Friday, June 30, 2006

Apparel in Paris?

Well, the trip started out with a snag. We were under a "ground hold" in Nashville due to the incessant rain on the East Coast that left the Newark airport way behind schedule. We finally left Nashville two hours late and subsequently missed our connecting flight to Paris. After much cajoling and pleading, we managed to catch a plane to Bristol, UK and then a connection to Charles De Gaulle airport in Paris. Unfortunately a few of the band members did not get their luggage and it is still MIA as of last night.

The late arrival in Paris left our plans of seeing the Louvre in tatters, so we spent the day resting and drinking coffee to get on "local time". I took a Lunesta on the plane to Bristol and woke up just before we landed. No sleep hangover, no side effects.

The European power is based on 50 cycles as opposed to the 60 cycle standard in th U.S. Some of the electronic devices we use have no problem with that, but the power supply on my pedalboard (which Bob Britt is using) blew up. The other, identical power supply on Billy's board (which is also mine) is fine. Hmmmm.

The gig in London the following night was at the legendary Hammersmith. A rather old and a bit shabby theater, it was sold out and we had a great crowd. Mick Fleetwood, a friend of Billy and George's came by and I got to meet him. Very nice and very tall.

The curfew in London was 12:30, and like Paris before it, there was the threat of being locked in if we did not get the trucks loaded and on their way. This makes the "out" a little more chaotic than I would like, but the local crew was great and we got out of there on time.

The trip to Antwerp, where I am sitting in a hotel and writing this post, consisted of three hours on the road, a 90 minute ferry ride, and three more hours of overland travel. On the ferry from Paris to London, I got up and had breakfast at about 4:00 a.m. This time, I elected to remain sleeping on the bus and got a little more rest, which was most welcome.

It takes a few gigs to get a flow going, so everyone is keeping a positive attitude and trying to figure out the best way to do everything so that it becomes a routine. Now that we are back on the Continent, the drives become shorter for the most part, and we will not need to rush.

I had dinner at McDonald's: A Royal Cheese is what the 1/4 Pounder is called here and Diet Coke is "Coke Light". Ketchup is an extra 40 cents (Euros). Normally I woud eat something more nutritious and local, but a bunch of the crew and band took a sight-seeing train ride and I have not run into anyone I know all day.

I bought a Harry Potter book from the "English" section of a book store, since I only brought magazines and guitar instructional books with me on this trip, and I have already read the magazines cover-to-cover on planes, buses and ferrys. I do have a "Playing Cribbage to Win" book, but it has not paid off yet, since Britt has been beating me by a few pegs in most of the hands we have played.

Suprisingly, I have not met any English guys on the crew who play cribbage, but there is an American merch guy from Ohio who plays Euchre, so maybe we can find a third and a fourth.


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