“Dear passenger, this is to inform you that your flight with us tomorrow has been canceled. Thanks for your understanding. –The Alitalia team.” The email reached me during a break on my last gig in Paris. A warm Wednesday evening, I was standing outside the club, absorbing as many of the sights and smells as I … Continue reading A Series of Minor Inconveniences: Paris-Rome-Potenza
The Metro spat me out into the muted streetlights of the Place du Chatelet and I headed across the river. I’d been in Paris a week and had so far avoided the centre of town– the crowds are too young and the beer’s too expensive– but tonight was the grand reopening of one of the … Continue reading A Night at the Huchette
I looked up and smiled as the lights started to swim. It was a few hours after landing, and I appeared to be at a small round table on the street outside a busy brasserie somewhere in Montparnasse. My movements leading up to that point completely escape me– I think there was a cab ride, … Continue reading A Page from the Jet Lag Diary: Paris
I’m the problem. It’s me. Florida is fine– they know what they’re doing, lumbering around blinding freeways in their hulking SUVs, eating their fried fish fillets, painting stuff beige, keepin’ it familiar. It’s just that I don’t get it. I try, really I do. I went down there with the best intentions, eager to spend … Continue reading Will Someone Please Explain Florida to Me?
I’m about to board a plane for the first time in 14 months and jet down to sunny Florida. Like drug-induced hallucinogenic paranoia, it’s a state I haven’t been in for 25 years, and one I have mixed feelings about revisiting. Working the Caribbean as a lowly musician aboard monstrous American cruise ships, the town … Continue reading Back to the Beach
Apologies for that grinding, squealing noise– it’s just the agonised turning of my rusting gears, protesting after more than a year of neglect. It’s worse than just lack of practice, it’s a soul-deep inertia, my limited life skills desperately longing to remain at rest. But the giant seems to be awakening– I think that explains … Continue reading Pass the Lube; it’s Jazz Time
The word “hike” is one that fills me with immediate and profound dismay. Like when other people hear words like dental surgery or experimental jazz. I immediately conjure up visions of craters and cliffs, ropes and crampons, dehydration and mountain rescue. Normally if I was invited on a hiking trip, I’d fumble desperately for an … Continue reading Let’s Get Ready to Ramble
I’m not the only one who dreams of escape, am I? After ten months of no gigs, no travel, the same four walls (seventeen actually, my apartment has a lot of weird angles), the endless repetitive news cycle, the North East winter well and truly settled in, surely we’re all mentally tying together our bedsheets and clambering out the window to run off and set up shop somewhere exotic and romantic...
’ve played the saxophone in some run down places: grim stinking pubs in the forgotten outskirts of Sydney, a few desperate alcoholics braying for ACDC despite our matching suits and 60s Rhythm & Blues setlist; slick cocktail bars in South East Asia, incongruous with the rats and trash, the abject poverty on all sides; below-deck nightclubs on seedy Russian Cruise ships- bleary vodka eyes and sudden outbursts of horrific drunken violence. And then there’s NYC’s West Village, January 2021...
Entry to Rockaway is rough. The free shuttle to the beach is too horrific to consider: small, clapped-out vans with no suspension, torn broken seats, airless and stinking; on their last tour of duty before the knackery. I opt for the walk across the peninsula– it’s only ten minutes, but it’s an adventure though an almost cinematically rundown industrial horrorscape. Under crumbling rail bridges, past abandoned lots, burnt out cars; the gangs of beach-bound teenage girls in flip flops huddle tightly together, tote bags clutched nervously. But mixed with the stink of exhaust and urine, the ocean air holds a promise; and the rumble of the Atlantic infiltrates the sounds of traffic and wailing winos...