Here we go again!

Where to begin! This has been a whirlwind week and I can hardly believe that only a week ago I was boarding the train out of Brussels to go play my last gig in Europe before the Greyhound Odyssey Tour across Canada OFFICIALLY started. Technically, I'm not sure if it was the last gig in Europe because Iceland, from what I understand is half in Europe and half not, being a volcanic outburst that fills the fissure between the two continents. Anyway, it was beautiful, and I got to see some pretty amazing things thanks to my old pal and band-mate, Tom (pictured below in a tidal pool heated by geothermal runoff). I also got to do a presentation to the local No Borders activists about the situation on Lesvos, which was neat because I learned a bit about what is going on with refugees in Iceland now, too. If anybody along my tour path (or not far off of it) is interested in organizing something similar with their local refugee support network (or any other interested group, for that matter), please get in touch!!! Otherwise, BIG thanks to everyone who has helped me get this far, who surprised me at my first concert in Toronto last night, who gave me a bed, and generally speaking who filled my sails and kept me moving. I found my camera the day before I left and they have wifi on the greyhound, so enjoy some pictures from the road and hope to see you somewhere further along it!

Greyhound Odyssey Tour

I'm very excited to announce the Greyhound Odyssey Tour!!!
I'm going back to music for a little while...

Parting notes from Lesvos scribbled on the nightbus to Paris

Saturday, February 4th- It's 6 o'clock in Geneva. The alps form a ring of shadows at twilight. Boney M plays unmistakeably through the driver's radio as the bus charges ahead. My wheels are rusty and the emergency brake has nearly seized in place after an un precedented period of inactivity. Lo, it let up at the last moment and I'm now jerking & jolting, groaning & creaking back into a state of motion.

I leave behind me the better part of the last year on Lesvos trying to do something decent in a world spun violently off course. The first five months were so completely overwhelming that I was compelled to return as if to re-investigate the scene of some great calamity in which I was personally implicated. Actually, I felt more like a criminal who returns to the scene of the crime weighted with guilty curiosity. Details. Graciously hosted in the aging farming village (and aging farmer village) of Paleokipos, I shared the streets with a community has borne heavy sacks of olives on their wilted shoulders for so long that they still bend beneath the burden.

A 20-minute drive around the Gulf of Gera from Moria camp the refugee crisis here is a distant phenomenon, invented by NGOs who bilk the dangerously disconnected European institutions in order to line their pockets at the expense of the island's calm. Cynicism reigns in this detached place where tradition has no recipe for mixing with the orient. Here, I became fast friends with "Nick the Greek," the only English-speaker I came across in the village. He, too, is creaking beneath the weight of age and it would not be long before our conversations become insufferable rants about the crimes of politicians everywhere. I nonetheless admire his perspicacity and appreciate his perspectives on the villagers who he describes as "Mysterious and Evil!"

Another Door Opens

Hello again!

As usual, it's been a while since my last update. I've been waiting for the right moment to talk about some exciting news but who knows when that right moment will ever be.

I am writing from inside the gates of Moria. Pictures are forbidden so I implore your imagination to design a small town made of aid-tents and container-sized buildings with metal bars clinging to every window. The hedges in this town have been replaced by three meter tall barbed fences. A spotlight, a loudspeaker and a security camera are fixed on the corner-post of a small basketball court surrounded by razor-wire and sweltering unused in 40-degree heat. Camping tents line the sun-stroked entrance to a mound of utter desolation where the camp's inhabitants have now been waiting nearly 5 months for a chance to plead their cases before tribunals which have been recently re-staffed according to a new Greek law which all but precludes the possibility of acceptance.

I am here to present a project to a group of community leaders from each nationality in the camp who meet every week to discuss collaborative approaches to camp problems. I tell them about Mosaik support centre in 20-second intervals followed by slightly longer pauses where the room fills with murmurs as my speech is translated into a dozen languages. Mosaik stands as an affront to the retrograde hostility which has been meted out so ruthlessly over the course of my 5-month stint on the island. It is the collaborative  brainchild of a handful of volunteers who embody the welcoming spirit this island represented before the mass detentions made it incredibly difficult to deliver this type of blind hospitality in good conscience. We serve migrants and locals alike in the centre of Mytilini, offering language training, legal support, art workshops, and music lessons in a beautifully restored manor whose 25 square meter stone mosaic sits under the shade of orange trees flanked by cafe tables and flowers. In the first 2 1/2 weeks of operation over 250 people signed up for courses which offer respite from the banality of camp life and an opportunity to take part in activities tailored to integration in Greek society.

The Rose and the Rat

Today at 8 o'clock the "Big Fish" left for Athens like it does every day. Cars and passengers and trucks got on the ferry like they do every day. Some of the passengers used fake IDs that they bought for a lot of money like they do every day. Like every other day, some were arrested or denied access to the boat, and some of them got the ride to the mainland that they had been dreaming of. And like every other day, one of the trucks which had been sitting in the port all day waiting for the boat to arrive had been broken into and had some people in the back of it who couldn't afford a smuggler and took matters into their own hands. Today there were three of them. They knew it was a refrigerator truck but thought that 12 hours in the back of a meat truck was a fair price to pay for a chance to sneak further into Europe. The friend who closed the door behind them and stayed on the island had left it unlocked so that once the boat started moving they could make their way up to the passenger deck. They had no idea that the driver would lock the open door when he did is routine check before boarding the ferry. They had no idea that there wouldn't be enough air in that cold space to last the length of the journey, or even the first 2 hours for that matter. Right now they are very luckily still alive because my friend is a rose and I am his rat.