full of haggered and used up old hookers sitting at the table right next to the stage. I assure you, this is not something I do on a regular basis or ever for that matter! I never know what to think about places like these? On one side its incredibly surreal and I really enjoy the characters that operate in this world, It's facinating, funny and really tragic all at the same time. The whole time we are there we are vigorously fending off the advances of a myriad of haggard and tired women trying to look sexy but managing to just look bored and tired instead. One of the guys I'm on tour with paid one of the girls to "Not" have sex with him, he said he would pay her to just sit down and talk. The look of relief on this woman's face was amazing and sad. She just sat down and talked about her kids and told us where she is from (Jamaica). These experiences "Are" life to me, I want to see the dark and light side of life. If you don't see and experience both sides you don't truly appreciate, what you have in life. I couldn't bare to live a life where everything was just rosey and clean cut all the time, I would be bored to tears. So, two incredibly expensive Danish beers and a Pink Floyd request to the shredding kareoke guy and it was back to the hotel and to bed. Good Night!
After the first decent night sleep in a couple days I woke upand decided to go for a short freezing cold walk around town, I walked for about 15 min and decided that it was way too cold and I wasn't dressed appropriately, so I said screw it, a nice hot cup of coffee and my computer sounded much more enjoyable so I headed back. As I came into the room and went to the window that goes out onto the balcony, as I went to push open the balcony door I put my hand into a big chunky dripping yellow mess in the middle of the glass door. I thought EW! What the hell is it? Was the door open and a bird shit on the window? I looked a bit closer and it looked like someone had spit on the window. My roommate was in the bathroom adn when he came out I said, "what the hell is this? It looks like someone spit on the window?" and he says "Oh yeah, I had a particularly bad sneeze this morning". This is where he does nothing, He just goes to his computer and starts doing business as usual. I said "Man, That's disgusting, are you going to clean that up?" he says "Why, does it bother you?" I said "Yeah man, I just stuck my hand in it." So he says sorry and then gets a piece of toilet paper and basically in a pathetic attempt to go through the motions of cleaning it, just smears it all over the window then goes back to doing whatever it is he was doing before. I feel truly sick, he's a pretty nice guy but holy shit, seriously, this deserves a big WTF!? I washed my hands like ten ties in a row and I still feel like I am going to contract some incurable rock & roll roadie disease. I thought I was lazy, not by a long shot!