Brad Spurgeon's Blog

A world of music, auto racing, travel, literature, chess, wining, dining and other crazy thoughts….

First Night in Valencia, Singing at Carpe Diem Restaurant

June 24, 2011

Last year I wrote here about how Valencia, Spain was the only Formula One venue at which I was unable to find a place to play my music, and to this day it remains the only one in two and a half years where I have not found a place to play. I am in Valencia now, and I am afraid it will remain the only place I will not play – having said that, I DID actually play on the terrace of a restaurant in downtown Valencia last night.

But that is another story. First I want to say that I also wrote last year about my trials with Vueling, the crappy Spanish airline that hates musicians and guitars. This year while going to Barcelona I booked a flight – as I did last year – with Iberia, the big Spanish airline. But when I got to the airport I learned I was on a Vueling flight. And although I managed to get past the check-in desk with my guitar, I got aggressed by a flight attendant as I boarded the airplane. He asked me if I had booked a seat for my guitar. I said no, and he said it had to go in the hold – and he took it from me. Meanwhile, there was lots of room available in the overhead luggage compartment.

So with that in mind, and last year’s trip in mind, when I booked for Valencia I decided to keep away from Iberia and Vueling, and I found a flight on one of the Skyteam airlines, some small thing called Air Europa. At the airport I realized it was apparently no bigger than Vueling, but at the check-in desk, the woman smiled at me and asked if she could please put a “carry on luggage” label on my guitar. Damn right you can!!!! What a difference an airline makes. Oh, and the flight was entirely full yesterday, not a single seat free from what I could see….

So anyway, as I walked depressed around the streets of Valencia last night, thinking I would not find a place to play, I decided finally after a few hours to return to my hotel. It is no huge big deal to NOT play here or not do a segment on my film here, because I have already had a very fruitful time on that level in Barcelona, so I have marked my territory in Spain. That’s the main thing.

It also turns out there IS a jam session in Valencia, but only on Monday nights, at the Black Note club. I will have left by then.

But as I returned by foot to my hotel I suddenly received a call last night from a Formula One journalist friend and colleague, Patrick Camus, of AutoHebdo. He said he had just seen me walking down the street with my guitar and he was at a restaurant on the terrace and would I join him? So I walked back, only to find that he had somehow managed to recognize me through my walk and guitar from a very far distance – I could not make out any of his features from the crossroads where he saw me.

It also turned out he was on the terrace of the Carpe Diem restaurant, sitting exactly opposite the hotel I stayed in last year. He was with a friend and we spoke and he asked me if I had repaired my guitar yet – after the Malaysia mishap – and I said I had not, that it still held together and I feared fixing it might make it worse. So I opened the case and handed it over, because Patrick plays guitar too, mostly Bossa Nova.

After he played a little bit I took the guitar back and decided to play a song, he and his friend asked for more. So I did two more, and I received applause from the waiters, some people at the other table and people walking down the street. So it was a wonderful moment, and suddenly I didn’t feel so down and low anymore. But I also had to stop because it was after midnight, and a quiet street just beneath the hotel windows….

Patrick had never heard me play before, either, so it was fun to show him what I’m up to doing all this music all the time at the races. I think he will probably not call me Django anymore though, as he will have seen that my guitar playing is pretty basic….

Another thing worth noting was the protest in the main square of the city that reminded me of the same thing that was happening in Barcelona when I was there, about the problems with the economy. I did a bit of video footage, but have not had the time to put it up. May do so tommorrow.

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