Well, sorry to say it but we are unable to come to the UK at the end of the month. We were looking forward to playing the Dot to Dot festival but we couldn’t square it financially. Lame, I know, but we aren’t personal friends with Warren Buffett. Our deepest apologies to everyone that helped us and we hope to have the opportunity to make it up to you one day. Plus, that crazy volcano just erupted again in Iceland so maybe we are lucky…
Often when we are traveling around different countries I fantasize about having my own satellite vehicle to transport my stuff. How great would it be to have a little mini truck where you can just toss everything in the back and hit the road? Well, in actuality, I think it would be pretty horrible. You’d go deaf just listening to the whining motor, wind flowing freely through every joint in one of these little trucks and you passing out from exhaustion. Some of them are electric, which is great, but they also mostly have a top speed of 30 mph. Ok, sure, i can’t walk that fast, especially with 300 lbs of musical equipment on my back, but that hardly seems like a viable solution. On the other hand, a car that gets 10,382 mpg (4,896.1 km/l) is not too shabby. http://tinyurl.com/3jgo3un Nice going, Team Polyjoule! Can you make us a van that goes more than 30km/hr and that can carry more than .5 kilos? Somewhere in this mess there’s a solution waiting to be discovered-a small, efficient, quiet transportation device. Or you could toss all your stuff into the big plastic ocean and call it a day.
Anyway, Ã propos to nothing, I thought I would mention the Chevy Vega. This car was not one of the finest cars made and at the time it was released I thought it looked pretty terrible. I think the look of some of the models have aged pretty well, though. That’s more than can be said for the mechanics or weather resistance. I think it’s fair to say that the car could go at least 100 miles before it broke down and that the fine paint schemes were what really held all that rust in one place. It was apparently more of a focus group management designed car so it suffered from some serious drawbacks, namely being a piece of garbage. When they shipped it on trains, it was loaded into the cars vertically and flipped out like a panel upon delivery. Now, that’s pretty classy even if it maybe meant that the oil and gas could all pool in the trunk. So, here’s to you, Chevy Vega – you are gone and almost forgotten.
Wow, did I screw up. I completely forgot to mention that I finagled the rockers to go see yet another house with me while we were in Utrecht. It turns out Gerrit Rietveld designed a house here for Truus SchrÃ¶der-SchrÃ¤der in 1924 using all the principles of his loosely knit group, De Stijl. Unfamiliar with Rietveld and De Stijl? Well, that’s the roughly formed group that included Piet Mondrian and Theo van Doesburg. They believed in linearity, simplicity and abstraction sticking mainly to straight horizontal and vertical lines and rectangles. Their color palettes consisted of black, grey and white and primary colors blue, yellow and red. So, this house is apparently the truest form of this ideology – imagine a Mondrian in 3-D. You know how everyone loves 3-D these days. Sadly, this UNESCO house is no TV, but it is pretty fantastic looking. You should check it out if you are ever in Utrecht – Rietveld SchrÃ¶der House, Prins Hendriklaan 60, 3583 Utrecht, The Netherlands
1. Word on the street is that Mondrian left De Stijl when Theo van Doesburg dared to use green and diagonal lines in his paintings. Van Doesburg published a treatise that said it was actually better to use diagonals. Chaos ensued.
1. Did you know Dick Bruna was very influenced by De Stijl? Did you care? He’s the one that does all those cute little Miffy rabbits. At first I was all excited because the guy at the gift shop told me he was part of De Stijl but after a little detective work I found out Dick Bruna was born in 1927 and De Stijl essentially dissolved with the death of van Doesburg in 1931 – that would make Bruna a De Stijl-ist at the age of 4 max. How precocious! Then again, I suppose it wasn’t really a tightly formed group so I guess we can all be De Stijl-ists. Paramount De-Stijlist. Oh, but I kid.
Well, we did it. We survived a brutal 2 day tour including all you can drink beer, all you can eat cheese and bread and so on. It was a hardship but we did it because we are a team – a team that stands up for each other and says, “yes, I WILL have one more beer.” I went to sleep at 5 and woke up at 9. Why? Was it because my deluxe suite was facing directly east and thus 1200 degrees kelvin? no. Was it because of the construction noises outside despite an economic global meltdown of epic proportions? no. Because of cultural guilt – how often are you in Brussels with a whole day to see stuff? For me, it seems like every year at least, but I’m not everyone. And everyone can’t see the city, so let’s go. It was a beautiful sunny day and there was plenty of stuff to see and a nice relaxing lunch to look forward to before I took the train back to Paris and the chief went back to Vienna. It’s sort of like a James Bond movie without any killing, cool soundtracks, people with absurd names and life or death situations.
So, that’s it. I walked around, looked at a bunch of stuff, went to the flea market at Place du Jeu de Balle which apparently is amazing. It means Place of the Ball Game or something. I didn’t see any ball game but I did see a whole lot of expensive stuff. With the dollar at $1.45/euro, everything is pretty expensive, I suppose. I saw lots and lots of belgian chocolate that all looked worthy of eating by the handful, especially since Easter is in the air and they’ve got their marketing mojo finely attuned. All in all, not a bad day of culture. All for you, brain. Don’t say I never did anything for you.
This is where it all happens – Brussels! Governments collapse, citizens speak french and dutch, they mix metaphors, they eat cheese AND chocolate, they have babies named Hercule Poirot. We are playing in a complex called Le Botanique – an old arboretum transformed into three concert spaces, a museum, a restaurant and a beautiful outdoor garden/terrace space where you can get sunburned while watching Big Banks in the distance melt down. Impressively, the government helps pay for this (I believe this to be true which should stand as fact). Today there is a reggae band playing in the big hall and we are playing in La Rotonde – the central domed atrium, i.e. the most awesome part of the whole complex. It’s exceptionally well run and after walking around Brussels and seeing a bunch of old shit, I, as an american, am compelled to shovel as much bread, cheese and chocolate into my gourd as I possibly can. Surely, I will regret this one day – that being the future, I do not care, for what has the future ever done for me? Nothing. Nada. Niente. Rien. Nyet. Thanks a lot future. See you tomorrow. Anyway, this place is a little bit like playing in heaven if heaven had a smoke machine and an alarmingly strong smell of beer soaked wood. I am very happy to play here and the sound is perfect. I am a rock legend tonight in my own mind, which is all that matters. Simon makes some extremely ominous noises, Chris throws a little fairy dust on it and Scott warbles and gurgles and we are off! Done! Check! Now we fade into the darkness, mundane, grey and obscure. Time for the house party in fairyland – down the street we are transported into some sort of half Patti Smith “I’m in the gutter” and half “this is a Cinderella story” house party. We are in a four story house where the first floor has extra high ceilings and doubles as a concert space for big parties. Wow. Some guys have all the luck, and some parties have all the Barbara Panthers. GrÃ¼ss Gott!
Today we wake up in Simon’s amazing place in Antwerpen – it’s a massive loft that makes even a hardened New Yorker drool. Wait, that’s all New Yorkers do anyway: drool over real estate. It’s a New York malady. What can we do? We thirst. We hunger. Anyway, it was cool and we are off to meet up with Chris to get this “tour” started. It’s a massive 2 day 2 country tour-whirlwind, jetset, mind boggling. We are off to Utrecht and Simon has offered to drive us in his belgian chariot – though I’m pretty sure this car is japanese. Utrecht will be the first show and it will be exciting to hit the road again. We are playing with a band from Utrecht called Sideditch – a very nice bunch of fellas who daringly play with glow in the dark drumsticks on one song. What’s not to like? Sadly, the concert hall is pretty far outside of Utrecht so there’s not much chance to see the town for us map challenged alcohol chasers.
Today I take the train from Gare du Nord to meet up with the chief at the Brussels airport – he’s flying in from Vienna full of sausages. I’m excited because I love the train and going to any of these train stations is always fascinating. Really brings out my 8 year old train geek side – hopefully I’m able to subdue that in everyday social situations. The Thalys is really fast – only about 1 1/4 hours to Brussels from Paris. The trick is buying a ticket and making the airport train connection while dodging heroin addled crusties with their cute little rabid dogs. That is a tall order since apparently you have to have a belgian credit card ONLY to buy a ticket from the machine. I know I can be thick but I could not figure out any way to buy a ticket from these machines that take no cash. There were no ticket windows anywhere that I could find so I missed the train. In fairness, I had about 4 minutes to get off the Thalys and get a ticket and figure out which platform the train was leaving from. Anyway, I missed the train and wound up taking this old beaten up empty ghost train. It was really cool though I did think I was going to end up on some train spur somewhere murdered by an axe wielding belgian. Well, it all worked out, I met the chief and Simon picked us up and we are setting off for the bar to have the best beer in the world from Lara from Intergalactic Lovers.
Hi there! We are getting ready to play some shows in Holland and Belgium this week. Looking forward to going to Utrecht and Brussels. We are playing in Utrecht at DBs and in Brussels at le Botanique.