Spies Are Reading My Blog

I should be gigging in New Zealand now but
I am not I’m stuck at Narita instead
I should be singing in Dunedin, smoking kiwi pot
And chilling with the kiwi reds
But when I showed up at the airport to board my flight
I was handed somebody’s cell phone
Suddenly the future didn’t look so bright
And I entered the Twilight Zone

The woman on the line said hello
I’m from Immigration
You may have a ticket but you can’t go
To our great island nation
I felt like I’d been hit in the face
With a big old kiwi log
But then I felt the Stasi’s cold embrace
When she said I’ve been reading your blog

The spies are reading my blog
The introduction and the prologue
And if that’s so, it just might be true
That they’re watching this video, too

Well I normally don’t get many views
A few hundred friends and kooks
So it comes as surprising news
That some of the are kiwi spooks
I try to get my missives out
And cause some small commotion
Someone’s listening, now there’s no doubt
Across the South Pacific ocean

Chorus

Were you strip-searched in Trondheim, she asked
What kinds of things do you smoke
Have you ever been charged with a crime
Are you rich or are you broke
Have you ever been turned away
From any borders you tried to cross
What kind of venues did you plan to play
Do you use dental floss

Chorus

I said it seems a bit unusual
For you to do things quite this way
I asked her is this normal
But she wouldn’t say
She’d just repeat her message
At Narita you shall remain
I’ve read your blog, each vile passage
And you may not board that plane

Chorus

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“Spies Are Reading My Blog” is the title track of the 2013 Bandcamp album, and also appears on If I Had A Hammer (CD, 2013).

I was prevented by Immigration New Zealand from boarding a flight from Narita Airport (Tokyo, Japan) to Auckland in August, 2013.  Although there may have been work visa issues that I could have done in advance, this is usually a formality.  In any case, the fact that was made clear by the INZ agent who called me at the airport (via the cell phone of one of the airline workers) is that INZ was reading my blog, and based on stuff I had written in the blog, I was not welcome in New Zealand.  Efforts by a Christchurch-based immigration lawyer to help resolve the situation were unsuccessful, and I was not able to do any of the gigs planned in New Zealand.

While I was stranded in Japan, supporters around the world donated generously when I made an appeal to my email list, given that I was too skint to get out of Japan without some kind of assistance (I had no Plan B in this instance).  In the end I don’t think I lost any money at all from not being able to go to New Zealand, mostly because of the generosity of people who responded to that email, but also because I actually got the money back for the plane ticket for the flight I wasn’t able to board, which I wasn’t expecting, the way it is with airlines these days, at least outside of Europe, where they have some decent regulations around these things.  The tour of Australia and the rest of the year’s around-the-world tour went fine.

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