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Old 04-14-01, 11:50 PM   #21
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This is my first reply, so please be as gentle as possible (dropped soap).
Thank you butterfly man. Oops no caps.
I have been performing at renaissance faires since '93. At a small mostly locally attended fair in Michigan, we were coming to the end of the fair for the year which at the time was a whole two weekends. I was really starving to end my shows for the year with something odd and over the top enough so I could really let loose myself.
well, at this fair, they had a falconer's exhibit. Hawks and falcons eat mice.
In a moment of "what the hell", I figured it would be fun. It was sort of.
I get into the show and I'm going along knowing that I'm waiting for when it kind of feels right.
I see the woman in charge of the birds standing off stage near her birds waiting for our cue.
Then I announce that I'm going to try something different.
These were very small mice. not new yorkers.
maybe an inch and a half to two inches long with the tails.
Tails. Never juggled anything with something dangling from it.
I go over, she hands me the three mice.
I get silent.
I wish I had paid a little more attention to the looks on the faces of the crowd.
I begin the first couple of tosses and it happens. I catch the tail of one clumsily and cant recover to avoid the drop.
It thuds on the plyboard stage. Drop line.
I start singing "three blind mice" and while I thought it was funny they start cringing.
I finish up with the mice realize now while looking at the crowd that this was NOT funny to them. I morphed from funny juggler to freak right there.
I thanked the audience after finishing with a torch juggle finale then went for the hat line. I cant think of the right words for how small it was.
Even for a ren faire of this size, even for all the factors, it was almost not there.
It then got around (minutes later) to one of the directors of the fair what I juggled "on stage". After he gave me a few words of disbelief in my stunt, we both kind of shook our heads in mutual agreement that I wouldn't try it again.
I actually felt a very strong sense of guilt for juggling the mice. Kind of a disrespect thing I think.
A good friend of mine had a sign in his room
that said "BE STRONG, BE WRONG."
I'm glad I dared.
humbly young,
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Old 04-15-01, 10:38 PM   #22
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"I don't want to live in fear",
-Jango Edwards
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Old 04-19-01, 01:12 PM   #23
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The 'juggling mice' story reminded me of something that I happened to me last year.

I use live rats in my show. Rats are a great pet - I'm hooked on them. I could go on for at least six more sentences, but I'll spare you. Suffice to say that as a (sometimes) geek magician, my rats suffer a number of indignaties for my show (but they are never, never hurt. Stuffed in my mouth, sure, but not hurt).

And no, this is not going to be a rant about cruelty to animals on stage. In fact, just the opposite.

I was working the MI renfest, which Don Juan and Miguel (Jose and Doug) perform at. Jose (which is Spanish, in case you didn't get that...where's the accent key on this keyboard?) is a great whip-cracker; he does a lot of precision work on stage. For their last show on the last day last year, he and I did the following routine:

He's on stage, warming up with simple whip stuff. I wander onto stage, with my rat on my shoulder. I ask him if he's any good, really - is he good enough to hit a moving target? He says he is.

So I challenge him - I say I'll throw the rat in the air, and he has to try to whip off the tail. The audience gasps.

But mostly, the think I'm joking. I toss the rat to myself a few times, so Jose can get the range. The audience is starting to get upset. I say, "It's just the tail! They grow back!"

The audience is starting to freak. I say, "C'mon - it's like, a $10 rat!". I turn to Jose and say I'm ready. I give the old one, two, three...I can hear things like, "No, don't!" and "Stop" from the audience. On the backswing on three, I ditch the rat in the web in the folds of my vest, snatch the fake rat I've made (out of rabbit's fur), and fling it in the air. Jose smacks it (I said he was good) first shot, and rabbit's fur goes everywhere.

The audience is very upset, until they look at me and see the rat sitting calmly on my shoulder. They was no clapping, just an ugly silence. I left the stage, Jose started the show.

Now, I've done everything a geek can do, just about - nailed a spike into my nose, lit my tongue on fire, smashed a concrete block on my stomach (and on the stomach of my girlfriend), and no-one's said a word. But you try to harm just one rat....

But still, juggler@large, I understand the juggling mice thing. It's like groucho Marx used to say, "These young comics come in and things it's funny to dress a guy up as a old woman in a wheelchair and push her downhill. They don't know anything. The pros know that for it to be funny, you have to use a real old woman."

[This message has been edited by Zoltan (edited 04-19-2001).]

[This message has been edited by Zoltan (edited 04-19-2001).]
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Old 04-25-01, 11:20 PM   #24
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My very first job (when i was 15) was cleaning out rat & rabbit cages in my father's animal laboratory. I can grab up to twelve of them (rats that is) before they can escape one cage ... I just called Vince Bruce and left a message ... so who books that gig?
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Old 04-26-01, 08:51 AM   #25
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A long time ago in a place far..far away
I was a red nose clown called vernon vortex.
I was working on a wharf and at the start of my show I saw quite a large fish floating in the water.
I thought it would be a neat idea if I got it out and tryed to resusitate it as a crowd-builder.
I noticed as I attemped to simulate mouth to mouth that it was a bit off and when I interlocked my fingers and gave it a chest massage my hands went right through it.
I had rotting fish paste all over my hands (and the audience were constructing a huge butterfly net for no apparent reason.)
I then did juggly bollocks and shot a squid using half a speargun quite some distance.
I will never improvise with fish again.

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Old 05-09-01, 09:36 AM   #26
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Perhaps this should be in "Announcements" or "For Love Or Money".
The latter first. It appears that neither love nor money means enough any more. The spirit mat be strong but the body ......
The "Announcement" is, I have retired.

It has been a shitful week. I have some great invitations sitting on my desk, chances to work with friends that I haven't seen for years and I can no longer do it.

Bev and Ulla, both founding members, are going to keep working as Chalk Circle but my busking days are over.

I wanted to write about what busking means to me.
I'm an artist, as in I draw pictures, I was completely broke and discovered the fact that if you can do something beautiful in public, people will support you. That was 18 years ago.
Since then, I've met and worked with Finkel, Christoff, Nelson, Bradley (both of you), Raoul, Jodi, Roth, Lucky (Greg McLaren, if you ever wanted to know), Gnannyarra, and Forrest.
I've stunned a packed house at "Midnight Madness" with Pieter Post and seen Shelley"s "Dolphin" (Wow! and I mean it), taught Kimpton to ride a 6ft unicycle and Larry to juggle 9 balls (can't do either myself). Had prawns and oysters with Flying Bob and worked for Steve Scott.
Tim Tyler, the Dutchmen, Wayne Condo, Benny Seidel and Neil Thomas were special influences and Kate the Great, Lynnette Maurice, Kim, Nanni, the Friends of Moira and Petra Massey, reminded me that it wasn't just a boy's club. I've lost money to Nick and bluffed Charlotte at poker. I've rescued Gazzo from the spiders and spent the night in jail with Andrew Elliot.

At one stage I thought I was not only the best but the only person doing what I did. Then came Bev Isaac, Ulla Taylor, Jenny McCracken, Jamieson, Gary Palmer and that unknown guy called Dave in Toronto. Wow.

Point is that my decision to go busking was probably the best of my life. Did I mention Tony Campbell, Dave Sheridan, Hilby, Waldo, Woody, Kristy, Mr Lu, Lovett, Furry Eggs, Green Fools, Zip and Zapp, Charlie Brown, O.J. Anderson, Women in Sensible Shoes, Limpopo, Lenny Henry and dozens of others.

Busking has taken me around the world at least 6 times and I cannot even begin to tell you what I've learned.

Visual Art is an infinite field and I'm going to hang around at home and explore it. Maybe I'll get a lemon or orange tree for the back yard. Part of this is that my Dad has Alzheimer's and I have become father to the child my father has become.

Thanks to every-one, it has been a dream come true, but it's time to give it away.

PS Did I mention Pam, Trotter, Rosetti (I swear , I didn't break his arm, it was an accident), Micheal(s), Karen, Nanni, Dianna, Glen, there are more but I'll be here all night.

I really can't believe I said "No" to Edmonton, Nelson, Windsor and Waterloo.

Thanks again, I will see you around the traps sometime but I won't be in the program.

Love Peter.

[This message has been edited by Peter Voice (edited 05-10-2001).]
Every-one should watch their drawers!
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Old 10-09-02, 07:22 PM   #27
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I once did a college date in Yuma, AZ., where an uniformed chauffeur met me at the airport and drove me in a stretch limo to a 5 star hotel.

I was a bit confused, because I had done this same gig the year before and remembered being picked up by a student in a rusted out ‘63 Valiant station wagon and taken to a Motel 6.

At the registration desk, I asked how much the room would cost and was informed that it was “complimentary” (much to my relief).

When I opened the door, I was amazed to find I had a jacuzzi, a full bar and two televisions in my adjoining suites.

The Motel 6, where I stayed the year before, did have a TV, but to get the remote control, you had to put a $25 deposit down.

As I was putting my things away, the local television station called my room to set up an appointment for an interview the following day.

I thought to myself, "Wow, I really must have done well the last time I was here!" I raided the bar and jumped in the jacuzzi.

The next day, just before the show, the TV station shows up to interview me.

During the course of the conversation, the TV guy says to me how much he enjoyed my “football routine”. I was not quite sure what he was talking about, but I thanked him anyway.

So he is asking question after question and the interview is going great. Then, I inadvertently take my hat off, for a second, to wipe my brow.

His jaw drops when he sees the tattoo. He stops talking, and in a quizzical voice asks, "You're not Bob Nelson, are you?”

In a flash, I figure the whole thing out.

I answer honestly, "Well, my name is Robert Nelson, but I'm known as “The Butterfly Man”. I think you might be mistaking me for the comic Bob Nelson.”(who had been in various movies and HBO Specials)

Nothing more was said ... he packed up his gear and left silently with the film crew.

I did my show and checked out of the hotel the following morning.

I was taken back to the airport by the guy from the college, who had arranged the limo and the room. We drove in silence.

I later found out that he had to pay for his mistake out of his own pocket.

To err is human, a jacuzzi divine.
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Old 10-10-02, 07:58 AM   #28
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As my torch tumbled down in slow motion the sound of my shame was like stones shedding tears.
I was long on desire, my heart was on fire to prove myself wise beyond years.
The red in my cheeks had increased through my weeks in the sleek streets of Coconut Grove.
Where the kids in their cars cruising nightclubs and bars scoffed and rolled their cold eyes as they drove.
The torch tumbled and crashed as my ego was smashed and it passed like a perfect straight shot
to the mouth of my recently purchased and quite clearly cherished earthenware blue pot.
Whose new job was containing my fuel: it was raining misfortune, the fire sure grew.
And the eyes of the folks said that, more than my jokes, here was something quite interesting: new.
For far better this fire by far than forbearing far more of the fast failing show.
It was sweet for them, neat that this feat in the street would complete with a heat treat, and glow.
Their newfound life and wonder underlined my young thundering
sundered confronting dumb blunder.
I was tongue-bunged and fucked and, my luck, I could not find a table or chair to crawl under.


[ 10-11-2002: Message edited by: Mr.Taxi Trix ]</p>
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Old 10-10-02, 08:28 AM   #29
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You should have been in Mildura the day "Tim Tim" set fire to his head.
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Old 12-17-05, 02:02 AM   #30
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Default True story

We use sanitary pads in our masks to absorb the sweat. They're replaceable and hygenic, stops performers from getting rashes etc etc etc. (good tip for mask performers)

We were at Darling Harbour circa 1992, never had permission and had an unusually large audeince, six deep all around.

The show was the best show we had ever done and they were primed to give. Everything went perfectly and we said our hat line, one simple line, right at the end of the show.

People we're just beginning to surge forward and I'm thinking sheeshka, we're really gonna make a heap. A tough looking gay lady in her fourties perhaps, was the first to step forward. She drops a twenty dollar note in the hat. My mind is going chinka chinka.....

Richard in order to thank her, takes a deep bow, mask in hand. Low and behold a sanitary napkin falls out into the middle of the ring at this ladies feet.

Well anyone would have thought we'd just nuked a kindergarten. She started screaming hysterically at us, "How dare you...blah blah blah.." Richard tries to explain that they're hygenic etc.....she has none of it and contiues screaming. And I mean screaming, stoops down and grabs her twenty. I was terrified of her and trying to dodge spittle, and the crowd just stood back and watched as she stomped all over our hat calling us child molesters and perverts.

End result. Nada in the hat (and a fucked hat) Security comes ...Stretch Mk is escorted from Darling Harbour.

To days later I walk into a super market grab five packets of sanitary napkins and walk up to the counter. I'm half way through paying it when I hear this screaming banshee. "I thought so, you do it on purpose. Why else would you need all the muff slings." Off she goes, "PERVERT blah blah blah. Security guard comes, cops come. Dykes friend arrives, dyke faints, ambulance comes.

Two hours at the police station, explaining what the fuss was about I walk out thinking thank the Lord that's over. Reach into my jacket, no wallet. dropped somewhere. in the bunfight. Lost my credit cards, a couple of hundred, drivers licence etc etc.

Man if I ever see her again, I am gonna, well I don't know what I'm gonna, but I am gonna something.
Cha cha cha
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Old 12-17-05, 02:12 AM   #31
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Default Funny

BTW Martin Ewen, that is the funniest cartoonie I've seen for a long time...thx.
Cha cha cha
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Old 03-09-06, 03:30 PM   #32
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About 5 years ago I was performing at The Barton Fair. Barton is a small area of Gloucester, but during the civil war, the city walls were built and Barton was left outside.

Since then the people of Barton elect their own mock Mayor every year and march into the city to meet the real Mayor, who apologetically acknowledges their own mayor. Its a fun tradition.

On this year I had Nigel the Clown and Richard O'Brien with me, I'm on stilts and sat on a wall during the formalities. The real Mayor has started his speech, and a rather frail dignitary collapses at the back of the stage.

The proceedings are halted and ambulance called and a first aider is looking extremely worried.

Noticing the horror on the faces of everybody onstage I tell everyone to follow me.

Myself, Nicola, Richard O'Brien (of Rocky Horror fame) and a few other bright people form a visual line of entertainment between the crowd with children and the people on stage who have formed a visual barrier to preserve the dinitary of a seriously ill old man.

We are bantering. Richard O'Brien is quick to realise why we are there and we are performing silly tricks and stock stuff to the kids, while their parents peer anxiously around us to get a clue as to how the poor guy is. The ambulance arrives.

Nigel the Clown, who hitherto thought I was performing for fun hadn't wanted to interfere with what I was doing, but suddenly he realises what's up and comes and joins in.

Nigel addresses the audience at one point and I glance back to see some furious first aid on the chest and mouth being administered by paramedics...

Richard O'Brian is putting on a brave face and on stage is Nicholas Parsons (famous British Radio and TV presenter) dressed in a pink pin striped suit. In the fashion of his famous show "Just a Minute" I quip: "You have one minute on the subject of why you turned up in your pyjamas, starting from now." Despite this being a really crude and obvious jest, he laughs - really laughs and the audience laugh with him. He doesn't however attempt it... So I do.

I am never short of words so I ramble on for more than a minute about how Nicholas Parsons is wearing his pyjamas and eventually I run out of breath and say "Is my minute up yet?" I look at him for the answer and Richard O'Brian blows a whistle and says: "Hesitation." The crowd are laughing vaguely in the background but I am by now quickly back in the real world and I can see that the poor man is now in the back of an ambulance and they are still fighting furiously with him for his life...

...this brings back horrible memories of the one time in my life when I had to perform a resucitation on the streets of Salisbury barely yards from the Hospital Infirmary. We still had to wait ages for an ambulance. An old lady had passed out.. she had vomited and she had stopped breathing. Her heart was still going. I didn't mind scooping the vomit out of her mouth, and I was preparing to give her mouth to mouth, but as I tipped her head back it clunked on the pavement and made a really horrible noise, I thought I must surely have hurt her further, but as I went to blow air into her mouth she choked and I managed to get her quickly on her side and get her airway clear again. She then was able to inhale, and thankfully started to breathe again.

When the ambulance finally arrived she was breathing clearly and I walked away, convinced I had done more damage than good...

Meanwhile, ten years later I'm in Gloucester again and I've got kids laughing while I do a sky point with my puntley.

Eventually the ambulance decided it was safe to drive off. As the ambulance drove off, Alan Myatt gets us all to applaud the ambulance indicating without actually saying so that a miracle has happened and they have got him breathing again..

Richard O'Brien is the best value for celebrity appearences. He parties, mingles, plays songs on a guitar, and walks around saying "Hi, I'm Richard O'Brien." And if people don't recognise the name he says "I wrote the Rocky Horror Show and presented the Crystal Maze." He does it with such love and willingness to please and of course self mockery.

Nicola got a kiss, I had a dance. I know that the gentleman made a full recovery... I have no idea what happened to the poor lady from 1988.
If an artist can't even dream of happy ending what chance have the politicians got of making one?

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Old 02-04-11, 12:45 PM   #33
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Cool I like stories ...this one by Martin is a favorite

Paris is in France. Which is a country at the northernmost border of Europe where civilization ends. (Near where Britain begins). I had driven up after working in Barcelona and Ibiza, a lovely drive except the one night spent low on gas parked outside a closed gas station in the middle of the Pyrenees (mountains between Spain and France). It was very cold and being the wide-eyed optimist I am I owned nothing but thin shirts to stave off the temperature which to put it mildly, was a tad frosty.
That in itself would have been problem enough but the hitchhiker I had with me was some Latin dude who had the strangest affliction in that as soon as he fell asleep every ounce of viscous fluid in his body immediately made its way to his sinus and the back of his throat such that hideous unearthly mind-bending noises burst from him at volume. I’d wake him up, he’d apologize go back to sleep and, seconds later the imitation of close quarter military jets taking off and landing would resume. It was a measure of my desperation as I sat there next to the most horrifying snorer in the world while shivering uncontrollably that I tried to knock myself out by bashing my head against the steering column. The first blow was definitely committed and stars swum but sadly I was still among the living so before I could regain what miniscule sense I originally had I mustered my stupidity and had another go…..It was unsuccessful and now I had added a raging headache to the twin discomforts of noise and temperature to create a memorable French trinity of woe.

The rest of the trip was comparatively uneventful. Arrived in Paris, earned the hotel money the evening I got in and resumed my Paris pattern of daytime pitch a block from the Pompidou and night-time pitch in the Latin Quarter.
The daytime pitch was my own; a series of arches with apartments above formed the entrance into a large square. The edge of the square used to be a lane as was still labeled with a street sign. (More about that later) In the middle of the square was a dry fountain where junkies hung out and the arches themselves formed a passage for locals and tourists to pass to and from a nearby subway entrance, various lanes and side roads towards the square and a large underground shopping center beyond. It had a good flow and I would work there a couple of hours a day, the crowds impeded no one and all was well.
I would do my thing, which consisted of outfrenching the French in the distain dept and being for all intents and purposes just a wee bit dour.
They lapped it up and one of my better memories was an old woman on the 3rd floor of the apartments above me opening her window after a show and lowering a 20 franc note that she had stuck on a peg and tied onto the end of a long string.
This was towards the end of the season, round October and what I didn’t know then was that many European countries do immigration sweeps about this time to clear their cultures of summer straggling cling-ons who would otherwise add demands to their socialist but finite social welfare systems.
Over the heads of my audience, approaching in the distance I spotted a gaggle of French Guardia, 8 in all with a couple of muzzled dogs and a guy hanging behind wearing a Clouseau overcoat who was obviously the semi-singular half-brain behind the operation. The Guardia are the utility overalled Dobermans of the French police force who are selected for their single-minded zeal and unquestioning obedience. (Much like low-level gangsters or Orks) I suspect that at the training academy they hang bright shiny objects at the entrance on recruitment day and select for the Guardia those found transfixed by them who additionally have ‘HATE’ tattooed on their knuckles.
They were darting about snorting and peeing on posts, the junkies scattered, still they caught some, handcuffed them and made them sit on the ground. They were a bit of a distraction actually as my audience kept glancing over at the competitive drama.
From about 100 yards away they turned and looked at me then as one turned to their over coated keeper who nodded.
They rushed towards me, their knuckles bleeding as they dragged at their feet, the audience parted with an indignant distain and they surrounded me barking a threatening gibberish I could only presume was French.
‘Gibber gibber’ they barked…I stared at them…’Gibber gibber gibber growl’ they barked louder, (one of them had dropped to all fours and was licking another’s testicles while whining)
Remember earlier I mentioned that where I was working had been a road and still had the street sign? Well the sign was just feet away so I tottered over to it and smiled and pointed.
‘Avenue du Innocents’
Well I thought it was funny and so did my audience but unfortunately it sent these guys into a furious apoplectic rage.
Howling, they surrounded me and in a stunning piece of improvisation pushed me over.
Two got in front of me and four got behind and the two in the front pushed and the four at the back caught. (It was like being back at clown school doing a warm fuzzy trust exercise accept it was half a world away from home and being done in public by evil intentioned state Orks)
Mercifully the four at the back actually caught me and lowered me roughly to the ground.
They still had a couple of problems; I was 12 foot long and couldn’t understand a word they were saying. Inaction to these people is like sunlight to Vampires however so one of the catchers stomped round in front of me and grabbing a stilt, tried to simply yank it off.
I moved about 3 feet. He tried again. I moved another 3 feet. My audience were muttering darkly. I obviously speak no French but remembering how much is shared by common cultures I tried saying ‘Impossible’ with a heavy French accent, ‘Empossaabeelle’ I cried as he pulled at my leg a third time. (With diminishing enthusiasm I had to note.)
The audience had at this point become brave and abusive having had to watch their clown being dragged around the pavement by morons. The semi-singular half-brain Clouseau-clone now entered the fray in a sort of “try and nip this surrealism in the bud” way and in halting English asked me for my passport.
Now that’s a simple enough request but unfortunately I lead an impossibly complicated life.
I did in fact have my NZ passport on me but I had entered the country with my British passport. Therefore my NZ passport would have no record of me having ever entered Europe and as such I thought it best to answer, ‘No, It’s at my hotel.’ Which it was.
So I was encouraged constantly and quite vocally to get my legs off. As I was unwrapping the gaffer/duct tape one of the Guardia pulled out an evil blade and slashed at the top of my stilts helpfully.
Carrying my shoes (no time to put them on apparently) my stilts, my gear and still with my makeup on I was led, surrounded by my honor guard to a grill windowed bus parked round the corner that was now almost full of what looked like Algerian refugees.
We headed off to the main Parisian police station where I was first put into a single cell and searched. They found my NZ passport and told me that if I’d shown that to them they would have left me alone but now as I had already entered the system they were obliged to process me and having got my hotels ph number they would ring them and put me in a holding cell till a copy of my English passport was faxed to them. (At least I think that’s what they said)
So I was then chucked into a room full of swarthy, Algerian, junkie neer-do-wells still with smeared whiteface and shoeless. A few of them recognized me and tried to chat but sadly we had nothing in common but our criminal records. Still I was unmolested and sat quietly which was probably one of the best things to happen to me all day.
Eventually it was all resolved, the police said that the hotel had stuck up for me sending a copy of my passport and additionally giving me a bit of a character reference. I put my shoes on and left went straight to my night pitch to make up for loss of earnings and the next day I was back at the Avenue du Innocents.
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