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Too Much Shit, Elevators, And Self Importance Lasers

I just dropped my bags at my hotel in Miami.

By bags, I mean a backpack filled to the hilt with the heaviest things I could find in my apartment hanging off one shoulder,  an electric guitar hanging off the other,  one acoustic guitar (made of metal) in a bulky case,  and the other bulky guitar (made of bricks)  draped awkwardly over my suitcase which in turn includes just enough underpants, a pair of newly purchased shorts, just enough t-shirts, a token flannel (I mean, I am in Miami, then on to Jamaica?!), and my sponge bag with toothbrush and deodorant (I hope).  The rest of the suitcase is filled with CD's for the merch table on this cruise.  Priorities.  I may end up looking and smelling like a victim of a poorly organised music festival in 1971 by the end of the week, but hey - at least people can buy an assortment of musical frisbees from me. 

My reason for hopping on the blog machine here wasn't to complain about how much shit I did or didn't bring with me, more to complain about how strangers interact with someone who is obviously carrying too much shit in a crowded place, such as an airport. It may seem foreign to many modern travelers, but sometimes you have to move larger items with you from one place to another. 

When traveling light and observing others undertaking the sweaty, frustrating task of maneuvering an overpriced, precariously overpacked luggage trolley with one broken fucking wheel with one hand, and carrying a poorly designed un-stackable convex guitar case with the other,  I automatically give them a wide berth, perhaps even let them ahead of me. If something falls off (BOUND to happen), I may even run to help them at an alarming speed, so as to unwittingly make them feel like I am about to steal their unwieldy belongings right at their time of crisis, with a smile that is meant to say "LET ME HELP", but in fact comes across as "I MIGHT STAB YOU AS WELL AS STEAL THIS". 

Not once have I ever stood behind them waiting for a lift, and then BARGED in front when it arrives to ensure my place.  I swear I saw it coming.  I felt his pink and grey argyle sweater draped over his neck and fake tan burning a hole in the back of my head with fully charged self-importance lasers.  One of the other folks waiting for the lift even piped up, offering a "how rude!' to the man on my behalf, AND THEN PROCEEDED TO GET IN THE LIFT, THUS FILLING IT UP AND ADDING TO THE PREDICAMENT.  I thanked the man loudly, while leaning into the crowded (yet mostly smiling and amused) lift, before pressing the button again, muttering something to the effect that he must be a fucking surgeon off to an emergency dickhead transplant or something. Whatever. Sounded better at the time.  

Finally got down the one level needed to access the hotel shuttles. Took my bags off the trolley outside the correct and corresponding stop, well and truly frazzled and irritated. Surely this is the end. Nope. Immediately I did the most British thing possible: 

Man: “Sir, are you using this cart?” 

Me: “Hi! Sorry, no. Please, all yours.”

Why the fuck I led with an apology I’ll never know. Tends to be my default. Anyway. 

Cue hotel shuttle that comes roaring up to the curb, and then keeps driving before screeching to a halt 150 feet away from where I am standing, trolley-less, bewildered and dazed and entirely too warm.  This is going to take two trips, and faith that the airport system gives you sixteen and a half seconds to claim an unsupervised bag before a SWAT team swoops down on ropes from a helicopter and blows up my underpants. 

I made it on the bus. Sat down, all bags accounted for, when a lovely gentleman to my right says “Blues Alive At Sea Cruise?”  I looked at him and said:

“uh, oh yes. YES. I AM. GOD. YES. THANK YOU. THAT IS WHAT I AM DOING HERE”.  I was totally unaware at this point in my journey as to what in the actual fuck I’d left the house for this morning. Normally its milk.  It was a bonus to re-discover something more exciting was afoot. 

“And who are you playing with?”

“um, Davy Knowles.”

“AH! Fantastic, I said to my wife here, that looks like Davy!” His wife nodded in agreement.  I had no idea how I looked right now, aside from possibly deranged.

This man during the short trip to our hotel had assessed the ridiculous state in which I had entered the courtesy shuttle, and as we pulled up to the Marriott, quietly and politely said: 

“How about I grab this guitar for you, I have a spare hand.”

My dear man, I didn't get your name, but you have NO idea what that meant to me.  




No Place Like Home

I'm traveling through Dublin airport again,  on my way back to the Isle Of Man.  

I'm accompanied by my usual traveling companions, sans guitar.  Old worn leather backpack, passport, boarding passes. Coat that is far too warm for the inside of an airport.  I refuse to carry it though.  I'll never get the attire right for aeroplanes or airports. 

I've lived in the States for a long time now,  but as soon as I touch down on this side of the Atlantic,  there's always that lovely warm familiarity that hits me.  Things start to look like how they did when I was a kid. People talk funny - a bit like me.  It's raining. The chocolate isn't shit anymore. It's the little things I think. I could do without the crap bubblegum Euro Pop music that blares out on every tinny little speaker though. 

I'm lucky enough to have two homes.  At least that's how I think of it. Hell, right now some folks don't even have one. I'm lucky. I have a wonderful life in the States, a nice, cozy, apartment in a nice part of Chicago. Lovely friends. A marvelous Fiancee who frankly puts up with way more than she should. I have a pretty cool job too. I like it. It suits me. Like I say, I'm lucky. I'm happy.  Things are good. 

Doesn't stop me from missing home #1 though. The original home. The one that you don't get to choose.  My home #1 isn't better than yours, or anyone else's.  I don't think it matters where home #1 is. This one just happens to be mine, and it is rather lovely. Lots of open space, green (it rains a lot) , the sea, friendly people (although I heard crime is spiraling out of control at the moment there.  A gentleman appeared in court recently for fishing in a designated worm-dangling reservoir 30 minutes after it had technically closed.  I hope they throw the book at the bastard). It's pretty idyllic really,  and i'm sure I mention it a lot, but I feel very lucky to be from there. 

I'm also lucky to do an enormous amount of traveling. I spend more time doing that than playing the shows i'm traveling to get to.  So really, I guess i'm a professional nomad. It's brilliant. I wonder when someone will turn around and find me out.  I'm not sure I can hack a real job.   

I get to meet a lot of people while nomad-ing.  I like people. They are inherently good, with the odd total arse thrown in that makes you squirm.  They're put there to make sure you appreciate most people aren't like them.  

When meeting new people one of the icebreakers is always "where are you from?". What a great question. I like that one. 

We're all from somewhere. We may have moved elsewhere. Some of us may not even remember what it was like where we're from. But we carry it with us. Everywhere. It's a lovely thing. That's why it breaks my heart to see a huge portion of the world forced out of their home #1, then get treated like pests when they try and scramble a life together in possible home #2. I'm sure they didn't want to leave home #1. I guess it's hard not to when you fear for your lives on a daily basis though. I'm not going to get political, don't worry. It just breaks my heart.  

So, here I am. Laden with coffee, entirely too warm in a huge coat, and feeling very fortunate and grateful to be going back to my home #1.  Missing home #2 (i'm always missing one or the other),   but my problems are few, my shoulders are light, and my heart is full.  

I'll send you guys postcards.