Tuesday, March 18, 2008

France (it's Tim's fault that this is just going up now)

OK. This is a blog post written by our good friend Britt Haraway. He sent this weeks ago when we were still in France. I am an idiot and didn't realized that this blog entry was attached to the email. So without further ado......

First, I have to admit that I am a big Tim Regan fan. He is the kind of friend you have that, no matter how long you’ve been away from him, you can pick it right back up, using the old jokes and making new ones.
This became clear when I got to L’ecole Polytechnique, an engineering school in Nantes, France. Tim met me out front of a building somewhere in between the Jetsons and some of the Pentecostal churches I’ve seen with all the glass and the multifunctional gym room, which is where the guys played. We shook hands—he’s got some new fangled routine of hand explosions and hand taps—and passed some kids dancing to the pre-show music. Tim said, “Those kids look like they are on acid.” But further down the hall, I suggested they were “special” and he felt bad.
Tim is a nice mix of energy and heart. I like it. He took me up to meet the other members of Oh No, Oh My, all good lads. Daniel loves Europe, takes pictures of everything, but I think he is wondering how he will survive as the only morning person in the band. Joel is sleeping well, verging on Narcolepsy. When he is not melting faces with his drumming, he is in the loft, a small dangerous bed above the equipment in their Mercedes Benz stretch van. That’s right ladies, a Benz.
Greg can be seen tilting a MacBook in some European Wifi Zone Skyping his girlfriend. I found him quiet and observant, perhaps walking the streets with his own soundtrack playing. The commercial for Ipod actually got this right. An Ipod creates space around you, and you walk a little more confidently because you have this secret, a great playlist that makes the city less oppressive, the anonymity a choice; it coats the old buildings and trees with a fine sheen where the world is narrated through your eyes, through your “I”, in your own voice or one that you like very much.
So, although I didn’t get to chat with Greg as much, I have a feeling that he is enjoying the place through a secret lens. I know for a fact that they all got a kick out of signing autographs after the show in Nantes. Daniel takes up a good third of the poster, and Greg has the doctor problem where it would take the FBI to read his name.
During a pepped up number, a man dressed as Big Bird made an appearance and got a small crowd surf. When they played the song bought by the cell phone company Orange, that’s two syllables en Francaise, the crowd got out their cell phones. Anyone who thinks that advertising “doesn’t work” is a fool.
Tom has done good work managing the tour. They get free meals and he gives them nifty handouts of their schedules, and I believe they’ll be in an upcoming Dairy Queen commercial, which is, for my dollar, good dairy.
The other folks that rode with us were Celine and Dema. Celine helps with the management, especially the French—I for one saw her stand her ground when telling a sweaty French mover to quit blocking the Rue. Demas is the driver; he’s a Czech and has a way getting the huge van down cobbled, medieval streets. He also introduces the band saying, “What up, Dog?” No one but the band understands this phrase (you can guess who taught it to him).
Celine is trying to teach the guys some French and to negotiate the various cultural differences. For instance at dinner in Nantes, Demas was told that he was “taking too much cheese.” The place we stayed after the show was very cool. It was a converted barn twenty minutes from town where Julie and her husband-type man live. He paints and she is into music and design. It is the kind of setup you’d want if you ever get married, where creativity is still the focus, but it is supposed to happen in the same place every night.
Next was Bordeaux. It was a solid set, perhaps better than the first night because of the intimate venue. It was in a basement cave with low ceilings and good sound. Although Tim bumped his head a few times when he jumped, I preferred this show because the guys really fed off the heat and the almost mandatory participation that such a small club inspires.
The highlight of Bordeaux was walking down to the river after the sound check. We all had some free wine (from Spain for some reason), and the weather was great, about sixty degrees, and the moon was big and had just cleared the bridge, which was lit up too, these medals engraved on the arches that Tim said looked like the Grateful Dead Steal your Face. We had a smoke on the quay, and everyone was in a good mood: Daniel taking weird-angled pictures resting the camera on your shoulder, Tom asking people to feel the soft material of his new jacket, Joel skipping a rock, Tim talking about the historical importance of water, and Greg saying he was “just glad we came.” I was envious at that moment that I had no band. Certainly bands hate each and back bite and try to destroy each other, but there are also moments when you can see “the bond,” an envelope that surrounds four people, eight arms to hold you, or to keep you at a safe distance.

1 comment:

Chris said...

You know, you really captured the tone of this trip. You have an fantastic way of describing things that make me picture them in my mind. I could almost see Joel (I list him first because I AM his dad) Danny (He will always be Danny) Tim and Greg at the river doing those things. Thank you for that glimpse into OH NO OH MY's life.