Posts tagged ‘Staind’
They promised us an exciting night of Balkan Boogie and Gypsies, and since I needed to schlep into the city to collect my Staind (avec Seether) ticket for their gig at the Astoria in January (yeah, I’m going to see them AGAIN), it seemed like a good idea to make a night of it. My friend made the drop (with the ticket) on the steps of St. Paul’s Cathedral, and off we went to what is apparently an Italian restaurant by day, and a Romanian restaurant by night. (Those cossetted city boys probably can’t handle anything more exotic than a plate of spag bol for lunch anyway.)
Our authentic Romanian meal (very good, I might add) was served by a rather cute and authentic Romanian waiter with a tiny silver spear through his left eyebrow (I thought the Romanians only put these things through the hearts of vampires? I guess times have changed…). I couldn’t help noticing that he always made certain some part of him was in contact with some part of me whenever he came to serve us. Now before you go getting all excited here, bear in mind that this was a respectable establishment in a respectable part of town – with St. Paul’s Cathedral within spitting distance, I might add!
While waiting for the live music to kick off, we were treated to an endless stream of pre-MTV black-and-white music videos (circa 1950s-60s) of Romanian singers and dancers – obviously an attempt to entertain us as we scarfed down our stuffed cabbage. It was amusing… for about five minutes, after which the natives became restless (or at least I did) and clamoured for the real thing. And at last we got it… though it wasn’t quite what I expected when I signed up for a night of Balkan music and Gypsies. The food and the waiter (and music videos) might have been authentic, but the band sure as hell wasn’t. Not unless Cornwall has suddenly been chopped off from Southwest England and moved to the Danube-Sava-Kupa line.
“Now Mitzi, will you please tell me what in heck Cornwall has to do with the Balkans?” I can hear you asking. Well, you’d best direct that query to the Ragged Trousered Philanthropists – a “Balkan” band from – you guessed it – CORNWALL. Indeed, their pedigree becomes ever more dubious when you discover that their lead singer has a heavy-duty Cockney accent coming from beneath his waxed handlebar tache. I have to admit I really enjoyed them, despite the song they did about cockroaches and despite the argument I had with my friend about the age of their drummer – a lad I placed at about 12 years old and he placed at about 21. We did agree on one thing – that someone either spiked the sour beef soup we had for a starter or our vision was much worse than we thought, because we both swore that the band’s name was misspelled on their bass drum, reading Philantropist, not Philanthropist. Photographic evidence has proved us both wrong, however. From now on, I think I’m going to start hanging out with people who can see better than I do. (Anyone have Stevie Wonder‘s phone number?)
Philanthropist, Shilanthropist, it was all good fun. The band’s music had a very Russian flavour to it, with that manic speeding-up tempo that makes you want to abandon your chair, drop to the floor and start kicking your legs up into the air. In fact, I kept expecting the Russians at the table behind me to suddenly break into one of these Cossack breakdance routines that would’ve put my back out for sure if I dared to attempt it. Sadly, I had to content myself with banging the flat of my hand onto the table in time with the music. I still can’t move my fingers.
Now no self-respecting faux-Balkan band would have been complete without faux-Romany Gypsy girls dancing and jumping about and making that nasty little trilling noise with their tongues (I kept wondering if I’d somehow ended up at a Middle-Eastern wedding). And yup, we had ’em aplenty. In fact, more and more kept turning up throughout the evening, one of whom looked like a reject from Camden Town with her multicoloured dreadlocks and tattoos, another I’m sure had to be named either Sharmila or Preethi and was about as Romany Gypsy as Dame Edna Everage. I had to feel sorry for the poor Romanian waitress who kept dodging them with plates of food – she didn’t look at all happy. Frankly, I’m surprised one of the Gypsy girls didn’t end up with a stuffed cabbage stuffed up her –
On that note…
Okay, let’s get this straight: I’m a car person. I started driving when I was just a wee lass of 15. I’ve always gone everywhere in a car. Having spent a bit of time in California, particularly in the hardcore car culture of Los Angeles, I can definitely say that I often feel as if I’ve had my legs cut off living a car-less life in Britain. It’s not that I’m “green” – rather I’m simply too skint to own a car. (Subliminal message: buy more books buy more books!!!!!!!!!!!!)
Which relegates me to the glorious dregs of public transportation, where you can experience a lifetime’s worth of experience just trying to get home from an evening out. Mind you, not all experiences are worth having. I mean, living in a cave with Osama bin Laden isn’t an experience I’d wish to partake of. I wouldn’t care to shack up in a cave (or anywhere else for that matter) with Robbie Williams either. Or George Clooney. Or Nicholas Cage. As for Andrew Garfield (oy, such a nice Jewish boy!) … now you’re talking! And let’s throw in Jamie Draven while we’re at it. If Osama still insists on lurking around, we can always get him to make the kebabs. But that meat had better be Halal!
Right, so where was I? Oh, yeah, trying to get home. I can write a book about this, believe me – and who knows, maybe one day I will. Perhaps another in my Erotic Travel Tales
Ca) anthology series. Erotic Travel Tales on British Public Transport – now there’s a catchy title. Or how about Erotic Tube Tales? Err… no, better scrap that one! Speaking of which, I always need the tube (London Underground to you non-Brits) and the train to get home. Note that I’m not factoring in the bus in this discussion, since I tend to avoid them now that I’m living in the Greater London area. I’ve had my fill of psychotic drivers who slam on the brakes in a standing-room only bus, then sit back and enjoy the mayhem. These early-release programmes from prison just don’t work, in my humble opinion.
The other week while waiting on a train platform, I observed a young couple arguing heatedly over the controversial subject of mayonnaise. And yes, I mean that creamy white stuff you slather onto bread when you make a sandwich. I edged discreetly away from the pair, concerned there might be bloodshed. I mean, a discussion of mayonnaise would surely have propelled even a peaceful chap such as Mahatma Gandhi into the ranks of ASBO status. Things soon calmed down, however, when the fellow nearly broke into tears, proclaiming to his woman in a sledgehammer urban London accent that he wanted to be the best he could be for her (a rather syphilitic-looking specimen), and that he was concerned for her health (bit late for that, mate!). I almost wept I was so moved. Well, no, actually I didn’t.
The night would later reach a climactic crescendo as I walked home from the railway station and happened upon a quartet of lads with pint glasses in hand, whereupon two of them (the lads, not the pint glasses) proceeded to urinate the lager they’d been consuming all evening against some unsuspecting trees. (I’ve heard of taking the piss, but this is ridiculous!) They didn’t seem bothered about me, although that’s probably got more to do with the fact that I don’t look like I belong, since I don’t go around with my arse (and the bit wot goes in front) sticking out from under my skirt or my boobs falling out of my top or – the ultimate giveaway – staggering about shriekingly drunk on heels so high they’d give a normal woman (or trannie) nosebleed. Nope, I’m definitely not one of these fair English maidens who end the evening unconscious in a gutter with an all-new strain of STD incubating in their loins.
Now I suppose I could regale you with some tales of true horror, but that wouldn’t be fair. After all, it’s not all gloom and doom in the big bad world of British public transport. Why, I’ve even had my fair share of romance on these journeys, and that doesn’t include eavesdropping on couples indulging in sweet-talk about Hellmann’s or being felt up in a crowded tube train – which luckily has never happened to me and likely never will, since I AM the woman who edited Getting Even: Revenge Stories (
Ca) remember? Anyway, one time there was this rather curious fellow across from me on the train making quick work of two large tins of lager who kept insisting I listen to the music playing on his iPod, as I was sure to “love it”. I told him I only love Staind. He seemed to believe my love would extend to the song he was playing (and perhaps to him). It didn’t. He was crushed. Bad enough I’d broken his heart, but when he got off the train at the same stop as me, well… let’s just say that I walked pretty darned fast up that hilly road home!
Then there was that proposal of marriage from a rather cute bloke who, in an empty train, decided to come sit near me (thank god for CCTV), only to spend the next few minutes gazing at me all starry-eyed. He finally blurted out something about my being a very attractive woman (so who am I to argue?) and pleading with me again and again to please please let him kiss me. He later called out to me to please please wait as I hurried along the station platform to the exit – and consequently, away from his matrimonially minded clutches. Last I heard he was heading off to Southend (or Sarfend as it’s known round ‘ere).
I admit London is probably the place to see and experience it all (whether you want to or not), but that’s not to say other cities in Britain are lacking in travel weirdness. The strangest (well, it’s a toss-up since it’s ALL pretty effing strange) was in a Leicester taxicab, where the driver held me hostage outside my flat as he begged me to let him take me out to dinner. He insisted he could make me happy; apparently he knew what I needed in my life and he could offer this to me – and I should give him a chance to prove himself. I gotta admit, that would’ve been one hell of an offer if he hadn’t been so keen for us to move to India – though I reckon it would’ve been a lot more exciting than Leicester. He wrote his mobile number on the back of the taxi company’s card, then grabbed my hand, not letting go until I promised to call him. Funny that he didn’t waive the fare though. Now THAT would have made me happy.
Gosh. I do hope he’s not still waiting for my call…
Yup, I figured I’d rope you in with that headline! I bet you’re imagining all sorts now – wild nights filled with endless amounts of Jack Daniels, weed, blow and, of course, sex. I mean, we are talking about the big bad boys of rock and roll (and the little erotic writer), aren’t we?
Well, the joke’s on you, baby!
I am speaking of the American alternative rock band Staind who, as many of you probably know, happens to be a major musical passion of mine. Several months back I secured a ticket to their gig at the O2 Arena (opening for Nickelback… arrgghhh…), then out of the blue on Tuesday night I received an alert on Facebook that they were playing a special gig at the Hard Rock Cafe in London on Wednesday night to benefit breast cancer. I couldn’t believe my luck when I was still able to get a ticket.
So off I went on the frequently unreliable London public transport system, reckoning on an interminable evening of standing for hours needing to pee and having nothing to drink and no one to talk to. Well, I couldn’t have been more wrong. Okay, so we had to queue outside in the ever-increasing cold till 7pm, and I was already panicking that I would lose a good spot inside because I’d need to nip to the loo the moment I entered the venue. I made the pierced lads in front of me swear they would save me a piece of floor, only to lose them once I got inside. It turns out I didn’t need them anyway. With complimentary pink fruity “virgin” cocktail in hand, I ran to the loo, did what needed to be done, and made my way to the head of the gathering crowd, using the excuse that I’m short to secure a place of honour right in front of the stage. I then proceeded to get comfortable and strip down to my Staind vest top (yes, the very same one that was waylaid in Denver the other day), using the lad on my left to hold my jacket and the one on my right to hold my drink.
As the Hard Rock crew came past with munchies (usually neglecting us poor sods at stage-front), a little party started up, consisting of me, the tattooed Glaswegian headbanger next to me, his lady friend from Essex (who was so kind as to buy me a bottle of Corona), and a slew of foreign students from India behind us. We had a gay old time chattering away, singing Staind songs, and exchanging names and emails. This went on for nearly two hours, since the band seemed to be occupied somewhere doing something (eating at McD’s?). Then finally at 9pm – the moment we were all waiting for! Alas, I forgot what it’s like to be directly in front of the speakers. Eh? Huh? What did you say?
I got caught up in the excitement of being up close and personal with my Massachusetts lads and ended up jumping about and screaming and singing along to “It’s Been Awhile” and “Outside” (two songs I die for) and occasionally hugging the headbanging Glaswegian, his friend, and the Indians in my joy at being there. (I’m sure there are photos of my disgrace in several cameras, including those belonging to band’s roadies). When the 50-minute set ended, requisite souvenirs were handed out to the audience, with the Glaswegian securing three Vic Firth drumsticks, one of which he gave to me, saying I “deserved it”. And it was definitely one the drummer had used – it’s generously stippled with the evidence.
After the gig, I went outside with my headbanging mate, who said he was going to try to meet the band. Having nothing to eat at home, I decided to hang about for the hell of it. Well, never did I expect to end up meeting the entire band, not to mention getting my photo taken with each of them. (I hadn’t even brought a camera – my new friends, who’d suddenly increased to include a musician, were kind enough to be my Alfred Eisenstaedt.) Lead singer Aaron Lewis even signed my drumstick. In all honestly, I can’t remember ever meeting a bunch of more down-to-earth guys who, at least from my observation, are refreshingly removed from bullshit celebritydom and really only seem to care about making art and taking it to the people. (Isn’t that what music is supposed to be about?) I only wish I’d asked Aaron to say hi to my bf on the phone, since a couple of people were handing him their mobiles.
Fortunately on the way home something prompted me to take the Jubilee Line to Stratford, for as I found out after I arrived, the Central Line had been shut down for the rest of the night due to some glitch or other. That’s the thing about London – you’ll be in a great mood, then turn into Jack Nicholson in The Shining when you can’t get to your destination. I often feel like I’m plotting war strategy when I go into the city, checking online that the trains and tube lines I need are running and that no one is striking or working on the lines… yet it’s usually in vain, since anything can happen despite one’s best-laid plans. Armed with drumstick in hand, I wasn’t the least bit concerned about my safety walking home from the train station after midnight. I held it clutched in my little hand, ready to use it as a prostate stimulator should any local yob take an unwanted fancy to me. Needless to say, I arrived at my door unharmed, save for the ringing in my ears.
Had I known how the evening would turn out, I’d have taken along a signed copy of one of my books to give to the band. (Wonder if they’d prefer Getting Even: Revenge Stories (
Ca) or The New Black Lace Book of Women’s Sexual Fantasies (
Ca)? I’m now beginning to think I should’ve had the rest of the guys sign my drumstick rather than playing favourites with Aaron. I’m also thinking I should’ve hit them up for a commission or, at the very least, be placed on the Staind payroll. Because thanks to me, a lot more people have heard of them. Hmm… Maybe I’m in the wrong business. I might need to have a friendly word in their shell-like when I’m at the O2 tomorrow night.
I don’t ski. And neither does my suitcase. However, it’s quite possible it will be in Colorado for the skiing season.
I suppose I shouldn’t really complain. My navy-blue American Tourister had a reasonably peaceful afternoon upon arrival on Saturday at San Francisco International Airport, where it was tagged and placed on a conveyor belt on its way to being deposited into the belly of an aircraft. At least it knew where it was going. Unlike myself, who spent several hours running back and forth between the pay phone and the airline check-in desk, wondering if I’d ever make it back to Blighty.
You see, I was supposed to fly to Denver, then change planes to London, had the flight to Denver out of San Francisco not been delayed by two hours, thereby making the connection an impossibility. Apparently San Francisco International Airport is notorious for delays, as is this particular airline. Several conversations with telephone reservations as well as the check-in people at the airport later, I ended up with a colourful hodgepodge of bookings, offering me routing through Chicago, Washington, and Los Angeles (along with a couple of standby reservations), the airline neglecting to mention that I was no longer on any Denver to London flights for either the original day or the following day, despite my being told at check-in that I had two bookings from Denver to London for both Saturday and Sunday, and despite my suitcase being checked through from San Francisco to Denver to London, and despite my boarding passes from San Francisco to Denver to London, and despite a non-refundable Denver hotel reservation only moments away from being booked and paid for. (The airline refused to pay for a hotel.)
Who is this glorious airline? Will I be sued if I tell? Let’s just say that their name begins with a “U” and ends with a “D”. And I will avoid them like the bloody plague next time I get my arse booked on a flight to America.
By the time I made what would be (or so I thought) my final flight booking, which was to be via LA (with yet another hotel room due to be reserved and paid for so that I could fly out to London the next afternoon), I went racing back through security to the check-in counter, jumped the queue (don’t cross me when I’m stressed), and tried to get my suitcase back. Well, U****D wasn’t having it, despite the nearly two hours they had in which to retrieve it. So while I was panicking about having to stay at a hotel overnight with nothing but the clothes on my back and a couple of Granny Smith apples, someone FINALLY decided to do something that actually made a bit of sense: get me on another airline to London that same evening. Ergo I was placed on stand-by with British Airways (ahh… civilisation). After trekking to the international terminal and finally locating the BA counter (do they want people to actually find them???), a new boarding card was placed in my sweaty little hand.
Of course the fun wasn’t over yet. I must’ve looked either very dodgy or very deranged – or else it was because I came from the big bad domestic terminal and from another carrier, but I got singled out for an extensive security search. Now, get your mind out of the gutter – we aren’t talking strip search here, although I did receive the cheap thrill of getting air blown on me in some glassed-in cubicle. Ooh, the life of an erotic writer!!!!!!!!!!
Okay, I can take it; I’ve been through worse in my lifetime. But I definitely draw the line when it comes to my bear. You harm one hair on his furry little head and you’re dead meat, mate! Well, the poor guy was removed from his warm and cosy little backpack, placed on a cold metal table, and treated to the indignity of being manhandled by some security geezer at SFO. I sat by and kept a very close watch, since Teddy is still technically underage – and there ARE laws against this sort of thing in America. Teddy survived unscathed (wish I could say the same thing about myself), and Mr. Security Man offered us both a bright California smile. I should add that the gentleman seemed far more involved in a relationship with my shoes, a characteristic I find rather worrisome in a man.
Now for the contents of my errant suitcase: I’m quite worried about the fate of my sexy little Staind vest top, which I need for this Friday night, since I’m going to see the Massachusetts lads at the O2 Arena in London. Add to this some cookies from Trader Joe’s and the earrings I bought in Wales – these things are not so easily replaced. Teddy also had a nifty pair of shades in the suitcase, which sadly he never got to wear, since he spent most of his time in bed or else avoiding a rather dodgy feline character named Oliver.
It’s all well and good to file a lost baggage claim and get a few quid out of the deal, but trying to replace all those items, and taking the time to replace them… well, I’d rather have my suitcase back than a few paltry pounds in my pocket and the aggro of having to go shopping to try to replace what is, for the most part, irreplaceable. You see, I hate shopping. Yes, I am a woman who hates shopping. It takes me up to three hours just to buy a pair of knickers. Don’t believe me? Ask my mother, who thought I was kidnapped by sex traffickers at a Macy’s in South Florida when I vanished in the lingerie department.
All I can say is, that suitcase better bloody well get here and soon, or else there will be major hell to pay…