Storytellers: Shimmering Stars
Life on the road is not always glamorous. Just how unglamorous can it get? Read on for a few laughs courtesy of Shimmering Stars‘ bassist Brent Sasaki and sleep extra comfortably in your beds tonight:
Touring internationally for the first time, we relied heavily as a small band on the willingness of virtual strangers to put us up in their homes. Often, we wouldn’t know exactly where we’d be spending the night until we ended up on a friend-of-a-friend’s second cousin’s rec-room couch or the local opener’s beer soaked jam-space floor. And, truthfully, we feel incredible gratitude to everyone who has kept us from sleeping in parks and rental cars (not that one or two of us haven’t passed out in the grass beside a highway, but that’s another topic entirely.) But we’ve experienced some weird and uncomfortable nights dying slowly for a hotel and a hot shower.
Some nights teeter between uncomfortable and awkward—one night in a punk house basement, I found myself in the bathroom at dawn with an urgent gut, no toilet paper, tissues, or towels in sight. No magazines. I pondered my sock. And of course I wouldn’t disturb my hosts this early, though the raucous animal sex noises from nearby meant they were probably up. Yet there’s a certain solitude wandering through a strange neighbourhood at 5 AM looking for a grocery store or an un-dodgy public restroom. I left eleven and half rolls for the house. I’m sure someone was grateful.
Other nights begin with intense debates on the validity of Elton John as “fucking psychedelic, man!” with bottle passing and general good times. Then, hours later in the grave-cold September chill of Northern UK, you lie like sardines down the hallway and into the kitchen, spooning, fully dressed. Desperation leads you to root through your host’s closets and cupboards, looking for an extra parka or a bunch of cardboard boxes to insulate you from the icy, stone floor. Hold me closer, tiny drummer.
Once we slept in a mostly vacant flat, the furnishings of which had all been moved out except for one thing: a ferret. Chatty little bugger.
So occasionally, after being shut down by a weirdly self-important Couch Surfing host, you break down and book the cheapest hotel you can find, sight unseen, in an area of town that you assume to be sketchy but hope the hipsters have moved in to buffer it from any real danger. For us, it was the Hotel City Inn, Hackney. Having put myself on the line by finding and booking this place, I sweat with nervous anticipation as we walked from the train station toward Mare Street. We rounded the corner to this:
As bands tend to do, the guys launched right in with the dirty looks and sarcasm. Rightly so, I figured. However, beyond the weird, garbage strewn façade and through the dark and narrow courtyard, we found what we’d been dreaming of for days: a clean, friendly place, with working wi-fi, full, hot English breakfast, warm showers, and best of all, a room with individual single beds for each of us! We spent a good chunk of our gigging revenue and stayed for three days.
(Curated by Cactus-Mouth)