Tuesday January 10 2012 (LONDON)


Waking up at 10:30 a.m.

In the van. We’ve made plans to visit Stone Henge before we go to London.

Egg Salad Sandwich. Orange Juice.

Riding in the back of the van, in my usual seat by the window facing the back. The lush green countryside of England is beautiful, a unique looking farmland. I find myself daydreaming on ancient images of shires and farms and trolls and elves and princesses. There she is, a young damsel, walking carefully across the field clad in a slightly roughed up dress, wind blowing on her hair, and an innocent longing gaze right at me taunting me to march out to the hills and follow her...

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We arrive in a country English town where the GPS directed us to go but to our disbelief is the wrong place. They have a “Stone Circle” here but no Stone Henge. Turns out its only 45 minutes away.

And here we are. Stone Henge. Just a bunch of large stones set up deliberately in a circle up on a hill. For seven pound fifty we’re allowed to stay behind a wire and shoot a couple pictures. Tourists all over the place crowding up the walkway. There’s sheep grazing in a field nearby...

Zach: “Look at all those sheep.”

I laugh because I can't escape the metaphoric comparison to the tourists...

Me: “Which ones? Which ones are you referring to?”


Back on the road.

Banana. Japanese Pastry. Kit Kat.

Arriving in the busy streets of London. Red double decker buses and ancient English buildings. America’s New York doesn’t even compare in history or in color. But it’s still the same big city attitude and demeanor.

At the venue: The Bowery. This has to be the smallest club we’ve played on the tour. Only 100 capacity, but it’s sold out and with a full guest list.

I invited Maria Polanco to the concert tonight and she shows up. She’s a Virginia Beach native whom I know from our circle of friends back home. She’s attending college in Norwich not too far from London. Graham, her, and I grab a bite to eat at a café chain similar to Panera. I choose a Falafel Tomato Wrap with Salt n Cider Chips and a Mango Drink.

Graham takes off and its just Maria and I left to explore consumer-demanding Oxford Street. Sam, our driver, told me about a ridiculous retail store called Topman that sells really cool clothes along the lines of H&M or Urban Outfitters. We stumble upon it and take a gander inside. Four levels of expensive hipster wear. We admire the selections with no intention of buying anything whatsoever. £45 for a piece of cloth pinned together with safety pins? That translates to about $70. I guess I feel okay with spending my time in such a place since London is known for its fashion scene.

It’s interesting to talk with Maria considering we’ve never really shared too many words except for the run-ins at Show N Tells or other group situations. And here we are getting to know each other in London for the first time. We talk about the lifespan of long distance relationships to which she is currently in. I spew my scattered thoughts on the only repeating lover I’ve had over the past few years.

It’s a crazy hazy blur in the streets tonight. Catching some beautiful night shots that could almost pass for professional and make it into a few travel brochures. For a small $100 Kodak Easy Share digital camera and 10 megapixels I can’t complain. We stop into a classy coffee shop restaurant called Le Quotidien. Everything’s made of wood. Stylish urban Brits scattered about with their slick hair-dos and sophisticated glasses. Some reading poetry and some debating art. We settle for a pot of Coffee with Ginger Cake.


Walking back to the venue...sharing herbal cigarettes and sharing our love to take back alleys as opposed to open streets.

We make it back just in time. I rush onto the stage to set up my keyboards. It’s claustrophobic and sweaty in here. No room to breathe or even see where the crowd ends. There’s gotta be at least 120 heads. The show goes smoothly and with high spirits and sing-a-along voices. This is the last show. We all feel a certain kind of sadness that this European tour is over.

Afterwards. Gathering outside with the crew and all the bands, Kyoto Drive and Rookie of the Year. It’s tradition at the end of tour to photograph everyone involved. There’s so much laughter and love on this sidewalk it’s hard to contain. I’m gonna miss all these dudes. It was a short run but a well lived one for sure. Giving out goodbyes and it’s been real’s and keep in touch’s.

Late night food stop at a kebab place. Enjoying Lentil Soup with Pita Bread along with Olives and Pepperoncinis.

The promoter of the show lets us sleep at his flat rather than getting a hotel for the night because we have to be at the airport at 7 bright and early in the morning. Maria tags along as she doesn’t have a place to sleep as her train leaves later the next day. Her original plan was to not sleep and venture around the city until the departure time. But Graham offered his spot. So all of us are in this flat, just enough beds and couches. Maria and I take the fold out bed in the promoter’s bedroom. I figured it was appropriate since she didn’t know anyone else and there was limited space. I could tell she wasn’t tired so I give her my iPod to listen to and allow her to use my only pillow to which I take the couch cushion as a headrest instead.

Around 2:30 a.m. I doze off to the faint sounds of headphone music.

[i] All images by me.

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