Paris -> Le Mans ->Angers -> Madrid -> Valencia – Rendezvous with Americans/Homies

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Myself, Ony, and Katie somewhere in France

Angers 6-12-13

Paris went quick. I saw all the typical tourist stuff on Champs-Elysee, and I busked there for a little bit too. I got busted by cops on rollerblades which was a first. They were really friendly though, they told me I could play 3 or 4 more “musics,” and then move along. I made a nice little chunk of change. I also went to the Louvre and to Pont St. Louis where the permitted street performers do their thing. I saw a really great mime. I wish New Orleans had a vibrant mime culture instead of just statue bros.

Katie had a rough time, she had her iPhone stolen by the infamous Parisian pickpockets on the metro day 1, and then she broke her arm when we were wrestling on stage at a Mexican Wrestling bar after drinking a fair amount of tequila. Katie’s tough though, she’s already on the way to Madrid, ready to get down in Spain.

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Katie “more gutter than any punk I know” Chatman

I can not imagine the shows going any better. I mean, it was awesome. Great response, French people yelling “encore!” Pretty cool.

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some folks from the Rilletes city getting yelled at by a real live redneck with a guitar

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Ronan Ronan on washtub

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Jamming with Damien

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sweet flyer

Now I have to find Chris, Patrick, and Katie. I’m going to hitch down through Bordeaux, San Sebastian, and to Madrid. They may have left for Valencia if I don’t hustle, so the heat is on. Exciting, nerve-racking, but never boring!

I waited, thumb out, on an on-ramp to Autoroute 87 for about an hour that said “Bordeaux SVP.” I had a feeling it was a bad spot, then I knew it was a bad spot when people started shooting me the “bad spot, dude” look. I was ready to take a bus to another ramp when I met Julian.

He initially only offered me a 14 km ride to get me out of the city and on the Autoroute, but when I got in the car he told me that if I wanted I could stay the night with him and ride to Bordeaux in the morning. After talking some more we realized we were both headed to Madrid! In Bordeaux he is picking up 2 people, so only if there is room can I ride, but still pretty awesome that I managed to thumb down a 9 hr ride through 2 countries in less than an hour.

He works for a food cooperative, so we stopped by there to get some things for dinner. We drove out to the country side to his parents’ farmhouse in a small farming community between Angers and Cholet. I’m pretty sure his Mother is Spanish, and anyway they all spoke Spanish, so we got on pretty well! We had white wine, red wine, beer, strawberries from their garden, “the best” Serrano from Spain, and for dinner we ate Paella. Then the cheese, cheese that is illegal in the U.S. because of the cultures or whatever, produced by some notorious communist who is banned from the USA because of something that happened in Seattle. Then some sort of custard cake made with oranges. It is Julian’s birthday! They agreed to sing “Feliz Cumpleaños” so I could sing along. Overall it has been an absolutely unreal experience. We drank more wine and played each other songs on guitar.

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Paella

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Julian

Madrid 6/13/13

Driving through South France and the Basque region of Spain was beautiful. The best part was when the weather shifted, as soon as we made it an hour south of the Pyrenees the clouds disappeared, the temperature shot up, and it was suddenly -*Spain*-

Spain has a beautiful countryside, boisterous people, and perfect weather.

When Julian and I got in to town we went to a bar and had a few rounds of beer with tapas, on me. It was the least I could do. We exchanged contact info and may meet up later in the summer.

I made my way to Chris’s neighborhood Cuatro Caminos and it was getting dark. I had a little trouble finding his flat, and after an hour or so I met a kid who showed me right to it. I was welcomed by a very relieved Katie, Patrick, and Chris, whom I hadn’t seen in 5 years, along with his new wife, Rocio.

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3 South Carolinians and a Texan in Madrid

We met up in Valencia, I took a cheap bus, they got a deal on a table on the Billet train. We rented someone’s top-story flat with a rooftop terrace and a charcoal grill which would end up being the heart of it all for the whole weekend. The days were spent sunning on the coast of the Mediterranean, the nights were for grilling meats and drinking to our heart’s content. We had: chorizo, blood sausage, pancetta, razor clams, mussels, pork chops, chicken wings, whole chickens, oyster mushrooms, asparagus, and more. To drink we had various red and white wines, Cava, cheap beer, and a bottle of rum or scotch for each of the 4 nights. There was much celebrating, catching up, and celebrating to do.

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grill’n

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chill’n

valenciabanjo

Fire!

At about 4am on the third night I woke up drunk and on fire. I jumped up, fell over, wiggled out of my burning sleeping bag, beat the flames off my arms and legs, and woke up Chris and Patrick. After cleaning out a bottle of scotch we all passed out on the terrace with candles lit on the big wooden table. We woke up to a huge fire, a pillow from the sofas had fallen over on to it and was spitting smoldering, synthetic fibers all about that clung to my wrists and legs like napalm.

I doused the fire with a pitcher of ice water from the fridge and stumbled inside, dizzy, in pain, and ready to vomit. I only made it to the kitchen sink when Patrick stopped to help me to the toilet. At that I jerked my head up, hitting the hood vent, and knocked myself out cold, sprawled out on the kitchen floor. What a fiasco! I treated my burns and we woke up in not so bad shape and laughing about it.

blending in with the locals at Plaza del Dos de Mayo in Madrid

blending in with the locals at Plaza Dos de Mayo in Madrid

Europe pt. 1

Summer ’13 I left ‘merica for Europe. It was my first time ever leaving the United States after having travelling a good bit of it for the last year and a half or so. I showed up in Paris on June 7 with $200 and a new banjo and started hitching around.

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On with it then..

New Orleans 5/6/13

It’s May 6th on Spain St. in New Orleans. It’s hot as hell. We are all laid about, so ready to leave. I’ve been worn out, strung out, hard drinking, and working at a yuppie cafe in the Bywater that drives me crazy. The work is easy, the staff is cool, and the pay has afforded me rent, grass and booze, a brand new plectrum, and a plane ticket to Paris and back, but the customers are just the worst people on the planet, I hate working in open kitchens.  Needless to say I’m ready to split, get away from the job, away from the city, away from the heat.

too much nola

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I’ve been here since New Year’s Eve and I’ve got about a month left. It has been a dark time. I witness depravity on a scale I was not aware existed. The sort of street crawling depravity  I thought only a special few of us were blessed with. I guess there are more than I thought, and they are in New Orleans. Still, I love it here. I’ll be back when I get back from Europe.

New York City 6/6/13

I ❤ NY.

I really do. As far as a metropolis is concerned I think I prefer it to the Bay Area. Culturally, architecturally, and geographically. It is fucking expensive, but I made great money busking at Grand Central Station. One day when I was hanging out with Watkins we went and hung out with some well-to-do folks out of the city who live in the house that John Lennon and Yoko owned and where John supposedly wrote “Imagine.”

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So now I am sitting at JFK with Chatman waiting for our flight to Paris. Just as when I left New Orleans I feel strangely calm. I’ve never left the country, much less crossed an ocean to the other side of the world. Why don’t I get excited about anything anymore?

Never too late

Never too late

I’ve had a little trouble sleeping and feeling a little sick, but I’ve also been staying pretty drunk to remedy that. I did great busking. I made enough money to eat out 3-4 times a day, have coffee, and get drunk at night. Plus I bought some last minute supplies and saved a little. I’m not going to Paris with much cash, so I hope this works out! I have two gigs and a house show that Ony and her friend Damien set up as soon as I get there, so I ain’t sweatin it much.

My voice is shot from goin hard in NYC, so I may not busk in Paris.