May 12 2003

Jeff’s brother drove us to the airport and the wonderful people at Virgin Airlines let us go right up to the check-in with our 600 pounds of smuggled merch and random musical gear. We’d been looking forward to flying Virgin forever and it was worth the wait. 8 movies to chose from, Nintendo, TV shows, and music videos -- all viewable on our individual personal screens. Even with all the fun, I decided to take a sleeping pill. Only after my energy surged and my thoughts started racing 10,000 miles an hour did I realize that perhaps, I had grabbed the wrong pill. Oops.

No hassles at customs.

May 13 2003

After a burning hot English breakfast, Gozzy (our beloved driver from Leeds) and Uri (the blessed road manager for The Party of Helicopters) picked us up in the van. For some reason it took 2 hours to get to our friend Luke’s house on the other side of London. I remembered none of this, as the speed I'd taken wore off and the “not having slept for around 5 days” kicked in. I know we made it to Luke’s and napped there, but I seriously don’t remember anything else until later that night, when we got out of the van in the first stop on the tour: Newport, Wales.

It was the first time we’d actually been out of the van in Wales (the last time we were in the UK, we'd driven through Wales in the middle of the night, at around 100 mph, racing for a 3:15 am ferry to Ireland). I love the Welsh. They can put letter combinations like “wyygthhlysibh” together and it equates to something meaningful. In my line of work, you see letter combinations like that and you know endless hours of teaching have yet again failed.

Anyway, the pub was cool, the bathroom was decent, and they fed us good food. After dinner, I took a lengthy walk and saw two adults with Down Syndrome making out by the river, and two other guys threatening to stab each other over an untied shoe lace.

Our sleeping quarters above the pub were notable in that the giant toilet paper roll was shriveled and grey (from some previous apparent toilet dunkage) and the beds seemed like prime scabies territory. After walking into the smoke-filled kitchen (and into the middle of some serious conversation about the indigenous tribes of Botswana), I put in my ear-plugs and went to sleep.

Oh yeah, the show was fine. Nice people, good sound, low attendance.

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