August 21

I originally thought that indulging in my record-playing experience just before going to bed was a good idea, but it’s not. Yesterday I fell asleep before I even got a chance to press play. I was so tired. And a bit tipsy, too. Just after work, I went back home to have a Skype chat with a recruiter that is trying to help me find a job in Paris (yes, now I want to move to France. Blame my Summer holidays for it) and then headed to a CouchSurfing meeting that takes place every Tuesday here in Copenhagen. It’s an informal gathering in which travellers and locals mingle, drink beers, make friends, let everyone know they’re looking for a room or flat to rent (just as everyone else in Copenhagen) and share stories of travelling around the world.

We’re a quirky bunch; from engineers to dancers, from barely legal youngsters to well-seasoned elders, there’s all sorts of people coming together every week to have a drink and a laugh. The first meeting I attended to, three months ago or so, was slightly awkward but since then many of us have been showing up on a regular basis and now the meetings are mostly packed with familiar faces. Not that I remember all their names, or what they do for a living, but I don’t see them as strangers anymore and that’s great. Yesterday I met a really nice girl from Poland, a guy from Sweden and another bloke from Brazil that seemed just like the kind of people I would enjoy to hang out with. Of course, I might be wrong and they could actually end up being complete arseholes but I’m going to try to stay in touch and find out. I sort of liked them.

I also met a guy from the US, who just arrived to Copenhagen a few days ago. He’s like a skinnier, younger, red-haired, slightly shorter version of Rick Rubin with with dreadlocks, who was born in Syracuse but that until last week resided in California, mainly because weed is legal there. This guy is one of those people who would make you feel at ease right away; he’s eloquent, calm, well-mannered, and has a certain aura that makes it almost impossible not to talk to him.  He sat down next to me, beer in hand, and after going through the mandatory CouchSurfing questions (where are you from? do you live here? how are you liking it?) we started a conversation I wish I had been able to record. I must wear a wire next time, just in case I come across some equally interesting character.

Turns out that in 2005, this fella took part in a hardcore protest against the US Government. Being a Government employee himself, his outcry was not very well received and, after a heated argument, the Police kicked the shit out of him in his University campus and threw him in prison. They presented various charges against him, which he fought in Court and won. With no strong evidence to convict him, the Police released him and sent him home but he soon found out he actually had no home to go to; his house, with all his possessions, had been burnt down while he was in jail. Retaliation? So it appears. A while later, as he was cruising in his car one evening, he was stopped by an undercover patrol. It was the FBI. Shit went down again so tired of it all, he decided to leave the country for good. He booked a flight to Europe but was stopped in British Columbia (where the plane had to make a stopover) because he appeared red flagged as a “Domestic Terrorist.”  He was sent back to the US and on top of that, the airline lost his luggage. The latter turned out to be a good thing as he was actually able to make a claim for compensation and get some money he then used to buy a new air ticket. He eventually managed to leave the country and is now in Copenhagen, where he hopefully will find a Danish wife, have kids, go for a walk every morning and live happily ever after.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: the guy is full of bullshit. He has to be, there are many holes in that story. Besides, what the hell could he have possibly said to unleash such a ravenous reprisal, FBI agents included and all? Well, apparently, you wouldn’t need to say much. As Donna Anderson explains here, The Feds can spin off these lesser-known cases and charge people of “Domestic Terrorism” just because they can. The same way UK authorities can go after a journalist’s partner and destroy hard drives without giving a shit about press freedom, civil rights or privacy. They have power and they use it, whether you like it or not. So yes, maybe this guy was full of bullshit and made up this whole story after smoking one big fat joint in Christiania, but in the light of recent events, he might as well could had been telling the truth. The world is fucking insane, after all.

Ok, now a quick update on that record-playing ritual I talked about. Yesterday I couldn’t deliver but on Monday night I listened to a trippy live version of Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side Of The Moon”, recorded at The Empire Pool, in Wembley, back in 1974. I like to listen to Pink Floyd when I’m about to sleep. I actually listened to this very same album on my LND-CPH flight last month, just because it gets me in the mood for dozing off. Not that I find it boring or anything, I just like to listen to it with my eyes closed, lying still, and that normally happens when I’m about to hit the sack. Give it a try next time you’re in bed, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

I’m off for a drink with my friend Carlos, a Venezuelan dude I met here in Copenhagen. If I come back home early and not too drunk, I’ll play Jimi Hendrix’s “Electric Ladyland”. I think I’ve never listened to it carefully before…

[ Listened to: Jimi Hendrix – Electric Ladyland ]

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