October 11, 2010

Ukulele Border Patrol

"I wouldn't give you two cents for all your fancy rules if behind them they didn't have a little bit of plain ordinary every day kindness and a little bit of lookin' out for the other fella too."
-Mr. Smith (Goes To Washington)

The Wukulele Festival (Ukulele Festival of Worthing) was this weekend and i was supposed to play there but...i never made it. It's a LONG story which i'll try to spare you but it began when the border patrol woman asked, "where are you going and why" and we told them, "We're going to play at a ukulele festival." Then looking at my passport she said, 'hmm, your American'... (this is where the problem started) "Pull over."

Anway, after fingerprinting, isolation room and interrogation... I was escorted from the terminal by the french police. Apparently, Illegal ukulele playing without a work permit is a one big fucking deal (possibly resulting in a 10,000 pound fine i was told) and strictly dealt with by the border patrol. Marko put me on a train in Belgium towards Rotterdam and then he went back to the Ferry and traveled to Worthing where he could still conduct the workshops and market even though our performance of course was cancelled. After a standing-room-only ride on the train from Antwerp i finally reached Rotterdam a bit stunned. I could say a lot about this incident but i'll keep it short. What i will say is that it was way over the top, unnecessary and a bit disturbing.

But, instead of dwelling on it... (I like to walk light in my shoes instead of trudging on their soles like one is apt to do after such a thing, i try to avoid that) Saturday morning, as a sort of anti venom, i watched two classic Frank Capra movies. And so i will conclude with these two amazing scenes...
from 'Mr. Smith Goes To Washington'

from 'Meet John Doe'


Anonymous said...

Oh dear! That's a bummerrrr :( Hugs from Dublin Nora xx

Shelley Rickey said...

It was a big bummer!
Hey, i saw that you were one of my tattooed ladies....coool!
Hope y'all are doing well.
X, s.

Kittie Howard said...

I fail to see the connection between you being an American and you playing the ukulele. I'm no rocket scientist, but it seems like to me that if there were a problem with permits the organizers in Worthing would have said to get one prior to the event. There's something screwy here. But you were right to walk in light shoes on the high road. There's no other winning in a situation like that.

Shelley Rickey said...

Yes, it was really weird. She flipped out when she saw my American Passport. And she was not going to let me win. I'm thinking maybe her ex husband was American or something. She was shouting at me like a maniac. It was a very disturbing experience. I'm applying for a dutch passport next week.