Over a year after trip 1, I am now moving out of Oxford on the 28th June 2013. Before I settle somewhere new I’ll go travelling round Europe for a little while.
Sadly, this will not be by bike but by car. I will be travelling with some very close friends and a musical instruments. These friends and I form a band called bambinodelloro.com. Along the way we hope to play as much as we can and collaborate with musician we meet on the road. True to the record and ride spirit we will try and seek out interesting acoustic spaces. Equally, I will be recording other artists on the way and hope to hear from you about ideas of whom I should record and where I should go.
Although not a proper Record and Ride trip and more like a Record and Drive trip I though this little adventure was worth sharing and hope to se you on the road!
This time I bring to you good news! Doppler is back!
Last night, I was out at the pub and a conversation I was having led me to mention that my bike had been stolen. A few seconds later, I received a call from a friend saying ‘don’t get excited but I might have found your bike!‘. I got excited. I described Doppler in every single detail and, as soon as I finished, she said ‘I’ve found your bike!!‘. I hurried in to town to meet her. I found her in the very center of Oxford standing next to good old Doppler! Whoever stole him left him unlocked, so I easily regained my favourite compagnon and left the thief a note. It’s strange as I truly felt that Doppler hadn’t gone for ever and I’m so glad that he hadn’t!
This whole story taught me a good lesson that I probably should have learnt a long time ago: your bike is never safe! not even hidden behind a big green car in your drive way!
Also, all the very positive reactions following the announcement of the theft have encouraged me to keep this website a bit more alive! I’ll let you know about all the projects that have stemmed from the trip and the planning of future ones. In the meantime I would like thank you all for keeping an eye out for Doppler and particularly thank you to ‘Broken Spokes‘ for sharing the news!
I haven’t posted on here for quite a while now. All is well with me and all was well with Doppler up until yesterday.
On Monday 4th March, after a lovely sunny day busking in the streets of Oxford I went to bed exhausted. Halfway through the night, I was woken up by some shuffling noise coming from outside. I open my window and looked around for a good 5 minutes. I didn’t see anything unusual so went back to bed. Yesterday, as I went out to climb onto Doppler and pedal to the other side of Oxford, I realised he had gone. I stood there baffled. I couldn’t believe he’d been stolen. I walked up to town checking every spot I might have mindlessly left him, hoping I’d gone to a shop and completely forgotten I’d cycled there. Doppler wasn’t there and, after going through my memories, was certain I’d left him by my house.
However, I don’t want to accept that Doppler is gone for ever. So I would like to ask you guys to keep yours eyes open for a sexy looking adventurous friend!
I don’t know his make or the dimensions (he’s always been Doppler to me) but he is metallic orange, the handlebars have yellow tape wound around them and underneath they’re wound with multicolored electric tape, the saddle is white and bears the scars of the Zadar episode (someone lacerated it in Croatia), the frame has a washed out record-and-ride sticker as well as stickers from a bike workshop in Krakow and a ribbon from a fundraising cycle-ride in Warsaw, the pedal axle is completely rusted and a little bit wobbly, it has unusually mounted front and back paniers, the rear panier is held together by plastic and metal zip-ties, the rear mud gard is zip-tied to the rear panier and has a Motherfolkers sticker on it and, finally, there is bell attached to the left half of the handlebars with a picture of an elephant which belonged to my father.
Finally, here is the last recording from the cycling adventure – the first and last recordings being from Oxford, recorded nearly seven months apart.
Before introducing the last artist, I would like say a big THANK YOU to all of you who have participated in this adventure by performing, hosting me, sponsoring or supporting me, giving me contacts and following the trip. However cliché this may sound: I couldn’t have done this without you! Thank you!
There are many other similar projects out there that also need help and I believe it is important to support them. As they remind us of what there is outside our daily life and remind us of how beautiful and rich the world around us is. Some friends of mine are about to embark on a year long kayak adventure across the northern section of the Mediterranean coast. The project is called Mare Nostrum and is “a scientific project, an educational project, as well as a cultural one, which is dedicated to the Mediterranean Sea and its children”. For more information please go to there facebook page.
Back to the recordings – It took me sometime after I returned home to settle back into a non-nomadic life. Thus, it wasn’t till a month later that I got round to record the last artist. I have known Luke Keegan for quite sometime now and he seemed like the obvious person to call upon to close this series of recordings. He came round to my place and we tried to record outside. However, England being England we only had time to record two songs before we were forced back inside by the weather. We recorded one last song in the front room which is cluttered with musical instruments. I believe two of the songs he performed were new ones that aren’t on his recently released album ‘Conker & The Wheel’. Voilà. Thank you for listening.
That’s it the fringe is finished and I, just like many others, am enjoying the post-festival comedown, the adrenaline drop, the slight sadness yet relief I’m out of that frenzy and budget abyss. Unfortunately, I have come out the other side with no recordings to share with you… It’s not that I didn’t try, it’s that everyone is so busy promoting and performing their show then running around from show to show to party to party. Result no one has time to sit down to record a few tunes. It was crazier than expected and was so in different ways than I expected – I’ll know better next time!
Anyways, Doppler still hasn’t arrived. Our separation has been disastrous to my moral. There was a confusion in the courier service and should have arrive two weeks ago! Hopefully, it’ll arrive tomorrow between 9am and 5pm. If all goes well tomorrow, I shall empty the Deck Theatre Company fringe apartment and sit outside till Doppler arrives. Put it back together and set of into the beautiful Scottish hills heading for Newcastle. If it doesn’t go well, then I’m stuck.
I have another 2 weeks of travelling then it’ll be back to Oxford! Maybe I’ll see you on the road and maybe you can share the project.
The last cycling stop after Dubrovnik was Bar in Montenegro. I left late in the afternoon of the 14th July, climbed all the way back up to the road going to Montenegro and got a puncture… The hole was big! and I have no idea what caused it! I changed the inner tube in the burning sun and set off into some of the most beautiful scenery. For the first time since the beginning of the trip, I decided to stop set up my camera and get a video of me cycling. So here is the only proof that I have showing that I have been doing what I’ve been doing:
I got very excited when after over 3 months of cycling I crossed more than 3 other traveling cyclist. Unfortunately, they where all going in the opposite direction. At some point, I briefly caught up with a cyclist from London who was heading for Istambul but, sadly, our routes quickly parted when I decided to cycle all round the bay of Kotor and he to cut across with a ferry. If you ever go cycling there, don’t believe what people say, it is a long cycle round but the view is stunning and worth every single extra Km.
Finally, I got to Bar and booked a ticket to its Italian adriatic brother who grew an extra i: Bari. I left the next day and had a tumultuous ride across the sea and arrived early the next morning. That was it. After 5-6 years of absence, I was back in my mother’s home city and the cycle ride south was over! My aunt met me at the port to lead me to her house and for the next five days I was treated like a king! Such a huge contrast with the homeless cycling life I had been living most days since the beginning of the trip.
On one of those days, my cousin and I had a recording marathon. After going to a beautiful beach somewhere south of Bari, we got home picked up all the recording equipment and went to meet some of his friends who were rehearsing in a sort of little storage both in what seemed the middle of nowhere. Their both was one a dozen of other storage boths converted to rehearsal rooms. Each band rented out their own personal space for rehearsing and could contribute to the musical mess that you can hear outside. The band was called Rainvan and we recorded in the building heat of a none air conditioned room! The band is Daniele Mauro on acoustic guitar, Andrea Damiani on electric drums and Marco Annoscia on piano and synths. For more about them and their music: https://www.facebook.com/TheRainVan or http://soundcloud.com/RainVan
As soon as we finished with Rainvan, we hoped into the car all sweaty and drove to the other side of Bari where some other of my cousin’s friends had an outdoor concert. We got there with 10mins to set up. So I pulled everything out of the bag as fast I could, got everything ready and sound-checked as they were performing the first two songs. The band is called Orecchiabili and they are an Italian rockabilly band and we had a good time watching and listening to them. Unfortunately, the recording does not render the guitarist wondering away to sit on benches or going into the bar all whilst soloing. This photo will have to do:
And here are the recordings with Alessio Virno on guitar and vocals, Joe Leali on double bass and vocals and, Marco Nimi on drums:
That’s it for my brief episode in Italy. Next recordings from Israel will be up soon!
The southern episode began in Ljubljana. After a couple of days celebrating my mothers birthday and an extra night in a hotel watching the Italian spectacular defeat with a friendly receptionist, I set out for Rijeka. It took me two days of beautiful Slovenian country side, an unexpected visit to huge caves – home of an underground river – and windy rocky roads to get to the main Croatian port. I’d been warned it wasn’t a nice place and indeed it wasn’t! Thus, I decided to set out down the coast the same day I arrived.
Before leaving, I met another traveller from Slovakia who’d been busking around the continent with two guitars and a bag. He was waiting for a train to Zagreb when I approached him. I told him about the project and we agreed to record whilst he was busking. He played a mutlitude of songs each one unexpectedly merging into each other. Here are a few snippets from his set:
That same evening I made it to Crikvenica where, for the first time since the beginning of the trip, I booked in to a camping site. I didn’t stay long as I left early in the morning to do as much cycling as I could before the heat became too unbearable. When it did, I stopped for some food and a swim. Stupidly, I set out again much too early only to find that what lied ahead of me was non-stop uphill… I thought I was going to loose my mind! Just before I reached the top, I started having small hallucinations like wandering/worrying wether or not I had my hat on whilst touching it.
Luckily, after a blissful race downhill I found a beautiful small fishing town with a single one way road to rest my bones. Again, I got up early next morning and headed down towards Zadar. Lesson learnt, I was more patient during my afternoon break, thus, I was able to properly enjoy the second half of the ride. In fact, it was so pleasurable that I kept on going all the way to Zadar – originally I wasn’t expecting to get there until the next day.
When I got to Zadar, I decided to book myself into a hostel as I wanted some confort to finish some freelance work. It is at the bottom of this hostel situated on the top floor of a five story apartment that Doppler was vandelised… Anyways, the stay was very nice. I met a Polish traveller who has just set out to travel round the world and write about it: http://guideless.tv/. Instead of cycling, he’s hitch-hiking his way round. It was fun meeting again a couple of times further on down the coast when his hitch-hiking had not been successful…
Although I had no one to record in Zadar, I did have something to record: a water organ. I recorded it on my last day in Zadar at 5.30am before all the other tourist arrive to chat over a soothing background of experimental organ playing. I dedicate this recording to Astrid Willmote who first told me about this strange installation.