Lowlakes Tour Diary Part Two

18 October 2012 | 10:32 am | Lowlakes

Jack tried to ask him what the problem was and where it was that we could ride, but he called him a “visiting fucking arsehole” and said that we should “fuck off back to England”!

We've finally got all of our instruments! They arrived via courier nearly 24 hours after we did; luckily our first show isn't until tomorrow night.

Our late luggage. What a relief!

Today was the first chance we had to be tourists and check out some of NYC's iconic sights. We were blessed with an amazing autumn day, but our efforts the night previous meant that we didn't get outside until 1pm.

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God Bless America.

We eventually emerged and a short cab ride from our apartment got us to Central Park. Bill thought we could just walk from one side of the park to the other, but a guy hiring bikes quickly informed us that it would take us about 20 hours to traverse the park's 56 miles of pathways. Bikes it was.

From left to right: Bill, Jack, Thomas, Brent.

We confidently set out along one of the crowded footpaths, blissfully ignorant of the fact that bikes were strictly forbidden on them. It didn't take long for a local with his vicious dog to very politely point out to us in a thick New York accent, arms flung despairingly in the air, that we were “breaking the fucking law” and that we “should get the fuck out of his way”. Jack tried to ask him what the problem was and where it was that we could ride, but he called him a “visiting fucking arsehole” and said that we should “fuck off back to England”!

Finally, we'd met a real New Yorker. It was probably the highlight of our trip so far.

Checking out the rest of the park was great. We did meet plenty of nice locals even though we continued to rebel and ventured off the road plenty of times for amateur mountain biking escapades. We also managed to get lost and ended up on a main road that dissects the park. Because there were high walls on either side, we had to ride with the traffic, copping honks and doing our best to avoid being steamrolled by American school buses (which are exactly like the ones in the movies). After ten minutes this became overwhelming, and a tad frightening, so we turned back.

Bill trying to navigate his way back to the bike track in Central Park.

There is an abundance of interesting people in New York, doing things that are hugely entertaining. Today we took the subway for the first time (escorted by a high school friend of ours from Alice Springs now living and working in Manhattan) and, as the ticket machine processed our tickets, were treated to a damn sweet break-dancing performance by a group of local dancers. About fifty people would have gathered around them by the time their well choreographed routine ended. All offered green notes to hats and beanies of the dancers, who paraded through the crowd collecting.

These guys were truly some of the most incredible dancers we've seen.

Brent's already done a solo performance too. After dinner on our first night here we went to a bar at Times Square that was hosting a karaoke night. After watching countless people sing cheesy hits from the good ol' days, we persuaded Brent to get up there and give it a go… introduced as 'The Wombat' from Australia, in a crowded NY bar thousands of kilometres from home, Brent belted out Sam Sparrow's Black And Gold. As we laughed hysterically a lot of people clapped and cheered. We even heard one thick southern accent declare over the mass of noise 'Fuck yeah, Wombat!' as he grooved along on the dance floor, which had quickly become crowded.

From left to right: Thomas, Bill, Jack, Brent, Manfred (our manager), Griff (roadie).

Our first show is tomorrow night at a place called Parkside Lounge in the Lower East Side. We're getting really excited to play in front of a foreign audience… hopefully our sound comes across well here.

Tom on his hipster bike on 42nd street.