For the first time I see the end of my journey nearing. Body is feeling worn, and is being pushed, pushed. Mind feels fresh, and surprisingly so. It feels the journey is climaxing, as if, for some reason unknown to me, Russia is saving her most unexpected and deepest secrets till last. Perhaps she had to see that I am worthy of them, and yes, they do arrive earned only by hard miles, and the wrestling with her vastness. But at the last you do see her – thick skinned, powerfully set, limbs of iron…but at the last a kind heart, a soft centre, and a capacity for vulnerability. That is the Russia I see, and have come to cherish. A Russia defined by its people, it’s hospitality and it’s soul, and not by its politicians or its facade.
DAY 14: Rehearsal Komsomolsk na Amure style
It’s called rock n roll in Russia. It’s not interested in how much you sleep, only in how far you have to travel. Last nights show in Komsomolsk was magical, but a pit stop. Now it is 24 hours once again on these gentle brave trains, endlessly and forever snaking through this vast country, indifferent to its winter, it’s dawns and it’s sunsets. With 2 hours sleep, I feel a little worn, but I leave Komsomolsk with the memory of a concert I will treasure, and an experience of great hospitality. Thank you again everyone – onwards!
DAY 15: Vladivostok
Just arrived in beautiful Vladivostok and heart full of song
Oh such a beautiful evening last night at @barchkalov! I enjoyed so much screening the “JOURNEYS 1” documentary in Vladivostok last night. It was bringing the journey home to its first city. And a lot of funny moments with interesting questions in Russian afterwards
Okay, so the fates have had it that at the last shows there were some great bands playing. A few beers later and the Vladivostok super band is formed. It’s called ПУТЕШЕСТВИЯ – Russian for Journeys. We have just finished our only rehearsal. And booked our only show. It’s called rock n roll in Russia dear friends. It’s burning bright, it’s loud, it’s temporary, and it’s this Saturday at ZABRISKE POINT
Enjoying some giggles during a lovely interview, performance and “Pyan-Se” tasting session for O-TV today
Emotional evening watching the JOURNEYS 2 (East Africa) documentary for the first time last night. It somehow felt right that it should be screened for the first time on a Russian wall, just as Journeys 1 was first screened on a Nairobi rooftop. Those moments when you feel gratitude for how imperfect our journeys are. How sometimes within the pattern we are creating we can forget that we are part of a much vaster tapestry. That within the weaving, it can feel like a struggle & sometimes senseless, but that at the last, these knotted threads, tangled and ununiform, have a purpose that is not ours to predict or to preconceive, or even to pretend to be in control of. Those actions are for life to decide, and in giving into that, we can at last move beyond our little fantasies of success and failure, and become a part of the broader part of life itself – and its magnificent, beautiful, tangled, decadent, laughing, rejoicing tapestry….
DAY 19: Enjoying a very serious live session on LEMMA radio, Vladivostok –
Pause. Prepare. Go. Friday night in Vladivostok. Mumiy Troll show tonight, and then a greeting of the dawn by the Sea of Japan.
Not many rock n roll venues in the world where you get this just outside…lets go Vladi!
It’s been a long tour…
Another venue tonight with a stunning view. Zabriske Point is a club beautifully trapped in the 70’s, like a mosquito preserved in amber. Wrestling a demonic hangover, but there is an icy gail blowing over the Sea of Japan, and unlike the other ocean vessels, this ship it steadies….
After one final very surreal Sunday show in a DIY centre on the outskirts of Vladivostok, I was invited for supper at this magnificent woman’s flat. Mrs Mescheryakova spoke absolutely no English, but has a genius for hospitality. As such she broke into acapella Russian song. A might fog horn of a voice, she could be heard many Soviet built blocks away. She fed me fish which her husband Yuri had been sent out to catch by breaking open a hole in the ice on a nearby lake. Finding a solution for the translation issue, it transpired that Tatiana had brought up a family in the anarchy of post-USSR Russia. Money was scarce, and even if you did have it, there were hardly any goods to buy. As a result she built a business selling cutlery in China, where aluminium was, at the time, in short supply. What a woman, what hospitality, what a voice. I never cease to be amazed at human ingenuity in the face of world changing trials, and the capacity of Russia to show a man travelling solo such consistent experiences of hospitality and kindness. Thank you Mrs Mescheryakova!
Absolutely one of the best gigs of my life last night at Zabriske Point and an amazing & emotional send off from Russia – thank you everyone!
Leaving Russia with many happy memories – From Russia With Love: