Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Fear & Loathing- Slovakia Edition.

We were on the road, just like Kerouac had intended. Except, instead of America, this was Eastern Europe.

We had places we needed to be, we were a band, people were expecting us. But every now and then we had a night or a string of days free to photograph the architecture, or hunt for werewolves, whichever grabbed us at the time.

Last night we were in Prague, no werewolves there (we checked), but there were a lot of stunning European prostitues working in Praha 3. The bass player fell head over heels in
love lust with a stunning 6 foot Belarussan girl called Elizaveta, who wasn't a day over 15. He fantasized about rescuing her from a life of white slave trading, and we had to physically pull him into the taxi for the airport. The irony that he wanted to rescue her from that life after paying 1000 Crowns to sodomise her was utterly lost on him, and for that reason, we'll be sticking to first names only.

Ruzyne-Prague Airport is quite modern, and boasts a few business halls, where you can go to shower, read the paper, torture someone to death, or whatever inspires you in your moment. We were waiting in one of them for our ride, Hryhori. He was a diplomats son from the Ukraine, and a bitter disappointment to his exceedingly straight-laced Father, who paid him immense sums of money and extended a private jet and European-wide limousine service just to keep him out of Kiev. So Hryhori lived a life of luxury, cold pimping his way across the globe, and showing off to bands from the West. To impress us, he Anglicised his name (which means "vigilant") to 'Greg'.
In his mind, that sounded glamorous. (No offence to all you Gregs out there!)

We cultivated personalities like these back in our touring days, because the last thing you want to do is to have to spend your own money, when there are obscenely rich playboy types around who take it as a personal affront should you not allow them to pay instead. It's called "economics". He was an insufferable asshole, but to his credit he bore a stunning resemblance
to this guy.

I was looking out the window, waiting. And I was thinking about all the other times I'd sat in an airport, and looked out the window. It's not to much that I don't dig people watching, more I think that it's a subconscious deal, like if my eyes are out on the runway, then my body should soon follow?

I don't know.

When Greg rolled in he had his usual entourage. I had never seen any of them before, but the stereotypes were all in place. He always had them, maybe on some kind of revolving roster or something. 2 models of Russian extraction- check. 2 heavy set men in suits and dark glasses who always looked nervous when we start fighting with each other over trivial things- check. Weird younger male friend who looks like a nerd but dresses in Armani- check. And of course- us.

We all ascended the stairs to Greg's private jet, and before you knew it, we were in Slovakia.

The bass player forgot all about
Elizaveta on the flight, as he, the drummer, and the singer became very close friends with the models. Very, very close. Greg didn't care, because he was gay, and that explains to you 1) Why his old-money Euro Father was so anti him, and 2) Why Greg always had a young male friend around. So he could suck his cock.

So now we're clear.

I love private jets. It's bad and wrong, I know, so terribly wasteful and bourgeois. But those things are so often the most fun. That's why *Wallpaper magazine is still going strong after more than a decade. People love the high life.

Our mission was to stop in to Slovakia to check out a place called Spiš Castle. It was whispered back then that there existed a group of enterprising young Germans, who offered those in the know access to an intensely private party. This party cost U.S. $20,000, and once inside, you could do whatever you liked, to whoever was there. The only rule was- never disturb/interfere with/assault another guest. This party took place in a renovated section of the Castle, and was stocked one day every six weeks with high class escorts, drugs, live animals, and the best food and wine available to the elite.

To cut a long story short- Greg knew these Germans, and when we eventually checked it out, it was total bullshit. Sure, there was a sex party, with free hookers, drugs, and whatever else; but it wasn't at all 'as advertised'.

So here's what happened instead:

We landed at Poprad-Tatry Airport, and agreed to hit the town of Poprad for some food in my case, and (more) sex with the models for the other guys. While they found a hotel to hose down with semen, I found a great little eatery that delivered high quality Eastern European goulash, and had Pepsi not Coke. They may as well have put a bed in the corner and charged me rent, because I felt right at home. After a few hours, the drummer called, and we all followed him onto a tram (the Tatranská elektrická železnica
), which he said would take us right to the Castle.

Obviously it didn't.

We ended up on a mountain range called the High Tatras instead. You may think us terribly negligent to have travelled so far unaware, but if you check out these pictures, you can see how close the town is to the mountains:

The drummer was adamant we were on track (why anyone would build a Castle on top of a mountain range is beyond me, but whatever...), so we disembarked at a resort, and got treated to a wonderful assortment of suspicious stares because let's face it, we all looked dodgy as hell.

At one stage the drummer asked someone for the directions, and that bastard had an amazing sense of humour, because he pretended to understand English, and pointed off down the ridgeline.

It was getting dark, and there were definitely werewolves here.

After clambering around and freezing our collective asses off, the drummer had to admit we were lost, and none of us knew how to get back to the resort. Greg and his boyfriend didn't even seem to notice, they were all cute with each other like they were embarking on the first few pas assemblé's and plié's of a new love ballet. The guys in the band all wanted to appear masculine and in-charge as if the models were doing anything other than playing with them out of sheer boredom, and the bodyguards to my mind were definitely questioning the logic of continuing to work for this client at this point. Albeit in Russian, but questioning nonetheless.

I don't know if you've ever been lost in a high mountain range with music people/models/the elite, but if you have, you'll know that instead of trying to find shelter or food, your first priority is to ascertain who has drugs, and to share them around. We call it "triage".

The fatter of the 2 bodyguards produced 2 bottles of prescription pills at Greg's bequest, and we all necked them first, and wondered what they were for later. I told the drummer to make us a snowcave, and because 1) He's the idiot that basically convinced us he knew what he was doing in the first place, and 2) He obviously didn't know what he was doing, so he could do the grunt work and stop us all from dying.

He started digging into the side of a bank of snow with a tree branch and his hands, we all squashed in, and waited for morning.

Problem was, the drugs were bad. I felt a horrible panic, and gestured for the bottle- Heart medicine.

The models and Greg's boyfriend were throwing up soon enough. The bass player ran outside and his ass exploded, one of the bodyguards wasn't far behind. I was farting like a racehorse. Greg complained of a toothache, the other guitarist was in the middle of a sneezing fit, and his face turned into a bright red rash. I felt a tightness in my chest, and couldn't move my legs.

What the fuck kind of medicine does that?!

But the worst symptom was the one we all shared- dread.

Dread is a word that is said a lot but not understood, a bit like "devastated". Dread is a feeling, namely, that you are going to die. Soon. And it's all you can think about. We all spoke about that feeling, with Greg translating it into cohesion. We were all convinced death was coming for us.

I could hear howling outside. I knew there 'd be werewolves here.

Some party, right?

After about 4 hours, everyone had passed out, and by passed out, I mean, they were literally unconscious. Not sleeping- knocked the fuck out.

Maybe my misspent youth and the cocktail of drugs my doctors kept me on as a kid loaned me some measure of immunity. But despite the lack of diarrhoea or rashes, that dread made me pay in other ways. I was drenched in sweat, shaking, and waiting for the reaper. As far as I was concerned, I wouldn't live to see morning. And then, through the hole that served as a door to our shelter, came this:

A European grey wolf pushed his massive head in among us, sniffing each person from the doorway, until we were face to face. He sniffed, and I could feel the heat coming off him.

Then he was gone, just like that.

I went outside, and there were 8 more, all silently climbing the mountain in effortless bounds, each of them were longer than I am tall (6'2"). Massive creatures, breathtaking to witness. The biggest dogs in the world.


An hour later the sun was up. One of the bodyguards got everyone up and out, and feeling very sorry for ourselves, we followed the wolf trail up until we saw the resort.

That night we played a show in a huge club in Romania, it felt like a million years later...

...there are vampires in Romania.

This is knifey, from 'the internet'.

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