Mama Tokus USA tour journal: 1 – Let’s have a big hand for our first night together

The Big Buzzard sleeps

It’s like I’m jetlagged before I arrive. Which, I’m guessing, is no bad thing. At least I’ll acclimatise to USA time quicker.

It’s the night before we fly and I’m writing this to the soundtrack of Big Buzzard’s nocturnal birdsong. A basso profondo sound I’m going to hear a lot over the next fortnight.



And what a full-blooded call it is too. Coming with every inhalation and covering a wide territory, warning off any other nightbirds for metres around.


This is our first night together as touring siblings and as he slipped off his socks, he said: “You’re not a light sleeper, are you? I do snore…”
I boasted that I can nap through hurricanes but right now, at 3ft away typing this into my reverberating phone at 5.35am, I’m eating my vibrating words. You can tell he’s a soloist.


Poor fella. No wonder he’s tired. He’s carrying round his suitcase, his extra drugs for his extra kidney(s), his extra kidney(s), his vintage saxophone AND his left forearm set in fresh plaster. That’s a burden alright.


Yep, he tripped up a step Saturday night and punched a door on the way down, fracturing a finger. The doctors reckon he should keep his fingers immobile, but with some movement. Cool West Coast jazz for him then. He’s already done a gig on it, so he can work with the injury.


And he’s got me as Tour Wife to help him wash and dress (you CAN be both a wife and a sibling where we come from). I draw the line at pee-pee and drunk-texting though.


But me and the Big Buzzard are big mates. And I feel his pain. As we left his doll-faced wife’n’kid at the station, we were both weeping.


It’s 6am on the morning of our flight to the USA. His breathing’s quieter now and I’m thinking about what’s to come.


More sensible folk might be apprehensive but that ain’t me. I’m looking forward to meeting some music cousins from across The Pond. New kinsfolk who play music new to me.


We’re heading to a New World, right?


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