Sunday, February 28, 2010

Stand up, fight back (european tour with xTrue Naturex): Haarlem, NL

'Only the lonely know the way I feel tonight'-Roy Orbison

We went out and celebrated Tes' birthday at the Pitcher last night, and played our first official show of the tour. Got to meet her mom and a fair amount of her friends and everyone was so sweet! Fun times were had, Daft Punk was played and most importantly Tes had an awesome birthday!*

During that night though a womyn from one of the other bands repeatedly came over to the table to talk, which was fine, but at one point was aggressively telling me I needed to climb over the table and stand with her. Feeling kind of freaked out because she was clearly drunk, I went over there to talk. She didn't know my name so she kept calling me "Mr. American" and proceeded to ask if I liked "blondes or black haired" and if I preferred "aggressive or introverted girls". I said I didn't know, and so she then asked if we were going to "my place or yours" at which I laughed and said neither, I'm staying with my friends. She tried to coerce me to go home with her for about 5 or 10 minutes while rubbing against me, the whole time me standing with my arms crossed and facing away. I could feel my face getting redder and was becoming increasingly uncomfortable, so after politely and clearly telling her "No" more than a dozen times she finally left me alone. So later on in the night I was talking with Chonga, and as she passed by on her way to the bathroom she full on slapped me in the back of the head. As funny as it was, I don't like being hit. at all. And the fact that she was trying to coerce me to sleep with her earlier on while being incredibly inebriated made it even worse. On her way back I motioned her over to talk. I explained to her I don't play shows to hook up with random people, and that her hitting me was not ok etc. She apologized, but I sensed she was still trying to be flirty and maybe apologizing just to start another conversation with me... or maybe since she's Dutch and english is her second language she didn't fully understand the tone I was using. either way, she came up to me 3 times after that to apologize and that she didn't mean to create that sort of "ambience" for me.

My first reaction to this was laughter, even though it upset me. and we all have been making jokes about it since then, which is fine also. but Keegan brings up a very good point: If the genders were reversed in this situation, meaning if a man approached a womyn he didn't know, or even knew the name of, and said those things and reacted the same way it would absolutely not be tolerated. I'm sure most people, as shitty as mainstream bar culture is, wouldn't allow that to happen. But... since it happened to a male-bodied person, perpetrated by a female-bodied person all of a sudden it's a big joke, and the 'Man' in this situation is lucky, a player etc. Maybe this problem can be considered insignificant considering how often womyn are disrespected and humiliated in this way, but I still feel it's worth bringing up. And maybe I'm just grasping at straws thinking that my opinions and experiences can actually change the way people at bars behave.. and maybe those incidents are bigger than a simple issue of sexism but rather a larger societal problem. Either way I don't like it, and I (nor anyone else) should have to tolerate it.

Other than that staying with Tes has been incredibly fun! Hanging out in her immaculately clean squat, eating delicious food, petting her kitty, dancing and watching R. Kelly and Hungarian rapper videos (remind me to post a link later!).

Heading out to Amsterdam either tonight or tomorrow for another show. I'll keep you updated!

for love and liberation,
mike xvx

*This morning I played "it's not your birthday anymore" by Morrissey and she loved it!}

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Stand up, fight back (european tour with xTrue Naturex): Emmen, NL / Haarlem, NL

"There's apples in the trees, let's take all that we need""-Mirah

after Chonga's arrival, and a massive amount of condensing of our merch and personal items, we were ready to leave Emmen for our first show in Haarlem. Our last day at the bank squat known as Spoorloos (translates to "without a trace") was spent eating peanut butter and fruit in the upstairs living room and trying not to freeze to death. It's still amazing to me how much Spoorloos gives back to the community, and how much the support they receive in return, especially for being a known anarchist group... evident in the red and black flag flying out in front of the building. Did I mention this bank is located directly in downtown Emmen?

We packed up The Deceptacon all the way to t
he ceiling. We left enough room for one seat in the back and literally have barely any space to move. We're all looking forward to spending the next 2 months in the Land Rover, especially driving through the Alps, haha*. The flaps on the back don't insulate it at all, and we can't lock the doors so every time we stop we have to bring all our things with us. I worry for my guitar because this will be the second really expensive one I will destroy if I don't look out for it.

A short 2 hour drive brought us to Haarlem, NL. We're here to celebrate Tes' birthday, and staying tonight in her squatted flat above the shopping mall in the city center.** I have a feeling I'm going to see some more awesome squats on this trip, but I should say that this place definitely does not look like one. inside and out. A series of small flats connected above a clothing store, all quaint and incredibly clean. And from Tes' explanation a flat 1/4 of the size of one of these would cost 300-400 euros a month.

Excited for the show tonight, and for the months ahead. Trying not to think about how much I miss everyone, and listening to music from time to time to calm myself down. I'll keep you all updated in the weeks ahead.

for love and liberation,

mike xvx

*nervous laugh

**I've never seen so much fur trim in a mall in all of my life. Literally every other person that passed us had a fur trim jacket on. Fucking murderers.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Stand Up, Fight Back (Euro tour with xTrue Naturex): Portland, OR / Emmen, NL

"hey, that's no way to say goodbye." -Leonard Cohen

Portland is awesome, I want to start off by saying that. Where else can you skate an awesome ramp inside a screenprinting warehouse, eat delicious vegan food in every neighborhood, and get radical books, kitschy stickers, and vegan versions of every possible junk food? I was so so glad to spend my last 2 weeks in Oregon with some of the most amazing people I know!
directly after the AETA 4 benefit I drove straight back down to LA to catch my flight. I left at 1030 pm and arrived the next day at 7 pm after an exhausting night. Rested for about 18 hours and then caught my flight out. After the 9 hour flight to London the plane decided to wait on the runway for 45 minutes (don't ask me why) so I missed my connecting flight. It's probably better that I got a later flight anyways because I got incredibly lost in the Heathrow airport. I don't understand how anyone can find their way around that place... you have to take trains and busses to the other terminals. so ridiculous.

Finally made it to Amsterdam and met up with Keegan and Arthur. Stepped out into the FREEZING cold and rode a train out to Weesp. Got into our tour vehicle and named it Deceptacon. Even though MDG insists it's just called "Land Rover" haha.

currently staying in a squat that used to be a bank in Emmen, Holland. It includes a massive free-store on the first level, a venue in the basement, and living quarters on the 2nd floor. I can't believe how rad the set up is here, and how many things they are able to host here during the week. Foodbanks, movie screenings, vegan cafes etc. and everyone here is super nice and friendly. Though I will say it's almost as cold inside as it is outside.

Went for a walk with Roland the dog early this morning across Emmen and got to see it in all it's hazy glory. It's actually kind of nice to see snow again, even though I just came from Australia where it's probably over a hundred degrees there right now. This year is definitely turning out to be one never-ending global tour. Which is awesome, but I was kind of hoping to spend a bit more time with my friends and rest before I left again. but how can I complain? I get to see like 16+ countries on this trip. boohoo.

For Love and Liberation,

Mike XVX

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Vacation's over.

So i'm nearing the end of my 3 week "vacation" away from touring. If you haven't seen or heard from me in this period of time it's because i've been insanely busy with printing shirts, making CD's, playing shows, doing fur demos, writing goofy songs about fur demos, driving up and down the west (best) coast, and of course finding time to skate in between. I can't emphasize enough how stressed, starving and utterly exhausted I've been during this time.. but I have a feeling that's all going to pay off for this next tour.

do you ever get into that mood where you've been traveling/working/whatever for so long that you're not conscious of what you're doing? and that your body just acts simply on instinct? I find myself not remembering how long i'd been driving for, not knowing how i got on the right train when i'm half asleep, or how i just get anywhere in general. total zombie.

Today is my last day in Oregon, and also my last show in the U.S. for the next 2 months. Keegan and I will be embarking on an epic tour across Europe next week, and I'm so glad to be traveling with him. I put myself deeply into debt to make this happen, and I want to thank all of my friends who have helped me out in anyway!

also, if you're in Portland tonight there will be an awesome benefit for the AETA 4 at the Red and Black Cafe:

When i get back to the states i'll be planning a small west coast tour and possibly a bike tour as well. but other than that i just plan on getting some serious sleep.
Europe friends: see you soon!
U.S. friends: see you later!
Australian friends: i miss you a lot!
Cops, cop sympathizers, and loss prevention agents: go fuck yourselves!

Go Vegan,
Mike XVX