I flew to England by myself in the fall of 1979. I was going to meet up with Cameron Hand in Paris, at a pre-determined date – in a couple of days. The hotel that I had the name / address of didn’t have any rooms available – no, I didn’t have a reservation! They took pity on me, however – and found me a place to stay (that was even cheaper than the hotel) in Lime Grove, Shepherd’s Bush. I was so 21-years-old!
I remember lying in that bed & breakfast listening to a cassette that Don Bolles had given me, an aircheck of an imaginary radio station, “KDIL”. Older record collector friends had given me the names / addresses of record stores to try to go to. I had been in touch with Steve Stapleton of Nurse With Wound. Our band was on his list of favorite bands / records (currently on Wikipedia as “NWW List”).
I walked up and down Oxford St. I took the Tube. I shopped in the Virgin Megastore, near Tottenham Court Road. The HMV @ Bond St. 58 Dean St. Cheapo Cheapo. Rock On…and then I discovered “The Record & Tape Exchange” in Notting Hill Gate. I ate a Wimpy Burger, walked Carnaby St. (nothing happening here, mate). I remember finding all the bookstores – Foyle’s, Compendium! I saw films: “The Kids Are Alright”, “The Life of Brian” – both on Oxford St.
I took the boat from Dover to Calais, got the train to Paris and met up with Cameron at Gare du Nord – how, I will never know. Cameron & I had first class Eurail passes, which got us as far north as Helsinki, and as far south as…Irun, Spain! I don’t know where else I went on that first trip that would’ve been any further south!
We wandered around “The Latin Quarter” – Crocodisc, on Rue des Ecoles! FNAC Montparnasse! We called Gilles Yepremian, the manager of Urban sax / Lard Free – he spoke English. Silly us, we both forgot about the 1 hour difference between England and France – so we were continually either an hour early or late to out ‘events’ – we saw Polanski’s “Repulsion” in a theatre, but walked in on it , much to the consternation of the avid cinema viewers. When we were to meet Gilles, we went to his place, but nobody was home – we waited for an hour, and just about as we were going to shuffle off into the Pelforth afternoon – Gilles appeared, reminding us of the time difference. We met Roland Bocquet. Gilles knew The Doors. Gilbert Artman had never seen any American fans before, so that was cool.
I also got to meet Aldo Tagliapietra (of Le Orme) in Venice, Italy – Aldo spoke very good English. Also met Holger Czukay in Koln, Germany – he was in the phone book. It was all about music and music people, on that trip.
I remember buying a canvas LP / 45 bag at Virgin Records in England – I filled it with mostly 45’s – it got quite heavy. Amsterdam! Febo! Concerto! With or without? Huh? Chocomel! Hey, everyone here speaks English fairly well! Rock In Waterland, Trekweg 8, The Hague! Stockholm! Clock Burger! Helsinki! Tunnelenlevy! I met someone from New Zealand in Helsinki…which gets us up to Wellington, NZ 1980.