Wednesday August 24th 2016

When I woke up, Thoth asked me, “Do you want to see the show today?” “Yes!” I said. “You want to see the matinee?” I asked. “Sure.” he said. I couldn’t really believe it. I was going to SEE and HEAR Michael Crawford with my own ears and eyes for the first time in my entire life! I couldn’t really believe it. A man I’ve idolized since I was 10 years old. For 18 years, I was going to f**king SEE him. OMG!

We got to the theater with an hour to spare. I was nervous there wouldn’t be any tickets available or they’d be really expensive, but low and behold, they had 25 pound a piece tickets in row E in the orchestra! I was shocked, relieved and happy! We had a quick bite of sushi next door before going into the theater. I was queasy I was so excited. What an incredible moment! I knew I would never forget it. I am so glad I made the choice to go see this show!

We went into the theater a half hour before the show started. It was a simple set. A grand piano in the corner and about 8 chairs with some grass sticking out of the floor. Very moody lighting and a little smoke. Michael was the first to come on stage. He was bent and frail, as all 73 year olds are. The cast of about 8 came around him in white Victorian costumes. He turned on a light above his head and the cast began singing in a Capella. My mouth dropped to the floor. It was so simply and lovingly beautiful. Michael was on stage the entire 2 and 1/2 hours singing in parts and watching the action. His character was the older version of the little boy Leo. It was beautiful. There was a song called “Butterfly” I think, that he sang that almost made me tear up. His low voice was still powerfully moving and his higher voice more frail, but used to great emotional effect. I turned to Thoth many times. He was smiling and laughing along with me. At the intermission he said how much he loved the show. At the end of the second act, Michael was crying and used a handkerchief to wipe his eyes. He was trembling. Not sure if that’s from age or just the character or the emotion he was feeling. Michael is a very emotional person. He cried during “Barnum” and in “Phantom” every night. He has a beautiful voice even now. We both stood up and cheered when he came out to bow. So did lots of others. A man behind me called out to him, “A living legend!”

We left the theater and stood at the stage door for a bit. I was hoping to meet him, but the ticket takers said he doesn’t come out for matinees. Oh well. I had hoped. I did get to speak to another actor I loved. He had a fake scar covering one of his eyes in the show and had a beautiful voice and stage presence. I talked to him, complimenting his singing. He thanked me for cheering and laughing. I couldn’t believe it. When Thoth and I like something, we cheer and laugh loudly! I did that when I was a kid, too. 🙂

We walked around Soho a bit and then went home. I was in heaven.

I Love The Life I Live!

Tuesday August 23rd 2016

We took the train into London Victoria today. It was our first day exploring without any bags or violins. It was amazing. London is a very special city. One of my favorites, if not my absolute favorite. It’s amazing we can come here for weeks at a time. When I was 16 we were only here for 5 days, and we had to rush around like maniacs doing all these pre-planned activities. Though I did like living in a nice hotel in the center of town and eating at fancy restaurants and not having to worry about money back then, this way of traveling is so unique and special. We live like locals, just like I wanted to when I was a kid. No one else in the world lives and travels like we do. Sometimes it is so overwhelming and scary I can’t handle it, but at times like these it is all worth it. The torturous agony of flying and the fear of the future, the frustrations, the depressions… it’s all clear now. Just last week in Amsterdam I was so f**king freaked out about finding us a place to stay in NYC I didn’t know what to do. Now I am actually excited to be in NYC because we’ll be living with artists. I’m not scared, I’m curious what will happen. I know that no matter what happens, we will be OK!

We spent many hours wandering around the city. We had lunch at a cute little place. I treated us. We went to the theater district and got donugts for dessert. We passed through many resonant spaces, which we may try to play in this week. I believe our play spot is in the theater district. There are so many beautiful buildings and resonant walkways there. We stopped by Her Majesty’s Theater where I saw Phantom when I was 16. It was eerie to be back in a place I was at over 10 years ago. My life was immensely different then, and I was a completely different person. We came upon a billboard with MICHAEL CRAWFORD’s face on it. I freaked out. He’s in a new musical called “The Go-Between”. Michael played the original Phantom, my favorite character of all time. That’s who I “act” as sometimes. I want badly to go see it. Maybe we will! We took the bus back to London Victoria station and took the train back home to Sutton. It was a truly lovely day for us. I am so happy to be a grown up and to be independent and free to do as I wish, within reason and with responsibility and forethought. I am so grateful to be able to be here in this city.

Monday August 22nd 2016

We took a walk in Sutton. Went into the supermarket and then found a place to have a big English Breakfast. We went home and stayed in our room for the rest of the day. In the night we went outside to the picnic bench where Kaja and Emil were playing a video of us for their friends. Grandma had made dinner for us, which I helped him bring outside. Thoth went back inside to work more and I stayed with Kaja and Emil and talked for a long time. We are so blessed. So, so blessed.

Last Play of the Week (Tiring!)

Sunday August 21st 2016

Our last day of the week to prayform. We needed a break. Blackfriars isn’t the best space for us. The lack of acoustics is hard on our voices. The constant movement of people back and forth isn’t the best for us either. It makes it hard for crowds that have stopped to stay. They tend to move along with the crowd when the song is over. We do get big crowds there though. Our crowds are the same everywhere in the world. Big, sometimes generous, sometimes not and (I can’t speak for everyone) usually very fascinated, amazed and moved by what they’re seeing, because they’ve never seen it before.

We got there late because the train wasn’t running. We had to take the bus and the tube. Kaja, Emil and their three kids Rachael, Jeremy and Kora came with us. We wouldn’t have gotten there at all if they didn’t come. We would have gotten lost. Thankfully there was no one playing there when we arrived. Just as we were setting up, a guitarist arrived. “It’s usually 2 hours here.” He said. “We’ll probably just go an hour an a half,” I said. “Our show is really big.”

We played for almost 2 hours and it was very, very tiring. Anya came again to see us. Our voices were strained by the end. The guitarist came back and waited for the last half hour of our play. We had big crowds, but they weren’t as energetic or generous as yesterday, even though Kaja and Anya were clapping during the exciting pieces. We have to find a space in which we get back as much as we are giving. We never do, but some places are much better than others. I’ve learned over the years it’s never us that makes a day good or bad, it’s the audience or, at times like this, the space we’re playing in. The guitarist was very kind. “That was inspiring.” he said when we finished.”

The long trip to Blackfriars plus the long play made me very tired. We went to Waterloo to have sushi at Wasabi again (I told you I could go there every day) and then we had to take the tube and bus home again. I lay my head on Kaja. When we got home, we shut ourselves in our room and I edited footage and blogged until 1am. I’m so proud of us for grinding through the last 3 days. We did what we needed to do. Time for some days off!

Superfans and Big Crowds in London!

Saturday August 20th 2016

We got out to Blackfriars earlier than yesterday. We couldn’t hear anyone playing, but just as we came downstairs, there was a bassist setting up. I went to talk to him. “2 hours?” he said. “An hour?” I said. It was a deal. The bassist didn’t gather a crowd, so it was hard to imagine us doing so, even though we always do. I let him play an extra half hours so we could play an hour and a half. Kaja and Emil arrived. They had been up on the bridge waving to us. They had dressed up a bit to come see us. 🙂

The wait didn’t seem too long. We were able to get all ready before playing. I had forgotten the card to our camera, so I put Kaja in charge of filming for today’s vlog. It was an amazing play. Crowds were stopped for the entire play, and quite appreciative. We do something unique in the whole world. We bring something to spaces people have never seen before, and will never see again, unless they see us again. It’s normal for me, but not for anyone else. That’s why it’s important to write and vlog about it every day.

Anya, a big fan from Poland, came to see us as well. She was in touch with Kaja, who is Polish, too. Kinda cool. She stayed for the entire performance, than we all walked together to the bar for a drink and to Waterloo station for sushi at Wasabi. It was cheap, and really good! I could have it every day. I love good, cheap sushi. Yummy!! We got some chocolate, said goodbye to Anya and went home. Hopefully we’ll see her again tomorrow for our next prayformance.

We took the train home, laughing and joking with our friends all the way. These are the times that make life worth living.

Friday August 19th 2016

To we took a leisurely time getting ready to play today. It was raining, so there was no hurry to get to Blackfriars to play. Kaja was at work, and Emil went to the store. When he came home, we went to the station and to Blackfriars.

There was someone playing. He was very good. His name was Just Joseph. Ambient, eerie guitar loops. I said hi, and he said he’d do one more song. It was rainy. I shook Joseph’s hand and told him I like his music and we set up. Kaja arrived with a woman she was helping to watch a few songs. It would be her and Emil’s first time seeing us prayform live. Pretty exciting.

There were a lot of people walking by. I was feeling good. We started and people were stopped. They’d stopped before we even started. I like when that happen. We had played a few songs when I saw a dark skinned man with a beard. It took me a minute to recognize him. It was Michael, the bassist we’d met at the Red Bull Sounderground Festival in Sao Paulo, Brazil in 2010, and in Edinburgh during the Fringe Festival in 2014. He’s such a sweet man. He’d play very well with us. I forgot he lives in London! We got his number and hugged and kept playing. Kaja had to go. She hugged us. She had been crying. She cries when she hears our music. She is very much in love with us, what we do, our music, and us as people. Emil is, too. Such supportive people they are to us. We love them so much.

I was so pleased we weren’t stopped and we got to play. I thought we’d never play in London, so just the fact we got to play was a blessing. No expectations. It isn’t the best spot. No real acoustics, so there is vocal strain after an hour and a half of singing, but I am grateful to play. Emil led us home. We all closed our eyes on the train. We were tired. We picked up some fish and chips to eat at home. It was so satisfying. Emil sat with us. Eating after prayforming is so thrilling. I can’t explain it. After that, we went to our room to rest. After my late night shower, I acted until 1am. Ahh. What a great time we’re having in London.

Two Brilliant Days in London

Thursday August 19th 2016

A day in London!

We left the house a little after 12 noon with Kaja and Emil. We wanted to explore London and try too find a place to play. No expectations, just exploring, with violins. I was going to see my friend James in the late afternoon, so no matter what happened, I knew I would be happy!

It was a quick trip to London Victoria. We caught a train that took only one stop between Sutton and London. It was amazing to be back in that train station. Brought back a lot of memories. It’s been two years since we’ve been there. Last time we had just gone to see James in a show and I hadn’t slept in 24 hours. Amazing, and also really eerie and weird.

We walked to the theater district. Kaja carried my violin and Kaja my rolling backpack. I never say no when people ask to carry my things. It so nice to not have something on my back. A treat. It was a long walk, and neither of us had eaten anything. I was already hungry and wondering what would happen. We got to the theater district and saw lots of buskers around in the squares. We went and spoke to one of them, who gave us a buskers program which recommended spots to play, none of which were suited for us. They were all open spaces. We need places with good acoustics, or at least a covered space. We don’t use amplification. The natural voice needs acoustic support to not strain.

We sat down off the main road to rest. Emil went to get something to drink for us. A booster. It was helpful. I already was very hungry and ready to call it a day. It was an hour until time to see James. Kaja recommended we go to Blackfriars to explore some tunnels, so we did. The tube was very hot. Just as we left the station, we saw a few tunnels, and popped into an interesting looking bar/art gallery so I could use the bathroom. Emil, Kaja and Thoth came in and the manager asked what we did. He asked if we’d play for him, so we did. The acoustics were quite good. When we finished, he asked if we’d like to do a gig there. Of course we would. We exchanged info and left. Hope that will happen. I had to go to the theater where James was seeing a show. I kissed and hugged Thoth and Emil showed me to the bus. I just had to take it three stops. It was easy. I had a borrowed phone with a map on it, so I was OK.

I got to the theater a bit before 5pm. Soon after though, James called me and I went over to him. We walked and talked for a long time. I couldn’t stop smiling and laughing. We walked around Covent Garden and back towards the river to an Indian restaurant to meet his friend Jack for dinner. Jack was running late so we had lots of time to continue talking. Eventually we went inside to sit and wait. Jack arrived and we had a lovely time together. James had to run and catch his train before 9pm so Jack helped show me the way to the train station. Easy. I called Emil, who said they were on the train home now. I hopped on the fastest train home to meet them there.

I was so happy. They were waiting for me outside the station. I told them all about my experience and Thoth said he’d found a place for us to play! Kaja showed me a video of him playing. I was so happy. Everything is going so well for us here!

Wednesday August 18th 2016

A day to rest.

I got up at 9:30am, even though I was still tired. Kaja asked if we’d like something at the store. I asked if I could go with her. Kaja, Emil and I went together. I was still tired and feeling jet lagged. I couldn’t stop yawning. Emil explained the transit system to me. It’s much less expensive than I was thinking. It’s only 3 pound 50p to go to London Victoria and 3.50 back. I thought it was much more We went to a few stores and eventually went into the grocery store. It was huge. I love going to big grocery stores. I was putting on a lot of voices and being silly. Kaja was laughing. I’m a little pixie in her eyes. We took the bus home with a bunch of food.

Kaja’s mother had made us lunch, which we all sat at ate together. It was delicious. Tender pork with green bean and potatoes. We’re so lucky to be able to live with them. They are so generous to us. I listened to music and got a message from James about our meeting tomorrow. I went outside where Kaja and Emil were smoking to ask if I could borrow a phone so I could contact James. Kaja said she couldn’t stop staring at me. “You’re so beautiful.” she said. She took lots of pictures. “I want to paint this.” she said when I was leaning into Emil. He was hugging me. It was so nice. They know how fun it would be for me to see James. I Skyped with a girl named Meli about a place to stay in NYC. It looked wonderful and I asked if we could send a deposit. I got her in touch with my dad to send a check. I was so excited, relieved and happy, I had to jump around and tell Kaja and Emil. They were so happy for us. We had this strange thing called meat jelly for dinner. I couldn’t eat it. Too strange. Thoth ate it and I made some tuna salad for myself. I was so happy.

At night, I got an email with some amazing news. I can’t say what yet. Hopefully it will happen. Amazing things are happening for Tribal Baroque.