Well, it may yet be that but so far I have more ugly stories than pretty pictures.
We started the trek with a tiring but uneventful 14-hour-so hop to London Gatwick on Saturday, to connect to Glasgow. A seemingly innocuous oversight led to a horrible situation when we tried to cross UK immigration without work visas. I and most of the others breezed right through on vague descriptions of a leisure trip, jamming with some buddies, etc., but the stories unraveled when four of us were caught standing around looking like a band, peeking around the corner at the last two trying to talk themselves out of a hole.
We were escorted back to the other side and bit by bit they got the real “work” related nature of our journey. They were not happy about our deception, a word used a lot in that interrogation. We were one-by-one escorted to a room to be fingerprinted, and led to believe questioned. When we each arrived in the “waiting room” we realised that the door had no handle, the room had no windows, and that we would be waiting for a very very long time.
There we were for the next 24 hours. Flourescent lights, metal benches, concrete floors, and not much else. We would have taken tons of pictures to kill the time, but were not allowed, phones, cameras, laptops, belongings of any kind actually. Our link to the world was a pay phone which cost us about £2 per minute to call our American lifelines’ voicemail. A few other detainees were there, sadly it looked like most because of their ethnicity and dress. We made a couple of friends though, a cute schoolteacher and a kind of crazy but sweet model, both Canadian. Canadienne? Anyway. We played charades. We slept on disposable but dirty pillows, under those silver plastic “blankets” for camping and emergencies.
Our UK driver, Matt, and a friend of his at Monotreme records (look it up, great bands) came through in a big way coordinating information with our label and agent, and submitting papers to try to get visas. These papers had to clear by 10am or we were being shipped back where we came from at 10:40, no questions, no options.
Our hope faded as we were prisoner-walked through back hallways of the airport. Literally as our boarding passes were being de-perforated(??) and we were walking our very stinky butts down the entrance ramp, a phone rang. The working papers had been approved. The mental-emotional rollercoaster of that moment was indescribable.
We turned straight back, now treated like VIP instead of prisoner. The officers parted a sea of travelers for us to march though, the whole crowd staring at us like “honey, is that Coldplay?” We were whisked though immigration and customs and were on our way (by van) to Scotland.
Having missed the Inverness date, our first show was tonight in Aberdeen. The venue was old and pretty, the people were very nice, especially Travis and their crew. These are going to be great people to spend the next 2 weeks around. The boys played very well for 1200 people, and I did my best crash-course at the helm of an unfamiliar digital spaceship (Digidesign Venue). Started good and it’s going to get great.
Then we broke off the end of our only key in the back lock of the van. These are very fancy secure locks which don’t lock without a key. Aberdeen’s 24-hour locksmiths don’t answer phones. Justin and Marc are sleeping/guarding the van now. I should probably sleep for a minute and call locksmiths at 7. We have great opportunity and potential here, but we are sure earning it.