Lesser Of Two

Tour Diary 1999/2000

Nov 23

The next day we went to Mila's house in Pavia. It was good to spend some time with Mila and get to know this guy who had set up so many of our shows in Italy. Mila does Agipunk which is a record label/distribution. When we arrived Mila and his friends were preparing food. One of the dishes they made was gnochi with tomatoe sauce. It was excellent.
Mila was surprised when we asked to stay the night because his apartment was so small and he had no mattresses for us to sleep on. We decided to stay there because it was warm and free of cats more convenient than driving late at night to El Paso squat in Torino.

Nov 24

The next day we wandered around Pavia. We went first to the old part of town and enjoyed the medievil structures. One notable building we passed was a church that was being restored. It was constructed of brick and was designed in such a way that it's apearance was very intricate with unevenly placed columns, arches, and recesses. The disrupted geometry of the structure reminded me of surrealist painings by M. C. Esher.
After we passed through the alley beside this building we suddenly found ourselves in the commercial area in full Christmas swing. It was beautiful with the cobblestone plazas and glow of the many Christmas lights, yet it was disgusting in it's consumeristic overtones. The climax of this disgust was reached as we passed a really expensive clothing store that specialized solely in furs. The vanity and superficiality portrayed in thier display cases was hard to accept. The thought that, to many people, places like this are normal and these products are symbolic of beauty and success was disturbing to us. It was apparent that the animal rights movement has not been very effective in influencing Italian society. After our excursion we returned to Mila's house, prepared dinner, and then left for El Paso squat in Torino.
El Paso was a very impressive place. As you enter the gate you are welcomed by a giant iron monster constructed of scrap iron. The yard is filled with more welded iron structures some artistic, some utilitarian, and still others both. There are also piles and steel shelves filled with every variety of junk. As I entered I was overwhelmed with the prolific quantity of sculpures and creative structural modifications to the building. Renovations to the building seemed as if they had been approached as much as art projects as they had been necessary improvements.
The kitchen was renovated into an industrial size with two huge vents, two bathtubs for sinks, and a cast iron oven/stovetop. Also like the rest of the building there were also a number of quirky modifications. One that I found particularaly odd was a glass door from a washing machine embeded into the wall which actually opened up to the outside.
The bar was installed and constructed with the same theme and had an interesting awning which looked much like an elevated walkway scavenged from some old factory. Also much of the furniture in this room was made by hand out of found objects. More art and modifications were to be found in most rooms.
We met Mario who helped organize the show soon after we arrived. We began to discuss food and he put forth the belief that a vegetarian diet isn't any healthier than a diet comprising meat and animal products. He made a lot of points concerning health risks of common vegetarian foods, yet for me his argument about finding an enviornmentally sustainable way to produce meats any less polluted with toxins fell short.
We went up to his room to use his computer. His room was on the second story with other rooms of permanent residents. His room was clean, warm, and well furnished. The walls were adorned with a modest mixture of images. Amongst this we saw a glossy promo photo of the band Molotov Cocktail when our friend Flynt was drumming for them. I was surprised to see this especially since Flynt herself quit the band before they ever made it to Europe.
When we went to sleep we went to a communal sleeping room with numerous bunk beds. This room overlooked the welding/sculpting workshop. We shared the space with a couple. They didn't seem to like us very much because they came into the room in the middle of the night and threw our stuff on the floor.

Nov 25

In the afternoon we wandered around Torino and explored extensive shopping areas in full Christmas swing. We tried to find vegan gelato (ice cream) and falafels but found neither.
The stage in El Paso was huge and no other bands were scheduled to play. As we set up our equipment we found that we had to acquire a drumset from downstairs. In doing this we explored a new level of the complex. Soon after our sound check another door was opened into a banquet room with a huge fireplace whose awnings were sculpted from scrap metal including the hood of a car and 4 foot industrial wrenches welded together. There were also stairs leading to a loft which had a pool table.
A wonderful two course vegan meal was prepared. First came a cabbage soup which we seasoned individually with a hot green pepper sauce. The second course was lentils and baked potatoes. We dined in a large group while a warm fire burned.
During our set my amplifier started going in and out. We played until it stopped working comppletely. Since there were no other bands to borrow an amp from we just cut our set short by a couple of songs. No one seemed to interested in an encore anyway. After we played we noticed another room which was an info shop/store. I wondered at this point how many more rooms there were in this building that we hadn't seen.

Nov 26

In the morning we made our farewells to our friend Carlo, and drove to Switzerland. At the border we met yet another drug dog, who seemed to be the most well trained so far. The officer accompanying the dog would point at an item and the dog would signal wether their was or wasn't contraband. After some time of checking for contraband they decided we didn't have anything and weren't interested in taxing our merchandise which is generally a common practice at the Swiss border.
We arrived at the Espace Autogere in Lausanne. This squat was another of the grandiose variety. It was comprised of two large builinds, a large parking lot, A big aluminum hangar, a modest cluster of mobile homes, and a chicken coop. The building in the center of the parking lot was the living space and it had, I think, five spacious levels. On the third floor was located the kitchen which led to a large dining room. In the dining room was a whole in the floor which led to a slide which plops one down in a den with a fireplace. This room ajoins a table tennis room (aka ping pong)
In the other building their is a kitchen/bar and another bar mad of welded scrap metal. between the two was an iron gate with 10 inch spikes sticking out. This gate was later lifted to allow access into the show room which was past the welded bar. The stage was nice and small and the sound system was pretty professional looking.
After our sound check Eric a Canadian transplant directed us to the movie theater. When I entered this theater I was amazed to find a full size movie theater with heated seats. Later I found that they have the capacity to show movies in three formats.
After the movie the Latrines went on. They play raunchy melodic rock and roll which reminded me slightly of Weezer. The guys in the Latrines helped us book a lot of our shows in Switzerland so it was nice to meet them and see them perform.
After the Latrines came a band with just guitar and drums that attempted to play 90's style New York hardcore (aka "kickboxing hardcore"). After that we played and then another band playing 90's style NYHC came on.
We were unhappy to find that our friend Jason whom we met in Wraclaw didn't make back to Lausanne in time to meet up with us. It was interesting to find that many Canadians were living in Lausanne. We couldn't figure out the Canadian connection and the Canadians didn't seem to know it either.

Nov 27

On our way to Inns we stopped at a music repair shop and had my amp repaired. The veenue in Inns was a cozy lodge type building. As we entered there was a hall with a booth for people to pay at. At the end of the hall was the show room. The stage was medium sized approaching rocker height and the PA was really nice. At the other end of this room was a bar. Adjoining the show room was a kitchen/dining room as well as a staircase leading to a loft which served as a lounge.
Soon after our arrival we were informed that 7 bands were going to play. We forsaw a grueling night ahead of us. The first band to play was Knuckle Dust from the UK who was yet another band to play "kickboxing hardcore". The highlight of thier set was when the singer started breakdancing spinning around on his hands and then flipping over onto his back midstream.
The next band to play was Dark Day Dungeon who also played "kickboxing hardcore", yet seemed to do quite a bit of branching out into more experimental textured breakdowns and various other dynamics. Even the sections which had the "kickboxing hardcore" progressions seemed more well written than any of the other bands we had seen in this genre.
We were next to play and as we set up our equipment It became apparant that my amplifier was not working. It seems that when the electrician fixed my amplifier he somehow broke my distortion channel. Thankfully one of the guitarists from Dark Day Dungeon let me use his amplifier.
His amplifier was one of the most expensive name brand heavy metal amplifiers to be mass produced (I left out the brand so as not to promote this company whose sales practices I disagree with). I was very happy with the tone. It was very metal. Our set went well except for a continuous strobing effect which the sound guy insisted upon creating.
Next came XproductX, then Pray Silent, and then Cataract all of whom played more "kickboxing hardcore" (which by the way sounds like neo-straight edge bands like Earth Crisis).
XproductX proclaimed that they were vegan straight-edge which seemed to be the only band to uphold these ideals. Unfortunately like many of the bands of the evening they wore nice name brand clothing particularly NIKE whom most everyone in the punk scene boycotts due to inhumane labor practices in South East Asia. Our freind Martin questioned this apparent philosophical contradiction between animal rights and human rights. He told us that one of the members tried to make excuses but that others in the band seemed unconcerned with these issues.
Martin had words with one of the other bands concerning their macho stage show. Apparently the singer was attacking the crowd in a football (American) player fashion. I don't quite know the specifics because the rest of us stopped paying attention to the bands partially because of their homogenous music styles and because of the late hours which the show was running over into. Actually most of us were asleep in the loft upstairs by the time Unite took the stage.
Unite's music was moderately generic incorporating more 80's style New York Hardcore into their song writing. The bassplayer had stickers and clothing proclaiming radical anarchist viewpoints, yet the other members wore nice name brand clothing including once again the infamous Nike brand. The question this raises to me is, "Unite to do what?" Perhaps to drink beer. By the way Unite was from the UK and was traveling with Knuckle Dust.
After the show we stayed with Mike in the neighboring town of Biel. The part of Biel which we stayed in was within the old city wall. It was interesting to be spending the night within such an area where the medievil city defenses still stood. We pulled into a parking lot at the foot of what seemed to be the old Citadel with the moat and drawbridge still in place.
I asked, "So are we spending the night in the castle?", and in a sense we did.

Nov 28

The next day we went to the train station with Mike to meet Michael from the Latrines who rode with us to his town, Bern. The squat was moderate in size and seemed to be mostly a wharehouse with a few adjoining rooms here and there. There was a great deal of scavengened materials and a broken down van in this large space.
Adjoining to this was a small kitchen; a basement show space; and a communal space equiped with a heater, dining tables, and yet another fussball table. We played much fussball and were beaten quite a lot by some crazy swiss punks.
Knuckle Dust and Unite showed up and got on the bill alongside us and the Latrines. Knuckle Dust played first. They lost some essential guitar accessories so the two guitarists had to take turns.
The Latrines played next using Knucle Dust's amplifier which produced a tone that didn't seem to please Michael. Otherwise the Latrines put on a great energetic set and I felt that even the blownout over saturated crappy guitar tone added to the sound. I felt that this performance completely outdid the one two nights earlier.
We played next and I used Knucle Dust's amplifier in conjunction with my amplifier's still functional clean channel which I used merely to power a second cabinet which was otherwise impossible since their amp had only one speaker line out. The tone was really muddy and had a weird artificial sounding electronic distortion. It wasn't so bad it just had a really blown out warped tone.
Next came Unite who'se set was the same, it seemed, as the night before. After the show Knuckle Dust and Unite left to pull an all night drive to the UK. Our freind Martin decided to stay the night in the squat while the rest of us decided to sleep at the Latrines practice studio where mattresses and space heaters were waiting for us. He told us that he would find a way to Lausanne where we decided to spend our next few nights.

Nov 29-30

When we woke up Michael took us to his house and had breakfast waiting for us. We were there for quite some time relaxing before we left for Lausanne. On the way to Espace Autogere we stopped back at the same electronic repairman's shop and had him fix my amplifier again. This time we checked it out thouroughly before leaving the store.
When we arrived at the squat Martin was there waiting for us already working on dinner. We were surprised that he beat us there considering the fact that he had no idea how he would get there when we saw him the night before. I guess Martin is just a resourceful kind of guy.
Also that Catharsis show I mentioned a few entries back didn't work out. Apparently the bill was completely full and the promoter didn't want us to play despite the fact that I received an e-mail from Catharsis telling me they would like us to play.

Dec 1

We drove to Singen, Germany in the early afternoon. Kelly had set up this show with very little notice and we were glad to fill in some of the gaps in our itinerary even if it meant crossing the Swiss/German border twice in as many days.
The venue was a cultural center called Teestube, and we were the only band. Fortunately Felix had done a really good job promoting the show on such short notice that the turnout was pretty good. The stage was ridiculously high and small but otherwise the show was a lot of fun. We played a lot of free pool also which was a interesting because we discovered that the Germans, the Czechs, and the Americans all have different rules for playing pool.

Dec 2

The next day we got on the bill of a show in Winterthur. Eric set up the show at a squat which was connected to another space which was a private club of well dressed middle aged men. At first I decided to go wandering about the squat like I had gotten used to, but felt quite awkawrd when I stumbled into this private club and felt myself the center of attention by a bunch of mainstream looking guys.
It became apparent that the squat was an abandoned storefront on a block of interconnected storefronts all of which were still in operation. There were many levels to this space though and there was enough space to house at least a handful of people. adjacent to the bar/show space was another room which was filled with red velvet drapes. The effect was pretty eerie, and compelled us to spend a great deal of time there.
The other two bands to play were German and the first, whose name escapes me, played rythmic layered music slightly reminiscent of Hoover. It was refreshing to hear this change in musical styles from what we had been experiencing the past few days or for that matter most of the tour.
The next band to play had to bass players and no guitarist. They played groove oriented hardcore reminicent of No Means No. This too was an interesting break from a lot of the "kickboxing hardcore" we had been experiencing through much of our European tour.
After the show a disco party ensued in which our friend Martin took part in. He danced through most of the night and it was good to see him have fun and let go of his inhibitions. As he danced he seemed very innocent and childlike. Apparantly these disco parties after punk/hardcore shows are pretty common; merely an extension of the evenings festivities.

Dec 3

The next day we drove to Swyz which is a small somewhat isolated town high in the Swiss Alps. Snow covered the mountainsides and the ground all around. Even when we parked the van in the adjoining garage we had to drive over a field of ice. I didn't dirve and don't quite know how Dominik achieved this accomplishment, but he did.
We were the only band to play in this space used only for shows. We were told that people from all over the town come to the shows, and that many of them don't know anything about punk or hardcore. They just come because it's a well know venue/cultural center, I guess.
After we played another band whose members were at the show asked if they could play using our equipment. We agreed and they began to play some good driving punk rock. Unfortunately a fuse blew after just a few songs and no one seemed to be able to fix the problem. Oh well.

Dec 4

We realized that our show on this day had actually been set up for a month earlier. There was some kind of communication breakdown between us and the promoter, but fortunately there was a benefit/festival going on in Zurich the very same day. Also it was fortunate that the promoter for our show in Swyz was also in the band George which was scheduled to play at this benefit. We followed them to the squat and convinced the people at the squat to let us on the bill.
The squat was very large with multiple floors. The upper floors where very poorly lit and became more and more decrepit and desolate as one climbed up. In a way it had a macabre charm.
On the ground floor there was the show space to the left of the entrance and the kitchen/dining room to the right. A hall across from the entrance led to the bar and if one veered right one would find the room with the fussball table. Of cours we spent a good deal of time here since we had become addicted to this table soccer game over the course of the tour.
To the left of the entrance to the bar was a hall which led to a room filled with avant garde art. The highlight of this art show was a pair of penises and testicles which inflated and deflated at random intervals in relation with a box of pastel lights. There were also some interactive exhibits featuring noise, music, and video.
George was the first band to play, and they played high energy thrash with melodic emotional breakdowns. They had some definite emo (emotional hardcore) elements but still had a lot of chaotic high energy sections to thier music. Someone coined the term "Screamo" for this form of music a while back after bands like Mohinder or Heroin, not that either are good equivalents to George's music.
We played next and many bands followed us, but unfortunately we had to embark upon an all night drive to Berlin to play a show.

Dec 5

The squat we played at was in the middle of a huge mess of interconected buildings most of which were under construction. We walked from the street under construction scaffolding through an alley full of trash and construction materials to a small field of muck surrounded by tall buildings. We traversed this terrain by walking over a series of planks and any other scavenged wooden materials lying about. The bar was decrepit and filled with random scavenged furniture. It was also equiped with a stripped down restroom.
The show space was in the basement down a flight of stairs. This area was little more than a gutted cave with a stage and PA. It was more than enough though and three bands played without much problems; well, except for an occasional breaker being tripped.
After the show we were told that the show space wasn't legal and that construction workers would be there in the morning. Because of this we had to haul all our equipment up stairs into the somewhat expansive living area. This process was somewhat grueling especially late at night, but was well worth it to ensure the safety of our equipment and the security of future shows in this space.

Dec 6-10

Early in the day we said good-bye to our friend Martin. We were all sad to see him leave and hoped to keep in touch. After our farewell we drove to Duisburg were we had set up a show on short notice for the 10th.
In Duisburg I went to the doctor because I had intense itchiness all over. I had been itching since early on in the tour, yet never felt the desire to include it in this diary. I had been told that it wasn't a big deal and would probably go away. Even a doctor in Poland said that it was just a mild allergic reaction which is why I never mentioned it and was very surprised to be diagnosed with scabies.
So the next day everyone went through the treatment to rid ourselves of scabies to ensure that this transmitable pest was definitely gone. Luckily we had quite a few days off and were returning Quadel's van.
Hannas and his roomates were very hospitable, patient, and helpful. We listened to a lot of heavy metal, made food, drank tea, and watched American Sci Fi TV with German overdubs.
On the 9th we went to an old factory which had been converted into a museum. The factory was so large that you could see it from over 2 kilometers. It was a steel shmeltering plant and it was constructed with huge vertical cylanders surrounded by imense webs of pipes of all sizes.
We climbed all the way to the top of one of these complexes and looked across the landscape. We could see the city, the factories, and a big rave tent. Later that night the new factories across the landscape opened their ovens to cool down. The night sky filled with a beautiful orangish glow which gradually dissipated from yellowish orange to the bluish black of the night sky.
The next day we went to the venue De Fabrik and met Arno and Katastraphobia who were to be our tour mates for the rest of the tour. We thought Arno was coming alone merely to pick us up but were happy that he brought the other band with him because we were told we had to play alone that night. Even a third band got on the bill ensuring a festive evening.
Katastraphobia played first. I was glad to find that their band was good making traveling with them a pleasant idea. Their music sounds similar to perhaps Nausea or Detestation yet with more intricate slightly chaotic progressions. We are all happy that Arno and Katastraphobia went out of thier way to help us and ensure that the last part of our tour went well. Arno even had many varieties of tour posters to promote this leg of our tour and he dubbed this last leg the "Accelerated Decrepitude through Suspended Animation" tour; whatever that means.
Heimat Gluck was the second band, and they played very crude emo with screachy monotone vocals. They weren't very good. We played last.

Dec 11

After organizing all of our belongings and equipment we all climbed in the van. There were, in all, ten bodies packed into the front half of an extended size van. It was definitely a change from the relative spaciousness of five bodies in Quadel's van, but at least unloading the equipment is faster and we split the cost of the van.
As we entered the Op'Drift squat in Groningen we were surprised to find that it had been converted into an organic vegetarian cafeteria which was fine by us. We all ate fine vegetarian food followed with a desert of apple pie. This was acompanied by our choice of beverage including a fine organic beer.
After eating we walked around the town. The architecture was very interesting and seemed more divergent from the rest of Europe. The streets were cobblestone and in the more commercial newer areas brick. On the sidewalks near the street were many bike racks and these odd steel balls about 1/2 a meter tall. We passed by many silly boutiques denoting a strong consumerist market. Once the nice pale bricks ended and the old grey cobblestones returned we passed by a large cathedral with huge stained glass artwork. The spires were narrow and wrought of steel.
We walked back towards the venue and wandered into a small red light district with a couple prostitutes standing in windows trying to solicit themeslves to passers by. We had heard of this type of stuff before and it was interesting to see it for the first time although it was obviously not of the magnitude that we would probably witness in Amsterdam's famous red light district. Soon we found ourselves at the river which splits the town in two. In this small river there were house boats filling either side. These boats were little more than mobile homes built on a flat platforms set afloat. Every few blocks one could cross this body of water along small stone bridges that were similar to highway overpasses.
The squat was only a few blocks away from this point; yet Kelly, Dominik, and I walked quite a bit further before we found it. We soon realized that there was only one microphone stand which was a boom stand (the upper pole being adjustable to stick out at various angles utilizing a counter weight). To solve this problem I tied a microphone to the end of the counterweight and carfully positioned it so that I could sing into this microphone which stuck out slightly over the edge of the stage while I stood on the floor. The base was elevated extremely high so that I could make the top angle out at almost a 90 degree angle to where Kelly would be standing. To say the least this situatuation was very awkward.
To add to the excitement of the evening many of the show-goers became uncontrollably drunk spilling beer and breaking bottles everywhere. At times it seemed as if this endless tragedy was intentional; "People have to be doing this on purpose.", I thought. It was an ongoing struggle for Dominik to keep people from drenching our merchandise in clumsily spilled beer. Maybe they just didn't like us. One guy even call me an American dog (although I found out this was a well known troublemaker).
At the end of the evening we met Oene and Crystal who were kind enough to give us a place to stay. Oene plays in the band Fleas And Lice who we played with at 924 Gilman quite a few months back. He couldn't remember where he had heard our band's name until we met and put the pieces together.

Dec 12-14

The next day we drove to Amsterdam. When we arrived at Occi we were impressed by the size of the space and the large PA. It was a former squat that had become a legal venue and community center. After we sound checked a man entered the door and told the show organizer Dredwin that some squatters took over an entire vacant shopping center in the middle of downtown; they even squatted an abandoned McDonalds. The cops came and ran most of the squatters out, yet some were reamining and a few of the buildings are still being squatted and will continue to be squatted for quite some time. Lots of people went to jail but in the end some buildings were taken and the squatters won even if they didn't acheive all their lofty goals. Supposedly a rally or some form of action was being hastily organized.
To say the least this seemed to have a serious impact on turnout to our show. Despite this we played anyway. We had a very good sound person and apparantly the sound was great for both bands even if only a handful of people showed up.
We stayed the night in Dredwin's squat. This building became vacant after a explosion destroyed the top floor of the neighboring building. According to Dredwin there was a very misanthropic tenant who lived there who said to his neighbor, "I'm going to kill myself and take the neighborhood with me."
Not to long later he turned the gas on in his apartment and lit a match or something. Fortunately (or unfortunately depending on how you look at it) he was on his bed at the time and was shot out of his window landing in the street on his mattress without injuring himself. After his suicidal fiasco he went to jail. The explosion didn't kill anyone but a few people, including an infant, were injured and a great deal of property was damaged or destroyed. Shortly before his time was up in prison he comitted suicide; probably spurred on somewhat by the fact that he had become so disliked in the neighborhoods.
The next day we all went to the Escobar squat which was a bar/cafe that served inexpensive vegetarian food. We discussed the previous evenings action and the squatting dynamic of the region. In Holland squaters have priority over property owners after a building has gone vacant for more than one year. Once a building of this nature has been squated the owner has to prove in court that s/he intends to use the building before s/he can evict the squatters. If the building is not up to codes then the landlord has to prove that s/he has the means to pay for necassary reparations.
It seems to be fair enough. Why should property owners let buildings lierally rot vacant while there are people searching for affordable places to live. This seems better than Jerry Brown's fascistic anti-"Urban Blight" campaign in Oakland, CA. They drag elderly people away in police cars for not keeping thier lawns tidy while homless people wander the streets everywhere even though there are huge abandoned stores, theater, wharehouses, bus stations, and so on types of buildings which truly create the urban blight of a burned out dying town.
Discussing this topic made me want to be part of a movement to create these kinds of housing opportunities back in the Bay Area which desperately needs it due to it's tremendous housing shortage and increase in homelessness. Perhaps we should squat such a building. If not to live at least to ask the question, "Why not?".
On the third day I walked around Amsterdam in tourist mode. I walked along the cobblestone streets creating a maze through what seemed like an endless strip mall with an accompanying maze of canals. Every few minutes one would find themselves walking beside or crossing one of these bodies of water. There were many impressive looking Renaisannce era buildings. The architecture was dominated by tall intricate spires, metal and stone sculptures, and often clocks. One of the most impressive buildings was the train station. It looked like a gargantuous cathedral and as one approaches it one can't help but notice the sea of bicycle racks filled with this form of human powered transportation.
As a matter of fact it seems that bicylces are the dominant form of transportation in Amsterdam and many other Dutch cities. There was a well designed bike lane system which was much of the time seperate from the motorways. For tourists this can increase the complexity of pedestrian travel because of the double sets of traffic. Fortunately the increase in bicycles seems to reduce the amount of cars. This is better for pedestrians since if your hit by a bicycle your pride is more likely to be hurt than your body.
I visited the coffee shops where people smoked or ate marijuana freely. I went to the Red Light District where the streets were lined with shop windows in which scantily clad prostitutes stood trying to entice prospective customers. Occasionaly a person standing on a corner would offer to sell me harder drugs which weren't openly legal. I ate a falafel and chips and thought that the whole place was surprisingly subdued. Seeing it took away any of what little romanticizing I might have imagined.

Dec 15

We left for Utrecht in the afternoon. When we arrived we unloded our equipment into a small show space with a bar. The room's walls and ceilings were charred black and much of the structure seemed gutted and disfunctional. Power was suplied through a maze of extension chords whose mystery took some time to unravel before finding some outlets that we could plug our equipment into.
After setting up our equipment Klaartje, the promoter, guided us through the neighborhood to an organic cafe/bar/eatery. ACU seemed to be run by a collective of activist minded people. Klaartje acquired a big pot of soup from the bar and we left. We walked around the corner to a budget motel that had really stripped down rooms for cheap. Apparently this building at one time had been a squat and had after some time been turned into this. There was a lobby with many tables and chairs in which we ate.
After returning to the venue we soon played. The small room was somewhat full, yet far from being packed. The acoustics were strange probably due to the charred structure having a strange response to the sounds.
After the show we went to a small squat and slept. There were two Polish girls living there. One of them, Krasnal, told us that as they were squating the building they soon found that the owner lived in the adjacent building. He saw them coming or going and attacked one of the people in thier group. Because of the laws he was cited for this and was, from that point on, civil with them.
It was a strange situation though because the owner is a poor imigrant. He was renovating the space slowly on his own because he couldn't afford to do things officially. His plans were that when he was done fixing up the apartment that he would then let his daughter move in next door. With this in mind a paradox between the beliefs of the squaters and the situation arises. The building was only officially abanded which is what is important by the law, but for squatters doing things outside the law is preferable. By squating the building they are not liberating an abandoned space for living, but are bringing beaureacratic oppressivness into the lives of the actual occupants.
Of course there was no way for them to know this and once things had been set into action it was difficult to turn back. Apparantly the squaters are looking for another place so that the owner can have his building back, but that doesn't ensure that the adversity they brought upon him will go away. I guess this situation illustrates that the need for housing and the possibility for squatting are complex multi-faceted issues.

Dec 16-17

We left a day early for Liege. Dinner was already being prepared when we arrived. There was a house full of people and we spent much of the evening acquainting ourselves with each other. We met Alain from Nabate records. He was one of the first people we contacted when booking our tour. He introduced us to Arno and gave us a lot of assistance. He also distributes Katastraphobia's EP which has been distributed as far as Czech and Poland.
As I went to sleep I realized that my sleeping bag was missing. I looked everywhere but to no avail. It must have been left in Utrecht, and I could think of no way to retrieve it. Fortunately Arno's room was warm and I had a soft mattress to sleep on, but this would definitely not be the case for the rest of the tour.
The next day Kelly, Dave, and I went into the center to use an internet cafe to check our correspondences. We had long since given up on our international provider LABridge. It seemed that we had been able to acces the internet enough anyway by borrowing other people's equipment or finding some kind of public internet facility. It was just one of a multitude of technical gliches occurring since our arrival in Europe.
Dave finished checking his e-mail quickly and left soon after. Kelly and I spent the rest of the allotted hour on the computer. When we were done we left for the squat. Unfortunately we soon found ourselves lost in the cold and rain. We wandered the streets for almost two hours before arriving at the venue.
The downtown was a complex web of sparse streets and dense pedestrian walkways. It was not long before we had lost all sense of direction. The storefronts were very bright and commercial and the streets were lit with Christmas and New Years decorations. The festiveness was definitely detracted from by the rain though. It was also difficult to find people who spoke English much ulike Amsterdam.
Finally we found a flyer for the venue with an address. After a while more of walking around we stumbled upon a bus information both. After this it was a simple matter of hopping a bus to the venue which was in all actuality relatively close. Before this we were feeling very desperate and unhappy.
When we arrived this dread slowly disappeared and after some time we were surounded by friends eating good food and partaking in beverages. La Zone is a very well established venue existing for 15 years. They had a really good sound system comporable to the one in Amsterdam.
Unlike Amsterdam this show had a great turnout. I suspect that many of the people came because it was Arno's birthday. I'm glad our tour didn't interfere with his birthday party. We played first. Katastraphobia played next. Lost World played last.
Lost World played some raunchy sounding yet intricate melodic hardcore. They put on a high energy set although the mix through some of the songs was not quite balanced.
After the show a disco party ensued. Kelly, Dave, and I returned to the squat while everyone else partied until 7 or 8 in the morning.

Dec 18

We drove to Gent in the evening. We were running behind schedule partly due to the fact that some of our party didn't wake up until 5 PM. The space in Gent is home to Laffa and Gracien in Katastraphobia. It was Gracien's birthday so we had another birthday show to look forward to.
After setting up our equipment downstairs we went upstairs to eat. A man was upstairs waiting for us. He introduced himself as Brob from Tilt mailorder/distribution. Soon we realized that we had sent him some EP's on consignment over three years prior. He had been searching for us to pay us the money he owed us but it had taken him so long that he had no current address anymore. He couldn't find us and even put adds out in major punk periodicals in the hope of finding us and clearing his concience. As far as he knew we had disappeared forever, but he was relieved and surprised when he heard of the show. He handed me a letter he had wanted to send us with what he owed us enclosed. It was good to finally meet one of my old correspondences.
We sat around a fire, ate, and watched a documentary about Alain and Arno's squat and the struggle they went through to get it. The movie was called "Punk Picnic". It is French with English subtitles. It seemed like a well made DIY documentary. Unfortunately it was hard to watch because there were so many people in the room talking, and the television was very small making it difficult to read for me since I didn't have a good seat. It was fun to see Alain and Arno on video anyway.
Katastraphobia played first, and we played last. Silk did a fire performance at the end of our set like we had done a few times before. Everyone seemed happy with the show.
After the show a techno party ensued next door in a neighboring squat. Arno led us through a hallway, out the back door, down a path, through a yard, into a series of busted holes in cement walls going through a building well past the wrecking ball stage. The final room was a large room in the middle of this complex completely isolated. It had a PA, DJs, and lots of multi-colored lights. Dave, Silk, and I left to go to, Steph, the drummer for Katastraphobia's house. Arno, Kelly, and Dominik arrived some time later.
The next day all of us, except for Laffa, met at the squat. As we drove to pick up Laffa we saw him walking along the side of the rode. It had begun to snow.

Dec 19-20

We arrived at Lille in the early evening. Chez Louis Boon squat was an expansive building that was at one time a tarp making factory. The show space was large, but the PA was small. There is a big wharehouse space between it and the main living quarters. The squaters have expanded into neighboring buildings sometimes by busting through walls. We were told that they had been having fights between Nazi skinheads who didn't like them and junkies who want to take over some of the complex. Because of this we unloaded all of our belongings into the squat right away.
We played first and Katastraphobia played last. The room we stayed in had a space heater, yet it was still very cold. I wish I had my sleeping bag.
In the morning an argument ensued between some squaters, who are part of this Babaches collective, and some guys in the street one of which held a dog in one arm and brandished a knife in the other hand. The upstairs was equipped with Molotov Cocktails which leads me to wonder how serious this ongoing dispute is.
Many of us left in the afternoon and wandered around town. The streets in Lille are paved with large square rough greay cobblestones with big gaps filled with cement. As we walked we passed a extremely tall church with ridiculously steep walls and steep intricate spires. It was so tall and steep that it was impossible to really see from up close and appeared strange and menacing from a distance, starkly contrasted against the streets lined with square buildings and little shops with large windows.

Dec 21

To be honest it has been over two weeks since I last wrote and already things are becoming hazy. I can't remember playing in Rouen or if we did at all. Maybe it will come back to me later and I can amend this.

Dec 22

We played in a bar in Toulouse. There was no one there and we feared that the show would be empty. It was a Wednesday and Arno told me that Wednesdays were usually good days for shows in France.
Eventually people began trickling in and a small crowd formed making the small basement space connected to the main bar not seem very empty. We were happy some people showed up.
After the show we went to the squat which is an abandoned whore house. Upon entering we were overwhenlmed with the cliche' whore house decor which seemed straight out of some movie depicting 19th century prostitution. We had dinner and basically relaxed. Some of us were unhappy that we didn't get to spend another day in Toulouse, and vowed to come back when the tour was over.

Dec 23

We were finally in Spain which excited many of us particularly Silk and I who had been trying to learn Spanish. When we arrived at the squat wich was a large wharehouse ajoined by a bar and a few stories of rooms. Soon we found that our understanding of Spanish was not adequate for communicating the needs (especially technical needs) of a band. We also had trouble understanding the spoken language which was definitely not out of a text book. It was Arno who spoke fluent French who understood the bulk of what was spoken. Apparently French and Spanish are similar enough that he could understand Spanish yet he couldn't speak. For me, on the other hand, I could speak yet not understand. This posed some potentially strange triangular conversations.
Apparently there was a protest against police brutality occuring at the very moment we arrived. We discussed whether we should go to the protest or find food and after weighing all the pros and cons we decided upon food. There wasn't much of a restaurant industry and lunch consisted of french fries (papas fritas), donuts, and beer.
As we walked the difference in the atmosphere became apparent. It's difficult to describe but it felt as if we had entered a different world a different realm a culture more distinct from American culture than most of the places we had been. Perhaps it was Spanish culture or perhaps it was the Basque culture of the region. As we walked we saw many banners calling for Basque seperatism. Basque by the way is also a completely different language spoken in an are of north-western Spain. It was about 8 or 9 in the evening and the streets were filled with people; some with an apparent purpose and still others who were just there relaxing and conversing with freinds. This created a festive feeling in the air yet there was no special occasion or apparent event to spawn this. It was merely an average evening in Vitoria.
I asked Arno about this and he said it was common for people to wait to go out and do their buisness at night when it was cooler. In the middle of the day most shops close for a few hours, which is a time called Siesta. After this period the stores re-open and buisiness hours extend until later in the day. This schedule is much different from the US standard 9-5 type of schedule.
We returned to the venue and set up our equipment. There were very few people there and we feared that perhaps no one would show up. Katastraphobia began to play and the place was still empty. Kelly, Arno, Dominik, and I decided to compensate by dancing and scrreming as wildly as possible in order to simulate a crowd of people. Katastraphobia, inspired by our antics, finished their set classic rock style with lots of noise and theatrics. When we turned around it was apparent that a sizable crowd had formed during their set. We were glad that these people didn't walk in to see a bunch of dejected geezers.
After the show we drove to a different squat in a neighboring town. This squat served as a modest community/activist center. The show promoter is active in printing lots of subversive literature. I had been collecting posters in many countries protesting the execution of Mumia Abu Jamal back in the States. I was excited to find a poster here written in both Spanish and Basque. I was given this and an anti-bullfighting poster as souveniers. I was very happy.

Dec 24

We played in a squat in Bilbao that was a huge complex of half broken down gutted wharehouses. The Space we played in was huge with a big sound system and quite a few people showed up. We played fussball on a table that was half broken held together with scavenged parts. I went to the bar and was given rum from Cuba called "Liberacion". Aparently this rum is produced by a worker owned and operated collective and is a really good product. I asked the bartender to give me the most popular drink made with this and he made a drink half with rum and half with the most well known multi-national corporate cola probably on the planet (name brand intentional excluded here). I then said, "Capitalismo con Communismo" and then made and explosion sound. We lauged.
I was soon drunk and somehow hit my head on the fussball table. It was the first fussball injury of the tour. The second band began to set up and was using a lot of our equipment. They needed a lot of help and I was delegated this responsibility through default. They were very grateful and after thier set I continued to drink with them and make lots of noise while talking in broken Spanish and broken English.
We stayed the night with a guy who had done a lot of art. Kelly and Dominik spent some time with him discussing and looking at art and he said he would draw us a band logo. I woke up earlier than the others and took quite a few hours trying to figure out where that cut on my right cheek had come from.

Dec 25-26

We drove to the squat where we were to sleep in the afternoon. It was really large with three floors and 9 occupants. The ground floor was more or less just a wharehouse with mattresses and curtains set up for people passing through or temporarily houseless. The second floor was a kitchen, an outdoor patio, and bedrooms. The third floor was bedrooms only. We soon left for the venue, Na Vera.
Na Vera is a huge squatted wharehouse with multiple stories of living space and other smaller halls adjoining the main hall. The stage was enormous and the sound system was equal in size. In the hall long rows of vendors set up turning the first half of the hall, where the bar was also located, into a flea market/party.
Soon the hall filled with hundreds of people and Sin Dios played. Sin Dios is probably one of Spain's most well known punk bands. I didn't know the lyrics or what was being said but it was apparent that they had some form of Anarcho-Syndacalist/anti-establishment kind of philosophy going on.
After Sin Dios came Menos Que Nada who was a new band from Madrid. Katastraphobia played next. They played well but the sound from the PA and the room was really strange. I tried to help communicate with the sound guys but found that it was in the end impossible to get things to sound exactly as everyone wanted it. We did seem to collectively improve the sound for Katastraphobia at least a little bit.
We played next and found the room acoustics difficult to work with just to get a good sound on the stage much less in the rest of the hall. I just turned my amp all the way up. It still seemed really quiet despite the fact that I was playing through a full stack at maximum volume. I guess I need twice as much equipment for a room that size. I'll remember to borrow someone else's equipment piling it all together into some kind of monstrous guitar rig next time we're in a room that size.
Seein' Red played next and I was surprised at how there music had evolved branching out and becoming more chaotic and pounding since I had last seen them. I was also surprised to see them do a lot of the same long speeches in English in Spain as they did in the US. I had thought that they only did that in English speaking countries but apparently they do this everywhere even though thier native language is Flemish (Dutch). They speak English very well; too well for the spanish punks to comprehend unfortunately.
After Seein' Red another band tried to play but they didn't have hardly any equipment and no one wanted to lend the guitarist thier guitar. They began to set up with a broken guitar and started taking our equipment and setting it up all backwards. This made me somewhat upset since through thier ignorance and thoughtlessness they could have made my speaker cabinets explode. Fortunately I noticed what they were doing and began to help them set up, but as I did this the show organizers began breaking down the PA. Apparently no one wanted this band to play. It was around 4 AM already anyway.
The next day Arno went to a punk flea market while the rest of us slept. After dinner Kelly, Dominik, Arno, and I took the Metro to a historic part of town to look for a nice bar to have a beer in and talk. Unfortunately as we walked through the winding streets the only bars we found had bright flourescent lights and big plate glass windows as if the patrons were on display. We bought some cheap canned beers and sat in the plaza while a group of woman in a nearby building sang traditional sounding songs with layered harmonies and the percusion of clapping hands and stomping feet.
The stone plaza was large and vacant with only a few passing pedstrians. The shops were closing and we exchanged very few words while we listened to the sounds of this nearby celebration whose nature we could only tentatively grasp.

Dec 27-31

Pilona is a really large space in Valencia across the street from the beach. It was cold and windy the night we played and instead of exploring the beach I spent most of my spare time playing more fussball.
Pilona had a huge wharehouse space downstairs equipedd for bigger concerts, but we played upstairs in a more casual smaller space. There were sofas, a kitchen, and a bar. The first band to play seemed to be a somewhat new group. They played some well written pounding heavy metal. Unfortunately thier stage volume was really low which took away from the syle of music they were playing which was more or leass otherwiase well played.
We played next and as we played the PA became more and more distorted until all the vocals were drowned out by a loud piercing crackling noise innterspersed by feedback. We tried to re-mix the PA to get rid of the noise but to no avail. Finally we just played three more songs without vocals and cut our set short.
Katastraphobia set up after us and after a lot of experimenting they found that only one of the speakers was causing the problem and that the noise went away when it was unplugged. The vocals were somewhat low and poorly EQed but it transcendantly better than when we played.
We stayed in Valencia for two more days. On the third day we went to see Seein Red once again. The bands that played with them were really good playing high energy swirling hardcore. Seein' Red for thier part played another great set. They again spoke a lot and in a manner dificult for the Spaniards to follow. At one point the guitarst said one of the few Spanish words he knew "Anarchismo", or anarchism in English.
The crowd understood this word and started chanting "Anarchismo, Anarchismo!", and the singer tried to explain how that he used to be an anarchist but now believed in "Revolutionary Communism". No one understood this and when he said "Communismo" I don't think anyone understood what he was trying to say. In the end he said, "I used to be like you...you anarchists are alright."
We went to Barcelona for New Years to find that our show had been pushed back to the 1st. We went to the squat and soon met up with a crew of people which we had met in Switzerland and France. They had all come from different parts of the French speaking lands to spend New Years in Barcelona with us. We went to the central square and watched an amazing display of festival artillary.
After this we wandered around Barcelona in an increasing state of intoxication. At one point we saw the guys from Seein' Red on the opposite side of the tracks in one Metro station. We had somehow found a number of loaves of bread on our excursions and I offered to throw a loaf to Seein' Red as a sign of comraderie. They seemed almost scared by what I guess they viewed as a threat of a bombardment by some drunkard equipped with an arsenal of day old bread. I guess I can see why they didn't want the bread.
We finally wound up at the squat where at some point Arno and I started attacking each other with a bottle of catsup. I had catsup splattered all over my torso and on my left thigh. I got Arno in the face and also wounded one innocent bystander who was passed out drunk. I cleaned myself as best I could but the others merely slept with the catsup on them. In the morning it had dried to thier faces and looked pretty disgusting.

Jan 1

There were two shows this day: ours with Lenin's band from Leipzig and Seein' Red's with Kill The Man Who Questions from Philidelphia. This wasn't bad though because the Seein' Red show was early and ours was late.
Kill The Man Who Questions was really good. They put on a really high energy performance and played noisey layered pounding hardcore with bursts of chatoic energy and an overall heavy metal overtone. Sometimes thier stage energy disrupted thier technical performane of the music, but the few discrepencies seemed to go well with the overall performance. I screamed "freebird" a cliche heckle from the US. I don't know if anyone understood the irony of this. No one in Europe seems to know who Lynard Skynard is and I'm not sure if Kill The Man Who Questions had ever pondered this fact.
Once again Seein' Red put on a great performance. They were also kind enough to mention our show holding the flyer in the air until everyone got the jist of what they were trying to convey. Unfortunately it seemed than no one at this show came to our show including the bands. It seems that the two shows were set up in different styles of venues, with slightly different styles of music, drawing a different crowd.
The venue at the first show was a legal rented space. For some reason they insisted upon charging me higher prices for water than what they charged Kelly. I got upset about this, but everyone told me I was over reacting. The crowd seemed younger, more clean cut, and I noticed a few straight-edge type people. I also saw the guitarist from Brother Inferior by the way. I told him that the recording that was made of thier first show in Slovenia turned out really good and that he should come to the other show and I'd let him hear it. He didn't come.
Kill The Man Who Questions didn't come either which was unfortunate because they were supposed to give Lenin a package. I was hoping they would come to our show so we could hang out and swap tour stories and stuff.
Our show was at a big squat with a skate park out front. Arno had brought a skateboard on tour and Dave and I took turns riding the ramps. I didn't do anything really cool but just enjoyed rolling around. I'm really out of practice. Dave on the other hand is much better with a skateboard than I am and was doing quite a few tricks that impressed the others. Given enough time I'm sure he would have really gotten warmed up giving us a good exhibition of his skateboarding prowess.
The crowd at our show was older and dirtier many of which had a more abrasive punk appearance than the other crowd. They also seemed to consume a lot more alcohol than the other crowd. I was somewhat depressed that the punk scene should be divided in such ways along lines of fashion, styles of music, and lifestyles. Seein' Red has a line that says "We hate the system, 'cause the system sucks." Criticisms of overly simple lyrics aside; everyone in the punk scene can agree on this and in the end fighting oppression is the most important unifying element of all styles of punk rock or related forms of music and thought. I'm just glad that I can appreciate all these different forms. I don't know maybe I'm drawing to many conclusions from the fact that a lot of people don't really care that much about my stupid band.
At any rate, the first band to play was noisy and had a lot of performance pieces of people actually dressing up in costumes and acting and stuff. I couldn't really see much though because I didn't feel like fighting with the crowd.
Lenin's band played next. They were excruciatingly loud and heavy. They played a mid paced punk style of sludgey heavy metal. The tempo of thier music was to slow to be energetic yet to fast to complement the sludgey painfully loud guitar and two distorted bass players. In the end I found thier music to be bland, boring, and repetetive (sorry Lenin your my friend and all but I have to tell the truth).
Next Katastraphobia played I think, um.. I can't remember, but I'm sure they put on a good show which ever order they played in. When we set up I think I was delirious from they tour. The band and the whole idea of music seemed silly and my head was kind of swirling. I jumped around a lot and did a lot more theatrics than usual. We had played the songs so many times... We had played so many shows... It seemed like we had been touring forever.... We only had a few more days left... What does this all mean... Why am I here... over 4 and a half months of tour....
Despite my jumping, slithering, kicking, posturing, and falling about I seemed to perform the songs the same as I had every other show. Had I played these songs that much that no matter how hard I tried to make mistakes or how little I paid attention to what I was doing my hands and mouth would reflexively play the right notes. Despite how unsettling this may sound it was fun to realize that my brain was no longer necassary and I could concentrate on being a complete idiot. Hmmmm.
I even took the liberty of addressing the crowd in Spanish even though I had little knowlege of how to speak properly. The crowd seemed to appreciate my desire to communicate rather than disdain my butchery of the language. Out of everything from our set I cherish this interaction most of all. "El proximo cancion se llaman 'Brother'. Antes tenemos anarchia, necesitamos cambiar sociedad."
This translates, I think, to; "The next song is called 'Brother'. Before we have anarchy, we need to change society." Lenin reassured me later that the few things I said made sense to him in Spanish even if they weren't completely grammatically correct.

Jan 2-3

The next day we said good-bye to our French speaking friends except for Grazcien's girlfriend and her dog who decided to ride with us. I'm so bad with names but the parting was still an emotional event for everyone. Also our traveling companion, Silk, decided to stay in Barcelona which was difficult for Dave, who was/is her boyfriend. We had only two more shows and they decided to meet in Barcelona after the last show. All the people were kissing each other on the cheek in traditional French fashion and hugging. I felt kind of awkward and wanted to make a similar kind of exchange but in the end was to nervous to do so.
When we arrived in Salt we found the venue after winding through a lot of semi-rural roads. The squat seemed to be part of a series of buildings; how much of it was squatted I can't really say. It was situated along a dirt road/driveway and was adjacent to a nearby agricultural field which was neatly tended to.
Some people had started a fire in a metal barrel near the entrance. Upon entering the show space I was really surprised at how much effort had been put into what was a moderately sized room. The bar and stage were well constructed; the walls were covered with well executed murals, and decorated with flyers and various other types of artwork; the place was organized and clean; and the PA was set up with all the proper equipment in perfect funtioning order.
I commented to Dominik, "A lot of love went into this place.". This space is one of the examples proving that having squaters ocupy a building is better than better some land speculator allow it to rot while he/she waits for property values to rise before selling it for profit rather than using it.
At any rate the show had a very small turnout, but the people that did come out seemed to genuinely appreciate the show. In the end that's better than having a roomful of people who don't care about you at all.
After the show we went to a nice, clean two bedroom house. It was a summer rental house which the promoter used for free during the off-season. The house was so nice that we decided to stay an extra day spending our day off in Salt rather than in France.
The next day a few of us went for a walk in the neighborhood. We soon found ourselves at the beach whose sand was a pale tan color and whose water was perfectly clear without even a hint of blue like California or green like Florida. We discussed the diferences in sand and water and Arno, Steph, Dominik, Kelly, and I soon found ourselves walked about on a dock which was constructed out of a pile of rocks. The algae was brown unlike the green or black which I had seen in the past.
At any rate all of us left to go shopping for food except Kelly who continued to sit at the top of the rock formation looking out to the sea. When we arrived back at the cottage we awoke Gracian and his girlfriend who had been sleeping outside. Gracian was to slow getting up and ended up going to the store with us. He didn't seem to mind though.

Jan 4-5

It was really cold in Grenoble. The squat was a huge compound mostly comprised of broken down wharehouses and trailers. We started a huge pallete fire soon after the promoters arrived. The show space was modest but adequate, and the PA was well equpped but not very powerful.
The other band played some really chaotic hardcore and was only a drummer, guitarist, and vocalist. Somehow they seemed to really pull it off. They seemed to have a bit of an Assück influence yet more noisey and punk.
Katastraphobia and our sets were pretty sentimental. We thanked each other, dedicated songs to each other, and spoke fondly of one another. We had been on the road for quite some time and this journal does a really poor job of expressing all the good times we had; the joking, the festivities, the dancing, the debating, the cooking, experiencing foreign lands together, and the endless stream of general foolishness and excitement. I hope that we can all continue to be friends through the years despite the great distances separating us.
After the show we went to the promoters apartment where we all collectively created a feast; our last meal together (I still find it difficult to not feel sentimental).
In the morning we separated all of our belongings and putting everything in order for the split up of the crew. Nica agreed to buy Kelly's bass cabinets and Leffe my guitar cabinets. Arno agreed to hold on to the rest of our equipment and merchandise while we were off traveling, and said that he would give us a ride to the airport if he was available.
I also had a talk with Dave in which we decided it was time for him to leave the band. Once again Lesser Of Two is looking for a new drummer.
We dropped Dave off at a gas station along the main road and Kelly, Dominik, and I said our final farewell to Arno, Steph, Gracian, Gacian's girlfriend, Leffe, and Nica in the parking lot of a grocery store in a neighboring town. As we waited for the bus to take us to the train station Arno's van passed by. They honked and waived. I was hit with a wave of saddness and excitement simultaneously. The sadness of seeing our friends leave and the excitement of embarking upon a new journey which had no itinerary and only vague plans.
This moment of reflexion was disrupted when Steph ran up saying that the underground was only a block away. As the van left for the final time we saw the bus in the distance and decided to take the bus anyway.
I guess that's the end of my tour journal. Thanks for caring enough about my silly band to read it.

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