I ate a wonderful meal of beef Strogonoff and had some Russian red wine along with it. Had some nice conversation with colleagues and returned to the hotel, still with my guitar on my back, but at around 1 a.m., I figured there was no point at all in seeking out any kind of musical venue – especially in this former Olympic Village environment.
But as I entered the hotel lobby, I had to ask the man at the front desk if there had been any work done on my non-existent wifi connection in my room, and when he said “no,” I decided to sit there and do a bit of Internet stuff, since the wifi worked in the lobby.
That’s when that man asked me about my guitar. I decided to take it out and show him my guitar; then I asked if it was empty of guest rooms on the ground floor, and he said it was. So I decided to sing a song. We were joined by the security guard, and it turned out he is a bass player, so he wanted to see my guitar. SO then he played a bit, and then I played a bit more, then I played a bit more than that, and soon we were having a kind of open mic….
Well, better than that, much better, was that the two of them then started showing me some Russian music stars, and suddenly, I found myself, thanks to the guitar, feeling as if I was learning about Russian pop culture in a way that I had no idea of until then. I really liked this musician they kept on playing on the videos, and so I’m going to share one of his songs here:
The pop star’s name is Andrei Makarevich, and everyone knows him here. But what I did not learn about him until I got to the racetrack today and met a Russian journalist friend, is that Andrei Makarevich is now no longer well-loved by everyone, because he is considered far too pro-American…. And so just when I thought I was finding a place without politics….
Anyway, it was a fabulous first night, and a real eye-opener. And I was delighted to have a place to play, even if it was just the hotel lobby… and even if I was helped by the Russian red wine….