June 17, 2010 by jessperriam
“I’m always tired,” complains JonJo.
“Edinburgh is such a great place, there is so much going on that I just don’t sleep.”
At 9am the sun was shining through the dorm window, the birds were chirping and there was an air of last night’s alcohol was making its presence very well known.
And I just wanted to kill that bloody bird.
I wasn’t in the mood to go sightseeing in a city I went to on a whim. I wasn’t in the mood for anything really. So I wandered aimlessly around Edinburgh. Hopped on one of those daggy, daggy tour buses and navel gazed.
It all came to a head with a teary call to Perth. “You’ve hit rock bottom. Now you’ve just got to figure out whether you’re looking up,” said El Presidente.
Looking up it was. There’s no other choice, is there?
But sometimes the tourist trap experience just isn’t the answer.
So back to the Art House it was. To find Jon Jo or Tricky Ricky or someone to just chat to.
It was only 4:30 which meant Jon Jo was somewhere in between his daily life which is enigmatic at best, and his trip to the Whiski bar later in the evening.
After meeting a few fellow Art Housers in the living room. Becky and Rosemary, the sisters from Boston just in from walking Hadrian’s Wall, Diederik, a Dutch music journo (who is on an epic European music festival print, radio and online extravaganza) and Fred the Frenchman who joked he could be old enough to be everyone’s father (except mine, only just).
After beer, red wine, pizza and shooting the breeze we got a call from Tricky Ricky: “Ah hello, are you coming to the Whiski bar? Jon Jo’s about to play.”
“Yep, we’re just on our way, where is it?”
I didn’t quite catch Ricky’s directions apart from the fact it was on the Royal Mile. But we decided we could get there easily enough.
Soon enough, there were we: two journos, a puppeteer (!) and a film student walked into the bar – sounds like a beginning to a lame joke, right?
The bar was packed for a Tuesday night the band was a group of Scottish musicians sitting around a big table, playing whichever songs they felt like. Jon Jo and Tricky Ricky were eating dinner with Paul, their fashion designer friend who is taking the tweed international.
We got into the music, Jon Jo told us to keep quiet when they were playing, “They can tell when you’re not giving them your full attention,” he said.
Jon Jo was lent a guitar and sang a few tunes, and poor Martyn was falling asleep at the table. The rest of us were laughing, talking and just enjoying it all.
Just before midnight Jon Jo picked up his guitar and started playing Auld Lang Syne. Perfect. Time to look up, time to sing along.
Should old acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind…
Yep. Conscious decision. Everything that was putting a dampener on this trip should be forgotten. There were better things to do. Such as going out dancing at 1am. On a Wednesday morning.
By then the crowd had been whittled down to Jon Jo, Diederik, an English language student from Italy, Martyn (who was onto his second wind) and me – the rose among the thorns.
The best thing about travel? Losing the self-consciousness that restrains you when you’re at home. I danced like there was no tomorrow in some oddly named basement bar just off the Royal Mile.
Everyone had a dance – the Italian and the awkward Martyn had a crack at dancing normally (you know, 1950s dance hall style) while Diederik and I went down the interpretive dance route. And Jon Jo? He just did his own thing.
We finally crawled back up the stairs to street level at 3am. Time to head back to the Art House. Jon Jo cycled loopily through the streets as the rest of us stumbled back. The Italian was yelling “What the fuck?!” to me because I’d deflected his attempts. Diederik was apologising to no one in particular for an apparent lapse of judgement on the dance floor. And Martyn was letting the “What the fucks” and the “Oh, I am so sorries” wash over him.
After one “What de fuck?” too many, Diederik whispered, “We need a plan to get rid of the Italian.”
Apparently I was meant to act upset, need to talk to him when I got back and he would tell them to go away. Worked for me. And that’s exactly what happened. Sitting in the kitchen, talking about life for a few hours, watching a new day break over Edinburgh.
And it was nice, 5am never looked so great. Until Jon Jo came in and said, “Hey! Go to bed! This kitchen is a fucking mess, I can’t believe people leave their dishes laying around here!”
What a difference 12 hours make. I could see why Jon Jo never sleeps.