Recent Events Dictate : Russia, Part 1

|August 10, 2012 | Asia, Recent Events Dictate, Travels

Sheremetyevo Airport, Moscow : Gogol Bordello and crew are a truly multinational force, holding passports from eight different countries.

Places Visited :


* Moscow, Russian Federation

* Anapa, Russian Federation ( shore of the Black Sea, Krasnodar region, sandwiched between Georgia and The Ukraine )

* Belfast, Republic Of Northern Ireland



End of trip : GB Intercontinental Airport, Houston : waiting for the third flight of the day, which will get me back to New Orleans, finally. I was looking at misty green Irish countryside and cows this morning, and I am experiencing culture shock after being away for only eight days. On deplaning in the USA after even a short trip, I tend to think of my fellow countrymen as You People, as in, ” what the fuck is with you people? “ — I know it sounds pretentious and ultra-snooty, but, you know what? Europeans would never wear flip-flops on an airplane, and men there tend to dress like men, not little kids in pajamas. If airports get any more casual, we’ll all be flying in diapers.

I haven’t heard any news for days, and I see on the boarding area TVs that there has been another mass shooting, this one perpetrated by a white-power fucktard ( I reserve the term skinhead for people who polish their boots fastidiously and have very good Jamaican music record collections, which they dance to while drinking lager : skinheads : a subculture of which I am rather fond ). They’re talking about the dumb bands the fucktard used to play in, and I assume that these bands are awful, because white-power bands always are. Not interesting-awful, like, say, The Shaggs, or funcatchy-awful, like, for example, Jan Terri, but boring-awful, which is an inevitability when the band members have so little going for them that they’re proud of being white. ( BTW, All Skrewed Up doesn’t count : they weren’t Nazis yet. )

Arrival : Moscow : the day has been almost flawless, as a travel day can be when you’re heading away from the USA. It’s when you’re heading towards it that there are multiple delays and you have to go through security three times in a row and they take away the tiny screwdriver you use to tighten the tiny screws in your sunglasses. Andrey, the band’s young Russian fixer, meets me at the airport, and we take a cab to the hotel – which is quite swank ( Moscow is, famously, one of the most expensive cities in the world, and I worry about this, but I’m getting a group rate, which isn’t too bad – we are, on the other hand, in the hotel bar every moment we aren’t sleeping or showering, and I make up the difference in $15 beers ) and has mural-size photographs of life in the old Soviet Union on every surface. The table in my room is decorated with marching soldiers.

Later : I head back to the airport with Andrey to meet the band and crew, and we take the subway, which I am excited about. Have you heard about Russian subway stations? No? Check it out. We enter the newly re-Stalinized Kurskaya station and take steeply angled escalators deep underground; Andrey tells me about his life. He’s from Perm ( the city where these airplanes are made, it tuns out ), and his day gig is translating helicopter technical manuals into English, although he is increasingly engaged in tour managing, festival promoting, and playing with his band, Pyatiy Korpus ( Пятый Корпус : The Fifth Corps ). This song’s called Svoboda, Comrady! ( Свобода, Комрады : It’s Freedom, Comrades! ).

The Fifth Corps : It’s Freedom, Comrades!

The Fifth Corps : It’s Freedom, Comrades!

Kurskaya station entrance, a second before Andrey warned me to not let any cops see me with a camera.

Domodedovo Airport, Moscow : Gogol Bordello have been on tour for 6 weeks, hopping around Europe by air during much of that time, and they’re tired, and everybody’s frazzled because the airline has lost all the in-ear monitors and Eugene’s guitars. In spite of all this, they appear to still like each other — in fact, I’d go as far as to say that they’re the most pleasant, friendly band I’ve ever met.

Next: in and around Moscow, travel to Anapa, Kubana Festival gig in Anapa.