We are only touring in Europe but strangely I feel jet lagged, much more so than I ever felt on last month’s Far East tour. We have been bombarded with millions of new notes courtesy of Scriabin’s five symphonies which were new to pretty much all of us. We have (deep breath…) eight concerts in seven different European cities within eight days. When I mentioned this to friends in American orchestras they failed to understand.
“Of course not including travel days right??”
“Err, we actually play on travel days too… And one day we don’t even have a hotel room in the same city as the concert so we have to drive ninety minutes to a town we’ve never heard of to put our heads down for a few hours and move on the next morning.”
None of this computed with my American friends who were probably lounging in their luxurious backstage sleep pods and I made a mental note to work really hard in my next life and apply for a job across the pond.
Recently a board member asked me whether it was reasonable to start adding wifi in hotel rooms to the list of the orchestra’s needs. (Rather like asking me if I want bling with that.) We can have the good fortune to be in some amazing hotels, often in Asia or the USA, and conversely we have stayed in some which would have made the Bates Motel seem hospitable, but our needs are really very simple. A quiet, clean room with somewhere to lay your head and somewhere to wash where you don’t need to crouch in the shower (Japanese one piece plastic bathrooms anyone?)
As someone who is surgically connected to her phone, of course finding wifi is important. Now I wouldn’t want wifi over, say, air-con in summertime Dubai, but knowing you can be connected in your hotel room to have a post-concert rant to your partner, or do some online shopping at 4am does make one feel a little more connected to your home life. I know from fellow blogger Gareth, and other parents that he’s missed many an important occasion by being on tour, so the next best thing is being able to Skype/FaceTime so you can still be part of the life and loved ones left back home.
When I first joined the LSO I would notice some player hotel lists would say “room on high floor please”. On enquiring it turned out many years ago players would throw wild parties on tour and being on a higher floor usually meant you would be isolated from the noise. Wow, it makes me think the LSO must have been very rock and roll in those days. That said in Brussels I did manage to pull the tissue holder and soap dispenser off the wall. Wild eh? I think I kicked the bin too. I heard a story of a long-time retired member of the orchestra who on arriving at the hotel and seeing his room key was a second floor room, proceeded to have a rant at the admin as he’d requested a high floor. He was politely informed the hotel was only had two floors. I hope he still used the lift. Here’s a picture of a wild 1st violin party 2014 style:
We are currently in the third out of the seven hotels we will stay in on this tour. The first in Brussels was strangely named after a fish (Hotel Thon) and I had this attractive view from my window:
The next was about ninety minutes drive from Frankfurt and I guess people were tired when we arrived post-concert (around midnight) as the room key envelope had the room number and the date which caused some confusion. For example, mine was room 314 and below was written 3.04 (the date). About a dozen people apparently turned up with the cases to room 304 irately trying to gain access to no avail. Some even hung around to see how many others would do the same! This room was occupied by principal percussionist Neil Percy who I’m sure was very thankful he wasn’t in his room at the time.
Tomorrow we are heading off to Freiberg – it’ll take us a couple of hours on the coach and then a couple of hours on the train to get to the last German stop on this Scriabin tour. So I bid you goodnight as I lay my head down on this lumpy pillow and hope there’s no confusion with room keys tonight. Chair under the door handle should do the trick! Goodnight.