Tuesday, 3rd May 2011 in US Tour 2011.
Was a tad inconsiderate of Obama to have Osama killed the day before we fly out to New York. But as friends reminded us – it was too soon after the event for major reprisals – or even minor ones, they added – a little uncertainly for my liking. But at least he did not get Osama’s killing muddled up with the Royal Wedding – what sort of mixed emotions would that have caused – two different sorts of hysterical euphoria – would have resulted in major burnouts. Hospitals would not have coped. After the Osama shooting we watched scenes of Americans whooping and cheering. Is it only us lily-livered English people who are not sure that ‘the world is now a safer place’? Amazing to see republicans at last backing Obama – note that it takes a bloodthirsty killing to make them admire their president. There he was trying to help people to a better life and all he had to do was order a killing. Why didn’t someone tell him that. The world is nervous again – even in Ipswich as we parked the car in a multi-story car park, the car park alarm went off and we were ordered to leave the car and go outside for an hour or so while they searched for the ‘bomb’? As the world gets scarier we can at least tune into www.depressioncanbefun.com – yes really!!
The flight was half- empty and so smooth that arriving in cold torrential rain failed to dampen our gung-ho British spirits, though I have to say checking into the JFK Holiday Inn Express did. It was the kind of hotel you never want to see again. The sort where the air conditioning unit filled half the room noisily. Next day the rain and cold continued, and no sign of those handbag and umbrella sellers who are usually hawking on every street corner. Luckily a lady saw me dripping on the sidewalk, waiting to cross, and let me share her brolly.
What Neil looks like when he sleepsSo here we are again, about to fight for a space on the freeway into NYC, driving on the wrong side of the road, jet lagged, snappy and needing sleep.
What may be said to be the first antislavery meeting ever held in the United States was held in Woodbridge on the 4th of July, 1783, seven years after the Declaration of Independence and six years before George Washington was inaugurated as President of the United States, and by coincidence it happens to have one of the nicest Holiday Inn Expresses we have yet stayed in. It was a very long drive to the gig in Port Washington-the roads in and around New York city are on a par with roads in India – huge holes with exposed drains covers which almost take the bottom out of your car. What do they spend the toll money on if not repairing the roads? The lanes are narrow and the truckers, never exactly thoughtful, were positively vengeful this time. Twice we thought the tour might end right there on the road into New York. Our GPS finds it difficult too. At the most important points along the road she loses it and starts madly whirring around telling us turn left, then right, then left, before she goes quiet, composes herself and you are back on track having missed the turning etc., etc.
We were met at Port Washington Library by Tony Traguardo – a great fan and the guy responsible for booking Neil. Open, friendly and helpful with his wife, Winnie, who told me to massage a spot 3 fingers down from my elbow to help this tummy bug I picked up somewhere between home and JFK. Tony’s buddy Mitch was there as well, another fan and I have to say if you got this sort of welcome everywhere life would be a ball. Neil performed the set to about 70 happy people and on the last number he got Tony and Mitch up on stage to sing the harmony to a Rutle number -I must be in Love –and they did it beautifully. Such a nice night and first gig, only slightly marred by the homeward journey, when GPS took us down several blind alleys, brought us off the freeways too soon, went black, and told us to “turn around when possible”, several times. By 11.30 pm, the sort of time when you don’t want to be on the wrong side of town with a van full of instruments, having to ask the way, we had just about had it. Neil decided to ignore her and got us back to the hotel in Woodbridge around 12.30 and we were so glad to be there.