Thursday, December 23, 2010

My Dec 9th European Trip.

Dec 9th 5:42PM
The first thing I'm noticing on this trip is that there are plenty of TSA (security) people working, however rude, and ignorant they may come off to be. But the crazy thing is that there's only one line. And the line is longer than I've ever seen it. Strangely enough I still, after all these years, think of terrorist, and the 911 tragedies when I travel out of the country. Am I a racist? I don't feel as though I am. I'd like to think that I'm a humanitarian. So why do I "watch" my Arabic brothers and sisters only at airports. LOL. I've got to get it together.

Dec 10th 9:47AM
I landed safely in London. I flew coach(uuugh) but had an exit seat. These people are breaking their necks to get off of the plane and the doors haven't even opened. I mean pushing and shoving. Just plain rude. I'm 6'3 at 276 pounds and a little woman almost made me fall. Another woman ran over my foot with her luggage and didn't bother to acknowledge it. But I'm the only black man on this flight. Do I say anything? Or should I let this woman disrespect me. I choose not to say anything. The big black guy against a defenseless European old lady. Yea. One guy sat in a Business class seat and he wasn't supposed to. Now if that were me, they would have had me arrested.

10:18AM
Why is this couple allowing their child(2 years old) to walk around the customs gate. The security officer said "Maam, sir!" in an attempt to have the parents get the child. They decide that it's more important to discuss filling out a landing card. And one point the father looks at the little girl and smiles!!! I wanted to slap the color off of him. Get your daughter stupid!!!!

1:51PM
I'm at the hotel and got a little hungry. So I ordered the wings. The woman didn't understand what I was talking about!! She wanted me to show her on the menu what I was ordering. When I showed her she said "Oh... Chicken!!" LOL!!!!! They brought out 3 whole baby wings in BBQ sauce. LOL!!!!! 3 of them!!

10:52PM
The day was slow. I really just chilled at the hotel. Matt Langrish Smith was sweet enough to take me out for Sashimi and Tempura. I'm a big dude and I loooovvve a good meal. But I'm very aware that the pounds are stronger than the dollar. The appetizers were like 13 pounds which is costly to us Americans. LOL. I heard that Aunt Jocey is performing at the Jazz Cafe but we're a little late to go. So I'll just finish reading my book and crash.

Dec 11th 9:49AM
Just waking up and trying decide on whether or not I'm going to spend $15 on undercooked turkey sausage and drinkable eggs.

3:40PM
Had a decent lunch at the hotel but still haven't ventured out anywhere. London is so grey and dreary. It's making me kinda moody.

Dec 12th 2:01AM
I had a session with Nathan Adams and Dean Zepherain and we did some weird timing type stuff. Nathan let me know that he's younger than my daughter. Now I know I'm old!!! Anyway I just got off the stage and the crowd was really into the show. I was pleasantly surprised. There was an abundance of black people at this spot. I've never seen that in London. I was definitely feeling good to see my people support. Wait till Feb. I'm going to drop some good music!! I'm so inspired right now.

10:54AM
Just waking up. The hotel alarm went off. But I'm going back to sleep...

Dec 13th 2:41PM
OK. Yesterday night I did a song in the studio with a guy named Carl Dennie. Carl is a business man. Very nice guy. We did a song that's very different for me. I'm not singing but I'm talking. Yea. I can't believe it myself. He had a nice underground track that sounded good. I did my little spoken word over it and there ya go. Anyway, I'm at the airport waiting to go to Bordeaux. I'm starting to miss my family.

4:10
My flight is delayed big time!! I was hanging around the airport and messed around and left my cd bag somewhere. Although I recovered it, going through those few moments was the absolute worst thing.

8:40PM
I arrived in Bordeaux and the promoter put me in the hotel. I go downstairs to the restaurant and had ate duck. Let me just say that my life has changed. I thought it was a big juicy steak. They seasoned it to perfection using the freshest pepper and sea salt. I had a side of mushrooms sauteed in some sort of sauce. My Lord!!!!! Moment of silence for that fine bird that sacrificed his life for my delight. Did I mention the fresh baked bread?? Oh my my my. I'm sleeping well tonight. It's always interesting when there are culture differences. I asked for the check and the waitress had no idea what I meant. So she asked me "The bill?" LOL!! I love that. It sounds classy to me. Every time I come to France I always say that I'm going to learn to speak French.

10:33
I'm sleepy.

Dec 14th 3:31AM
OK check this out. Phillip Bailey just woke me up with a phone call!!!!! He wanted to play what he did with a song I wrote. Here I am a fan of this man, big time, and I'm trying to be cool and talk to him on the phone. It was too funny! God is blessing me. Only God can make these things happen. OK. Back to bed. I'll watch BBC until I fall asleep.

4:30PM
Believe it or not I just woke up about a half hour ago. I don't know why I slept like that. I couldn't sleep after the Phillip Bailey call. Maybe that's it. Then the promoter and the hotel called me wanting to know if I needed anything. I may have still been sleep. I'm meeting Hallex in a half hour. Not sure what we will do. But ok. LOL.

5:44PM
NOW IT'S A PARTY. Hallex brought me to a Cuban Bar! Oh my goodness. The Mojitos were insane. The music, the people!!!!

7:30PM
Still here and the salsa music is on fire and the people are electric. I love this little place. But let's just acknowledge that there are NO cubans here!!! And it's a Cuban spot. I'm eating duck livers and drinking Mojitos and beer. Uh oh.... The lights just went low. I think they're going to turn it up a notch! I LOVE IT!!!

9:48PM
Slightly tipsy but good. Had a great time at the Cuban spot. On my way back to the hotel. I think I'll have some smoked Salmon and a beer and read my book till I go to sleep. I really miss my family now. Gloria's cooking would be awesome right now.

Dec15th 3:11 AM
I woke up and saw that NFL highlights were on TV. The Eagles beat the Cowboys!!! And I'm not home to talk trash.

6:13 PM
The day has been uneventful. I pretty much chilled all day and listened to French radio. I thanked Felix Hernandez for playing the single on 98.7 Kiss. That was huge. When I'm alone and silent like this God speaks. I've made some life changing decisions on this trip. I'm done with playing in churches. People can be so ridiculously unfair. I'm bowing out of this situation before I allow people to steal my joy. I feel an unusual sense of freedom and happiness. Like some heavy weight has been lifted off of my shoulders. Gloria text me and said she is in full support of my decision! Now I can dominate the world! God is good. Just so I'm clear, let me say that I'm never going to leave the church. I'm just going to stop working there. Music business here I come. I would have stayed on the musical staff with no problem, but I know my worth, and I'm not being treated with the respect I feel I deserve.

Dec 16th 2:32 AM
OK. It's 2:32 AM. I said to myself, "I can't sleep so why don't I plug my iPod docking station in and listen to music?". Well the converter thingy made a noise and a spark came out of the adaptor. Needless to say, there will be no music tonight. But what sucks even more than that is the TV went out as well. Bone Head moment!!!

7:42
I wanted some sushi. So Hallex and I went to a spot and the waiter just couldn't stop talking!!! Japanese man that speaks French and insisted on speaking English to me. I think the place is new and he's excited to have customers. But I'm a cranky, hungry black man! I don't have time to listen to this guy stutter through this language trying to talk to me. Now I'm getting pissed. OK. I ate but the sushi tasted like wet fish meat. Uuuuugggghhhhh. No taste. And the wasabi wasn't that spicey. Damn!!!

9:21 PM
I'm at the hotel having the worlds best creme brûlée. Oh My God.

Dec 17th 1:55 AM
France's version of Real Sex is hardcore porn!!!

8:34 PM
Another day of hotel room sleep. I haven't eaten anything but 2 pears and 2 small bags of chips. We did a sound check earlier and the sound was C- at best. Not good for vocalist because the monitors weren't really feeding me. But here's the thing, Hallex gives me a Lollipop headphone with my logo on it. It would have cost me at least $250. I almost started crying. I can be so sensitive at times. Anyway I'm at the dinner table with Hallex and around 20 of his friends. The people here are definitely big on eating and fellowship. That's something that people all over the world love. Eating, Drinking, and good Music with family and friends. I think in America we are the last to embrace that idea. We don't do it enough.
My gig is at 11PM and I DJ right after that. I'm noticing the people are kinda young. I hope my sound isn't too old. I have to get more diverse in my collection. When I'm playing for these kinda young people crowds I need more Keri Chandler, Tracky records. Oh well. They're going to hear some soulful house tonight. Wait!!!!! Finally!!!! The waiter just bought me a nice glass of wine!!!!!!!!!!!! I haven't had any wine since I've arrived.

8:46 PM
The wine is insane!!!!
Another thing. EVERYBODY has on some expensive looking stylish clothes. I'm going to get into that. I am doing away with my frumpy sneaker/tshirt look. Time to step it up. I need some silver too.

8:57 PM
I was thinking about my position at church and something Marlinda Ireland preached on just rang in my head very loudly. "Hold on to your titles loosely." In my case I'm letting go of mine. But God is good and he will put someone in place that's much better than me. Amen. Now I eat this divine salmon.

9:18 PM
That dear salmon. Sacrificed his life for the pleasure of my palette.
I wish my people would be diverse. I think I'm going to get together with Moses over Gloria's cooking and have a good conversation about stuff. LOL.
Maybe I'll cook and the 3 of us will talk. Nice and small and intimate.

9:39 PM
I'm totally embarrassing myself. I have the itis really bad. Oh my god. LOL!!!! I'm yawning while the people are talking to me. Crazy.

10:08PM
OK. I'm here at the club. It's like EMPTY!!!!!!!! I'm supposed to go on 52 minutes!!! This is the thing that kills me. They tell me "Man we love you here. Your voice is amazing." and the spot is EMPTY!!!! Ahh well. Cest La Vie. LOL.
The DJ is playing and so a guy just walked up to me and started rapping "Rappers Delight"!!!!! It was almost like he wanted to share the English that he knew with me. It was sorta sweet. French accented Sugarhill Gang.

11:02 PM
So I'm clear that I'm not going on at 11. The DJ looks like he's in his early 50's and nobody is dancing. Now I'm nervous. Not your usual stage fright nervous but this feels more like panic. This is show business 101!!

Dec 18th 12:41 AM
I just got off stage. The people seemed to be into it but they just stared. I think there was a language barrier. I think I was a C+ at best. OK B-. I'm supposed to DJ but Hallex is playing and he's feeling it and I'm making the same amount of money so hey.

2:17 AM
So I just played and my last half hour I KILLED. They were just kinda dancing and talking but when I rocked JAMES BROWN!!! It was on after that. I mean on like hot buttered popcorn. We got down nasty and dirty. Brooklyn style. It was amazing. I don't know what happened. I'm going to the hotel to pack. A man just told me that he experienced goosebumps for the first time. I just want to open for Dave Matthews or Sting. Or even John Mayer. Can we make that happen??

9:21 AM
My driver was driving like 40mph. Uuugggghh. But he was a nice guy. I get to the airport to find out that Londons airport is closed!!! So now I'm at a special desk where people don't know what a line is. It's going to be one of those days I can feel it.

9:41 AM
So here's the deal. All airports in London are closed. I'm supposed to go to London, then another airport in London to Sweden. That ain't happenin.

10:35 AM
After a series of people jumping the line and crying and arguing, I'm finally checked in. I always say travel early. You never know when some mess is going to happen. And it's really not that much snow for them to close down both airports in London.

10:45 AM
Random thought, Peanut Butter Cap'n Crunch.

2:31 PM
Just landed in Paris. I sat one row away from two 4 year olds that wanted to eat cheese curls with their mouths wide open. Making the most horrible noise. Of course the parent heard nothing. People are pushing and shoving again. It's just baffling how rude people are.

3:09 PM
I have to take a bus to another airport where my connecting flight is. But here's the thing, it cost 20 Euro. I only have dollars and pounds on me. Wait it gets better. There's no money changing place open!!!

3:25 PM
OK. Here's the deal. Went to another terminal by shuttle train. Got change and now I'm on the bus to the other airport. Sounds easy but I'm sweating and walking long hikes. My baggage is feeling like it weighs a ton and it's cold! Nothing like sweating with your clothes on. To top it all off, I don't speak any French!!! Lovely!! Now when I get to the other airport I have to wait for 5 hours for my flight!!! Stay tuned.

Dec 19th 1:48 PM
It's been HELL! I arrived at 1:30AM. Thought I would make the gig but waiting for my baggage prevented that. I ended up going anyway to apologize to the people. I met the manager Ingmarie who was just beautiful. The sweetest person with an equally beautiful spirit. She gave me a couple of beers and made sure I was at least comfortable. At 10:30 AM I arrived at the airport. Yet again all London airports were closed. The snow was coming down. The airport is supercrowded. The line to get a ticket to another airline was 6 hours long. I'm ready to come home. I'm hungry. Ain't been to church, but I won't, I said I woooooooon't complain. God is still good. Gimme an amen somebody. The airport food looked like wet meat and sawdust. Sebastien is my new Swedish brother. Very nice guy. That's the redeeming factor of this trip. I met some really beautiful people. That's always good. Could use Glorias curried wings and a bench with no napkins right now.

3:58 PM
Guess where I am? Still in line!! Things are slowly creeping. People are trying their best to ditch the line.

4:49 PM
Still in line. But I asked a woman to watch my bags. I went to the store and took a chair out of the waiting area. I'm way too ghetto. My behind sitting in this chair in a line and all of these older women in the line waiting just as long as me. But I didn't get the chair for no one but me. Hey. It's rough out here.

6:35 PM
Still in line. My back went out. God is still good. But I'm in some real pain.

8:28 PM
It's just really bad right now. I can't get a flight out till TUESDAY. Now I have to stay at Sebastien place. He's being so kind to offer his pad. But I want to be home. I've had a Snicker bar, Chips and Water. I'm an angry black man right now. Tomorrow I gotta hang all day? What the?!?!?

Dec 20th 2:07 AM
After McDonalds and some Internet use I decide to take it down. But I had a slight touch of anxiety and here I am. Wide awake. I heard voices of men and then it sounded like one man drunk a second ago. I couldn't tell if it came from outside or inside the apt. Weird. Now what do I do? And there's no toilet tissue!!!!!!

10:23 AM
I'm up and I ask Seb about the noises. He said it was HIM!!

Dec 21st 2:24 AM
Boy do I have something to tell you.
Firstly I have enjoyed my stay at Seb's place. He went to work and left me in his home alone. He had Internet and DJ equipment, so I was cool. We walked over to the Thai food place around 7:30. I don't walk anywhere especially in the cold. This brother had me walking in below 15 degree weather. And he didn't tell me that we were making a stop!! He just don't know me do he? I would drive to the bathroom if I could and anywhere else I may need to go. But fine... I'm walking. We had a great talk. This 36 year old Swedish man, along with 3 other people I met on this trip affirmed my decision to quit working at churches and do music full time. Now that I'm quitting the church position I will be able to now give my attention to one thing. It's very much a relationship. I'm choosing to get married in a sense....
But back to the noises. He talks in his sleep. There's something very angry in him. It's frightening I'm telling you. There's screams and sometimes laughter. At one point he was singing. Very scary. Now I'm ready to go home in Jesus name. LOL.

Tonight he went to bed before me at around 11:30 or so. At around 1 I heard him scream out loud. It was like he was scared, in physical pain and angry at someone. I kept imagining what I would do if he got out of bed and didn't recognize me. It's kinda funny now but I surely wasn't laughing when I heard that eerie scream. Oh yeah. Did I mention that he speaks Swedish? English is his second language. When he speaks in his sleep he speaks in his Swedish language. Now I grew to love this brother, but if he wakes outta his sleep and comes in my room acting nutty, yelling and screaming in Swedish, I can't be held responsible. I'm just sayin. I'm from Brooklyn. Anyway......I really hope my flights go smoothly tomorrow. I need to be home. I ain't that grown. I miss being home. My flight leaves at around 1:30 or so. But I'm getting to the airport around 9:30-10. I ain't playing around.

I was on facebook and saw some art work that inspired me to do something amazing musically. This guy Aniekan (funny last name) from Africa is really talented. His artwork is urban and street but there is some serious schooling behind it. There is soooo much soul in his art. It was funky and stank like Stevie's "Maybe Your Baby" or Chaka's "Stop On By". I really must get something by this Washington DC brother. Anyway it's 2:47 now. I'm going to sleep. Wait. Let me pray first.

10:06 AM
Why is my cab driver texting while driving? He's just too busy. Radio, coffee, talking and texting on the phone. I think I'm going to hit him in the back of his head with my cell phone.

10:17 AM
Random thought. The horses in London looked like super horses. The horses that we see the police in Newark ride look like dwarf horses compared to these. They were beautiful. All black and meticulously groomed. Shiny oiled coat. It was something to see.

1:52 PM
Getting on the plane to Iceland to catch a connecting flight to JFK. Europeans are like everyone else. I just allowed a guy to get in front of me on the line. He looked at me and kept talking on his phone. No "thanks" or anything. Normally, I'd have cut him to the knife scratched his bone. But I'm going home for Christmas. I want to see the tree at Rockefellar Plaza. Can't be going to jail in Sweden.

2:01 PM
You know, if it ain't one thing it's another. I have an exit row seat because I'm not exactly a small brother and the promoter couldn't afford a business class seat. I have the window seat which is horrible because the exit door protrudes and smashes my leg against it. So only one leg has room. I have been tested tremendously on this trip. But God is still good. I said God is stiiiiiiiiiil good. He sits high and looks low. He's the same today as he was yesterday. And as he will be forever more. God!!!!! The true and living God. God!!! The most High God. God!!! The almighty God. The calm in my fears. Go... Ya know at first I was joking around. But the more I type like this the more I can feel tears welling up in my eyes. LOL. So I'll stop. All jokes aside. He is just that good.

6:03 PM
I'm in Iceland! These people speak with exclamation marks. My goodness. Everybody is deaf. Anyway. They're asking for some people to give up their seat because it's an overcrowded plane. I'm chilling with a Gin and Tonic in my hand. Now if I had a stick, and a full body massage after a hot bath with bubbles that smelled like the sweetest jasmine and patchouli mix. Ahhhhh. The thought. I'm still excited about my new life. It's like a new start. I've not been free like this........ Ever. Leaving the position of Minister of music is just indescribable. I'm happy.

6:15 PM
I started thinking about Denton and what a good friend he's always been to me. Never judging me even though he knew I was wrong in some situations. For years he's been my best man.... I must be tipsy because I'm getting emotional while journaling about a dude!! Anyway, I think I should holla at my man just because. If it weren't for him, Mo and Dennis, I wouldn't have any brothers that I couldn't be transparent with. I'm such a fag right now. Crying in the airport over three dudes. I can't tell anybody about this! What the...????

6:30 PM
Random thought. Next year I'm doing a Christmas Cd. And giving it away for free. I'll press around 500 cd's and give them all away. Maybe I'll put it on Itunes and 1 song will be free and the rest available for download....
Wait a minute. This flight is really packed.

7:21 PM
Finally on my way. I'm in the air. But guess what, no exit seat. That's right. I'm in the coachiest coach seat they could find. And my little tv isn't working. It just doesn't get any better I tell you. I can't make this stuff up. The guy sitting next to me said "Ah man. You're screwed. "

7:12 PM
Made it back!