March 14, 2008

2:49 PM
Oh my head hurts.. Cough Cough.. I love Europe so very much, but I just can't handle the smoke. Why does everyone smoke? Smoke smoke smoke smoke. Watching SUNDOWNER every friggin night in the UK and then again in Paris free from the tobacco is such a fond distant memory now. Having fun, singing along, dancing, blah blah blah at the shows has turned into hiding from the smoky bar up til' the time I play and then leaving as soon as I'm done. Doh!! That's not fun.

Last night in Budapest there was no escape. There was no back room, there was no adjoined sleeping quarter, and outside it was freezing, so I planted myself firmly in a chair and enjoyed the evening the best I could. Wondering how many packs of cigarettes were force fed towards the meaty part of my lungs. Yeah, I'm that dude:MR. ANTI-TOBACCO activist. My head pounds from the 2nd hand smoke and now I sit on a train feeling like I just aged 10 years. It's cool. You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have.. ummm yup.

Yeah, I don't want to keep spinning sour grapes here. But smoke free living in California for the last decade can put you in this frame of mind. It's something that everyone needs to experience. And so I move forward as today is a new day and though I am sure more smoke will fill the walls of tonight's show, I will take it in stride. Yup.. that's how I'll approach it.

Budapest. WOW!! Pretty place. We were picked up by Greg and Sebastian at the train station and they took us on a bellisimo journey that had us at a vista point overlooking the city. With the Danube River separating BUDA from PEST, we could see everything for miles and miles. And though my need to find a restroom battled this pleasurable experience and the fact that no toilet could be found, I still went WOW several times. We happened upon a HILTON hotel where we squandered in like homeless dudes to use the restroom and then the beauty of the city went into overdrive. YAY..... We rode busses, trams, the underground metro system, and walked all over. We ate yummy food, met good people, and took much pleasure in being planted firmly in Budapest for the first time.

The show took place at this great punk bar called KUPLUNG. Not sure what the word means, but it resided inside this bigger space that was full of young people enjoying the evening with conversation, drinks, cigarettes(of course), and a DJ spinning the tunes. It looked like a place where artists, musicians, etc. would hang out and it was just a lot of fun to see the energy of the city first hand.

We met a girl named TES who was playing with us. She hailed from Holland and played ultra political folk music. She reminded me of the female version of Jeff Ott. When I asked her if she was influenced by Jeff Ott, she said "Who". DOH!!. .
The show was fun, but to be perfectly honest, I'm just not feeling it right now.... in terms of playing music. My heart is not completely set on the music. This has been an ongoing problem I've had for years and years and again I'm at this point where I am just going through the motions on stage. Don't get me wrong, I'm very appreciative when it comes to playing music live, but I don't think I can ever truly escape certain issues I have. So I've swapped with SUNDOWNER these past few shows and I'm playing a shorter set and Chris is playing longer.

We found ourselves sleeping at a huge flat in the middle of the city. The ceilings were about 20 feet high. Unbelievable. And though the rent seemed reasonable, the locals informed us that the pay is pretty darn low, so it doesn't equate to the savings that one would think of. But yeah, these places would go for a mint if they were in San Francisco or even Chicago as Chris points out. A group of people headed back to the flat with us and so a small party continued through the night even though Hiro and I crashed out early. We heard SUNDOWNER come stumbling in a bit later as he climbed the stairs to a small loft in the room we were staying in. Probably not the smartest thing to do. I.E., let the drunk guy climb stairs and sleep 10 feet above us. Hmmmm....

We're now headed back to VIENNA where we'll take two more trains and then finally resolve in WIENER NEUSTADT. FUN FUN
Mike Park