I have two pretty remarkable stories about being in London. The first was the time I was mistaken for a terrorist in Hyde Park. It was around the time of the Hombre Lobo album I think – several albums ago anyway – I was holed up in a hotel room doing press and I went out to take a well-deserved break and have a walk around Hyde Park and go near Kensington Palace. So, there’s Embassy Row there and it’s a very right-wing, paranoid area and some old lady didn’t like the way I looked and just profiled me and called the police. I mean I had a long beard at the time but it was ridiculous.
It was really interesting to experience what that feels like, to be profiled like that. It was really scary. The police surrounded me, they had guns, I’d never seen that before. It was crazy.
I finally convinced them I wasn’t a terrorist because one of the things the lady said – well, she said a whole lot of things – she said I was peering at embassies and the one thing that got me off the hook was that she said I was looking over the wall of the hotel I was staying at and so I showed the police the key to my room of that hotel and said why would I be longingly staring at the hotel that I’d finally got out of. So they said ‘Hmm, OK’ and took all my information and the whole week I was waiting for them to come busting into my room and arrest me. I was really relieved when I got to the airport and got out.
But in fact there was a happy ending as some years later I was awarded (unrelated to that) freedom of the city of London. That’s nice to see things go full circle – start out as a suspected terrorist and end up with the freedom of the city. Now I can take my flock of sheep across London Bridge anytime I want.
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