Monday, July 09, 2007

The politics of personal space

I had almost forgotten the dark cloud of misery that lingers over ever Interpol tour that I have ever done. This one was a mild one, by our standards. We went through 6 truck drivers and 2 bus drivers. We lost (and eventually regained a few) 4 suitcases, one laptop and an entire stage's worth of band gear. Whenever I think that I'm having a hard time on tour I remember one, also Interpol, oddly enough, that took place several winters ago. We were touring mostly in Scandinavia and Northern Europe in the dead of winter. We had several busses break down on us. This was after the previous summer's joy of not having a bus at all, and doing a string of festivals on the equivalent of a greyhound. Some of us were flying budget airlines that took off and landed at odd hours and always about 60 miles outside of any major city. The rest were riding along with the support band (who was Bloc Party at the time) on their small, overcrowded bus with no heat. Bear in mind that we were in Scandinavia in January. In the course of about 45 minutes I saw our tour manager crumble into the form of a small, dreadlocked child. In Oslo, after having spent over a week hopping from city to city, braving broken busses, broken trucks. sickness, exhaustion and such. it all fell apart. The load out was a 30 yard concrete ramp at a 45-degree angle onto an icy street. After all the gear was packed, we climed on to the bus (the third maybe) and waited pensively as it refused to start. Our tour manager began pulling bags out of the bay in a furious rage, and in so doing ripped the handle straight off of mine. I think he may have wept momentarily before checking us into a budget motel (where we shacked up, 4 to a room, and I slept on a table) and booking us flights for 7 Am the next morning. Magical. These days when we spend a week on a bus that makes everyone miserable hopping from muddy festival site to muddy festival site I remember the dark cloud and the seeming curse that lingers over this group, and remember that it could be worse. Much worse. I wrote Jamie an email today moaning that I had just gotten of of an 11-hour flight in a middle seat crammed in the midst of an Indian family that seemed to have rather contrary thoughts on the Western standards of hygeine. I am all for not having alzheimers in your old age due to the aluminum content of your deodorant, but for fuck's sake maybe give that crystal thing a go, or cut down on the onions. That said, I realized this afternoon that I have had worse times, and I hearby rescind my previous glum mood on the matter. As an aside, the band and crew have arrived in NY, but the gear (amps, instruments, etc) are sitting on a runway in Heathrow. They are on Letterman tomorrow, so after their endless day of international travel the lot of them are scouring New York for new stuff. Hell on Earth.

Fuck the animals, fuck the zoo

I am back in San Francisco. My computer is still traveling in Portugal. I am picking off the last bits of caked mud from my pants, and settling in for the evening. It's been a long week.