Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Paris Amsterdam London

I had not been to Europe since 1964 when I travelled with some friends on the Fairstar and arrived in Southampton, now thirteen years later I was arriving in Paris, this time on my own and a much more travelled and street wise person. I had been to Paris before, during a fleeting six week tour of France Spain Holland and Belgium, there was little recollection.

I was not into sightseeing, my mission was to offload the collection of Ikats that I lugged from one gallery to the next. My memory is pretty vague on the galleries, most i visited were medium size on the left bank I got a perception they were not to interested in Indonesian art/ artifacts, except I remember passing a trendy looking bar in one of the backstreets and hearing Peter Frampton's new song belting out, I had not heard him before so I went into the bar and asked who it was singing - the song was  'Show me the Way' and when I hear it, I remember that bar in Paris.

I didn't sell one item in Paris,Amsterdam was not much better, I sold some artefacts to a couple of  galleries near the university, I knew Holland would be hard as they have been over endowed in Indonesian art  and artefacts over many years and was a bit like, 'coals to Newcastle' - still I had to try.

Next was London, which was a disaster from the time of arrival to the time of departure twelve months later. On arriving at London airport I got busted for bringing in two small blocks of Hashish, that I had stretched out - by warming it , to fit between my toes on both of my feet.
I was wearing a full length Chamois Coat, embroidered with coloured stitching's and as I was talking to a customs officer, bending over to get my passport out from my wallet  a gold twenty Shrang Tibetan coin attached to a gold chain around my neck,fell out , dangling in front of the female officer. She noticed  the coin and cupped it in her hands, and remarked on what a beautiful coin, asking ' where it was from', when I told her it was from Tibet ,she asked had I been there and replied that , 'no, I had swapped it for a portable stereo, in Bhoddna, Nepal'.

She then asked me to come this way and took me into an office where we were joined by another male officer who asked me where I had been, and to open my bags, then searched through the contents, which were numerous, and then they did a full body search and found the Hashish between my toes, which amounted to fuck all. 

This was then put on the table as evidence and the guy then went through my wallet and found my "Grape Escape"  business cards.He then asked if owned the Grape Escape and I replied I was the owner operator, he then said he used to go there for lunch and used to work at Eric Porter's Film Studio as an animator and then he remembered me, and I asked ' why are you busting me for such a piddling amount of Hash'. He said they thought I was someone else, who was a big time dope smuggler and apologised - with that I lent over and grabbed one of the pieces of hash and swallowed it, which pissed him off, as half his evidence diminished in front of him, down my throat.

That night I ended up in Heathrow Gaol, stoned off my head with an IRA Irish cell mate who abused the police all night to my amusement. Fortunately I had friends in London who came and bailed me out, after pleading guilty to possession of two grams of hashish, I was back in England for the second time after 13 years.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Tony,
    You have certainly lived a full and adventurous life,and survived many experiences.
    Also it seems a man ahead of the times, in paricular with the artifacts and of course your
    buisiness acumen,Jenny