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Music Daze: The (Isle of Wight) Album p. 5 Sunday: Prelude

This is the fifth part of my series of articles about my experience in the Isle Of Wight. You can read here the FIRST part,  SECOND part, THIRD part and FOURTH part

The Isle of Wight Festival 2016 and the day of Queen + Adam Lambert performance, Sunday.

The holy day we all waited for! Queen + Adam Lambert was scheduled to end the festival on the Main Stage that night. This time we arrived early, at about 11:00. The weather was cold and we were prepared for a long, rainy day, as it had been forecasted all week.

We had planned this day a long time ago, as my friends had something called “Premium VIP” tickets, and they had invited me. That was a hublackstar barge deal for me, as we were about to get provided with an “exclusive” view of the Main Stage, a bar serving drinks all day, meals, and a shelter in case the weather was too bad.

It was such a treat for me. For only this day, we had a new black wristband for the bar, which was called “Blackstar” in honor to David Bowie’s last álbum. It was a pub installed on a second floor at one side of the big open area where the Main Stage was. Inside, it was all about David Bowie: it had lots of big pictures and paintings of different Bowie’s eras on the wall. It had rest areas, sofas, cushions, and of course, the open bar where pretty ladies were serving drinks on demand. You could drink all you wanted during the whole day.

 

It was a little paradise. Then, with a drink in your hand, you could go outside to a balcony and get a perfect view of all the acts performing on the Main Stage.

The Entrance

The Entrance

Even at the entrance, people treated you differently. You went inside from a special “VIP parking entrance” which was just behind the Main Stage, and security guys acted all nice to us once they saw our wristbands. The long walks across the Seaclose park to get to the Main Stage were all over for today! While we were walking there, I could see the back of the Main Stage, where roadies were still working installing equipment for the upcoming bands, and I saw the Queen & Adam Lambert Trucks parked there. Those were the trucks used to transport all the gear and equipment for Queen’s summer tour across Europe, and they had a blue truck company logo and the Queen + Adam Lambert On Tour words marked on the sides. It was very exciting for me.

I also saw a building on the side that wasn’t accesible to the audience: it had signs marked as “backstage and wardrobe”, So, I imagined that it was the site where all the bands hung out and got ready for the performances that day. I didn’t see anyone “famous” at that time, though.

 

 

Main Stage Sunday morning

Main Stage Sunday morning

Anyway, for a normal day, it was way too early to start drinking. But this wasn’t a normal day. So we started to help ourselves getting drinks and I got many margaritas, rum cola, cider, and beer. And that was before lunch time (I’m a drunk ok?).

Inside the bar, there were a couple of ladies painting faces so that you could pretend that you were a “jolly hippie at Woodstock”. I didn’t have the courage to paint my face (I probably needed more drinks for that) but I had enough drinks to get a big “Queen + Adam Lambert” painting on my arm that looked just like a tattoo.

Then just like that, from the balcony of the Blackstar Bar, we saw the performances of The Orders, The High Kings (nice ireland folk music!), Twin Atlantic, Half Moon Run and Mike + The Mechanics. Paying them attention from time to time, as (once again) I didn’t know most of this day’s acts.

Getting my arm painted on the Blackstar bar

Getting my arm painted on the Blackstar bar

The day was passing, and I wanted to go as close to the stage as possible, just like the day before, and hopefully get in a similar spot, near the fence, just like we had watched Iggy Pop and The Who.

So, before trying to go there and spend the rest of the day waiting inside the huge crowd, we decided to go and take a walk for the last time to see this big park and all its carnival games. We caught a troubador singing on one of the stages that reminded me a lot of the “trova” movement in South America. Unfortunately I couldn’t catch his name but he reminded me a lot of the Cuban singer Silvio Rodriguez.

Then, we caught some d.j.’s playing electronic music nearby, and then a couple of songs from The Family Rain at the Big Top.

english "trova"

english “trova”

Soon, we were ready for our big move toward the Main Stage…

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Friends and me at this glorious day

#SSSVEDA August 2016. Day 1 – Introducing Myself

Vlog Every Day in August is a challenge to make a video every day for a month.
This is my #1 vlog on the super excellent #SSSVEDA August challenge. Here I introduce myself and explain a little about my youtube channel Germán Hace Música and my website My Parallel Musicverse

My Social Media Links:
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Music Daze: The (Isle of) Wight Album p.4 – Saturday: A Primer In Cross-cultural Understanding

This is the fourth part of my series of articles about my experience in the Isle Of Wight. You can read here the FIRST part,  SECOND part and THIRD part.

The next day, Saturday, we got to the Festival once again, now knowing exactly where everything was, and with some exciting bands to see on the Main Stage.  Always knowing that soon, we were to have the luxury of seeing The Who headlining and finishing the night.

The Corrs from far away

So once we arrived there, we headed directly to the Main Stage. The Corrs were in the middle of their set, and as we wanted to be, this time, as close as possible to the stage, we started making our way around the people, walking slowly to the front. It was already full of people, but I was surprised at how easy was to walk to the front. No pushing, no rushing; people were just chilling and relaxed, even with all these famous acts on stage.

The crowd in Europe is so different from the ones in South America: in Chile, people get desperate to see their favorite artists, and start rushing and pushing towards the front of the stage. It’s almost a suicide to be in the front, at the gates. You see, we in South America usually

The Corrs closer

have one chance every 5 or 6 years to see our favorite artist doing a tour. Sometimes more; but other times, they do just one concert and never come back. In the past, here in Chile, we would be in pain, seeing how artists toured only to Argentina and Brazil, skipping our country.

These days, that doesn’t happen that much, and most South American tours include Chile, too. But if you analyze the facts, you can understand why people get so crazy and desperate in concerts. And that’s why the USA and European artists remark so often that the audiences in South America are “crazy”.

We are crazy because we always think this is gonna be our “only chance in life”, or the “last opportunity in a lifetime.” Hell, I waited from 1993 to 2008 to see Brian May and Roger Taylor live for the first time! No solo shows around here, folks!

So, on this day of the festival, I had my first cultural shock. The audience is calm! They don’t push to take your place! They are actually respectful!

The Corrs Isle Of Wight 2016 (2)

The Corrs from the barrier

So I was amazed when we got to the barrier, and people were not killing each other.

 

We got to the barrier just in front of the left big screen. I looked toward the stage, and The Corrs were performing just a few feet from me! It was totally unreal! I had seen this band’s videos so many times in the ‘90s (I never was a fan of theirs, though), I could recognize all their faces, and they were just there, performing in front of a relaxed audience, and in front of my eyes for real. What a shock!

When they finished performing, we started trying to move to the center of the barrier to be truly in front of the stage. If people were so respectful, it was only fair that we did the same. We started slowly walking to the center, and between each act, we could get a little closer. By the time The Who performed, we were in the center, front row. It was wonderful!

The Kills Stage

The Kills Stage

But before that, we got to see The Kills, who, once again, I’ve never heard before. It was good rock music, with a very charismatic girl singing in front of the band.

After that came Iggy Pop. By that time, we were at the barrier, almost in the center. I was still amazed about the people not pushing us! I was so curious about seeing Iggy Pop. He is a rock icon, and I was thrilled to be in the center  first row to see his show. When he appeared on stage, I felt, once again, chills at seeing somebody so important to the world of rock music just a few feet in front of me. And I enjoyed every moment of it!

Iggy Pop

Iggy Pop

I remember that my first impression was that his body was so weird! He was in good shape, looks like a young guy, but you can see, in his body, marks of his age. And then you realize that he is almost 70 years old and I could do nothing more than be impressed and applaud him for still having such energy.

 

Iggy On Stage

Iggy On Stage

One funny thing that happened, is that I constantly saw how the cameras were moving, and how the photographers were taking pictures, all during the evening, of the acts and also the audience. As I was in the front row, I was expecting to see myself in pictures, but I was more hoping to see myself during Queen + Adam Lambert.

 

But that didn’t happen. Once I returned to Chile, I started checking the official Youtube videos, and I saw a video of the Iggy Pop song I Wanna Be Your Dog. On that video, I was lucky enough to appear two times in the audience, and not look ridiculous (at least I think that). At one point during that song, Iggy got down from the stage and walked into the audience. He walked in front of me, and all I wanted was to shake his hand. That didn’t happen, but I did get to see him as close as I’ll ever be (from 3:04 on the video below). I was surprised and the most happy I can be! You can see me on the video trying to shake his hand and with the happiest face I have ever had. That’s my 100% joy face! And I’m so glad I got to have that registered on video. Thank you, Iggy Pop!!

 

 

 

After Iggy Pop, it was the time for the ex-The Verve singer Richard Ashcroft. He did a set with his old The Verve and also his solo songs.

Richard Ashcroft

Richard Ashcroft

Even though I know he is important to a lot of people, back in the 90’s, I used to find The Verve utterly boring, and I didn’t come out of this performance having a different impression. Although, the sing-along during Bitter Sweet Symphony was very fun, and people were really into it.

Finally, it was the time for The Who, the big headliners of this day, and once again, it was completely impressive to see them as close as I did! They had these great visuals, and some very touching moments, especially with a medley of songs from the Tommy album. Both Roger Daltrey and Peter Townshend looked very happy and relaxed to be playing there. “It’s good to be back in the UK!” said Peter Townshend at some point. How many opportunities could I  get to see such a big band performing in their own home?? Not many, probably.

 

 

Stay Tune for The last article about The Isle Of Wight Festival 2016!

Music Daze: The (Isle of) Wight Album p.2 – Thursday

THE FESTIVAL

This is the follow up article about my experience in the Isle Of Wight. You can read the first part HERE

Now I’m gonna talk about the 2016 version of the Isle Of Wight Festival, as me and my friends lived it. I don’t pretend to be writing a full review of it, because I’m not a journalist, and I didn’t see all of the acts, anyway. So I’m just gonna write here about my experience and how it all felt to me.

IOW festival 2016 poster

Isle Of Wight Festival Official Poster

The festival ran from June 9th to 11th, Thursday to Sunday. Our wristbands were good for the four days, so even if I didn’t know many of the acts, and we were there for Queen + Adam Lambert (who were performing closing the festival on Sunday night) I encouraged my friends to go, at least, for a while to the four days. Because as I said before, this was my first time ever out of Chile, and my first time being at an authentic European festival.

The festival was held in Seaclose, a big park in the city of Newport. As I said before, we were staying in an area of the island called Seaview, which, according to Google Maps, was about a half hour from Newport.

So, on Thursday, it was a beautiful, sunny day, and my friend’s husband dropped us at the entrance after a 45 minutes drive (It took us forever to get there due to the confusing roads and the non helpful signs).

Once we finally got there. I found that the whole place was beautiful. At the entrance, there was this huge space for campers, and after a 10 minute walk inside the park, we got to the festival area, which was filled with clothing stores and souvenirs. It was also like a big carnival featuring

once again: not my entrance....... yet

once again: not my entrance……. yet

some scary games which I didn’t ride cause I’m a chicken. There were countless attractions and many small stages which were starting to fill the air with music. But the principal area was the one where you could go to the 2 main stages: the Big Top, and the Main Stage (what a clever name!). Those were the 2 principal stages where the best known bands were about to perform during the 4 days of festival. The Big Top was like the younger brother of the Main Stage. It looked like a huge circus tent, and some well known bands were scheduled to perform there, like Status Quo. But it wasn’t really made to hold the majority of the festival audience.

The other part the Main Stage was a huge stage, located in a big open area of the park. That was the real deal: the stage where you would see these big acts performing one after another, and it was made to be seen from very far away. Artists like The Who, Iggy Pop and Queen + Adam Lambert were scheduled to perform there.

On Thursday, the first day, there weren’t artists scheduled to perform on the Main Stage, but the Big Top was open and receiving their first bands and audience.

I was interested in checking out a band called The Sex Pissed Dolls, which caught my attention several weeks before arriving at the festival. They are an all-girl punk band, with very young girls performing in it. I checked out some of their youtube videos while I was still in Chile, and decided that I wanted to see them live. Also, I must say, they are all very gorgeous, and I couldn’t help being attracted by that too (shame on me!).

In the festival publicity, they were featured as just “The Dolls”. So, that was a bit confusing.

We got to the Big Top just a couple of minutes before they started to perform. There weren’t many people there, so my friends and I quickly got to the front.

And so, my first experience ever in an European festival was seeing The Sex Pissed Dolls at the Isle Of Wight Festival.

They played a tribute set of punk songs, and they were impressive to me. A very promising start for what would be this experience to me. As I was in the front, I could also see that they were being filmed by professional cameras. Those images were being broadcasted live on two big screens on both sides of the stage. It was so much fun to see the girls giving it all for the audience, but also playing and making sexy moves for the cameras. I really wish I could find this performance on Youtube to see them again, because I enjoyed it so much. Thank you girls for giving me a really great start to the festival experience!

the dolls

After that performance, we had to go out of the Big Top because the volume of the PA was too loud and we were standing just in front of one of them. As a musician myself, I must take care of my hearing; even if I was having so much fun listening to The Dolls at a very high volume, at times it was too darn loud! (spot the two Back To The Future reference I’ve made so far!)

After watching that show, as it was our orientation day, we got ourselves a beer and some food, and wandered around the stores and some of the small stages, and I got some memorabilia. As the park was so big, it was actually a long walk getting from one place to another. So we quickly found out that it was impossible to really see most of the festival acts, unless we could clone ourselves. This was like a big Disneyland to me and the day passed too fast!

Join me next time where I’m gonna keep revisiting my experience in the Isle Of Wight Festival 2016

Music Daze: The (Isle of) Wight Album p.1

Following the few days my friends and I spent in London, our next adventure on this trip was going to the Isle of Wight festival to see Queen + Adam Lambert. Of course,  that was just the main excuse to go there.

It’s always fun to see a new place I’ve never heard of before starting to plan this trip, and I spent a lot of time trying to imagine what it would look like. I wanted to “sightsee” everything and, of course, have the experience of attending a real European festival. So once it was confirmed that we were attending the 4 days of the Festival, I spent several months daydreaming about it.

 The Isle of Wight was also the place where we were going to stay for the most time during this trip.

last ride on “The Tube”

Our adventure in London finished with us taking, for the last time, the tube to the Terminal 5 station, which was one of the many subway stations at the Heathrow Airport. (Wouldn’t it be great to have a subway station to get directly to the Santiago airport in Chile?). On the same day, we were meeting with a couple of friends that were coming from the USA to start their part of the journey with us.

After meeting them, our first adventure in London finished, and we took a van heading to Southampton, a city with one of the biggest boat harbors in England, and where we would be taking a ship to cross the English Channel to the Isle of Wight.

Southampton harbor

It was a wonderful sunny day, and I was pleasently surprised about the good weather coming with us. Back in Chile everyone kept warning me about how awful the weather was in London, and I was waiting to have lots and lots of rain and cold, especially near the sea in Southampton.

adventure island!!

We found that the harbor was huge, and the van driver (who was a local) got lost trying to find the right gate for where we had reserved a rental car to take to the island. We spent like 30 minutes wandering around, trying to find the right spot. It was very funny, since the rental car agency was basically, right across the Street from where we kept looking.

Finally, the driver took us to the right place, and after my friends rented the car to travel through the island, we were set to head to the ferry.

After a pleasant 40 minutes ride on the ferry, we arrived at a town on the Isle of Wight called East Cowes, which is located in the north of the island. After that, we were inside the island and all we had to do was discover it.

England from the ferry

 

 

the Isle of Wight from the ferry

As we were heading to our new “operation base” in an area called Seaview, I looked out the window from the car, and started discovering how everything had these incredibly bright colors.
Everywhere I looked, was like looking a real life postcard, including the houses and construction which had this very antique “English” look.

We also discovered another very remarkable side of the island: the roads! Wow… I must say I’ve never seen such confusing roads. I was so glad I wasn’t driving, or else I would be a nervous wreck the whole time there!

First, most roads are very, very narrow, so you really feel like you are about to fall down a cliff or you are gonna crash against another car driving on the opposite side. And second: the signs on the streets indicating directions were very confusing, and most of the time they led us to a whole different area of the island where we weren’t supposed to be. Even with the gps turned on and the app Waze running on our cell phones, it was very difficult to find the right location. So driving along those roads was an adventure of its own!

To get around the tension that driving on the island caused, we found ourselves constantly joking about the “roundabouts”, which were very weird for us, or taking bets on how many wrong turns we were going to make before finding the right direction. So the roads were kind of annoying at first, but in the end it was all fun.

So finally, after countless wrong turns on the roads, we arrived at a nice house located in Seaview called “Wight Lodge” (some day I must do some research on why in England they keep naming their houses as if they were pets). This was a big, beautiful house that my friends had rented to stay in during the festival, and it was the place we called “home” during the next five days. It had a very nice view to the sea (Duh! it’s Seaview!), and the weather was surprisingly hot (I even got to wear shorts during that evening!). While some of my friends decided to go to the yard and spend the evening in the sun, I decided to take a nap in
a nice little room I had for myself. Life was good!

the seaview from Seaview

 

posing on the English Channel beach
English Channel beach

Later that night, we started to make plans for the first day of the festival, which was starting the next day. There were few bands I had heard before, but I was very excited and curious to see how would
it feel to be inside a real “European festival”.

TO THE FESTIVAL

So the next day, Thursday, we woke up, and went to a lovely place to have breakfast nearby called Lily’s Coffee Shop, which for me, was one of the most memorable places we had meals during our stay on the island. The food was excellent, people were very nice and it had this really antique but comfortable feeling of a real English house. Plus, it had funny and some historical signs on the walls.

desayuno “Di campione” y qui pa?!

 

breakfast with friends

And then we were ready for our first festival day!  Some of my friends decided to skip this day, so I just went with two of them. This was, for us, like a “recognition” day, where we would get to know the place, get to know where all the stages were, and the most important thing: get to know the place where Queen + Adam Lambert were going to perform on Sunday.

So, our very first adventure was actually getting there.

wrong entrance! 🙁

I already talked about how difficult the roads were for us. And getting to the festival was not easy at all!. One of my friends’
husband was driving the car, and the plan was to leave us at the festival entrance. We had to go to a huge park in a town called “Newport“, situated slightly to the north of the centre of the island. Oh boy!, did I say already the roads were confusing? The festival, as the big event it was, had caused  many of streets to be closed, and the direction signs (some made especially for the festival days) were equally confusing. We almost ended up getting on the ferry back to Southampton,
we drove in circles, and the traffic was terrible due to the festival.

So, I think we spent about 40 minutes just driving around trying to find the entrance. At one point, we found a police officer. We asked him for directions, and he didn’t know what to say. Even locals seemed to be a bit lost there.

Finally, due to a miracle of God probably, we came  across the right road and we got out of the car, put on our wristbands and were  ready to see the first festival day!

Isle of Wight Festival 2016. Here we go!

And now for the festival itself…stay tuned!!!!!

Vlog Series Episode 3. Not So Fast, Mr.!!

Here is a new video on my Vlog series. I talk a little about my “adventures” in Miami Airport and some problems I had on customs.

See you soon for the next Vlog!

 

London Daze, Part 2: All You Need Is Love

This is the second part of my series of post about the London part of my trip. You can read the first part HERE.
abbey road entrance

abbey road entrance

So, after seeing Buckingham Palace, Westminster  Abbey, and having a traditional English tea, we caught the tube again, and went to another historical landmark….. for musicians… the world famous recording studio Abbey Road.

This is the place where every Beatles album was recorded, as well as those of countless other artists, movie soundtracks, tv shows, and documentaries. This is like  heaven for every sound engineer. I’m not such a big Beatles fan, but this was truly another place I’d never ever thought I would see.

It’s not that impressive from the outside; it’s a big building that would be confused for any company building if it wasn’t for the name outside saying “Abbey Road Studios”. It’s impressive that after all this years, it is still a working recording studio, so tourists are not allowed inside. And I kept watching all these musicians going in there for recording sessions. It was so cool!

Abbey Road wall messages

On the outside you can see the walls completely
painted with graffiti and messages from Beatles fan. This was the moment I figured out that this is a temple for Beatles fans (in the same way as Freddie
Mercury’s house is for me). There were lots of message for John Lennon and George Harrison (most of them very touching tributes), and you could really see on people’s faces that being there was a dream come true. I mean, if I would have listened to the Beatles all my life, and had a chance to go there, I’m sure I would have pissed my pants (again).

Abbey Road glory!!

At one side of the actual recording studio building, there was this Gift Shop, where tourists could go and buy overpriced memorabilia (tourist trap alert!!). At a very high price, you could get audio equipment, every vinyl that was recorded there, and gifts so your family and friends can believe that you were actually there.

multitrack tape box

Inside the Gift Shop,  you could also see some historical memorabilia that were hanging in the wall as art pieces. The coolest thing I remember seeing there was the box of the multitrack tape of the Beatles songs “Hey Jude” and “Revolution n. 9“. I remember thinking to myself: Anyone who sells this box on ebay will get so rich!.

Then, the other historical landmark there, is the world famous crosswalk from The Beatles album cover “Abbey Road“.
This is an actual road where real cars pass through. So tourists should be really careful when trying to recreate the picture. I once read that the most clichéd and overdone picture in history made by tourists, was the recreation of the world famous Beatles cover. But I was already there, and I won’t go back anytime soon. So, what the hell? Here is my picture crossing the Abbey Road!!

just like the Beatles

Overall, it was another excellent experience. Not personally as emotional as other places, but still really cool. I imagine that the only disapointment for any Beatles fan who goes there is that you can’t actually see the real studio from the inside. There are no tours available and entrance is prohibited unless you work there. Also, there isn’t a museum like other places I went to. The only place you can go inside is the Gift Shop. (obviously!).

After that cool site, there were many other Queen (the band) related places like The Rainbow Theatre, The Hammersmith Odeon, and The Marquee. But since the day was quickly passing and it was tricky to get to those other places that were planned, we decided to do one more tourist place that was conveniently near to another tube station. So, we went to the world famous wax museum Madame Tussauds.

I must confess that before this trip, I’ve never even heard of this place. It’s a big museum featuring wax replicas of famous people from different areas: music, arts, politic, sports, fashion, etc. And it’s supposed to be so realistic, that when you see them in front of you, you
are supposed to feel that you are seeing the real person. I heard there was a Freddie Mercury real scale replica there, so I thought it was a cool place to see, and I would also get pictures with all these other celebrities.

selfie with my old Kardashian friend

I was warned by my friends that not all of the real scale wax figures were as realistic as they try to sell them. And for what I saw with my eyes there, it’s true. Some of them are very real, but some of them look like dolls. Anyway, it was a lot of fun for me, because I was able to see  how
these celebrities will be if I ever get to see them in real life.

One of the great ones for me was the Kim Kardashian wax doll: She was very realistic, and you could take a selfie with her, with Kanye West looking jealously at you!

I also took my mandatory picture with the Freddie Mercury real scale replica, which created a kind of a mixed feeling because Ifound that his face didn’t look that realistic. Other highlights for me were the Michael Jackson and Jimmi Hendrix wax figures — all of them very cool.

Jimi Hendrix
Audrey Hepburn

 

The Beatles

So that was the finish of our Queen tour all over London. Lots of places left that I wish to see on a future trip to London. So definitely, I’m looking forward to the day I come back to this big city.

The same night, my friends and I went to see the world famous musical “Wicked” at the Apollo Victoria Theatre. That was another experience that meant lots to me. It meant so much that I will write a separate post about it. But now, it’s time to leave London and head to my next adventure: the Isle Of Wight


 

London Daze, Part 1: Royal Beginnings

This is my follow up post to my experience visiting Freddie Mercury’s house, you can read it HERE.
01a10e075626c317b1475298f2802074b51b984ce3
Following up our “Queen” tour, after visiting Garden Lodge, we visited Freddie Mercury’s friends’ house (just at the side of his main house) and his old flat where he lived in the 70’s.
ne of the sides of Garden Lodge on the street where his friends lived

one of the sides of Garden Lodge on the street where his friends lived

Next we took the tube and went to the “Playhouse Theatre” where the “A Kind Of Magic” music video was filmed. (you can see the outside of the theater at the beginning and ending of the video). Such an historic place!  I loved it!.
It’s a Kind Of Magic!
Later, we took the tube again and went to the Imperial College (where Brian May and Roger Taylor met for the first time), and the amazing Royal Albert Hall, where Brian May performed several times in solo concerts and with the singer Kerry Ellis.
Imperial College
Later, we took the tube again, heading to the world famous Buckingham Palace. This place isn’t really “Queen”- related, but it is related to the other “Queen”
and is actually something almost mandatory to see if you are visiting London as a tourist.
Guards close up

My friends wanted to see the Changing of the Guard that happens every morning at 11:30. The place is huge and was packed with tourists, but we still made it just in time and could take a place near the fence to see it.  I can say it was more impressive on TV than seeing it live. The guards form in military positions and there’s a military band playing marches and arrangements of pop songs, like “Thriller” and tunes from “Grease.” It’s very evident that it’s made to appeal to tourists. And I figured out that the military in Chile imitates the same style of guard change, including the marching band playing pop songs. All for the tourists and curious locals and to be “closer” to “regular people”. We all know that it will never be true, but it’s fun to see how at least they try!

Changing of the Guard

Another place worth seeing is Westminster Abbey, which is mainly a big Gothic church where all the “royal events” happen, like weddings, funerals, and burials. And it’s also a place where the
most important British characters are buried, including ancient kings, queens, writers, poets and musicians. It’s a very important historic landmark in the UK and it serves as a museum when no “royal” activities are taking place there (The last Royal Wedding there was the Prince William and Catherine Middleton one in 2011).

I found it to be very beautiful, very solid construction considering how old it is (construction of the church began in the year 1245). You can only try to imagine how many things happened inside there, and you can breath peace and respect for the dead while you are inside.

Follow up to the last part of my “London Queen Tour” coming on the next post!.
 

london glory big

London glory

Ode To Freddie – My visit to Garden Lodge

Hello everyone. It’s been quite a long time! I guess I decided to just live, watch, be amazed and then write my feelings later, when I was ready…

 This was one of the most exciting parts of my trip, as it was in the city of my favorite rock band of all time, Queen, and I couldn’t wait to see it all!

 After a very long flight from LosIMG_6567
Angeles
, crossing the Atlantic Ocean over the North Pole, we finally arrived at London’s Heathrow Airport. I was so glad that the Customs part to enter the U.K. wasn’t as traumatic as it was in Miami.  But my friends helped me a lot, talking to the Customs officer, making him smile, and most important — they were taking care of me!

So, as soon as my passport was stamped, we caught a taxi and went to our “base camp” in London: the beautiful Kensington area, just a few feetlondon street from the Earls Court Tube station (by the way, local people call the subway as “The Tube” Even though the name you see on every station is “UNDERGROUND“).

London is a huge city.  It’s impossible to see it all in just a couple of days, so my friends and I planned a “Queen” tour for the very next day, in which we would visit “Queen”- related places.  We stayed in a hotel near Freddie Mercury’s house “Garden Lodge“. So, the same night we arrived in London, the first thing we did was to visit his famous house. I was so happy that it was a very small walk from our hotel to Freddie’s home, so it quickly became my favorite place to visit.

Garden Lodge

Garden Lodge at night

For me, encountering Freddie’s former house, where he lived, passed through his sickness, and died, was like visiting a temple. I heard so many touching stories and saw so many pictures of it in the past, that finding his street, house, and seeing it with my very own eyes was a surreal experience. It was very emotional for me.

 

It is a big house with a big garden. But you can’t see inside of it because it is surrounded by tall walls. Every wall is protected by electric fences, so no crazy fan can climb over it and go inside.

But the most important thing for fans is the wall on both sides of the main entrance. You can see acrylic dashboards completely written with messages to Freddie by fans from all over the world.
It was late at night, so we left the place without writing any message at the wall (because I didn’t have an appropriate pen), but the next day we would start our “Queen” tour at the same place, write a loving message, and then move on to different London places.

 

 

failed attempt 1

failed attempt 1

failed attempt 2

failed attempt 2

 

So as planned, we woke up very early the next morning and started our “Queen” tour at Freddie’s house again. It looked beautiful in daylight, and I wrote a message in Spanish for the greatest rock singer ever. I took a big look at the walls, house, and street. This was truly something I wanted to keep forever in my memory. So finally, another dream come true.

But I didn’t want that to be my final visit to Freddie’s house, so the very next day before leaving our hotel and heading to our next adventure on the Isle of Wight, I woke up at 6:30, got my things ready, and at 7am, started walking (this time by myself), heading to Garden Lodge. It was a beautiful day, the sun was already shining, and I felt good.

I walked very slowly down our main Street, and after ten minutes, I arrived at the street of the Garden Lodge. I grabbed my tablet and started making a video, walking all the way from the beginning of the street until Freddie’s home. Just to help me preserve this memory.

The street is called Logan’s Place and is a very nice, small residential Street, with many houses and apartments. As you can see on the video, there were very few people on the street then, because it was too early. It was all quiet, and I could only hear the birds singing and the cars passing on other nearby streets. One of my concerns was not to upset the people living there, so I tried to walk slowly and not make much noise.

 

Then finally I arrived at Garden Lodge (2:22 on the video above) and its brick walls. I started touching it as I was walking, just so hopefully, I could keep the feeling in my brain.
Then I got to the acrylic dashboards and there, in the middle, I could see, once again and for the last time, the iconic green door: the main entrance, with the big words “Garden Lodge”.
doorI could see flowers that someone put there the day before (probably another emotional fan like me). No people around, no other fans. I had this amazing view just to myself and I was already getting emotional. I looked again at my message in Spanish that I wrote the day
before, and I couldn’t believe my eyes… once again.

I took pictures, and put in them a Chilean flag I had for a while, just to remind myself how far I traveled, and how long I waited for this very moment. I walked all the way to the end of the brick walls, and tried to make a mental image of every possible corner of that place.
With a tear in my eye, I stared across the street, feeling calmer, and with respect, said a little prayer at this place that was like a temple for me.

I took some more pictures, some moresmall videos, and then said goodbye to Freddie’s Garden Lodge, praying to God and Freddie to help me a little on my musical career.

 

Then I walked away, looking constantly back behind me, as I was leaving the beautiful Logan’s Place Street, and I promised myself that someday, I would return when I would be in another step of my life.
so I pledge than in my life too, The Show Must Go On

 

 

my message to Freddie

my message to Freddie

Cherry Tree?

Cherry Tree?

My Life In Los Angeles. Where The Magic Happens

What do you know?  I’m already in L.A., and now I can walk pretty much as locals do.  And that is a big deal for me!  No Customs making me feel like a criminal.

I met my friend and I became the happiest person on earth.  She took me to have pancakes for breakfast, a nap, and later dinner with friends and family.

I was overwhelmed and amazed walking on the streets and seeing the English signs, cars, and buildings.  Everything was good and amazing now.

 

Liberace StarThat night after dinner, we went to the Hollywood Walk Of Fame and I got to see and take pictures with many “stars”, including Liberace and Queen.  I got to see the TCL Chinese Theater, the Dolby Theater, and the handprints of many movie stars.  You can’t get closer to movie history than that!  I never imagined it was such a big street, with the stars on the ground and lots of “headshops” besides the theaters!  We walked like 40 minutes to find the Queen star, and while walking, I was thinking that this is a really well done place to attract tourists:  lots of lights, street musicians, and restaurants.  And you can tell that is a very popular tourist spot.  There, you can hear many languages at the same time, and many people doing exactly what I was doing, and being equally amazed.

 

 

 hollywood
 hollywood 2

IMG_6548

The next day, we went to another important Hollywood place:  Universal Studios.

This one was a real treat!  My friend invited me to the “VIP Experience“, where you can walk around the sets instead of just passing through.  I was wishing to see the set of my favorite movie of all time:  Back To The Future.  The clock tower from the movie still exists and has been used for many other movies.  So, it’s been changed over the years, but the core is still there.  Seeing that was really a dream come true — really felt for me that I was in the middle of Hill Valley!!  I also got to see the “Lyon Estates” sign that was used in the movies. So much fun! We also came across the “Jaws” film set, the Norman Bates house from “Psycho”, and the “War of the Worlds” set, including a whole crashed airplane and a destroyed neighborhood.

After that, we got to cut the lines for all the rides, so we went to “The Simpsons”, “Fast and Furious”, “Shrek 4D” ,”The Minions” and “Jurassic Park”.  The rides are impressive; all of them are a combination of “eye candy” sequences, animations, and mechanical movements that makes you really feel like you are inside of a movie.  I remember thinking: this is it!  There’s nothing better than this; this is the soul and inspiration for all the fun parks in the world!

IMG_6552Later, we were able to walk through the Harry Potter town, which is as impressive as it can get.  I got a “Butter Beer” and some memorabilia for my people in Chile.  There’s a replica of the Hogwarts School,  the magic wand stores, the candy shops, and pretty much everything you can see in the movies.  All I could do was open my eyes as big as I could, and hope that all the memories from that day, stay in my head forever.

And finally, to finish the day, we got to see the famous “Waterworld” show from the not-so-great movie.  The live show was amazingly well made, and the actors were very funny.  Luckily, we didn’t have to drink our own piss while there! (that’s a Waterworld joke by the way 😀 )

So now I can´t believe it!!!  I am right this minute on my way to the airport in L.A. to fly to England for the start of my next adventure!!!!