Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Abandoned Gas Station, SX-70 w/ Impossible Project
Pacific Coast Highway, Polaroid SX-70 w/ Impossible Project

One More Cigarette

One More Cigarette

I was on my way back to my hostel in the medieval  Old Town of Tallinn, Estonia. It was evening, the sun was on its way down and I had spent the whole day simply walking. An older English man was going to cook fish and chips at the hostel, but I wasn't looking forward to that. I was in the mood for some excitement that night. 

As I wound my way through the cobble stone streets a group of three young men caught my gaze. One of them was sitting in the middle of the road, his head almost laying on the ground, while the other two were standing next to him singing. They had a hat next to them to collect tips. It was empty and that wasn't surprising. They appeared drunk and it seemed their only song was a chant from the Chelsea football club. I watched them for a minute and continued on. 

I ended up in the main square of the Old Town and sat down in front of the 600-year-old town hall building for a cigarette. Old Thomas, a Robin Hood-like character of Tallinn, looked down from his perch on the town hall weather vane. I watched the tourists file into the restaurants that line the square for their evening meal. It was early spring and there was still quite a chill in the air. A couple of toddlers dressed down in full snow suits chased each other. They could barely walk, let alone run, in those outfits and spent as much time on the floor as they did on their feet.

I had finished my cigarette and I stood up to leave. My hostel was only a few blocks away, but I was in no rush to get back. I decided to have one more cigarette before I gave in to the fish and chips for the night. I lit up and began people watching again.

Before I could take two drags, the young men I saw earlier were headed in my direction. I smiled as they walked up to me, not really wanting to break into conversation. One of them had a handle of Bailey's Irish Cream and before I could say hello he pushed it into my hand. "Drink!" he exclaimed. I figured if I appeased them and laughed a little, they would move on their way. I took a pull from the bottle. 

They asked me where I was from so we went through the pleasantries and introduced ourselves. I found out they were from Riga, Latvia and were in Tallinn to see some of their friends in concert that night. I found out it was a last minute decision on their part to come up to Tallinn. They had been drinking quite heavily the night before and drunkenly thought it would be a good idea to join a large group of people that were coming up. They caught the bus that morning and had been on a steady diet of alcohol the whole day.

Simon, who was the one on the ground when I first encountered them, was also under the influence of a few other substances. He was dressed all in black, except for a long red scarf wrapped around his neck. His head hung low and he continually brushed his long bangs away from his face. He was very friendly, in the way that people get friendly when they are heavily inebriated. The other two were very well dressed. Rudolfs, had a full suit and tie and Alvils wore pressed slacks, a button up shirt and a brown leather jacket. 

After they told me about their concert plans, I had decided if they would extend an invite I would join them without hesitation. We finished the Bailey's and they broke out a two liter bottle of Saku, Estonia's readily available, mass produced lager. Again, Alvils instructed me to drink. I took a small drink and passed it back to him. He refused the bottle and told me he didn't see me drink. I took another small swig. He turned away as I drank and again pretended not to see. I decided to really drink this time and I chugged a quarter of the bottle. Cheers went up in the square and we all had a laugh. That appeared to be the secret to joining their club and they invited me to join them at the concert.

I rushed back to the hostel, dropped off my bag and rejoined them at the door. Unfortunately, they didn't have the exact location or name of the bar their friends were playing at. They were only told it was the biggest rock bar in the Old Town of Tallinn. The Old Town is a relatively small, so we set out on our search.

The next 45 minutes consisted of walking down a street, stopping random people, inquiring if they knew where the biggest rock club in Tallin was, getting rejected each time, laughing and then picking another street. Simon was starting to fade fast. His head seemed to sink lower and lower with each rejection. He walked like a drunken zombie. After 50 steps, he would take a seat or lean up against a door way. We would look back, notice he wasn't there and retrace our steps to find him slumped on the ground around the corner.

We continued around the perimeter of the Old Town in this fashion. It was now 8PM, and the band was supposed to begin at 8:30. We were running out of time. I decided to try and see if the band had posted the event on Facebook. After some brief investigating, I found the venue online. As I waited for Google to give me the exact location I wondered if we would be too late. When I finally had directions I looked at them and couldn't help but laugh. The location of the biggest rock bar in Old Town was only a block away from where we first met!

We were there in 10 minutes. I had built up my expectations and conjured up images of a spacious arena with stadium seating. It turned out to be quite a small venue. We walked through a hall into the main room. The stage faced a balcony with a few tables and the floor in front was open and ready for a great audience.

We went upstairs to wait for the band and have a beer. A few more Latvians joined us and we waited anxiously. The lights went out, and the band finally appeared. They were called Bloody Heels and played 80's style glam rock. They were complete with long hair, makeup, tight clothing and even a bit of leopard print. The distortion kicked in, the double bass drum echoed and the lead singer began to belt out their fist song. We were immediately on the floor banging heads in a little mosh pit.

Half way through their set I took a break and walked outside to smoke a cigarette. I took a drag and I couldn't help but think about where I would be had I not smoked that extra cigarette. I owed that night to pure accident... and I was going to make the best of it. I crushed the butt in the ash tray and walked through the door, into the biggest rock bar in Tallinn. 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Central Committee Building "Ceaușescu's Final Speech", Buchareșt, Romania
SX-70 w/ Impossible Project

Maramureș, Romania / Fuji Instax 210

Eforie Nord, Romania / Fuji Instax 210

Brasov, Romania / Fuji Instax 210

Tallin, Estonia / SX-70 w/ Impossible Project

Lviv Opera House / SX-70 w/ Impossible Project

Lychakiv Cemetery, Lviv, Ukraine / Polaroid SX-70 w/ Impossible Project

Bloody Heels, Tallin Estonia / Fuji Instax 210