November 9, 2006
Newark Airport on my way to Stockholm
It is Thursday I must be flying… well at least that is the pattern I have been pretty much following since I left Seattle on the morning of November 1st when I flew out to NYC to start this jet setting journey that I am mid way through. I arrived to NYC late night and had an early morning the following day where I met with Julie Atlas Muz who I had hired to assist me in ripping out the terrace garden I maintain at the now very posh address of #2 Fifth Avenue. Home of former NYC major Ed Kotch, Larry Kramer and back in the day my dear friend Tom Rubinitz. Julie and I had a great time discussing life and tearing the hell out of the hibiscus, mandervilla, dahlias, and million bell petunias that will soon be replaced with hundreds of tulip and daffodil bulbs for the spring that we will plant the following week. After we finish the jog I head back to Avenue A and shower change my clothes and head out with my baggage to the nail salon to have a mani pedi before flying out to London. The car arrives before my nails are dry and have to purchase a pair of flip flops to put on my feet so I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t @#!*%! @ my toenails. There is a woman in the salon that seems to suffer from some colonialist attitude or is it imperialist? She insist on informing me that the car can be made to wait and will not get paid until I get in the car and that I should just sit down and let my nails completely dry. I find her and her nose pierced, yoga clad, fit body annoying, and choose to ignore her and her bossy attitude.
Successfully in the car with no damaged nails I am of to Newark. Contrary to other people I find Newark to be a great airport to fly in and out of. It is remarkably fast to get to and from and yes the taxi and car fair can be more but it is far more expedient and user friendly than JFK. Also the road to and from the airport is NOT under construction.
I get on the plane and pretty much fall asleep. When I do wake up I fond that the flight has been delayed by a few hours but I am not affected by that one way or the other. I am sitting next to a very young Pakistani boy who is a med student and has just done a rotation on Kentucky and Virginia. To my surprise he had a great time and was treated very well in those states by the locals and was quite enthusiastic about sates that often give me cause for concern.
We land at Gatwick and I see that there is quite a rigmarole to get ticket for the Gatwick Express Train Line upon linesÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ no one ever tells you that you can purchase a ticket on the train for no additional cost which is exactly what I would have done had I know about it. The train is clean and fast and has a beautiful view of the rolling sun bathed hills of England.
Victoria Station is a fun and bustling place, I notice the tell tail signs that it is Remembrance Day (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Remembrance_Day),
The poppy pins on sale here there and every where. I am sad I managed to get out of the country without one. It is a lovely tradition that I think we should acquire in the states collecting funds for our forgotten soldiers. Lord knows we have plenty of our own disembodied young men and women who donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t get visits from family and friends and whom the government has abandoned.
I head out the main entrance door to get a black cabs I simply refuse to schlep my heavy piece of baggage up and down the halls and escalators of the London tube. My fare to Bethnal Green where I am staying costs me 17 poundsÃ¢â‚¬Â¦. for an 18 minute car ride. The conversion math is disturbing DONÃ¢â‚¬â„¢T do it! Just do as I did for the entirely of my 72 hour adventure in the Great B pretend that it is dollars or your head will hurt. I can cry later when I get my VISA bill.
London is a beautiful city actually I think all Europe cities are beautiful the scale, history, architecture, established parks and large old healthy trees lining the roads. The view over the Thames is charming the blend of the old and new with the soft early winter light makes me feel comfortable and at ease. I realize that I really miss Europe and that a part of my being needs to be nurtured by this environment having such a strong connection to this part of the world having been born in Sweden and traveled extensively all over Europe for the first 22 years of my life. It is hard to explain the what it is that I find so soothing but I have been in the states far to long since 82 and have traveled to South America and Southeast Asia the most since then. I thought that NYC was diverse, now I see that London has many more cultures intermingling and I find it fascinating.
I arrive at the home of Miss Fancy Chance aka Veronica and her legal squeeze Fred aka Fredrick – only to be spoken in our respective native tongue Swedish. Their home is charming and so befitting for the young Korean lass who portrays Alice in Wonderland, all that is missing is a white rabbit. Veronica whisks me off to the local Italian Caf for a meal and a full on sampler of the locals. I feel like I am on the set of the West Enders or what ever that show was called about a neighborhood in London.
Unfortunately we have a middle aged, badly tattooed, smoking, crabby cabby sitting right next to us, who only wants to speak of tattoos, guns, home violence, and how fucked up England is while continually blowing smoke in my face and all overt my breakfast, all I want to do is to catch up with Miss V about her London life, and the gig she has booked me in that evening at the latest best kept sensation in London Ã¢â‚¬Å“The Working Mans ClubÃ¢â‚¬Â Friday night event Ã¢â‚¬Å“The Magic LanternÃ¢â‚¬Â. Truth be told, I feel a little stretched want to take a nap and go shopping at all the Vivienne Westwood stores or at least look at them. 2/3 way through the meal Miss V asks me if I want to meet Shanti, my exÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s wife, that he himself has yet to tell me about. I say sureÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ why not. She is lovely and charming, but not very happy, out of respect for her will leave it at that.
Miss V and I head back to her place regroup and get on the tube to Oxford Circus down Regents Street and head on over to VW!!!!
I am jet lagged and overwhelmed there is so much to look at, the price tags Ã¢â‚¬Â¦.intimidating, because deep down inside I really know that the price listed is in pounds not dollarsÃ¢â‚¬Â¦. heavy sigh. It really does not help that I fit perfectly into a VW UK 14. It is almost like I am her fit model and it makes me so happy and unhappy all at the same time. There are a pair of shoes I am hunting for, and they do not have them as yet, because the shipping is behind schedule. Buy the time I get to the second store that features the Ã¢â‚¬Å“GoldÃ¢â‚¬Â label on Davy Street I just happen to be there for the DHL arrival of the Ã¢â‚¬Å“SEX SHOEÃ¢â‚¬Â I am after, but it is reserved for someone else, but being the good sport that I am, I am happy to try them on just so I can decide if I really want to keep up the hunt, so I slip on the shoeÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ well I decide that I do. I pout and feel a little disappointed that the vibrant orange, red and green plaid Harris Tweed suite is just beyond the bend in the Ã‚Â£ or $ range. I would have to buy them both, as one with out the other would just be SAD!
After wandering around in a haze I drop by Beyond Retro where Miss V works to say a quick Ã¢â‚¬Å“HelloÃ¢â‚¬Â before I go back to her house it take a much-needed nap before this evenings show. Sleeping is good despite the the back round noise of fireworks and fire crackers for the Guy Fawkes Day (the man who inspired Ã¢â‚¬Å“V Ã¢â‚¬Å“ as in V is for Vendetta http://www.guy-fawkes.com/festivities) that continue for the entirety of my stay in London, that and the two black cats Leroy and Nefertiti who I was told were very shy do not suffer from shyness at all with me in fact they seem to have fun poking and prodding me while I am sleeping and I just want to keep sleeping, but alas it is 9:30 PM, I must put on my stage face and wigs and head out into the night. The Working MenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Club is a very cute. You walk up a small set of stairs to a main room that has cabaret style seating circling a wooden dance floor in front of a decent sized stage that have stair off the center of it. The room is full of a mixed crowd and very very smoky. It is as smoky as the Halloween show at the Emerald Queen. I feel a little fuzzy and not because I am in a gorilla suit, it is the jet lag. All the cast is very friendly and excited to have an out of towner in the line up. I canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t remember all their names and I feel badly for it but I do remember Amber and Venus Envy. I had met Amber at EW 06 in Vegas, not that I remember much of those crazy action packed few days. The Girilla seems to go over well despite that the butt pasties I have added to the act refuse to stay on my ass, and I spend the rest of the night talking to Shanti and Miss V. I get to bed at 5 AM yes, lotÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s of talking and get up around 11 and get to meet Fredrick and the three of us go to breakfast at ElliotÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s on Bethnal Green Road. The breakfast is very yummy with very pretty bright yellow colored organic eggs and after that we head into town as I am having a 3 oÃ¢â‚¬â„¢clock meeting with Immodestly Blaize and Andrew at the Covent Garden Hotel located across the street from Coco de Mer, a high end fancy panty and sex shop store, of a style that seems to be popping up all over the planet. They have a few exquisite corsets and lingerie items that I am teased by. I head back across the street to meet my High teas dates ( yes I am going to eat once again).
Immodesty is wearing a tweedy riding jacket and trousers tucked into her very hot VW black boots and a petite black sequin hat at a jaunty angle, and a shade lipstick I canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t put my finger on but I like it a lot. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a deep pinky orange red color and slightly matte. She is giving great afternoon glamour and Andrew is in a very nice suit. I am full of questions about the up coming show they are producing T.I.T.S
The Immodest Teases Show, a first ever international fundraiser for Exotic World, featuring Miss EW 2004 Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Miss Dirty Martini and our current Queen Julie Atlas Muz, and Murry Hill. I feel it will be the Burlesque Event of 2006, and a very sad that I cannot be there to watch what will be a very exciting and beautiful show. The flyers and promotional material is beautiful. We gab about this and that, get to know a little more about each other share a bottle of wine with our nibbles and end with tea.
Andrew is off to the office and I am off to the Post Mistress a shoe store that allegedly has the Ã¢â‚¬Å“SEX SHOEÃ¢â‚¬Â I am in hot pursuit of, and to meet Miss V and Fred. Immodesty joins me for a little while and then we part ways. I do some considerable damage to my VISA at the Post MistressÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ The store is told to contact the bank for the authorization code it takes forever I feel like the bank card company is trying to parent me by double checking my name address and total of my purchase I swear it takes about 15 minutes to wrap up my transaction. When we leave I have three bags and with my encouragement Miss V has one of her own, we wander around the streets of London and drop into a tasty cheese shoe NealÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Yard Dairy and but some excellent goat cheese and English Apples that the very cute older lady in a purple trench coat and big black framed glasses ensures me are tasty tart and crunchy. More wandering and we agree that we want to eat again and we decide on Southern Indian. The King Fish Curry is the winner as is the white wine that is as dangerously drinkable as the description in the menu intimated. After this we head back to the homestead, as I need a disco nap before I head out for my 2AM performance at Low Life over in Elephant Castle. This party is dedicated to Adam Goldstone and the reason I came to London, as I wanted to be part of the festivities.
Nap, I do not wake up until 11:30 and rush to get myself pulled together as I want to catch the tube before it closes at what I believe is 1 AM Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ well is was 12:15 that my station closed at so I start to walk back to the house to find out how I go about getting a black cab. LotÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s of people are out and the fire works and crackers are still in full force. I marvel how such a large city can have the tube close down so early.
A cab spots me and u turns to pick me up. Apparently the feeling about tubes is that you would not want to be on one late at night with gangs of young drunk people, bad enough you end up with them on a bus. Off to Elephant Castle we are and I arrive at a location under a bridge and it looks intriguing! There are people in and out of costume coming into the party. The security people are very nice and helpful and no one misses a chance to tease me about traveling with a suitcase to the party. They donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know that I plan to prance around as a gorilla in about an hour and then do my Girlilla act. Several people are on E and seem quite happy that dancing is in full force. There are a few posters up with AdamÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s face and In Absurdity and Fierceness 1996-2006 written across the bottom. I get a little teary eyed and that happens a few times between the 1 AM and 7:30 AM when I leave. I love being a gorilla hopping around petting people especially when they are high on E as I am sure it is even more bizarre of an experience.
Well, having gotten in at 7:30 AM I sleep till about 12:30 and head out for breakfast on my own and over to HarrodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s. I love HarrodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s it is such peculiar store almost bizarre. There is a soprano opera singer singing arias from Tosca and The Magic Flute on the side of the escalator on a balcony. I wander around and looking at stuff and then head down to the basement to look at the shrine to Princess Di and Doddy. Then it is down the street to Harvey Nichols the stomping of ground of Eddy and Patsy. IT is getting dark so I hop on bus and meet up again with Miss V to go have Chinese food for dinner. She has a performance with their band Bib later but I am bushed and must sleep.
I am up early and off to the airport back to NYC.