Locked Up At London Heathrow.
Having finally embarked on my solo career in 2009 (read more about that HERE), and a short stop in NYC for a couple of debut solo shows, I boarded an overnight flight bound for London.
I was heading there to finish an album that I'd previously begun when living in the U.K. a few years prior. My good friend and producer of the album, Chris, would be there to meet me.
On arrival at Heathrow, I approached the customs officer who would give me the usual line of questioning, but this time things didn't pan out in the "usual" way. You know that feeling you got as a child when your parents punished you for something your sibling did? You know you're innocent but it's your word against theirs?
Well this was starting to feel a bit like that as I noticed the officer quickly writing down my answers to his questions as to why I was visiting the U.K. again. Before long, I'm being escorted to a lock-up lounge area and politely told to wait there. Indefinitely. I was not allowed to use my phone so I couldn't contact Chris to let him know I'd been delayed.
After several hours of waiting, being questioned, asking for answers that were not given, drifting in and out of sleep face down on the bench seat, a female officer came to the door, opened it just enough that I could hear her, and said to the officers guarding the door, "can I do this out here, 'cos I can't be ass'd going in there".
I beg your pardon? She was talking about MY fate like I wasn't even there. Of course I knew she was going to let me go because this had all been a terrible mistake, but her level of disdain for me, a perfectly good human being whom she'd never met in her life, was astounding.
She signalled for me to come outside, and in the next 30 seconds my whole life did a 360 turnabout.
Here I was, I'd left a perfectly good job in Sydney, packed up the apartment I'd been renting, sold all my belongings to go conquer the world as a solo artist, and in one foul swoop, after 14 hours locked up at London Heathrow Airport, (not to mention the overnight flight from NYC) this "can't be ass'd" cranky female officer waved her magic bunch of keys hanging from her belt and changed the course of my life, AGAIN! I was in shock.
With no logical explanation, no apology for the inconvenience, no "gosh I hate to tell you this" no nothing, I was escorted through the airport like a criminal and shown to my seat on a Qantas plane bound for Australia, while our cranky friend handed my passport over to the Cabin Manager. Really? What, am I going to do? Try and make a run for it when we land in Singapore? Please!!!
I have to say, sitting on that plane with 22 hours to reflect on what just happened, I could only stand outside of myself and shake my head in awe. "Well isn't this interesting" I thought. What the hell is going on in my life? Remember, this was just 18 months after my life-changing relationship breakup (Not Waving, Drowning).
Landing back in Australia, dazed and a little confused to say the least, I realized the enormity of my situation. I knew there were forces at work in my life, and I could only wait and see what it was all about.
I moved in with my parents until I could find my bearings, and after a few skype sessions with Chris, I was on a plane over to France where he said he'd meet me with his portable studio to finish the album.
We spent 3 glorious weeks in the South Burgundy Region recording in a beautiful old building called Le Cafe Ancien. This of course, became the name of my album. What a wonderful gift and outcome considering the drama that had unfolded to make this happen.
I hope you've enjoyed my story this week and before you leave, I love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment below.
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Until next time.
1/24/2016 06:15:41 pm
Your life has taken some crazy turns! Did you ever find out why the Brits gave you the boot?
1/24/2016 09:55:58 pm
They were suspicious that I was coming in to find work since I'd lived and worked there before. They didn't believe that I would leave the country :)
1/24/2016 06:57:42 pm
Say what?!?!.... That's horrible!.... I'm giving up my English citizenship and writing a letter to the Queen straight away!.... I shall not stand for such nonsense!.....
1/24/2016 10:26:52 pm
Yes I was quite happy with the outcome in the end ;)
1/25/2016 01:21:17 pm
jinx! I had an eerily similar experience but I also got to stay overnight in their lovely shack on the tarmac somewhere with the other 'illegal aliens'
1/25/2016 01:49:49 pm
Yours sounds worse than mine :) They didn't bill me for the flight and I'm not sure why they didn't send me back to NYC where I'd flown from. The whole thing was very odd. Do you know why they did that to you Bryce?
1/25/2016 02:59:33 pm
hmm a lot more stupidity on my part was involved. I had been living and working for my allotted 2 years but wanted to stay longer so my grand plan was to fly to Paris and then fly to Dublin and get the ferry back to the U.K. unnoticed!
1/26/2016 12:13:13 am
That's a fantastic story. I'm sure you were serious when you said "as if I'd want to live here" lol. Don't worry, I said plenty of naive things throughout my interrogation as well.
7/14/2016 09:04:36 am
Holy Crap! And you were never given an explanation for this?
7/14/2016 09:34:44 am
I think that they just decided that because I'd lived there and worked there in the past that I was coming back to try and work illegally. Not sure why I would do that when I'd obviously gone through the proper channels beforehand lol!
7/14/2016 09:09:49 am
Thank you sharing this story on Facebook. I wasn't aware of that background. I will never listen to that CD in the same way again. Now it is even more dramatic for me. Love it. Did you ever get your apology from the Queen btw? :D
7/14/2016 09:35:40 am
The Queen doesn't recognize her shady relatives hehe!
7/14/2016 09:40:11 am
Far from shady my friend. You should now get an apology from the key lady who was no great advert for the UK. The Queen should insist LOL.
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