- April 2012
My Bath Is Full Of Roses
Five days on the road to play one show at the Jagger Club in St. Petersburg may seem silly...
...but there were actually only two options to fly there and I opted for the one that meant spending a couple of nights in Berlin. The other one was an overnight flight via Moscow and I avoid overnight flights as much as possible.
The only problem with this "wise" choice was that it was going to be difficult to watch the Bahrain Formula 1 race ... but I had a plan! Go to the airport early, check in for my flight, clear security and find a TV somewhere and watch the entire thing ... perfect, right?
Got to the airport very early, too early in fact. The check-in desks didn´t open until 5 minutes before the race started and there wasn´t a TV anywhere in the check-in area. Now what?
Simple ... go outside, call home and have Monica hold her mobile in front of the TV so I could at least hear the start. (If she had had a smartphone, she could have video´d it!) Then a sprint through security and I found a bar where I could at least see most of the rest of the race, sadly accompanied by obnoxious rap music! Not perfect but better than missing it altogether.
Flight to Berlin was fine (I really like Air Berlin!), my dear friend Matthias Penzel met me (in case you forgot, Matthias helped me make my auto-biography into a real book) and I checked into the airport Mercure hotel. We then went downtown and found a nice burger and a cold beer in a place that had a smoking lounge in the back and I found all of this highly civilised.
I have the day off tomorrow so I am looking forward to being able to catch up on some work.
Matthias and I met for lunch and enjoyed another interesting conversation about a million different things and then I finished some work, changed the strings on my acoustic guitars and went to bed early. My trip was off to a good start.
Air Berlin was ready to take me to St. Petersburg but not before we had a little discussion about excess baggage!
It´s not so much the rules I disagree with, it´s the way they are not applied consistently but, like all airlines, if they can smell a chance to make a little extra cash then they will. Enough said!
The flight to St. Petersburg took a mere 1 hour and 40 minutes meaning we landed 30 minutes ahead of schedule, also meaning the gate wasn´t ready to receive us. A number of flights had arrived at around the same time so the line for immigration was very long and it took almost an hour to get through. But my bags were there and Olga was waiting so we were soon battling city traffic to get to my Holiday Inn home. I shared the elevator with a Japanese business man with very shiny shoes and decided to stay in my room and hit the room service menu.
I was happy to see my bed and even happier to get into it!
"One more time, another strange bed
Another new place to lay my head"
I slept okay and had a fairly lazy morning. The weather was a bit brighter and warmer than I was expecting so ... I ordered breakfast in my room so I could keep practising and finalise tonight´s set list. I am introducing new songs into my solo catalogue so I have more to choose from and so that I am ready if I get a request.
The list looks like this at the moment...
I DON´T WANNA WAIT
WEEP IN SILENCE
THROUGH THE EYES OF A CHILD
COME TO ME
I DID IT ALL
I CLOSE MY EYES
LADY IN BLACK
When I am a little more confident with these new songs, I may even invite the audience to make requests ... but for now I had to get the balance right as I will be on stage all by myself!
After lunch with Igor, I took my siesta and prepared to go to the club. Everything seemed to be fine until about 30 minutes before the show when my tummy started to feel a little strange. I shook it off (I had to of course) and headed to the stage. The club was full and all of my usual friends were there and there was just a nice vibe which helped me to forget that I was becoming quite ill.
And I was given so many roses and other flowers I was a little overwhelmed.
Some of the new songs were a little shaky so I will have to work on this before I go to Moscow at the end of May ... but I have time. After the show I really did not feel good and it was definitely something I had eaten or drunk earlier in the day ... I couldn´t put my finger on it at all. I just had to get through the meet & greet, sign everything and get back to my room as quickly as possible.
Needless to say, this rather spoiled what had been a really great evening.
As I walked into the hotel Anastasia and her friends were there with even more roses and I tried my best to smile and be gracious in the midst of their kindness.
It was ugly!! I won´t go into the details but I didn´t sleep a lot and, when I finally gave up and got up, I focussed on packing and trying to feel better. I had a long journey home ahead of me. Slowly but definitely I began to feel better and I felt a little more confident that I could spend time more than 3 steps away from a bathroom!
Funny ... as I left my room and did my usual final check, I noticed that my bath was full of roses! At least I managed to do that before I went to bed.
Igor drove me to Pulkovo airport which is like something from the early 20th century. A dirty, untidy, disorganised and generally unpleasant place to be. A city as great as St. Petersburg should be able to do better than this but .... Air Berlin (one of my favourite airlines) got me safely to Berlin and I was reminded of how much I like the red leather gloves their ladies wear. Now, now ... I am just being honest ... I even dared to eat something!
My overnight stay in Berlin was quite short and I was up at 04:30 for my flight to Alicante. I have noticed that there are a LOT of very old people flying back and forth to Alicante and for some of them the whole experience of flying seems very confusing and difficult. They move slowly and it´s plain to see they are very unsure of themselves and/or their surroundings.
I really feel there should be facilities especially for seniors (say, over 70) in the same way there are facilities and assistance for the disabled and handicapped.
I am happy to be home now. I can find my bathroom in my sleep!