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8.05.2005

Dublin/Belfast/Edinburgh/Manchester/Leeds/Lisbon

Well, we have all over the map the past few days. The show in Dublin was quite fun, the place was packed and, being Ireland, a little unruly with Guiness-drinking folks. I know it's a stereotype, but it holds true: people in Ireland LIKE DRINKING. Especially at shows. It was also raining the entire time we were in Dublin. A nice change in some ways, and not that different from "summers" in SF. We spent most of the time in our hotel room watching TV, although Andy and I got soaked trying to venture out for record shopping and lunch. By the way, Colm is a SUPERSTAR in his homeland! I evenmet someone that knows his brother, Ronan, who's a local DJ.
After Dublin we drove to Belfast. N. Ireland is a very intense place, especially with the recent events of the disarming of the IRA. We arrived in the middle of a parade, which seemed fun and boisterous at first. However, people were drinking a LOT and being frighteningly rowdy for a normal parade. The promoter told us later that it's an annual event where the Protestants basially show off to the Catholics and it's not very joyous at all. The ambiance definitely carried over into the evening: Jona even taped some girl getting a strip tease in the middle of the sidewalk! The show was at a beautiful music hall that was over 100 years old and had posters in the lobby from the late 1800's. The people were very sweet and it was obviously the local custom to thank people in the form of pints of Guinness. The band kept getting so many brought to the stage they couldn't even drink them all. Someone even brought one to me in the loby to thank me for letting them in when the door person wasn't there! During the part of the show where Devendra invites someone to play onstage, these 2 VERY drunk and aggressive brothers came up and played a surprisingly good rock song that the band joined in on. We could not predict that they would end up following us to the hotel after the show trying to party with us. They were SO annoying and kept asking Jona, "Do you want us to f### off?" And he was like, "No, we just want to go to bed." Finally Jan had to tell security that they were NOT with us!
After watching bad late-night TV with Jona and Luckey, one of my favorite tour activites, and a wonderful night sleep (nice hotel rooms with comfy beds), we left in the morning for yet another ferry ride. Fortunately, it was practucally lavish compared to the France-Ireland ferry and you could barely even feel the water. And then, a beautiful drive thorugh Scotland to Edinburgh! Scotland is definitely one of the most beautiful, peaceful countries we've been to on tour. Gorgeous green rolling hills covered in cute sheep. Our hotel was far from the city center, but across from a nature area complete with breathtaking views and a magical forest filled with hopping bunnies and foxes.
Upon travelling to the city for dinner at a great Thai restaurant, we were all amazed at the beauty of the city. The streets are wide and the majestic buildings are mostly made from beautiful beige stone that blackens over time into a repeating patina covering the landscape. Edinburgh Castle is right in the middle of the city way up on a hill. The following day I took a five-minute walk fro the venue up to the Castle, but it was so touristy and expensive I didn't go in. On the way down I spotted a white van in front of the venue to find...ESPERS! I gave them all a big hug. Andy and I found a relly classy restaurant right across from the venue that had an early bird "pre-theatre" special: two courses for about £10. It was amazing. I had to try the fried haggis balls! Actually kind of yummy!
The show that night was great, except for the sound. We met Sir Richard Bishop's girlfriend, too. I sold plenty of merch and many people recognized me from the Vetiver gig in Glasgow back in June. After the show we went to the bar next door. Vashti came to the show with her husband Al! It was so nice to see her and we'll hopefully hang out with her when she comes to California in September. Also, I spotted Mike Herron from the Incredible String Band outside after the show and talked to him briefly and gave him a Vetiver CD. Then we walked up to a fish and chip shop for horrible late night pizza. We hung out with this guy who had a really funny fake American accent and Noah was dishing it out back to him with his funny Scottish one!
Before departing the next morning, Andy and I took another walk up to the forest. A beautiful start to an otherwise bad day. The show at the Comedy Store was fine. We saw lots of nice folks there, including James Wiliam Hindle and crew and Chris Corsano and his lady. We went back to the hotel to crash and Noah and Devendra went to get something to eat. I was woken up a couple hours late by a phone call from Noah asking me if I had seen his computer. Someone had broken into his room while we were at the gig and stolen Devendra's and Noah's laptops, including the bags they were in which contained their PASSPORTS! A day before we had to fly to Portugal! What a nightmare. We couldn't believe it. They have SO much irreplacable information on their computers, especially music. The went to London very early the next day to get new Passports while we went to Leeds. While in Leeds Johan got an email that the Passports and the contents of their bags (minus computers) had been returned to the Manchester Police. Noah and Dev finally arrived during the last song of Espers' set and I told them the news. They ran backstage and started playing about 10 minutes after that! Since the gig was cut short because of the curfew, Jona yelled, "We'll see everybody outside!" and the band hightailed it to the alley outside the club. Unfortunately Ihad to sell merch and missed it, but them and Richard and Espers all played 2 more Devendra songs in the alley to about 500 crazed people. Devendra ended up giving his nylon string guitar away to this really nice long-haired dude named Ian. Ian was so proud of his kids and so into Devendra that Devendra told him it was for Lily, his baby. It might seem sort of crazy, but it's actually a typically Devendra thing to to, the spontaneous and generous guy that he is. Especially when it involves kids! That guitar sounded like crap onstage anyways!
So, at least we were all able to get here yesterday...barely. During our stopover in Mallorca, some idiot at the airport drove a van into the wing of the plane and we all had to get off the plane and get onto a new one! Flying into Lisbon, I saw a horrible sight: 2 fires in the distance. Lisbon has been hit with a horrible drought and fires. The sky is now totally filled with smoke. Pedro, our Portuguese friend, said that many of them are arson, where companies that want to build on those properties pay poor people to set them. I was shocked.
Another surprise at the airport awaited us: Devendra's dad, Loring! He took us to an amazing restaurant, a former convent up on a hill. The food was incredible. I had a fish called "John Dory" that was probably one of the most amazing, delicious pieces of food I have ever eaten. Scrumptious. I was so tired and hot I was practically falling asleep through the meal, but I made it!
Well, today is another festival. It's about 2 1/2 hours away and it's going to be scorchingly hot. Oasis is playing tonight! The boys are very excited about it, especially Dev and Luckey. I think I'll play percussion with them since I don't have to sell merch.

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