Kraakers, Ravers, Kops, & High Life

In Rotterdam we played at Poortgebouw, a monumental building that's been squatted since the 80's, they have a legal contract that cedes use of the space to the squatters in perpetuity. Back when it was initially squatted it was located in an semi-abandoned port district, now it's surrounded by glass skyscrapers in one of those typical upscale port conversions (docklands, port vell bcn, etc). Developers have a schemes for the Poortgebouw building now, and won't leave the residents in peace.�Just as a wilderness is bulldozed into a monoculture, complex urban landscapes disappear under the same tools, and with the same ultimate motive, to convert the "useless" into the profitable. The following night in Amsterdam played at an another ex-squat, OT301, this one with a more secure future since the occupants have bought the building. �Ironically it was part of the Amsterdam Dance Event, a festival of club music. On a bike ride we bumped into the festival headquarters, a building vibrating to the oppressive metronome of house music. A security guard ordered me to step away from the door. Next day on the train towards France I get the usual warm welcome, thugs with guns (and badges) search our bags looking for drugs. Then the town of Thionville. These smaller town gigs are nearly always fun, low stress, and feels good to play to the uninitiated. The gig was in the city hall building, with massive chandeliers hanging from the ceiling and the crests & seals of officialdom about. Yes it's strange to play at squats for two nights, then get profiled by the police on our way to play a state-subsidized event at the local city hall. The next day had a 30 minute stopover in Marseille to change trains.�The station was chock full of nervous riot cops, do they follow me?�Outside it was a calm sunny sunday afternoon, we sat on the steps overlooking the city where I always sit while killing time in Marseille. Suddenly the sound of explosions and yelling, then a mob bursts out of the tiny side streets. All young men, all in hoodies, most carrying flares or big sticks, in full riot mode. They attacked the train station with the same sense of purpose that a mountaineer takes on a peak... because it's there.�Bottles and flares were landing around us, smoke wafting into the station, we had to run to catch our train and never did get any explanation. Viva la france! Twenty minutes later we arrived in Cassis, possibly one of the world's most beautiful places, living like a billionaire in an apartment overlooking the sea, spent the day hiking, swimming in turquoise coves, eating fine food. So, a pretty typical 4 days on tour.