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The Derpy Diaries - Part 2

Updated: Aug 1, 2022

After a brief stay at home for a whole 2 days, very early on Saturday morning, I once again made my way to Düsseldorf and onto a plane. This time heading for London to meet up with Craggerz for a tool concert and other sheneninanigens. For as much as I had the privilege to travel around Europe, I've never been to the UK before. I even made sure to ask my mum, who has taken me travelling for longer than I can remember. This was definitely my first visit to the UK, and it could barely have been any more pleasant!

I seem to attract the most unusual weather when visiting other countries. In Dubai, we actually had a night of rain and a little bit of a thunderstorm while I was there, and now Britain greeted me with blue skies, sunshine and above 20 °C. I had to double check I didn't actually fly to the wrong country.

Unfortunately, I had a lot of time to kill at the airport, because my flight had been rescheduled to a way earlier one (my adventures with travel agencies and their so-called "customer support" is a story for another time..). I landed in Heathrow at 7.30, and it would take 4 more hours before Craggerz would get there. So I settled down in front of a café with my backpack, phone and a book.

I was fortunate to sit next to a very nice woman from Kenya, who agreed to watch my bags while I got up to use the toilet and get something to eat from the café. I offered the same to her in turn, and after we've both sat there waiting for about an hour and a half, we began chatting a bit. I learned that she was visiting her family who lived here, and that she'd been a nurse in London for seven years to earn money for them before she moved back to Kenya. She loved her country very much, and it was very sweet to hear her talking about it.

Explaining my recent travels to meet people I only knew from the internet earned me an amused look from her, and the cheeky question if I was "boyfriend shopping". I gotta admit, I almost spit my coke out at that question, haha. I assured her that I was very happily taken and not out to collect more boyfriends around the globe, just visiting friends. She got picked up shortly after, and I got to see her greeting her daughter and granddaughter. A very wholesome scene after a nice chat with a complete stranger.

I've talked about this before, but talking to strangers in real life is often way more of an issue for me than chatting with unknown people online - the distance and the monitor creates a safe distance for me, that makes it easier to be open. And the fact that I can write my words down, and even change them before hitting "Enter" to send is another comfort I don't have when dealing with the spoken word. Once you said something to another person, You can't take it back or change it. And it might be received differently than You intended, which is quite the scary prospect for me, for personal reasons. (Another story for a different time, I guess)

It didn't take much longer for Craggerz to arrive at the airport. After an appropriately big hug, we decided to sit down in the Café, since he just had an almost 2 hour trip on the train. We immediately started talking, and I think apart from the times we spent in our respective hotel rooms, we basically didn't stop for the whole weekend.

I couldn't even list half of the topics we just in that first sit-down. Obviously talking about Unmuted and the Tribe as our community was a big part of that talk. I'll definitely touch on that more in Part 3.

Once we felt sufficiently (de-)caffeinated, we made our way through London towards our hotel in Canning Town. I have to compliment London on it's subway system - I was able to grasp it quite quickly. Each line ahs their colour, name and there's signs pointing you in the right direction everywhere.

As mentioned, the weather was fantastic, and we enjoyed another coffee and coke at the famous Kings Cross Station. Yes, I've walked past the famous "Platform 9 3/4" with the cart half stuck in the wall. No, I didn't feel like standing in the queue to take a picture.

The train ride to the hotel was.. challenging. The train was packed, and it was very warm and stuffy in there. The screeching sounds of the brakes will also be forever ingrained in my memory and haunt me in my worst dreams. We literally counted down the stops until we were finally allowed to step out of the train and back into fresh air and acceptable temperatures. Dubai's outside weather was more comfortable than the inside of that train!

The next day, we decided to explore Camden. It's a very pretty part of London! It looks a bit like it was a busy riverside town that got turned into a slightly artsy but also touristy place.

I was very glad to explore the place deeper with Craggerz. While he knew the area from an earlier visit, we managed to find some corners and places he hadn't seen before. We had a great lunch at Buck Street Market, which is kind of a food court/market area that's made of stacked ship containers with tiny kitchens built into them. We were able to choose food from all over the world and fancy desserts. And all the while, the sun was still burning down on us. I was more worried about getting a sunburn in London than I was in Dubai - kinda crazy, innit?

The whole day was a blur of colourful little shops, quirky looking people and music all around us. Medieval looking buildings next to new and shiny ones, watching barges full of tourists getting shipped along the river, a punk with an impressive mohawk and a sings saying "Help a punk get drunk", all the while playing our new favourite game: "Spot Maynard"

...Hm, I guess I'll have to explain that game. While we were walking around London, we were wondering if the band and crew for the tool concert on Monday would already be there. And I came up with the idea that Maynard J. Keenan was actually walking around London, disguised with some of the stuff from his huge collection of costumes he usually wears for shows.

So whenever we were out and about, we looked people with very eccentric fashion styles, and called them out for being Maynard. Which was pretty much every third person in Camden, to be fair. It was a really fun little game, that probably doesn't sound entertaining to anyone else.. I guess it's a "You had to have been there" moment. Or as a "true" tool fan would say: "You just don't GET IT, maaaan."

We went back to our hotel for a well-deserved siesta around afternoon, and went back to Camden, planning on having dinner at Buck Street Market again. Well, not on a Sunday, it seems. It was around 9pm, the town was almost empty, and most of the food stalls had already closed for the day. After walking around for what seemed like an eternity to two hungry stomachs, we happened to stumble into a TINY burger restaurant. It's called "Honest Burgers", and they had the best burger I ever remember eating. No exaggeration. They came with super tasty fries with rosemary, and Craggerz said his vegan burger was amazing as well. Finding this place exactly at the right time kinda fit the theme of my whole vacation - wonderful things being born out of coincidence.

After that fantastic dinner, we made our way to the Black Heart Pub, that some people from the Tribe may already know. They closed at 11pm, so we just hung out for one Cider and just kept chatting away.

I really can't stress how much talking happened in those 4 days, haha. It's crazy how many topics You can get into and how many tangents there are to explore in a conversation between two people that had so many different experiences in life, but recently happened to be thrown in the same social circle. And it wasn't all idle chatter, although there has been a lot of joking around, obviously. We really got into some personal and heavy topics, but it never felt too heavy for me.

We started the Monday slow, sleeping in and meeting in the Hotel Lobby around 10pm. I had scouted out a place to eat some authentic Ramen, which Craggerz had never tried before. While travelling through London, we actually spotted some other people in tool - merch, which added to our own excitement about seeing the show in just a few more hours. the Ramen place was amazing as well, and I was very happy to open up a new culinary world for Craggerz - luckily, the vegan option on the menu once again managed to impress.

Never heard someone complaining about being so full after eating a soup, though. ;)

Around late afternoon, we finally made our way to the Arena, after a short rest in the hotel. The reality of actually being able to see a tool live show didn't really hit me until we stepped out of the Subway station and saw all the other people in tool shirts and hoodies walking around, nodding to each other. It's funny how the mere fact You're wearing a similar item of clothing can suddenly make You feel a connection to a total stranger. Hey - You like the band I like, guess You're cool!

I think it shows how much we still are "pack animals", despite evolution and technological advances making us generally less dependent on others. Why else would we choose to wear Band shirts (or to grab a different example - the jersey of Your favourite Sportsball Team?). We want to signal "Hey, i like this!", we want to present a part of our personality to others. I don't think we would do that if we didn't have at least the subconscious drive to connect with other people.

Well, there we go, now i sound like a proper pretentious tool fan, haha.

The concert itself was indescribable. The sound was awesome, and the light/video show even better. Usually, when I sing along to songs, I tend to close my eyes, so I had to constantly remind myself not to do that. I just didn't want to miss out on any second of this explosion of colours and lights.

They were really strict with the "no photos or videos" rule. When we took some selfies in front of the empty stage, one of the staff from the venue approached us and asked us not to take any photos or videos during the show. Once the music started, even during the opening act (Brass Against), the staff members would step up to anyone who had their phone vaguely at face-height. I dubbed them "Eagles" at some point, because They would constantly eye the crowd and then swoop down on whoever they thought was filming. I left my phone in my pocket for the most part, except for when I wrote down the setlist for myself, or sent some messages to make other people envious :P I made sure to always hold the phone as low as possible, bowing over it to make it very, very obvious that I wasn't taking any sort of visual recording.

Craggerz was sneaksy enough to take a lot of pictures and videos, though, and whenever I saw one of the "eagles" glance over, I made sure to warn him in time. So we actually have a lot of pictures from the night, but as always - nothing beats the actual memory that's still very livid in my head. Once those memories started to fade into grey, I'll be very grateful for the physical pictures, though.

The show was an experience I'll never forget, and I'll always be grateful to Craggerz for inviting me to share it.

Getting back to the hotel was made slightly difficult by the giant mass of moving bodies streaming from the Arena towards the subway station. It almost looked like a tool video itself - a thousand bodies moving as one. We decided to wait until the majority of that crowd had disappeared into the tunnels, so we sat down and while Craggerz was sorting through the photos he had taken, I sat around, listening to that familiar, toneless buzz in my ears after a live show, revisiting my favourite parts of the show and messaging some people about the experience.

The next day marked the end of my travels. We had to leave the hotel at 10am, but my flight as well as Craggerz' train would leave in the late afternoon. So we went back to the café where we started, sat in the same corner and spent the time until our departures talking and spotting Maynard.

I had a great time in London, and am happy to have made another good friend, away from home. The only thing I was a bit sad about, is that we didn't get the chance to meet anyone else from the UK part of the Tribe. I'll eb back some day, though, and we'll definitely get a bigger Tribe Meet going!

There's already talks about a UK - Germany - Netherlands meeting happening, and i can't wait to be "on tour" again!

Huge Thanks again to Craggerz, who is a genuinely friendly and generous person. See You again soon, Mosh Mate ;)

That's it for Part 2.

Thanks for reading and I hope You'll stick around for the last Part as well.

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May 31, 2022

Oh Wow. Derpz you are an Absolute Natural at storytelling, blogging and getting the whole vibe across in words. You paint the most Amazing Picture..... It's almost like I was there 🤣🤣😜

The weekend was as much an adventure for me as it was for you, the sights, the sounds, the culinary delights and of course The Amazing Company ☺️

I can honestly say I enjoyed every minute of the weekend and I can't think of a single person I would have liked to have seen one of our favourite bands with. Tool were Awesome, You are Awesome, a True Friend and I can't wait to meet up again soon with you and our other tribesmen in the no…

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