Tuesday January 3 2012 (SLOUGH and GLASGOW)


The quietness in this small English hotel room is too overwhelming while I sleep. My body tried numerous times to awaken me earlier in the night. But now it’s 5:48 a.m. and I’m wide-eyed. The glowing blue night-light in the bathroom offers peace of mind. Zach is in the other bed breathing hard in his sleep. What am I going to do?


Hot shower.


Catching up on some writing and emails. Margot sends me an endearing email...

[<3 Hi! Imissyouiloveyou. Imdrinkyfacebutnottoomuchthatidontknowwhatimtalkingabout. Bemyboyfriendagainplease. We'repracticallytherealready. Getbacktome
Hope you can break my code haha ;)]


Hearty hotel breakfast: Eggs, Baked Beans, Toast, Warm Chocolate Filled Croissants, Strawberry Yogurt, Orange Juice.

Reading the tragic local news.


Traversing the cold rainy windy streets of Slough, an out of the way small town here in England, only an hour and half train ride to London. I feel like I’m tromping through the humpy sidewalks of Busch Gardens. I half expected to see signs directing me to roller coasters like Alpengeist and The Lochness Monster. But the paths and buildings here are genuine with an historic rich English image, quaint and sturdy flats. The style is reminiscent of the connective housing of Ghent in Norfolk or downtown Richmond, Virginia. Even the names of our cities and districts back in the states make it obvious our British roots.

The convenient shops. Unrefrigerated eggs on the dry shelves. Various croissants.

Inventive playgrounds with structures I only wish were around when I was young.

Waiting quite a while in the lobby with the guys for our driver Sam to pick us up. Sipping on a Cappuccino and reading a local zine.


It’s a Mercedes Sprinter tour van. Three seats facing the other three seats. The first half of the drive to Glasgow is a rainy dreary visual experience. Traffic delays and most of us staying in our meditative bubbles. Getting used to the right side steering and vehicles driving on the left side of the highway, or motorways as they’re known here. Zach accidentally spills the coffee he’s holding in his hand onto his crotch area after dozing off a little bit. Then, Mark discovers he accidentally smashed a banana while he was trying to nap up in the luggage bunk. These are the lovely incidents that can only happen when van touring. It’s good to be back on the road.

Diving more into The Bell Jar. It turns out to be an appropriate and relevant read considering Sylvia Plath is a British writer, and even her tragic death at 30 connects with some of the themes in my conversations amongst the guys.

Double rainbow spotted outside.


Pit stop at a petrol station. Grabbing a Sweet Chili Chicken Wrap from the Burger King. Eating Potato Chip Trio and a Banana. Drinking Lemonade.

Back in the van we come up with the ridiculous idea of a “Shit Jacuzzi” where one may comfortably relax in a hot tub and take care of their business at the same time. There’d be a suction/stream located where the person sits that efficiently cleans and vacuums the waste in seconds. And you can enjoy this moment with friends of course. I forgot where this idea sparked. Boy, once we get into the momentum of thinking up hilarious inventions...it doesn’t stop. Elaborating on what the instruction manual would say and the drawbacks and the retail price.

I’m a part of a group of men who find entertainment in the silly and subtle nonsense in the world, making intelligent observations and pumping out witty jokes like a machine gun.


Napping—listening to music—reading. Eventually the sun comes out and reveals the beautiful countryside.

We make it to Glasgow finally. Venue: The Classic Grand. We’re right on time, which means very late. I have just enough time to acclimate myself with the keyboards that we rented...analyzing the correct tones and sounds. No opportunity to sound check. Whatever. This is Rock n Roll. We’ve worked under harsher conditions.


Just an hour till Mae goes on. The crowd is not much to show for...maybe about 30 kids. That garage/house show I attended last week had more heads. Drinking nasty Scottish beer in the back room. The other bands get up and play. Then we march up there and in less than 10 minutes we’re jamming out the same old tunes Mae’s been performing for many years. A conservative crowd but still fun nonetheless.

After the show. Checking into the hotel. It’s an Etap: hostel dorm room style rooms complete with a bunk bed and a shower located directly by the bed without any separation.

We all reconvene at a classy casino joint across the street. Stylish white chandeliers. Suited security with earpiece communications. Scantily clad Scottish waitresses in black dresses prancing around with trays carrying cocktails and martinis. Black Jack. Texas Hold ‘em. Roulette. We sit down at a pink-lit counter by the bar. Sipping on pints of Amstel Light and Fosters. Sharing tour adventures with the members in the other bands. One of them is only 18 years old, a noob, or a green bean as we like to call them. God knows I’ve been there before. I order the Fish n Chips—thick cut french fries and beautifully battered haddock fillets. Packet condiments of vinegar and tartar sauce provided.


I’m tired now, and at the proper hour. Dave tries his hand at poker and the other guys head back. I retreat to a small balcony and reflect for a few minutes. I look out on the wavy dark water in the harbor. City lights. Pink. Red. Blue. Apartments. Flats. Surrounded by the big city of Glasgow, Scotland. It’s hard to believe I’m here in the UK, in the middle of Europe, across the Atlantic Ocean, on the other side of the world.

Back in the hotel room. Situating myself atop the cozy bunk, the window shades up allowing the dark yellow glow of the city to haunt me while I sleep. 2 a.m.

[i] All images by me.

1 comment:

Andrew Lamb said...

Please can you tell me where that ridgerider is? I'm a Rollercoaster enthusiast and these are considered by many of as rollercoasters! :)