Artur Rojek did a number of
articles for "XL", and this is one of them! It describes a trip to the States.
Once again, it was translated by the lovely Justyna, who had quite an adventure
putting Artur's words into English for us for this article.
|"XL" Magazine, June 2002
"A for America"
|When you read in the
papers, that Myslovitz had was on a tour in the U.S.A., I’m sure many of you are
impressed. You think we’re going there to conquer America?! You couldn’t be more
mistaken. I don’t know what it looks like with the other bands (I can only
presume), but we do the common chałtura (??? No idea how to call that in
English. "Chałtura" is a gig, or a performance usually done for money only.
Often in a way it strips an artist of his artistic dignity).
Till now we’ve played in
New York – at least that’s the official version. In fact we play in a polish
disco in New Jersey where, beside a few people, no one is interested in our
performance. We play during a break, when most people go for a smoke or
concentrate on chewing their food. Usually we play for about 40 minutes, because
people are getting impatient. They want to dance... This year it was very
similar to the previous ones, only we also went to "conquer" Chicago.
It is our fourth visit at
the other side of the ocean. I love going back there, though – as you know – I’m
in a deadly fear of planes. Well, plus I am an addition to a not so very
ambitious disco party and when I cross the border of the U.S.A., I have to
explain that I’ve come to make a video clip. I love it, because New York is such
an amazing city. It is always worth coming here, if for no other reason than
simply to hear the beating of heart of the world.
Departure. As usually
during the start I bathe in cold sweat. When I rise from the ground into the
air, I totally lose my self-confidence. It lasts for about 15 minutes. After
that it’s pretty alright. I start to forget that I’m ten thousand meters above
the ground. The flight takes less than two hours. In a moment we’ll land in
London. From there we’ll fly further – to NY. I don’t understand why, according
to the statistics, more people are afraid of landing. For me taking off is
without any comparison more frightening. In London we only get to see the
airport of course. Especially, since we’ve got only two hours to spare before
the next flight. Oh, well. It is bigger than Okęcie (airport in Warsaw)...
To New York we travel by
a jumbo jet. It looks really frightening, although everyone around says that
it’s a safe giant. I think it has two floors. Ten people can sit in one row. All
in all about four hundred people on the deck. Amazing – you can really feel safe
on it. The plane literally smoothly floats in the air.
After seven hours we
land. During the luggage-control, when the customs officer finds out that we are
musicians, he thinks that we are members of some famous band which he doesn’t
know. He invites us to his room and shows us films, which he made on the digital
camera, of the bands which he controlled. We can’t believe it! Coldplay! Rolling Stones!
He says that he also controlled Dylan and Peter Green. Then
he offers us some juice, he praises plum vodka and, of course, he films us.
In the airport, waiting
for us, there’s Leszek Świerszcz – the owner of the club in which we play and
the organizer of the concert in New Jersey. He’s in the States since something
like thirty years. During all those years in his club performed probably all
possible Polish bands from Lady Pank (Polish rock band) to Kaliber 44 (hip-hop band... I
We sleep in Wayne in
Kings Inn. Motel, same as in the previous year. It takes only 40 minutes with a
bus to get from here to Manhattan. It is two o’clock in the morning but I feel
that I could go there in this moment. But I have to go to sleep. I fall asleep
immediately. I’m exhausted. Punctually at nine we’re 100% ready. We get on a bus
number 193 and we look enthusiastically around the area as we go. To Manhattan
we get through the Lincoln Tunnel. It is an amazing feeling! Suddenly in front
of me, shoot up tall buildings, which look like living monsters vomiting with
fire. There’s more and more of them. You may get this feeling that in a moment
the whole New York is going to sink in the earth , overcome by its own weight. I
feel there even smaller than I am... We divide in groups. Everyone of us has a
favorite place here. I go together with Przemek near the crossing of Ninth Alley
and St. Mark in the East Side. Here you can find the best shops with records
(Other Music), mix-shops with clothes and old junk. It is here, and nowhere
else, where you can buy records by Carl Stone, Geoff Fariny and
new Low on occasional price. And Jeff Buckley used to live here
In the evening we’ve had
enough. Tomorrow is our second and at the same time last day in NY. I decide to
go somewhere where I haven’t been before. I go to the Battery Park, almost by
the bay, from where you can see Statue of Liberty. Before that I talked Wojtek
Powaga into eating sushi. I love it. Wojtek is scared to death. It seems to him
that the pieces of raw fish come back to life in his stomach...
In the evening we give
the concert. Four years ago, when we landed here for the first time, there were
loads of people in the club. I watched the car park from a window of a nearby
house in which we lived. I was surprised that Myslovitz was so popular here. I
entered the stage very proudly. Unfortunately, before I even got to the
microphone most of the people left the dance floor and went to the other room,
where they could smoke a cigarette in peace and rest before the next part of the
disco. Hmm... It hasn’t changed much since. Oh well, that’s our fate I guess...
In Chicago we’re exactly
at noon. Right from the airport we go to the studio of Polish radio. Everything
is really well organized. We have a nice talk and then just for a moment we go
to our hotel. On the same day we play the concert. Copernicus Centre looks like
a church from the outside and inside it is very much alike a very stylish
theatre. We have great difficulties with loudspeakers. Also during the concert.
All in all, the atmosphere is pretty similar to the one in New Jersey. Only a
few people really came to listen to the music, the rest wanted to drink and have
a ball. One guy even tried to take the odsłuch (not sure what he means even
in Polish... perhaps we could just skip the sentence...) from the stage.
However some of the people are really having fun. We are relieved to finish...
After the concert we meet
two guys from our town. They both live in Chicago since ten years. We arrange a
meeting for the next day to go sightseeing. Chicago surprises me. It is peaceful
and less crowded then New York. It’s location adds some more charm – it is
placed by the turquoise Michigan Lake, from which, on this hot April day, fresh
wind blows. We visit the Sea World in which for the first time in my life I see
dolphins in reality. We spend some time by the lake. We talk, joke, remember the
childhood in our town. Beautiful peaceful day. We end it in our hotel, drinking
Japanese beer. It is a shame, that we’re leaving tomorrow...
On Monday I wake up early
in the morning. We have the airplane at 8pm, co we have still few hours left for
shopping. Guess where we head for? Of course! The crossing of Clark and Belmont
St. is something like East Side in New York. I’ve heard that’s where "High
Fidelity" was filmed. We even pass by a shop named Hi Fidelity Records. We have
little time, so we do the shopping in an express tempo. We spend two hours in a
shop Urban Outfitters which, you have to visit some time.
We get back two hours
before the flight cause we still have to pack, say goodbye to friends and start
heading for the airport. That’s all. Beautiful trip which unfortunately has to
end. I have to admit that I would like to go back here once more. But don’t let
yourself be misled, that it’s to conquer America.