November 11, 2004
5:43 AM

November 11th-Veterans Day!! Also, it's my birthday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY to ME!!! 35 years old and I am lying face down on a futon mattress in the city of Brighton, England. Monica is sleeping next to me and things feel pretty darn good (I do have a slight sore throat, but that seems to be the norm these days). To be honest, I still feel exactly the same as I did when I was 21 years old. And in fact I'm still living the exact same lifestyle. Still playing music, touring in low budget accomodations, eating bargain late night foods, driving the same car, going to punk shows, having very little responsibility, and loving every minute of it (almost every minute of it). And though I should be sleeping, the wonderful world of jet lag is kicking in hard. Falling asleep just 4 hours ago, I should be in a deep sleep, but NO........I'm wide awake.

My travels have put me in a small flat on top of a mod/punk clothing store called PUNKERBUNKER. The owner (Buz) has been kind enough to put myself and Monica up for the first few days we're in England. We arrived yesterday at 1 PM via British Airways. Perhaps one of my best trans-atlantic journeys. The 10 hour flight was bolstered by an extremely strong tail wind which put us in England an hour early. A self controlled tv monitor was at my disposal the entire flight. With 18 channels to choose from and the following movies: KING ARTHUR, ALIEN VS. PREDATOR, BOURNE SUPREMACY, OPEN WATER, SPIDER MAN 2, JERRY MAGUIRE, 101 DALMATIONS, some movie with Ashley Judd, I ROBOT, HARRY POTTER (The most recent one), about 12 different random TV shows and I believe that was it.

With this much stimulation for my pea brain, I had a hard time sleeping on the flight. I did manage at least an hour of sleep on the plane, but I should have turned off the darn tv and slept some more. ARGHH!!! Upon arrival, we went through customs and my stress started to rise as I always feel some sort of anxiety when going to another country. Some voice keeps telling me that I'm gonna get deported. Maybe it's because I didn't have a work permit and with past entries saying that I was a working musician would put me in some "DON'T LET THIS GUY IN THE COUNTRY WITHOUT MAJOR QUESTIONING" category, but it was pretty easy getting through. The gentleman working immigration even said to Monica "Make sure he gets lots of presents" in the thickest British accent. With 4 bags of luggage and my guitar we were juggling quite a bit of stuff, but were able to manage alright. Our first stop was getting some British Pounds. Unfortunately the US dollar is pretty weak right now. It's 2 US dollars to 1 British pound and 400 dollars gave us only 194 Pounds. Hopefully that'll be enough til' the first show where I'll get paid and hence, some money to spend.

Now it was off to Brighton, but we were taking the train so we had some figuring out to do. Fortuntately Monica was with me to navigate as I'm sometimes helpless in these situations. The London Underground was our first venture where we would transfer once and arrive at the Victoria station. A total of 3.80 pounds each for this travel. This put us in a big station that has a national railway. We bought rail passes in the US, so this part was free, but I'm guessing it would be around 20 pounds each or 40 bucks US for you math majors. Arriving in Brighton I called BUZ up, but got the voice mail right away. I left a message and then tried again right away, but the voice mail came immediately. At 30 pence a call this could get expensive. I really didn't know what to do since we were in a foreign land, with just a phone number and nowhere to go. Plus it was getting quite cold. We walked outside the station and headed into a cafe. We ordered up some food and I tried calling again, but no luck. I pulled out my laptop wondering if they had wireless service in this cafe, but the woman said "No...sorry". But we were picking up somebody's signal because I was barely getting a 1 and 2 bar signal. I emailed Buz with the subject: HELP!!! I'M IN BRIGHTON!! and within 20 minutes he was at the cafe. INCREDIBLE!!

A short ten minute walk put us at PUNKERBUNKER. Getting a place to put our bags was such a relief. Monica took a nap and I chatted with Buz for a few hours. Though my body and mind were failing due to lack of sleep. I was determined to stay up late and sleep well through the night (That worked well eh?) Monica woke up and along with BUZ'S girlfriend (I forgot her name) we went for a walk through town and a couple of pubs. BUZ took us to this small place that brews it's own beer and I had an ESPRESSO STOUT. A thick guiness style beer that was brewed with coffee. It was quite good and perhaps is the reason I'm awake right now??? More walking and then another PUB, where I just had water. And finally back to Buz's home. We stopped on the way to get some Curry and Naan, which is always a good thing for me. After some food in the belly I was delirious, but our hosts were still up showing us DVD's of bands. We watched a band called LIGHTING BOLT which I had heard good things about, but at the same time I couold barely keep my eyes open. I figured that I had been up for 33 hours with only 1 hour sleep and before that had only slept 5 hours the night before my departure totalling 6 hours of sleep in a span of 54 hours. And here I lie wide awake wondering if I'm gonna get sick from no sleep. Oh dear!! Why do I think so much? It's now 6:24 AM as I've taken quite a long time writing this up. I'm gonna try to get back to sleep. Be well ladies and gentlemen.

Peace always,
Mike Park