Wednesday, April 24, 2002
We arrived in London yesterday — near 3 a.m. Detroit time (9 in the morning in the UK) and scurried around town with our tour guide and savior — a man named Jean-Luc who makes his living carting around American bands — picking up equipment and CDs and eating fish and chips washed down with pints. If not for the years of training drinking at the Lager until 5 a.m., all would have been lost. Bleary from jet lag and the constant stream of alcohol on the plane, we took the ferry and rambled through Paris in the dark, spotting all the monuments from Pink Panther movies and Dexter Gordon records.
A message to American bands: Forget the U.S. and get to France on the quick. The club we are playing tonight is called La Nef — all the red wine, French bread and Gauloises one can consume with a great sound system and ridiculously cinematic atmosphere. Ah, France.
Thursday, April 25, 2002
Last night in Angouleme was somewhat of a surprising success. By the time we took to playing about 10:30 we'd had a fair share of regional Cognac, Anisette and Pommereaux (this wonderfully nauseating beverage that is half sweet wine and half Cognac) and, despite little promotion, a good crowd had shown up. These two chubby, Frenchmen in front made the night by immediately falling in love with Deanne and hooting at her for the vast majority of the set. As far as I could tell they only knew two bits of English: "Let's fuck at your place!" (directed at Deanne) and "Dance contest!" — both of which were yelled at the top of their lungs at one-minute intervals, followed by much back-slapping and burping. In short they were very hard to dislike.
The morning hangovers faded easily beside the fountain and we took our time writing postcards and drinking coffee before we left for Evreux, about five hours to the north, just west of Paris.
Evreux could probably be best likened to the Wyandotte of France. It’s beat up and cheap with lots of bars and trashy-looking teenagers. I would write more but I still have no command of the stupid European keyboard.
Sunday, April 28
Rotterdam, a city so beautiful that it could actually make a person forget about France for a minute. The Waterfront Club is right off a big river that is crisscrossed by huge art deco bridges and lined with tight rows of three-story homes that look more fake than real. The place scores high points as far as the clubs go thus far — comically stoned multilingual sound guys (who kept fucking up during sound check, inspiring a "stop the grass!" out of Jean-Luc).
We were more or less obligated to find a coffee shop. Walking there, I learned exclamatory statements in French and ran into some kids who were really excited about Aloha (www.insomniaville.com/aloha) and the Aloha button, which I had pinned to my jacket.
Patrick went to great pains to teach me how to properly smoke hash so I will pass along all I know to those who don’t.
1) Take one Aloha pin (extended) and jam it through a Belgian waffle cookie.
2) Ball up a wad of hash and stick it on the tip of the pin.
4) Cover with a plastic cup, so that the cup fills with smoke.
5) Lift up a side of the cup and inhale smoke.
6) Repeat Step 5 until you start to talk about this great idea for an invention you have, eat chips and little coconut candy bars, lose the Aloha button, take a bunch of stupid pictures of people you don’t really ever care to see again and get really fascinated by all the strange buildings and bridges on the ride home.
Mom and Dad, I really don’t do drugs. I swear, but in Holland hash and hookers are both legal and … well it just seemed wrong to leave without the cultural experience that one of the two might provide. Sorry.
Monday, April 29
Tonight we are back in Belgium (sorry can't remember, pronounce or spell the name of the town) — playing a place called the Pits. It is tiny as hell and should be great. Even though the Vera last night has seen performances by the Pixies and the Flaming Lips and about a million other greats, I was actually more excited that the Pits has a picture of our own Christopher Handyside upstairs from the days when he used to run with the Henchmen. Could it be that I am on a pilgrimage — following the footsteps of the legendary former music editor of the Metro Times? One can hope.
Over and out,
Nate Handyside. We’re hoping Nate Cavalieri will eventually return to the States to resume his listings editor post. E-mail comments to [email protected]