August 10, 2006

10:30 AM
It's quite early for us as we're heading out to Nottingham to be tourists for the day. My mate Gurpal from previously mentioned city will be our gracious host and take us to Sherwood Forest, the castles, and other boyhood fantasies in hopes of meeting Robin Hood and Little John. Mmmmmm.. yup..

Sadly, I can't remember if I've ever been to Leeds before? I should know this, but though I've been to the UK 5 times, I still have a difficult time remembering where I've been. For the first time(this tour) it's starting to make sense. Damn, the years of traveling around the world and the memory is nill. Back to yesterday!! We arrived in town at a bit past 4 PM giving us a good 2 hours to explore the city. After dropping off our bags at the club, we headed towards the city center looking for food. In particular Indian Food or any good curry. This excursion was unsuccesful as our tight budgets have put us in the category of 5 pounds a day each. Which is kind of frustrating. I wouldn't mind spending a little more on food, but Hiro is on a super tight budget since he is gone for 2 months total which is a lot of income to lose from work and still pay rent back at home. We found a few restaurants, but we opted to keep searching for the cheapest option which would be the grocery store. With fresh baked breads, hummus, cheese, and fruit we ate a great meal for just pennies. Totalling less than 6 pounds for the three of us. This is the way to go. We'll have to do this more often. But the tour is almost over, so basically we've screwed up.

Back at the club, we meet up with the promoter who indulges me with a gummy bear type of candy that is for certain 98% sugar and 2% something else. It hypnotizes me, but fortunately I pull out before eating the whole bag. We decide to put out chairs and make it a sit down affair, which I actually enjoy quite a bit. Especially for acoustic music. There were two openers. Both solo artists and both comedians. Blending music and comedy to get their point across. To be honest, I quite enjoyed it, but the small space was quite hot and smoky. Cigarette smoke is the death of me. Don't people read the packages?? SMOKING KILLS!! Did you not get the memo. I should really try to make the shows non-smoking. It's so much more pleasant. But it made it difficult for me to stay inside and watch the performance. I had to duck out and get air every few minutes. The mate who played right before me was a skinhead from Leeds whom grew up listening to TWO TONE SKA, so we had lots in common. He was insanely funny. Better than many stand up comics I've seen. His first song was a parody of the mighty jungle. I think that's the name. Do you know that song. I wish I could sing the melody, then you would know. But he changed the words to take about POLAR BEARS and their quest to be white supremists in the animal kingdom. It had me on the floor as the penguins and killer whales schemed their ultimate demise. The only downfall was trying to go on after this performance. The place was hysterical with laughter and I would bring them down to their knees with just the opposite. Though I do blend humour here and there, I opted to go for an ultra serious tone. And to be perfectly honest I had a quite enjoyable time playing music. Really focussing in on the songs and playing my music.

At the last minute I realized we had no place to stay. Someone named Mikiko had offered us place through email, but nobody came up and introduced themselves to me, so I'm guessing they didn't show up. So a last minute plea for a home to sleep in put us in the hands of the sound woman named Sarah. It's the second woman sound engineer we've had on tour. More power to the women. I hate that this industry is so male dominated, so I'm always excited when women are involved. Anyways, a mate of Sarah's took us to her house as we piled into his company car which was filled with FARMERS WEEKLY. Yes, he is an agriculture buff. Why not??? We relaxed in the TV room as tea was shared by all. Sarah's housemates were up smoking herb and listening to Mastadon. Metal from Atlanta I believe. Damn, I forgot about the getting stoned and listening to music culture. I haven't done that since high school, but I know it's a daily function for millions of people around the world. But it was getting late and we wanted to sleep. When would they stop listening to metal?? Thankfully they turned in around 2 AM as we enjoyed the tea and wireless internet. It took me a bit to fall asleep. Perhaps it's because I'm drinking tea every night. But I want to do the British tea drinking whilst in England. It's so fun and somehow it does taste better with milk and sugar on this side of the Atlantic. WHY?? I have no idea.
Mike Park