Sunset Hollywood, Seattle Sound And European Christmas Vacation Anthony Bourdain Style! Also My Latest Swedish Snus Haul ~
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UPDATE: @ BOTTOM OF THIS POST 12/23/14
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So I just got off the phone with a relative visiting Los Angeles, and I ask, where have they gone…”We’ve been to Venice Beach, Santa Monica, yada yada, and Disneyland in Anaheim. We’ve been very busy, tomorrow we head to San Diego where we will be able to relax a bit more.” I replied, “Awesome…what about the Sunset Strip, how did you like that?” I remember when I went to California for my first time…I had a local take me to see the sites, and when I brought up that I wanted to go to the strip, she said…’there’s not really much there, but I get it, we can make a stop there so you can check it out.’ I get it many locals will say that it’s a dirty waste of time. Not me, I thought, I was on a pilgrimage and if I did not experience anything other than “The Strip” that would be fine. I also get that it’s very touristy…I did not care it was the 1980’s and I had to go. So anyway my relative on the phone today says, they did not go to Sunset, and they would not have a chance. It was like a knife in my chest…WHATTTTT!!! At least do a drive through, WTF! So much amazing history but I guess it’s not to be. I know some of you are saying F Sunset, dirty waste of time…WRONG!
All I could think of to myself is that some day they will regret not going to the strip, just to see The Rainbow, The Whiskey, and The Troubabour. It reminded me of my first trip to Continental Europe with my Grand Parents when they took us on the “safety tour” in the 80’s when I was young, God love em, but I remembered that they tried to censor our trip. I grew up in Iceland so debauchery was not new to me, but the grandparents were a bit naive and did not get that we, the young ones already experienced the “adult stuff”. My uncle, aunt, and cousins lived near Nijmegen, Holland. It was pretty awesome experiencing it like a local…riding the bike paths in and out of the city and the 10 miles from Beuningen to Arnhem. We had Fritz Met, fries and mayonnaise, had to explain what the American word “Cool” to a local (It did not mean cold), and were hit with major porn next to the Disney Movies at the “Video Ring” while renting VHS tapes. As you know women’s breasts on TV, on the front page of the newspaper, and at the beach is normal in Europe.
We ate horse meat burgers (salty strange), canned hot dogs, and dairy products like eggs / butter / and unpasteurized fresh milk not refrigerated. Actually reminded me of Iceland, not the same, but eating strange foods that is. Remember there was no Anthony Bourdain or Andrew Zimmern on TV then and wandering gastronomy was not popular with Americans…still is not, but people “get” foi gras now even if they don’t want to eat it themselves. Now I know better to go for the Pig Cheek and Tuna Collar…first! Thank you Mr. Bourdain.
I also went to a Dutch school with my cousin and a friend of his, and all the students were asking me all kinds of questions about celebrities (blech!) and MTV (remember it was the 80’s). It wasn’t all bad, in fact I had a great time in English class. Everyone in Holland had English class in school, what was really cool was when I listened to the kids speaking English (Very fluent by the way), I realized they were learning British English. When they asked me to read a passage in their class book everyone seemed amazed and were stunned that I did not have an Icelandic accent. American English I found out that day was quite different from UK English.
Anyway I did not accept the idea of a censored Europe, no matter what they did (Much more on that later in this piece, see the plane ride home)…I spent my free days to do whatever I wanted, on my own wisely. I knew what I was looking for and I was going to take advantage of it, no matter what anyone said. We drove to Paris and I remember my Grandparents rushing us by the nude statues…very silly indeed, could not be avoided in The Louvre. Also all the sex shops near the Moulin Rouge was awkward for them…lol. We also went to East Germany, this was before the wall came down, and it was quite sad. Far from the free East Berlin Berghain / Panoramabar lawlessness I would visit several years ago, totally not like I remembered in a great way. We further went to Antwerp Belgium, Amsterdam NL (All Over NL), Berlin DE, Luxembourg, and Zurich Switzerland. It was a very fun trip.
I know now days seeing police dogs and Machine guns at airports is pretty common, but back then it was not. You see we planned our trip months ahead and found ourselves in Holland with military fighter jets doing mission test runs above the house. We turned on the radio and in Dutch, they were saying America was on the brink of w*ar after blo*wing up one of K*had*afi’s homes, kil*ling his s*on. It was pretty scary for a while we did not know what was going to happen day to day. Would we be taking our scheduled flight a few weeks later from Brussels to the US. We thought about leaving early, thankfully we did not as everything seemed to settle down when it was time to leave.
So as I said I was not going to allow a censored tour of europe, I was a young kid but had been around the block a few times. So I was worried about customs searching my bags especially with all I had acquired on my trip…unknowingly by my Grandparents and with the heightened security. My collectables in my luggage were; several Cuban Cigars, a bottle of cheap French Drinking Wine that all the locals in Paris drank at lunchtime with their bread and fromage, 1 bottle of Russian Potato Vodka, 1 bottle of REAL Czechoslovakian Absinthe, 1 Switchblade, 1 pen…woman with disappearing dress, 1 pack of Po*rn Star Playing Cards, and there was more but you get the idea. I was not even a teen yet and I was a walking ball of debauchery to go, just add water. It was that Heavy Metal music, it was a bad influence on me…I’ll blame it on that. K.
So we get to the airport in Brussels and began to put our luggage on the conveyor to the x-ray. As it went through I could have pissed myself. Breathe! As soon as my bag came through I picked it up and hustled it away about 30 feet to the bottom of the escalators. I grabbed another bag of my family’s as well. Then all of a sudden there was a commotion behind the scanner and two airport officials come out from behind and start pulling my Grandmother’s bag apart, obviously looking for something. They found nothing as my bag was safely away. Ah to be young again, man was I a handful. That was very close…very very close! Imagine them unpacking my suitcase full of treats right in front of my stunned Grandparents?!?! Anyway I passed through customs and on arrival in the US scuttled without even a search or declaration form in the US. As I walked by inspectors they paid me no attention as I tried to steady my bag, the bottles had come unwrapped and were now clinking. I almost shat myself…steady hand!
More to come about my trips to Continental Europe in the future, time to get back to music, Los Angeles, and Seattle. Forward a few years…Now it was the late 80’s, but I had travelled to LA in 83, 85, 88 and 89 and I did not establish my connections in the music industry until the middle of 1989. I thought to myself, I had missed out on Hendrix and the 60’s scene, as well as the Punk Movement in the 70’s (single digits, although I saw the Ramones in 83 but that does not count, right, as I missed the movement). So I had to go to LA for the 80’s Glam Metal Scene…the Sunset strip was insane. The freaks were out and dressed to kill, it was more than you would imagine, the smell of Aqua Net and Phunky Kush was overwhelming. I got to see almost all of the LA Metal bands as there were shows every night of the week. It was a pretty carefree time as I was traveling back and forth between the UK, Boston, New York City, Los Angeles, and Seattle quite often. There were also many side trips to Vegas and Frisco as well. In the future I would find myself living between the UK, Reykjavik, Boston, San Diego, and San Francisco between tours in the 90’s. What made it even more amazing was that I was able to physically see the major turn in the music industry from LA Glam to The Seattle Sound.
When I look back on it, it was a seismic shift but as I just liked loud music I transitioned easily from Motley Crue and Ratt to Alice In Chains and Nirvana. I did not give a fuck about the politics and I got along with almost anybody, so at the time I did not notice the music was too different, of course it was different, but more importantly I could feel that I was part of something very unique and a part of history. What made everything more confusing was that Guns N’ Roses, Janes Addiction, and The Red Hot Chilli Pepper’s holding it up for LA blurring the Alternative lines. Megadeth, Metallica, Anthrax, and Slayer (The Big Four) where holding things up for thrash in the US and even bigger in Europe and South America. I would just the same listen to LA Guns, Mudhoney, or Megadeth (just as I do today)…where I really noticed the transition was when I went back home to work in the clubs in the 90’s. All the work shifted from LA to Seattle for sure but back home Glam Metal was out and “Grunge” (hate that term) was in at some point. I didn’t get the memo that Metal was out and Seattle was in. I just went with the flow. The difference at home was the radio had stopped playing 80’s metal and full rotation was set on Seattle, it was really strange. Instead of taking my flights to LAX, I was now heading for SEATAC. That’s just the way it was. Not Enough time to write about the Raves and The Grateful Dead, Old Skool Rap Shows ( Notorious BIG, Snoop Dogg, Tupac, Warren G, NWA, Public Enemy, Wu Tang Clan, KRS 1, Dr. Dre, etc.) that’s for other articles…I was going nonstop for sure!
My experiences during these times are just beginning to be published, every day still I remember a new adventure and make note to be sure I remember to write about it here. “Bastard Saint” the Series has turned into something bigger. A book about all my experiences set to a bizarre ethereal netherworld. Based on a true story…there is so much to it, I will be posting excerpts from it in the New Year of 2015. Sorry, much later than I had expected because I want to give everybody a taste of how the book is coming along and the characters within, without giving away everything in a few posts. However I will probably self publish and give it away for free. So I look to give everyone here pieces to wet the tongue, while leaving people wanting to see development and progress with the full text.
So in closing here I wish everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and Happy Holidays! Have a drink and a toke on me…I’ll be sticking with my coffee, Ettan, and Skruf Xtra Stark with a little Thunder Ultra Raspberry / Thunder Frosted, Oden’s Kanel, Gotlandskt Julesnus to keep it real for the season! Real Swedish Imported Snus Taxes Paid(Med Smak Av Jul !)….not that American SNUS Shit!
Most Recent Imported Swedish Snus Haul:
UPDATE: 12/23/14 ~ Excellent News…I guess it was meant to be. I just got off Facetime and the relatives did make it to the Sunset Strip today and they Loved It!!! They are now safely in San Diego [Dago] @ Mission Bay. Pacific Beach Manana!
So Cali Love!!!
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