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Celebrating Thirty Years of Punk Rock

August 6 - 17, 2006
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What follows is my personal journal from my trip to England for the final Wasted Festival, a four-day tour-de-force of Punk, Oi!, and Ska.
Unlike most of my trips, this one was not that well planned out due to such short notice.
Raising the cash was slow and tedious. There were few shows to go to, and with the economy the way it is, people were hard put to chip in a dollar.
Also adding to the confusion was the delay in getting Dawn's Passport. She paid to have it expedited. We waited and waited, but it did not come in time. We actually waited until August 6th to purchase my plane tickets. We booked my flight through Priceline.com. Because it saved over two hundred dollars, it was better to fly out of Boston than Syracuse. The cost for a round-trip ticket was $761.00 including taxes and fees. Not bad for getting it the day before the flight.
Getting to England: solved. Now, I just had to get to Boston. Dawn checked prices for both the train and the bus and the bus, though not as fun as the train with its club car, was the more affordable option. The Syracuse to Boston round-trip ticket was $144.00 and was purchased through Greyhound.com. We ordered the tickets at about 5 PM on August 6th, and because of the tight schedule, I would leave late that night at 2:55 AM for Boston. Dawn would drive me up to the Regional Transport Center to catch the bus.
The next several hours were a whirlwind of activity. Facing each other at our desks, I sent out interview requests to many of the bands while Dawn pulled up their bios and histories. It was short notice to request many of the interviews, but you know what they say: Better late than never. At least I had contact names…
Dawn's help was invaluable. I could never have gotten everything done without her. I packed sparingly. I carried two bags.
Bag #1 was a military backpack for all my clothes and personal gear. My entire wardrobe consisted of two pairs of camouflage cargo shorts, four big, comfy T-shirts, four pairs boxers and socks, one pair dress casual pants, a polo shirt, a black Carhardt hoody, and a pair of comfortable shoes.

Also in the outside pockets were a book, cards, a travel chess/checkers set, and a sleep tube. (A sleep tube, in case you didn't know, is a sheet that is folded in half and sewn on two sides like a sleeping bag. It is easy to carry, and will often save you a buck or two on sheet rental at many hostels.)
Bag #2 was a black messenger bag with my notes, promotional materials, Legends of Punk photo book, digital camera, recorders, postcards, batteries & charger, universal electrical adapter, film, and other supplies.The backpack remained one third empty and the messenger bag was about half empty. That left plenty of room to pack small souvenirs and whatnot for the trip home.
For my last few hours Dawn stuck to me like Super Glue®. I had no complaints about that. Even our dog Calista seemed to sense I was leaving and was sad.
It was finally time to go. I loaded my bags into the car and we were off. The drive to the bus station took about twenty minutes. Dawn and I carried my bags inside, checked in, and waited. We sat close together and held hands the entire time.
The boarding call for my bus came over the PA and we got in the line. Dawn wrapped her arms around me and held on tightly. I felt awful that she wasn't going and she assured me that it was ok, and that I needed to do this. With a final passionate kiss and a hug, Dawn and I said our goodbyes. The line started moving and soon I was handing my ticket to the driver.
Saying goodbye to Dawn at that gate was one of the hardest things I'd ever done. I walked to the bus, found a seat and looked at Dawn out the window. I could see her, but she couldn't see me. She stood right in the doorway until the bus began to pull out. She looked so sad standing there that it made my heart ache. She waved at the bus and I waved back at her. I watched as she wiped her eyes, knowing that moments later she would be in the car in tears. It was all I could do to hold back the tears that were welling up in my own eyes. This trip wouldn't be the same without her. It was supposed to be her and me at biggest Punk Rock festival ever, but there I was, on a bus, alone, pulling away without her.
The bus was only half-full when we left the Salt City, but the ride was hot and cramped. The lack of legroom made my knees hurt. After the bus cleared out a little in Albany, I found that the Emergency Exit Seat looked rather spacious in comparison, and moved. It was, in fact, much more comfortable. Right after I moved, a hot girl got on and sat across the aisle from me. She had dark hair and wore a black top and a miniskirt. After we pulled out, I was able to doze in and out of consciousness for a few hours. During my waking moments, I would examine the book I was reading. Here is my review:

Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk by Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain is a remarkable work. This intriguing and revealing book is a must-read for anyone who is into Punk Rock. It is a comprehensive collection of first-person interviews with the legendary forefathers of the nihilistic Punk Movement. DeeDee and Joey Ramone, Iggy Pop, David Bowie, Malcolm McLaren, Richard Hell, Andy Warhol, Patti Smith, Johnny Thunders, and countless others dish the dirt on everyone and tell the true history of Punk, in their own words. The revealing tales draw readers into the dark and dingy underground music scene, with all its seedy sex, and elicit drugs and addiction. The book is a funny, often shocking, sometimes disgusting, always outrageous, and altogether fascinating look at the origin of the Blank Generation. From the MC5 and the Stooges, to The New York Dolls and the CBGB's scene, as well as the beginnings of the Sex Pistols and the Clash, it chronicles the birth of a new Art Movement that would forever change the sound of Rock and, ultimately, life, as we know it.

At one point in my reading I looked up, and girl across the aisle had curled up on the seat and gone to sleep. She was positioned in such a way that it was very obvious that she wasn't wearing panties, and her "goodies" were exposed the world. I noticed and thought to myself, "Holy Shit!" But, I also noticed something else… I kid you not, her tampon string was hanging out! I nearly choked trying to hold back my laughter. Being a nice guy, I looked away… most of the time. To be honest, my book was far more interesting than her hairy hatchet wound. (A word of advice: Ladies, if you're riding the cotton pony while sporting a miniskirt, wear panties… and if you can't… at least get a haircut…)

Boston, Barbara, Burgers & Big-ass Rocks

When the bus finally got to Boston, I had to transfer to another bus that would take me to Logan International Airport.
I walked up to the information booth and asked the man there where I had to go to make my connection. He mumbled something incoherent and pointed to the left, but gave me no gate number. He then left the booth and walked away. I waited around for about a half hour listening for the terminal loudspeakers to announce the bus to the airport, but no such thing happened. Finally, the info booth guy came back. I showed him my ticket and asked how long I would have to wait.
He looked at my ticket and told me that my bus was pulling out now at a gate further down. I grabbed my ticket and my gear and ran for the departure gate. When I got there, the bus really was pulling out. I flagged down the driver and he stopped to let me on. I thanked him profusely. I stowed my gear and relaxed.

There is a new tunnel in Boston that makes the commute to the airport much shorter; unfortunately it was closed for repairs. The tunnel, which was completed in early 2006, was a huge project. But after it was opened, several concrete tiles fell out of the ceiling onto cruising motorists causing the city to close the underground motorway temporarily while they inspected and made repairs. Due to the fact that the tunnel was closed, the bus had to take the long way through the city. It passed through Chinatown and around Boston Common and made for some nice sightseeing. It actually worked out in my favor, I got to se alot of the city. When the coach finally got to Logan Airport, I departed at Terminal E for International Flights, made my way inside, and located a telephone.
Thanks to housemate Jennie's generous donation of two phone cards, I was able to call Dawn and let her know I had arrived at the airport.
Next, I called my mother and got my sister Barbara's telephone number. Barbara and her family live about forty minutes south of Boston in Fall River, Massachusetts, where the Lizzy Borden house is located. Because my flight didn't leave until 6:05 PM, I had several hours to go and wanted to kill some time. Barb agreed to pick me up at the airport and go to lunch. She told me she knew exactly where I was, because she always has to drop her husband Mohammed off there for business trips, and that she would be at Terminal E at about 1:30 to 1:45. The airport had many magazines and newspapers lying around so I flipped through a few of them and waited. I ripped out a few things to stick in my journal, and then wrote a few paragraphs about the trip so far. After that, went outside to wait. Barbie showed up at exactly 1:45 on the dot. (I love punctuality.) I threw my gear into her back seat, hopped into the passenger seat, and we left the airport. The plan was to go to a Mexican restaurant that Barbie recommended that was only a few miles from the airport. But, like the best-laid plans of mice and men, that went awry…

Fuddruckers Hamburgers

On the way to the Mexican place, I saw a sign for Fuddruckers, Home of the World's Greatest Hamburgers. I love that place, but I hadn't been to one in years… Not since I lived in Louisiana and the Many High School Tigers Football team went to State Championships. (I almost got to go to one in Arizona on my trip to Mexico, but the person I was with didn't want to go.) So, to see one in Boston got me all worked up. My sister saw my obvious excitement and we stopped at Fuddruckers to eat. I ordered a One-pound Burger with a side of fries. Barb, on the other hand, went with the wimpy 1/3-pound burger. When our food came, I couldn't believe my eyes. My burger was HUGE! I practically had to unhinge my jaw like a snake to eat it. Barbie took a few photos of me trying to eat it, but I wasn't allowed to take any of her. She threatened my life if I did. I finished the burger, but was so stuffed I could hardly move, and I didn't finish my fries.
Even though Barbara told me not to take a picture of her I did... Ha ha ha. Here we are chowing down. Damn, those burgers were Tasty! Mmm-mmm!

Click Here to See The

Official Website

On the way out I asked the manager if I could get a sticker of the Fuddruckers logo for my journal and he gave me two. I, in return, gave him a TATW button.
After lunch, I still had more than an hour to kill before check-in, so Barbie took me on a short driving tour of Lynn, Marblehead, and a place called Castle Rock that were all on the ocean. At Castle Rock we climbed up on some huge rocks that jutted straight up out of the ocean. It was breathtakingly beautiful.

Up, Up & Away

After our little impromptu tour, Barbara dropped me off at the airport at 4:15, and I checked in. The woman at the counter told me my flight would be boarding in approximately thirty minutes at Gate 7A. I made my way through the security checkpoint with a minimum of hassle and onto the Departure concourse. I arrived at my gate and, sure enough, thirty minutes later, the attendant started calling rows for boarding. Soon, I would be off...
My seat was in Row 40 Seat F. I was situated in the center of the aircraft facing a wall, but it had a good amount of legroom compared to the rest of the seats.
On my left was a young man wearing headphones to whom I barely said fifteen words for the whole flight… mostly, "I'm sorry" when I would bump his arms.
On my right was a friendly woman named Judith. She was about sixty years old. She was headed to London to visit her daughter whom had married an English chap. It was her first time to England as well, and she was very excited about it. We chatted for a while and soon after take off she decided to read and so did I.
I read until the attendants brought us our meals. I had some sort of Oriental-style chicken dish. It came with a nice salad, bread, wine, and a piece of cake that was similar to a Boston cream pie. I ate and drank my wine with care, because the tables are so small and cramped. But, other than that, it wasn't bad at all.

After the meal, I pulled up my personal TV monitor and watched the movie Dodge Ball starring Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn. It is such a funny film. I love the part at the end where Ben Stiller is all fat and say's "Fuckin' Chuck Norris!" It cracks me up.
(Speaking of Chuck Norris…. Do you know why his TV show was called Walker, Texas Ranger? Because Chuck Norris never RAN away from anything in his life!) Click Here for More Chuck Norris Facts.
After the movie was over, I watched an episode of The Simpsons. After that, I went back to reading until the crew turned down the lights so that people could sleep. I tried to get some sleep but, with the cramped conditions and my knee aching, I was only able to fade in and out of consciousness for short periods of about five to ten minutes each. At one point, I got up and walked around the cabin to ease the pain in my leg and it worked well. When I got back to my seat, I turned on my private TV and checked out Channel 18, the Info Channel. The whole channel is dedicated to showing the current conditions of the plane on its flight to England. It tells the time at the city of departure as well as the current aircraft speed, altitude, tail wind speed, temperature, and estimated arrival time. (FYI: When traveling at an altitude of 37,000 feet at a speed of over 600 MPH with a 60 MPH tail wind, the outside temperature is a bone chilling –71 degrees.)
I watched TV and listened to music for most of the rest of the flight.
About an hour before landing, the crew served breakfast. We had orange juice, a small coffee cake, raspberry yogurt, and coffee. It was delicious. After breakfast the crew cleaned up and prepared for landing.
The Pilot came over the PA and informed us that we had made great time and would be landing at Heathrow Airport about fifteen minutes early. When it actually came time to land the pilot did it perfectly. He put the big old jet airliner down as smooth as could be. There wasn't even a bump.
I grabbed my bags from the overhead compartment, and with a friendly goodbye to Judith, I made my way off the jet. I thanked the Pilot and Crew for such a wonderful flight and walked into the airport. Next stop: British Customs.
Being me and knowing my track record with airport security and Customs officials, I was a bit apprehensive about dealing with them. But, as it turned out, my fear was for naught.

The British Customs Officer asked me a few routine questions, stamped my Passport and wished me a good holiday. He was so bloody nice about it.
I got directions from an airport employee on how to get to the subway. He explained that the terminal exit at Heathrow was undergoing renovation and there was a bus that would take me to the nearest Underground entrance. He gave me directions on where to go and I hopped on the bus.

I had arrived in London, God Save the Queen!

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