'As always, it was sheer pleasure to observe Robin Hill's remarkable fluent technique: everything looks easy when he plays it.' Colin Cooper- Classical Guitar Magazine ----- 'Wonderful for their (Hill & Wiltschinsky) precision, touch and clarity of sound... refined virtuosity, the achievement of a long interpretive process.' Il Giornale D'Italia (Rome) ----- 'I loved your CD and thought your technique and performance were fabulous...' Rick Wakeman

Monday, June 18, 2012

Fly With a Little Help from Lebrecht...

Getting to Norway was always going to be difficult.
Not because of the distances involved, after all Robin travels all around the world, Norway is pretty much on our doorstep.
But time was the issue.

Last Friday, the 8th of June, Robin was playing for the High Sheriff of Lancashire at lunchtime in Lancaster Town Hall.

This went very well and he then dashed off to catch the first of three flights.
That isn't exactly true, he couldn't really 'dash' to the airport as a murder had been committed on the motorway.

Honestly, you couldn't make it up....

Consequently the motorway was closed and we had to make a detour to a train station which duly delivered Robin to the airport just in time for his first flight.

Not the best of starts.
However, the journey was to get a whole lot worse.

A quick change of planes in Copenhagen and then he spent a night, or what was left of it, in a hotel in Oslo.

Early next morning he duly arrived to catch his Norwegian Air flight to Alesund.
He was met by the usual barrage of questions regarding the guitar, he was informed that under no circumstances would the instrument be allowed in the cabin but, on payment of an extra £20, could be consigned to the hold, even though we had already paid for extra hand luggage.

Robin then 'phoned his contact in America who advised that they would purchase another seat for the guitar.
He then went to the Norwegain Air desk and was informed that they did have a seat available but when he explained this was for his instrument they refused point blank.

After a Twitter exchange, Norman Lebrecht, very succinctly summed up the situation, on his blog, 'Slipped Disc'.
As Kenneth Woods highlighted during this discussion, 'Norman Lebrecht has been a real champion for musicians with airlines.'

Travelling with an instrument has been difficult for some time but the situation is getting worse, and more stressful, with every journey.
Airlines all seem to have different, ever changing policies regarding musical instruments but even then, it really depends who happens to be at the check in desk.
Some people are fine others make problems where none exist.

The fact is that a classical guitar case fits neatly into the overhead locker, still allowing space for other passengers to stow their belonings, or, within one of the wardrobes available on the aircraft.
It really isn't a problem.

But on this occasion the check in assistant wouldn't budge.
No guitar was getting on his plane.

So Robin informed them he wouldn't be getting on the plane either, and his agents booked another flight for much later in the day leaving Robin to spend the entire day back at the hotel.
The pressure was unrelenting as he didn't know if he would actually make his connection after all these delays.

Back at the airport later that evening, Scandinavian Airlines welcomed Robin, and guitar, on board without any hesitation.

Thankfully their were no further delays and Robin arrived with only 30 minutes to spare.

Travel is meant to be the easy part, it's playing the notes that is difficult.
Airlines should remember who the customer is...

The next day he was able to put all the stress behind him and deliver a great concert.
Which incidentally was filmed by a Dutch TV film crew, but that's another story....