Spent 5 days in Hong Kong. This trip was long awaited for two reasons:
1. I've been itching to take off by myself for a long time now, it's been a while and I was getting fidgety.
2. Hong Kong was the location of choice as Gorillaz were touring and this was their only stop in Asia. Gorillaz, besides being an awesome and insane band, are of utmost importance as their lineup includes Damon Albarn (Blur) and Mick Jones and Paul Simonon (The Clash).
Note: The Clash is my favourite band of all time.
The gig was awesome, it's always an amazing experience to watch a band made up of total rock stars, but they're still so humble, so psyched to be there, so immersed into not just their music, but their fans and the atmosphere they bring.
I could go on about the gig, but the highlight of my trip took place the night after. After trying, unsuccessfully, to locate and/or encounter Paul and Mick - my Clash boys - I'd resigned myself to the fact that they'd left Hong Kong, as that was what I'd heard from management.
Out for dinner and drinks with my new friend Josh, we considered some other joints before settling for a beer-shisha place along some random street in Lan Kwai Fong - that's the party district with countless bars, pubs and clubs.
At some point, I see this familiar hat and shirt on a man who swaggers right by me. No, that can't be, I said. Seconds later a long-coated friend joined him and it was unmistakable. Paul Simonon and Mick Jones were standing metres away from me.
You know when you have waited for something for so long, and it happens, and you realise you haven't planned for it at all? I run up to them, grab both their arms, and say, Paul. Mick. OhMyGod. I'm the biggest fan of The Clash in the whole wide world. I then proceed to burst into tears, right there in front of them.
It's important to note that this really is my favourite band - their entire journey of themselves and their music, their entire discography, the music that came before and after, everything about all of them, this all defines me. Imagine realising that you'll never get to see or meet your favourite band, and suddenly there they are, right there with you.
They were slightly abashed and awfully pleased as I told Paul how I had the same birthday as London Calling except that I wasn't born in 1979, and Paul said his birthday was a day after mine (but I'm guessing not in 1987), I paused only to say, ohmmygodimtalkingtopaulsimonon, and he smiled and said, you are! My trembling hands couldn't hold my camera and they had to join their friends so they told me to come find them later on, and I calmed myself and finished my beer keeping them in view at all times. With encouragement from Josh who threatened to drag me over, and who also snapped these life-changing pictures, I had my moment with The Clash.
I needed them to know, to understand, how much this meant to me, that I wasn't another crazed fan who was starstruck. Paul was on the phone and I told Mick, I need to tell you, that the music you made defines who I am, it's everything to me. He said, that's really wonderful to hear.
Got my picture with Paul, he asked for my name, and he was full of the same boyish charm I've always imagined a 20-year-old Paul to have. He even insisted on trying out different spots for better lighting because "we should get this right". I showed him one of the pictures for his approval and he said, well, YOU look cute! And I tried not to melt.
Both of them signed an autograph for me, Paul wrote that i was love, and asked where I was from, Mick said we could all take a shot together.
I had my pictures, I had them on ink, I had my moment(s) with them, I hugged them both (twice) and I told them exactly how life-changing the Clash had been, currently was, and would always be to me, especially after this.
I thought it was perfect. and complete. And then. Paul Simonon. THE bassist of THE only band that matters, of my favourite band in the WHOLE world, he pulls me aside and says, thank you for being here and all you've said, and do take care of yourself, okay? Okay, Paul, I said, trembling slightly. This is Paul Simonon, after all. And then, he looks me in the eye, says, you're really pretty, yknow? And he kisses me on the cheek, with his badass stubble and all.
Before I had time to register this, he takes my hand and says, I used this last night, I thought you might want this. And in my palm he places a guitar pick, all the little gold letters frictioned away from playing his epic basslines.
I'm not exaggerating. This has been the most euphoric, surreal, amazing moment of my life so far.