Sunday, February 20, 2011

What's next: A Suspension of Disbeliefs

If you enjoyed the Wild Wild East Dailies, please see A Suspension of Disbeliefs. I've moved on because I want to broaden beyond Asia, marketing and involve the world and world ideas. And I'd like to write a little better and quite a bit more influentially. A year ago, I had an interchange that simply told me that sheer desire, love and imagination were just massively more powerful than logic. And so I learned a lot. And I believe we can grow well. I realised with the Wild Wild East Dailies that it was never about me at all. It was about the readers. Join us again, please.

A Suspension of Disbeliefs

samuel taylor coleridge"The temporary acceptance as believable, events or characters that would ordinarily be seen as incredible. This is usually to allow an audience to appreciate works of literature or drama that are exploring unusual ideas." The term was originally coined by Samuel Taylor Coleridge in 1817 with the publication of his Biographia Literaria. The state is arguably an essential element when experiencing any drama or work of fiction. We know very well that we are watching an actor or looking at marks on paper, but we wilfully accept them as real in order to fully experience what the creator is attempting to convey.

The thesis here is that we all create realities that are essentially states of suspended disbelief by our choices of religion, country, political persuation, career, love, belief or not in the magic bullet theory, or choice of architecture. What makes us unhappy is when others fail to share in our beliefs. The trick, over time of course, is to structure a story line that works for us and those around us in real life in the most positive way possible.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The End

With 3 years, 500 posts and the start of a book, the Wild Wild East Dailies is happy to announce the end. Nobody wants to watch a 5 hour movie. Thank you all. Please enjoy the archives.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

"Couldn't I Just Tell You" what 1972 was all about?

Todd Rundgren stopped by Late Night with Jimmy Fallon a few nights ago and dipped into his back catalogue for this gem, "Couldn't I just Tell You". What I can tell you is that in 1972 we were still reeling from the Watergate allegations that would later bring down a President and my father, a Korean War vet, was telling me that Vietnam was , "not the war to go to" and offering me ideas in Canada as I was about to turn 18. During that time I had also purchased an album called "Something/Anything?" by the artist above. Little could I have known that this first burst of powerpop positivity for me would grow into a lifelong following of Todd and his myriad of musical explorations and diversions along the nearly 40-year long way - a trip, well worth the taking.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Hanoi Jane to 'honor' Vietnam Vets

This clip from Weasel Zipper's blog illustrates just how polarizing the issue of the war in Vietnam still is in America. Understanding that the war existed on two fronts - one, with the leaders of our government and military, and in reverse, in the hearts and minds of the American people, I do relate to this story. I never recall a single friend of ours say they had any war with the Vietnamese people. Do read the comments and see their wild difference in agreement on the blog above. It's a conversation that still needs to be had.

The Best Songs of 2010

From The Observers, 'A Very Short List' again.

"Said the Gramophone was one of the very first MP3 blogs. It’s still one of the best, and for the past six years, the editors have outdone themselves with truly fantastic year-end best-of lists. This year’s list features 100 of the best songs released in 2010. Better still, every track is available as a free MP3 download. You’ll hear familiar favorites (by Spoon, Sade, Arcade Fire, Kanye West, Vampire Weekend, and Alicia Keys, among not a few others), total obscurities (a Rwandan field recording called “Sara” is especially good), and songs by unknown artists who just might shoot to the top of your playlist. We downloaded every track and set our iPod to shuffle. But if you’re looking for a good place to start, check out Janelle Monáe’s “Tightrope” (which features OutKast’s Big Boi), or Peter Nalitch’s “Gitar” (which the editors describe as “part lo-fi pop, part yearning serenade, part post-Borat joke”). The links are still active but set to expire this month, so get these songs while you still can."

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

One year ago today: Hitch-hiking from Munich to Amsterdam

And so it would have been nearly a year ago since I began making plans to see Todd Rundgren in Amsterdam. It had been a cold and depressing winter in Munich and I needed to go on a journey. I was on a journey already, but I needed a journey away from that journey. This trip made me strong and taught me that positivity and perseverance are two of the most powerful forces in the world. After this trip, I felt bullet-proof. I need to feel like that again today.

Sorry about the formatting. It's the best we could do with the original email HTML. Thanks also to all who helped make this trip happen. You helped me see a light within.

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D       R       E       A       M       S

Dreams are persnickety and fickle things, living totally in space, untethered to anyone

And if no one shares them with us, they go away

Dreams take confidence

Dreams take planning

Dreams exist

Dreams keep us going

Dreams pervade our waking hours,
but without trying to realize them, are worthless

Dreams have no use for the conflicted

Without love, dreams die

Dreams are not selfish
they invite us all

Dang Hai Yen, Mali, Africa
One pretty girl leaving Mali to Munich.

David Everitt-Carlson
Bowie or Memorex?

A Wizard A True Star

Two chops, one guy. Merry f-ng Christmas.

You ain't got nothin' when you've got nothin' to loose

Munich to Amsterdam = 821 kilometers


The Amsterdam Diary
 by   D  a  v  i  d    E  v  e  r  i  t  t - C  a  r  l  s  o  n

Epiphanies never announce themselves, prefering to wait and jump you when you least expect them. At least that's how this one came to me.

The idea of going to Amsterdam to see Todd Rundgren's presentation of his seminal album, A Wizard A True Star began way back in September in Mali, Africa when my partner announced to me that, it was time to leave and Munich was her choice of next destinations, having graduated from university there. I had no trouble agreeing with that as Africa had been both a humbling and humiliating experience for us both. To be fair to the beauty of Mali and it's people, suffice to say we had be mis-sold a business arrangement that had begun with the promise of a swimming pool at our residence and ended with said pool being a meter deep watery garbage hole for the 20-some other "employees" who lived on the property. I was ready to go the minute I arrived. Standing on the roof of the home, I could see that the property next door was a mirror image of ours only with the benefit of proper housekeeping and proper pool maintenance. It was pretty obvious that something was not going well with our management.

And so off to Munich

Munich was funny to begin with. With just short days to get Out of Africa we lived at the mercy of my partner's apartment procural abilities, and what she was able to get, as quickly as we needed it, was warm and dry for sure, and not Africa for certain, but a dormitory room - and I mean that precisely - but I was in no position to negotiate. We were flush out of cash, bouncing to and from three continents and being offered three months accomodation by a relative at a budget that afforded, well, a dorm room.

It was awkward to say the least - but even more awkward was the idea, that if I didn't find a job in the next three months, that we were pretty much shit out of luck - and so it was off to the one computer, for a whole dorm full of graduate students, that I would spend my day emailing the hell out of job prospects with the help of my partner feeding me English industry lists, as my German was pretty much non-existant - and still is, save for my newly found ability to pay bills and negotiate contracts, as even Germans understand the value of a Euro and my need to pay in a timely and businesslike manner is pretty much an international standard.

Fuck all. P.R:E:S:S:U:R:E. - Makes you want to get a David Bowie restrospective going and smoke a little pot just to get that retro groove going again. And yes, I've heard it before - I look like David Bowie - but most recently from Todd Rundgren's wife, Michele. Can we please just not go through that again for the umpteenth time in the last 35 years? Good.

This whole Todd thing came up in September when the US shows were beginning and it was announced that two Europen dates had been added for London and Amsterdam. What fucking luck - and I might, if I got a fucking job, be able to take the love of my life, to see the artsist of my life, in that of Mr Rundgren, at the Paradiso Theatre in Amsterdam. Just maybe.

Aside from a fervent desire to remain ourselves, despite a dislike of commercial convention coupled with the odd need for commercial success to continue to be able to fly in the face of the system who made us, the only thing Todd Rundgren and I share is a birthday. Fair enough. I've been known to traverse a few continents for less. My entire entry into Africa and eventually Europe was soley because there was just nothing happening for me careerwise in Vietnam - and I had the more than unusual opportunity to do so - so why not do it again? Why not do something for the exact reason that dogs lick themselves? Because they can. Or because I could, or at least wanted to. Why not make a Todd concert part of my European experience?

Fast forward through early fall and I did begin work and we did move into a proper apartment, but a few other roadblocks threw themselves up that I was less than prepared for. Without going deeply into things, lets just say that a relationship went the way that no one wants a relationship to go. South. Way south. Not quite to Africa, but about as far south as things are wont to go - so before I truly got my feet on the ground in an entirely new country, I had lost a partner and was living on essentially legally questionable freelance work. And then came the snow.

Christmas was spent alone, cold, with a couple of perky lambchops and all the CNN I could handle, courtesy of a cable setup by the previous German apartment tennant. My blog and Facebook became the only true outlets I had for communication and entertainment. Can anybody spell depression? I'm sure I was there. I'm dead sure I was - maybe until last week.

Through the holidays and into January, work was slow and what I had begun to develop before Christmas just seemed to be taking it's own sweet time coming around in the new decade. That's code for being essentially broke - and whilst I have been chided for involving too much of my personal life in my writing of the blog, the truth of the matter here is that I wouldn't be writing this story without the personal angle. This is a personal story and people don't go hitchhiking across 600+ plus kilometers of frozen fucking German highway because they're having the best of days, do they?


But I seem to always be able to make lemons out of lemonade somehow and so as the days towards February 8th approached I began to deal with the options of getting to Amsterdan on pretty much no money at all. One of the pet peeves of my previous partner was, that while my blog was reviewed as mildly entertaining, that it didn't make me a goddamn dime - and so that, in conjenction with some other good attention I had had recently towards my writing, led me to the idea of actually posting an ad and just seeing what kind of response I could get. A direct response ad, so to speak. WILL WORK FOR TODD!, it said.

And yikes! I had no idea what good a writer I really was. The first response was $25 bucks and the second was a hate diatribe that included all the compliments of  immature, selfish, childish, foolish and a bunch of other ishes. Another went along the lines of outlining the US depression, Haiti earthquake and basically stating that the world had much larger issues than getting me to a concert. And true. All true - except I think the selfish part.

Six months ago I did something that those of you who know me, is very unlike me. I gave myself to someone else's plan.  That means I totally gave myself to another's hopes and dreams with the idea that sometimes we may know less about what we need than others and it wasn't until the end of last week, that I learned that that was not necessarly the case - but with all the pressure of protest of my wanting to at least enjoy a show, amid the wreckage that seemed to be my life at the time, I took my blog post down - in some embarrassment and shame towards those who objected. I slept all day in depression, expecting nothing when I woke up.

But while I slept, the news kept coming in. An email here, a Facebook post there, another $50 bucks, and then $100. "Go for it David" they said - Holy heyzuse! I was not crazy. There were people out there, people I didn't even know, who were pushing me on. Such a different reaction from others. What did it mean? What did I mean? What had I done? I wasn't sure. I just didn't know.

Nights pass with dreams of old wives and candy canes and dancing things that make more sense than what's happening in your waking days. In an insane world, only the sane man is insane - and I felt as that man - with only a saneness that other lunatics could understand. But they were my lunatics, and a whole lot more encouraging than the supoosedly sensible people who were ripping at my small dream. I put the blog post up again, and the rest is history. The history of someone who thought of something pretty fucking stupid and found others who thought it was something worth doing. Wow. Affirmation sometimes comes in very, very odd ways.

I waited until Western Union closed at the train station on Sunday, the 7th at 10pm, and then hit the road. At midnight? Well nothing else had made a whole lot of sense here, so why not? "When the going gets tough, the weird turn pro", said Hunter S. Thompson or maybe I like better the words of Richard Bach from the 70s book Illusions:
In order to live free and happily, you must sacrifice boredom. It is not always an easy sacrifice.

And so off I was.

On The Road Again

11pm 02.07.10

One should probably understand from the outset that getting busted by the subway cops on the way to your escape is not exactly the way to begin a 450 mile journey - but I didn't. Trying to maintain budget, I had taken to the Munich 'honor system' subway without buying a ticket and proceeded to get myself busted by the control police. Shit. That will cost me €40 in the next 30 days.

12am 02.08.10

And so I buy a €7 ticket for my next ride out of town to the AutoBahn after the bust.Stupid. There were NO cops on that train. Of course not.

1am 02.08.10

I walk to find a ramp to the AutoBahn. The AutoBahn near the city has huge corrugated steel walls so the only way to get on, is to find a ramp. My Google map didn't show those.

1:15am 02.08.10

Safar is my first ride, a nice kid of 20 with earings, tatoos and no English. No problem. He says I'm in a bad spot and will take me to a truck stop. Cool. I'm on the road.

1:30am 02.08.10

I arrive at a truck stop where I have no idea that I will wait for the next four hours, but the woman speaks English well. I say "When does it get busy?".  "7", she responds. And so I drink machine coffee, eat Snickers and wait for my next ride. With four hours in the place, I am able to peruse every single piece of merchandise for sale. What I remember most was a DVD for the film "Hitcher", which is an American slasher flick featuring the same actor who was in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Things were going to get a whole lot harder before they got easier

5:30am 02.08.10

Werner, a very nice older gent gives me a lift almost all the way to Nürmberg, but not quite.
6:15am 02.08.10


7:15am 02.08.10

Herbert, another nice older gent picks me up at a rest area and gets me shortly to the Nürmberg city limits. You can thank him here:

8:07am 02.08.10

Inside the Nürmberg city limits but there's a tricky highway change to make from highway 9 to highway 3, so rather than wait for another ride, which could take hours, I decide to walk. Bad idea.
8:42 02.08.10


9:15am 02.08.10

Nobody should ever accuse the cops in Germany of not being nice guys, nor speaking English poorly. They speak perfectly and tell me that it is illegal to walk along the AutoBahn. And so I get in the squad. Whilst taking me to the next rest area on highway 3, as opposed to highway 9, the cop riding shotgun asks me, "Do you have any drugs on you?" It's immediately obvious to me why these two guys made the highway patrol and not the narc squad. Jeeziz. I'm going to Amsterdam, not coming from it. Do I have any drugs? Please.

9:45am 02.08.10

Once at the rest area, the two cops laugh as they see another guy standing on the ramp, holding a sign. "Another one", they chuckle. And I'm out, but this time in a queue of two looking for a way out of a rest area that has maybe six cars and trucks in it. Not the best of luck. 30 minutes go by and the other guy, who holds a sign that says, Würzburg, negotiates a ride and rolls up and plunges his sign into the snowbank. I pick up the sign and man my new post. Würzburg is on my way.

11:00am 02.08.10

It's another 30 minutes or so until Peter agrees to get me to the next truck stop where there is a Burger King and I can more easily get a ride than at a small rest area. He notices I am not wearing gloves so offers me an old pair, a banana and and apple. So nice. I have a burger and consider that I am now two hours out of Frankfurt and hence, two hours behind schedule. Frankfurt is roughly halfway on the trip and I have calculated that I should be there by noon or so.

11:45am 02.08.10

I venture back out to the highway ramp, half considering that if I turn around now and just go back home, that I can be home by dark even with a little money in my pocket. At one point during my campaign drive in the days before, someone suggested that I could just take the money I had and buy the USB stick of the concert over the Internet. Hmm. Somehow that didn't quite set right with me. I got out here, so I needed to make a real effort - not a half-assed effort. People were actually relying on me.

12:15pm 02.08.10

Wait. I had already made the decision to flow with the positive vibes and disregard the negative ones so there was no point in getting negative on myself at this point. Journey on.

12:30pm 02.08.10

Annette was a charming mid-fifties woman in a nice little BMW. She said she was going all the way to Köln (Cologne) to see her mother for her 92nd birthday, but needed to stop and visit a friend just before Frankfurt. But still, a one hour ride at German speeds could knock 80 miles off a trip and put me closer to being back on schedule. Our conversation was nice and intelligent and I was feeling better now with only one highway to travel almost all the way to Amsterdam.

There's an odd hope in the law of averages on the highway. The cars are so consistently pouring on, that for every one you miss, you just figure that you're one step closer to getting one that will give you a ride. That's how your mind starts to work - and it sure as hell beats watching TV cause no opportunity at all is ever going to come out of that television.

Halfway To Paradiso

1:20pm 02.08.10

Michael is a nice guy and gets me another hour or so past Frankfurt. I have now passed the halfway point on the trip and start to feel as if I might actually make it. You can drop him a note and say hey here:

2:20pm 02.08.10


2:45pm 02.08.10

Fried, translating as Fred, is easily the most lively of all my rides thusfar. With a Ph.D. in art and twenty five years hitch-hiking experience on all five continents he wastes no time in telling me everything I am doing wrong. "Never stand on the ramp", he says. "Hang around the pumps and talk to people. Go up to the trucker's cabs and talk to them. Nobody wants to pickup someone they don't know. Nobody wants a weirdo."

But Fried is not exactly normal himself. He tells me that the collection of cities that is Köln, Essen and Dusseldorf boast a population of over 8 million and more world-class symphony orchestras and art galleries than New York. What the fuck am I doing in München I think? Leiderhosen and Laptops. That's the German moniker for Munich. Interesting. Far later on the trip I would come to understand that I was learning more about Germany on the road than I had learned in my entire five months stuck behind my computer.

We pass west of Köln and Fried is optimistic. "You're going to make it", he says. He tells me he needs to let me off soon and stay as far away from the Dutch border as he can, because he has been driving without a license and drinking beer the entire time and has had trouble with the cops before - but he has taught me how to redeem the €50 cent receipts we get from the toilets at the truckstops to get credit on more beer. I have now become my element. I am now, an international vagabond.

But it is also around this time that I start to consider that I may not make the actual  beginning of the show. I'm looking at a start in two and a half hours and being told that I am still three hours away. I ask Fried for his email but he declares that the Internet is Big Brother's evil plan and he will have nothing to do with it. Bye Fried.

5:00pm 02.08.10


5:24pm 02.08.10

Another truckstop and oddly they are all starting to look the same, owing to the ownership being the same concession company along the last few hundred kilometers of the trip. But at this one sits a pink Fiat 500 and it is absolutely cute as a button - and with a male driver. And so taking Fried's advice, I remark to the owner of the pink passenger transport about how cool his car is. We talk for a minute and having learned from my cop buddies earlier on that the yellow plates are from the Netherlands, I know that this is a real possibility for getting where I need to go. And so off we go, into windmill land - but honestly the only windmills I saw were the modern turbine blade variety and my driver Gijs (pronounced Gees) is in the business of some building materials that seem architecturally interesting.

We talk of business and marketing and I tell him that one thing I've learned from my adventures, not just today but for my entire time in Asia, is that there is a market of people who enjoy living vicariously through the travels of others, and in my case, that's turned into a loyal blog readership that continues to grow. We translate that thought into the idea of getting his building materials involved in architecturally interesting projects to create a "me too" aspirational factor among consumers and generating interest through a desire to be part of a higher movement of design and style as opposed to just buying the functional aspects of the materials.

Conversations like that happen when people meet people in truckstops driving pink cars and going to classic rock concerts. It sure beats sitting behind a desk too long. Reality is indeed interesting. Gijs can be found, here:

7:00pm 02.08.10

Wait. A quick note about Google maps. Google maps and directions are made for people with cars - or wheels at least. Hitchhiking relys on cars and trucks but it also relies on goodwill on behalf of the drivers and sensibility in regard to the hitchers. In Germany it is legal to hitchhike but not on the actual AutoBahn itself - instead one must stick to the ramps and the best ramps are logically at truckstops. So this means, you are really moving from truckstop to truckstop, not necessarily highway to highway, because truckstops rareley find themselves exactly at highway interchanges.

7:30pm 02.08.10

I find, that the stop I have been left at is not a particularly good place for traffic to Amsterdam as the highway #3 is a direct route to the coast and Amsterdam is on highway #20 which branches off to the north in roughly 40 kilometeres or so. Peter, a nice trucker of 30 or so agrees to take me on as close to my next highway as possible but what we're not sure about, is at what truckstop I should depart.

I simply agree that moving is better than standing and decide to take my chances. I understand that I will not make the opening set and have calculated that the show will open roughly a half an hour after the stated time, and that the opening set dubbed Todd Rundgren's Johnson, a selection of Robert Johnson covers, will take 30 minutes. followed by a thirty minute break - so making my real arrival target more like 9:30pm. Funny how you can bend time when you don't have it.

Coming on 8pm Peter alerts me to a truckstop coming up in 5 kilometers or so, but this stop is on the highway going in the opposite direction. Fuck. This means that I would be stuck trying to get rides going back in the direction I had just come from. "No", I tell him. "But I don't know where the next one is and I can't stop on the highway because they have cameras and will ticket me", he returns.

We watch that stop go by and then on the right, the exit for the highway 20 I need. I watch my exit to Amsterdam as if it were only in a dream. So close, yet so far away. Nothing to do. He can't stop and I'm certainly not going to jump for it.

On another 5km or so and he tells me there's a two-way truckstop coming up - meaning that there is an oasis on either side of the road. But no one is wanting to play frogger on a Dutch highway after 8pm at night - like trying to get your ball through the blades of a spinning windmill at your local miniature golf course -  so the question becomes, "How the hell am I going to get across that highway?".

I depart Peter's truck, thank him, and begin, pretty frozen, to start to figure out how this chicken was going to get to the other side.

8:30pm 02.08.10

Todd's show has certainly started with the Robert Johnson covers but things are also still looking bad. I'm an hour out of Amsterdam, even if I'm on the highway, and I am, but going the wrong way. I look into the darkness and see a sillhoette that appears to be a crossover, but it is not lit and seems ghostly as can be - as if I may be experiencing the "mirage effect" of a desert traveler too long without water. It will do.

As I approach the overpass, a quarter km past my wrong-way truckstop, it becomes clear that it is only under construction. A construction shack at the base and piles of snow covered rocky dirt leading up to the concrete structure let me know the last person who should be there is a wandering American looking for a Todd Rundgren concert. Try explaining that to the Dutch Police. Start climbing.

9:00pm 02.08.10

Once on top of the whole affair I am relieved to find that it is poured and I can walk safely across, only to find myself sliding down the rocky buildup to the ramp on the other side - on my frozen ass mind you.

So let me tell you something. Once you've logged a day of 500+ kilometers in sub freezing zero shit weather in Germany you're not going to be having any windmill tilting Netherlanders fucking up the rest of your day. I was going to get to that fucking show, no matter what, and the right-way truckstop, now firmly and brightly lit in front of me, told me so. I start humming the lyric to the Todd song, Just One Victory...

s o m e h o w,  s o m e d a y,  w e  n e e d   j u s t  
o n e  v i c t o r y,  a n d 
w e' r e  o n  o u r  w a y

p r a y  f o r  i t  a l l  d a y,  a n d  f i g h t  f o r  i t  
a l l  n i g h t,  w e  n e e d 
j u s t  o n e  v i c t o r y  a n d  w e' l l  b e  
a l r i g h t

It's 9:30. The main part of the show, the theatrical presentation of the album A Wizard A true Star is now starting.

9:30pm 02.08.10

Enter Rami, the Turkish truckdriver. Rami's got a smile about as wide as Turkey and his truck cab is an absolute disaster. Chicken bones from an earlier meal, empty coke cans, wrappers from candy bars and who knows what else litter the floor of his co-pilot's seat. What a fucking mess. He hurredly shovels more shit from the seat to behind the seat in an effort to make a place for me. "I'm Rami", he bellows, "Ramadan Rami, my friends call me! Imma Muslim!"

No shit Rami, and Allah sent you to get my ass to a Todd Rundgren concert. Fuck me. I can't believe it.

And trundle off we do. Rami has solved a very important piece of my puzzle in that he can get me to highway 20 and aimed at a straight shot to Amsterdam - but not all the way. He shoves a bag of Turkish bread and a huge slab of cheese into my hands and says, "Eat!", as the gas pedal hits the floor. It's a 13 minute ride to his next exit but a valuable one.

9:45pm 02.08.10

And almost, as if by magic I am not out of his truck for 5 minutes before my last ride of the day pulls up.

Noud Devreeze is a handsome man in his 60s, well kempt and cultured, driving probably the nicest car I have ridden in all day. He listens to my story with a smile and tells me that he lives very near to the Paradiso Theatre and will take me there directly. We talk for the next 20 minutes as he begins to describe to me the entry to old town Amsterdam with its decorative and colourful Flemish architecture. It is charming for sure but I apologize to Noud early and ask him not to take offense when we arrive, as I will likely bolt from the car in an effort to see what is left of the show. It is nearly 10:15 at this point. Do drop Noud a note here: and thank him again 4 me.

10:20pm 02.08.10

As we approach the Paradiso, Noud remarks that there still seems to be a crowd at the door and I might be in luck. I bolt as planned and enter the arched entrance.

The strains of Just One Victory can be heard as the song starts up and the door goon says to me, "Can I help you?", looking puzzled as I roll up. "I'm here for the show", I return and he says, "Which show?" and I say, "The Todd show", fer chrissakes, how many shows could they have going on in this place? "You got a ticket?", he goons back as I fire, "Happy to buy a ticket" - "Ticket office closed", he goons again.

"Look, I just hitchhiked in here from Munich, and..."
, my words fade away as goofy stares pass between the goon and his goon boss as the boss nods his head towards the open auditorium door and tells me, "Go ahead".

Goon squad. At least they had heard about these lunatic Rundgren fans and made provisions. No sense sending a pissed Todd fan back to Germany, you know. He could be writing their death certificate right about now.

The Wizard The True Star

10:30pm 02.08.10

And there I am, at the back of the hall as Todd wails away and shakes hands at the stagefront. I can see him. I am there. I move decidedly through the crowd towards the front as I realize that I am seeing exactly what I had come to see - the finale that would have ended my evening in shear joy and delight had I seen the whole show or not. "Somehow... someday... we need just one victory, and we're on our way". And in the strangest of fashions, I had gotten mine. My own  little victory.

I sing along with the rest of the crowd, at the top of my lungs.

I was where I set out to be. Against the naysayers, against anger, mean-spiritedness, threats and antagonization, I was still fucking here, and nobody could take that away from me, ever. Or will ever again.

My heart swelled with pride and joy as he played, with honour, with a humbleness that's hard to describe. How low had I become to have ever believed that missing this would have made somebody else feel better? Would I have been happier to have been more mature, more responsible, less crazy?

No not at all. Not at all, fucking all. As the song began to wind up and I moved ever closer to the stage, Todd wailed on his guitar and I had not even the presense of mind to make a photo of this little mountaintop in my existance on this planet.

This had not been about Todd Rundgren at all. It had been about love, and pain, and admiration, and independence - about fortitude, and grace and forbearing and resiliance and drive - and finally, about completion. About having been woken up from a deep sleep as if I had been in the wrong romantic coma for way too long. About self denial and why sometimes that's not a very good idea because you realize that it's impossible to make another person happy, if fundamentally, you are not happy yourself.

Sometimes we think that other people should be smart enough to see that we need certain things in our lives - certain intangible things - but sometimes they don't, and in those cases we need to be sensible enough to realize that those things are never going to happen and we just need to move along. Does it take a 600+ kilometer frozen hitchhiking Toddessey to do that? In my case, the answer had to have been yes.

10:45pm 02.08.10

And before I can say blink, the band are taking their bows and the roadies begin to break set.

To all those who sent me on this trip: Were it for earlier planning on my part, not having pulled my post down on the previous Friday for the better part of the day, or more adept hitchhiking abilities, would I have made this concert on time? Would I have spent all of our money more sensibly and provided more in return than only having shown up for the better part of the last song of a two hour show? I dunno. All I can say is that I did what I could - and I thank all those who helped me from the bottom of my heart. I also thank those who didn't help me and even those who openly tried to stop this whole shennanigan, because all together I was presented with the benefit of a choice and in this case the choice became between the positive and negative aspects in ones life. I felt I chose well.

Standing in front of the stage after the show, I can only recount the feeling in my heart, that I had done something. I had done something strange, and odd and reaffirming - and I had done it with the help and support of good friends. Thank you all. Thank you all so much.

(As I had promised to everyone who helped in this campaign, this email is going out only to those who have had a hand in this endeavor - maybe 20 people or so. You, are the chosen few. I will, however, post some of the second half of this story on the blog itself. You will be able to find it at this address: Return From Paradiso. And please, I hope you are not disappointed by the outcome. I wasn't truly. I made it there, and in the end, that's what mattered. That and that all of you cared to help. That's what mattered most. Some Dreams Go On Forever. Please read on. We're not even close to done yet.)

11:00pm 02.08.10

Greg Hawks comes out to get his Mac and some cables and a guy goes up to him with maybe 20 albums, CDs and whatnot to sign. Greg sits down on the stage and is happy to do it. Michele comes out to talk with some fans waiting at the stage, sees me and says, "Hey you!" recognizing me from our Facebook conversations. I'm please enough with that.

I have a beer, as the bar is still open and the place still a party. I go back out to the lobby and buy the USB stick from the show. You can get your own, here, if you like.

A number of us wait at the stage left side door as instructed by Michele but it is cold as fuck. Really cold - yet there stands a guy from Scotland in a full kilt and fans from Mexico, Denmark, The UK, Germany, America, Finland, Holland - my, what a diverse and odd mix, yet there is something we all share and some sense of calm out there in the cold, some sense of common purpose. Parts of the band come out, Jesse Gress, Bobbie Strickland and Ralph Shuckett. They sign a few things and pose for a quick photo or two, and then off to a cab.

A roadie comes out swinging the door with the call, "Hello! It's me!", and we all laugh at that. But no Todd. After a while, the English promoter comes up behind us and says that it's just to damn cold and Todd won't be coming out for any signings or photo opps. We wonder if this is standard bullshit or true, decide on bullshit, wait for five more minutes, and then figure it's true. Time to disperse.

11:15pm 02.08.10

On my walk around the front of the building I talk with the guy who got the 20 albums signed by Greg Hawks and ask him if there are any after-parties or anything. He says not really, but he knows what hotel the band has been booked in and suggests we simply go there and hang at the bar. It's called the American Hotel so that's where we go.

As we walk in looking of course for Todd with his skunk-like hairdoo, we spot Greg Hawks, Prarie Prince and another guy sitting in a corner. Greg immediately recognizes the 20-album guy and motions for us to come and sit down - and so for the first time all day, I am able to take off my backpack, coat, other small bag and sit the fuck down. Hitching involves mostly standing you understand.

We order a beer, chat and the guys are more than happy to sign the USB stick I bought in its nice little black gift box. It#s all just nice and normal. Prarie is also the drummer for The Tubes and I tell him that I saw Utopia Open for The Tubes at the Universal Studios Ampithetre sometime in the early 80s. He's pretty impressed by that.

One of their handlers comes up and tells them that their cab is waiting to take them to dinner and they all beg off immediately. "Can't we just hang and finish our beer?" says Greg with half a glass left.
"Yeah", says Prarie, "it's just five minutes away, we'll walk and meet you all there". And so it's decided and we all hang out for another 10 minutes. Greg tags the waiter, pays for our beers and we all wish each other well for the evening. Just nice guys. really nice guys.

And another day comes...

12:00am 02.09.10

Walking around downtown Amsterdam is absolutely charming and it doesn't take the sharpest tool in the shed to find the streets with all the pubs, brothels and pot joints - all of which would have been interesting to me, had I not just have hitchhiked for 22 hours and felt more like just chilling out with a beer and deflating a bit. And so I found a jazz bar with a trio onstage, beers for €2.50 and a real low keye atmosphere.

Sitting there, listening to live music and just enjoying that simple groove, I realized that that was something I had not done in six months. Let's just say that music had not been important at all in my previous partner's travel plans. Sucked actually. And I had to come all this way just to realize that.

The return trip will be covered in a following mail. I'm just too damn tired and this is a lot of work...later all...

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