Monday, August 17, 2009

Not that it comes as a big surprise but still…

Last night there was nothing interesting on TV and I stuck mainly to “Elektra”-I knew it was a stupid movie but since I fancied nothing in particular from the program it would be all the same what I’d watch and at lest that one was subtitled…Anyway, the movie turned out to be very boring indeed and I was just about to go to sleep when I heard this dialog:

“Two, three, four, five.
One, two, three, four.

Two, three, four. One...”

“- And the, uh, the counting.

- Sorry?

- O.C.D.

- I don't have O.C.D. I had it when I was a kid,
but I haven't done that in years.

- You were just doing it. When you walk slow like that.
What are you doing? Are you counting?”

Counting? I do counting; a lot. O.C.D.?!

O.C.D. = Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is an anxiety disorder and is characterized by recurrent, unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and/or repetitive behaviors (compulsions). Repetitive behaviors such as handwashing, counting, checking, or cleaning are often performed with the hope of preventing obsessive thoughts or making them go away. Performing these so-called "rituals," however, provides only temporary relief, and not performing them markedly increases anxiety.

Simply fabulous.

Did I mention that after reading the signs for O.C.D I checked positive for most of them? I didn’t? As if depression wasn’t enough.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Reading concert reviews is bad for your health

Especially when that’s your favorite band you read about. Why? ‘cause in most cases you get to see one show (some manage to see more but let’s assume it’s one). So you go to that one show and it feels great or even fantastic or (if you’re extremely lucky) absolutely unbelievably amazing. And when it is over you feel privileged you witnessed something you utterly believe was unique. You feel special. It seems to you the band made extra efforts just for you and that it can’t possibly get better than that. Instead of holding to that illusion and your precious memories you indulge your curiosity and read the forums to see what it was like at the shows you didn’t get to see. It turns out it could get better and for some (apparently luckier than yourself) it did get better. Surprise, surprise-you just can’t help to feel fucked.

Why did I have to read the Singapore reviews? Duh.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Next destination: Vienna

In less than 24 hours I managed to obtain all I needed:
• the concert ticket
• the flight ticket
• the hotel reservation.

So far that is the fastest I’ve ever arranged a trip. Now I only have to wait 2 and ½ months. Phui. Hopefully something will come up in the meantime.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

This song is so much fun :)

It’s not shameful to enjoy life. The hell with depression, fun is all I care about now.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Athens in pictures

Athens as the capital of Greece-not to be confused with any of the cities by the same name all over the world :)


Athens, Greece-the show, the city and everything

July 19-22, 2009

“comin’ down the mountain…”
No, wait, it was the other way around-we had to climb up a hill to get to Vrahon Theatre.
But that was later.

Have you seen Athens from above? It is a magnificent sight-just like a postcard! So much for Photoshop-the real thing is even prettier. The sand coloured soil, the dark blue waters, the olive gardens neat as an embroidery work and the houses scattered here and there (and almost every house equipped with a blue pool shiny as a topaz gemstone) and then-the city of Athens! OMG, it’s huge! It’s everywhere!

From the airport to the hotel was a piece of cake-take bus X95 to Syntagma square (pronounced “sindah’ma” in Greek) and then just follow the map. Orientating was easy but the physical performance was a tiring and sweaty job. I would’ve left a wet trail if it didn’t evaporate immediately. The sticky feeling remained however. I remember George Clooney in “Three kings”: “- What's the most important thing in life?” “- Necessity. As in people do what is most necessary to them at any given moment.” The necessity of the moment was a bath, clean clothes and water-almost in that particular order. I don’t think I’ll laugh at camels ever again. NB: by all means Athens is a city worth visiting…except in July and, my guess, August; not unless you feel like wearing a fur coat and gloves when it’s 25 °C. The heat was paralyzing.

A moment of happiness: my hotel! Zappion hotel that is. Nothing luxurious but it was clean, air-conditioned and its best asset was the staff-very polite, very helpful. I felt welcome and cared about there. Can’t say the same about drivers though-each one of them played the part of “the king of the road” which left me the part of the chicken trying to cross that road. Advise: seek safety in numbers i.e. better cross at big junctions shielded by other pedestrians.

No, I have to go back in time again. The original plan was to go to the concert (hereafter referred to as “The Concert”) with my dear friend Ivo, his wife Bobby (charming woman-it took me 5 min to feel as I’ve always known her) and his daughter Poly (and she was just as lovely as I remembered her). That is why I had to be at Zappion hotel-my friends already had a reservation there. And that is why I settled for a double room-there were no single rooms available. Life goes in mysterious ways… We were supposed to get together at the hotel-I was getting to Athens by plane, Ivo and his family-by train. Both I and they were leaving for Athens on Sunday, July 19th.

And it all started on Friday-3 days before the concert, sorry – The Concert.
An anonymous user sent a comment to my blog asking “Are you going to Athens?”. “Yes,” I said, “and you…whoever you may be?”. The comment was from Sveti-a girl I only knew from her blog. She wrote: “I still don’t have a concert ticket; further more-I was thinking about taking the train to Athens but now I can’t since the Greek rail workers are on strike and…”

OK, pause here and rewind. What was that again?!
It was no joke-Google confirmed that indeed the train Sofia-Athens was not operating until July 25th! OMG, does Ivo know about that?!

He didn’t and the news was a shock to him too. And he managed to find bus tickets to Athens almost at the last minute! If it wasn’t for Sveti, Ivo and his family would’ve missed The Concert! The only way to show my gratitude was to offer Sveti the spare bed in my double hotel room. Maybe indeed there’s a reason for everything.
*But it wasn’t out of gratitude only. She needed help that I could provide and I felt obliged to offer it in return for the help provided to me in the past by total strangers.*

July 20th-The Big Day

The first half of it was more than busy:

I went to Syntagma Metro Station to buy a 24 hour ticket for the public transport; got back to the hotel to meet Ivo; went back to Syntagma again to buy another 3 daily passes for Ivo’s family and one for Sveti; explored the route to Vrahon Theatre (oh, lucky us, trolley # 11 stops less than 100 m away from our hotel!); found the venue; went back to Syntagma and took the metro to the Acropolis where Sveti and I had to meet (and we did); the two of us went back to Zappion (after confusing the metro lines a couple of times); took Sveti to my room; hopped back to the reception to ask for a second set of bathroom towels for her and chatted with the reception guy while waiting (the maid returned to tell me the towels were already taken to the room and to my sincere “Thank you!” the reception guy replied with a smile “We do everything for NIN fans!”); left Sveti to take a breath and a shower and went to a pub
nearby to meet Ivo & Co; went back to the hotel for a shower and another change of clothing (no escape from the sweat); and then it was time to go to the venue.

4 PM-Showtime

According to my standards the hour is late (I was planning to start waiting in line not later than let’s say 2 PM) but fortunately for us we see not a crowd (as I expected) but a group of about 20 people hiding in the tree shadows in front of the venue’s entrance. And who do I see coming towards us? Hey, it’s the American guy in charge of security with a stack of envelopes in his hands. Our pre-sale tickets! It turned out that the guy who was supposed to give us the tickets went back to London and he volunteered for the job. Lucky us (again!) it happened so ‘cause the chief of security (whom we nicknamed “Our guy”) was a lot of fun to be around! He spent with us about a half an hour chatting just about everything.

Sveti (holding her CANON in her hands): - What’s the policy about cameras?
Our guy: - The policy says that is a good camera.

Sveti: - Thanks, but what’s the policy about cameras during the show?
Our guy: - The policy says that is one very good camera!

OK, pictures are fine then. Our guy implied such trust and respect that I felt an urge to add “sir” every time I addressed him. From what I saw later on he was impeccable in his job performance. It is always a pleasure to watch a professional in action.

So far so good. The ticket with my slightly misspelled name on it (that’s what happens when you register in a rush) is secured in my pocket. Some more chatting, some more cigarettes, keeping an eye (or two) on the venue’s entrance-time just wouldn’t go faster! And then a car passed us by and, holly shit!, Alec Empire in the back seat! He’s here! Oh, look, there’s another car coming down the road! Let’s see who’s in it. What a laugh-a huge dog in the back seat :)))

Finally we’re asked to form a line. But what is going on!? Pre-sale and regular ticket holders in the same line?! Damn, those people showed up minutes ago and now they’re ahead of us!

Hooray, our guy came to the rescue and pre-sale ticket holders i.e. us are let in earlier as promised. In a steady pace(walking, not running) I head for the rail and grab it-that’s it, that’s my spot and I ain’t moving from here! And then I lift my head up to look at the stage and…OMG, I’m right in the middle of the 1st row! The best spot ever!

So there we were the five of us on our last (hopefully not but that’s not up to us) NIN concert. Roadies were coming on and off the stage and each time Poly asked “Is this Alec Empire?” “No”, “No”, “No”, “Yeees! That’s him!” I grinned as if it was a long lost friend :)

The following minutes were a haze-I have no idea how much time the set lasted; I only know it ended too soon. I couldn’t take my eyes off his hands pushing those buttons and turning those switches, creating beautiful soundscapes occasionally interrupted by vicious beats that could make your earwax melt :) Alec kept his shades on the whole time, with an expressionless face as if unaware of the crowd before him. And on and off he would look at us as if suddenly awaken from a dream and would graciously gesture “It’s OK now to yell” :) I remember staring at him, almost drooling, wishing it could last forever. And then it was over and he left. Oh, no, please don’t go, not yet! I know everything has to come to an end but still…

Alec Empire’s gone now but the stage is not empty-roadies are crawling everywhere preparing it for Jane’s Addiction. I don’t know what to expect. I love their music a lot and if it wasn’t for the visa required and the considerable travel expenses I was very much willing to go to the USA to see them live because originally the NIN/JA tour was scheduled only for North America. My excitement is reaching a boiling point. The crowd is buzzing like flies locked in a jar. I’m still in a nirvana state of mind, completely free of any sense of time and place.

And then Jane’s Addiction came on stage and turned my world upside down.

Perry Farrell was the last one to show up and when I laid my eyes on him I was shocked by his outfit. Tulle?! Tassels?! WTF is he wearing?!?!?

There’s a saying “Never judge a book by its cover”. Ten minutes later I was ready to go through fire and water if that man told me so. I was astonished, mesmerized, delighted, happy, ecstatic, and I knew that in that very moment I didn’t want to be anywhere else. That man is a storm oozing energy and positivism. With eyes and a smile shining like the sun the man was glowing! Perry is inhumanly cool on stage-God bless him! The way he moves and dances-you have to see it to believe it! In a nutshell: Perry Farrell is the Wonder Man :))) Mind-blowing!

Picture by Sveti

I want more!

And there WAS more! One second he was up there on the stage, the next second he came down and I realized he was right in front of me and I simply reached out my hands and hugged him :)

Dave Navarro’s guitar playing…OMG, the sweetest sounds ever! Half-naked (for the joy of the entire female and, my guess, some of the male audience), looking like a naughty god and pulling those strings that echoed within every cell of my body-a total bliss! I hope they’ll keep their promise and will come to Greece again. And it doesn’t have to be Greece really-I’d settle for a concert anywhere in Europe :)

And since, as one of my BLog pAls recently reminded me, “a picture is worth a thousand words” (not to mention that uploading a picture takes only a few seconds and mouse clicks ;)), here’s one to show how I looked right after Jane’s Addiction left us breathless and begging for more:

Picture by Sveti

Jane’s Addiction said goodbye and left but not before performing “Jane says” (oh, my, Dave Navarro just a jump over the rail and a security guard away ;))). The roadies stormed the stage like war ants to prepare it for act # 3 of The Concert: the one and only-Nine Inch Nails.

What can I say? TR’s microphone stand was right in front of me :) And being so up close gave me the chance to notice he wasn’t in a very good mood. And I don’t mean he looked serious the whole time-I’ve seen him smile only once during a show anyway; but he seemed...distant. I don’t know-maybe he was just bored and wanted to get to the end of the show ASAP.

Performance was excellent of course and I sacrificed all that was left of my voice to shout and scream. TR’s voice was in a perfect condition. Pity I couldn’t enjoy it properly because the crowd was too eager to prove they all knew the lyrics and everybody was singing along as loud as possible. I’d like to hear “Hurt” live at least once without a dozen of people roaring directly in my ears. Everybody knows that song, OK?; let the man sing it in peace.

He didn’t talk much either…but he did say “Thank you” during “March of the Pigs” and what made it worth mentioning was that…IT WAS ADDRESSED TO US!!! Yeap, Trent Reznor said “thank you” to Ivo, Polly and me because at the end of MOTP we took out the flag Ivo brought from Bulgaria and on it was written “Bulgaria loves NIN”. Memorable moment!

No, Mr. Reznor, thank YOU!

Picture by Sveti

July 21st 2009-the day after

I think of yesterday and I smile-I can’t believe a single day could hold so much action and emotions. And I see double because Perry Farrell’s smile is like a watermark on top of every image :) Yesterday I screamed my lungs out, I have bruises on my hands and knees, my voice is gone, I can barely hear…BUT I’M HAPPY! The concert day was like an endless dream I was afraid I’d wake up from but it kept on going and going and it kept getting better and better. And it was marked by such an extraordinary line of coincidences! It wouldn’t be so great even if we planned it in advance-mainly because we didn’t dare to dream it could happen the way it did. “God is an American”, sang TR. Nooo, yesterday God was a Bulgarian :)

Huge thanks to all my friends who made that dream possible. And thank you, Sveti, for being so thoughtful and considerate-the pictures you took will remain priceless lifetime memories!

August 3, 2009

It is all over now. But 2 weeks later and a country away the memory remains crystal clear and emotions are still vivid as a fresh kiss on the lips.

Thank you.