Posted on juin 6, 2011 in News, State of McMind | 17 comments

To our cousins in the US, I really need to bring your attention to the bureaucratic theater that your ‘foreign‘ cousins are subject to every time we wish to bring our music/art to the US. To begin the arduous process of obtaining the necessary ‘work’ visa, we must first go on line with the closest US Consulate. The computer that answers you, for it is never a human, informs you that this phone call will cost you an extravagant sum of money. As you gradually work your way through the instructions, you can feel the euros leaking out of your pocket. We must then pay $45 in order to reserve an ‘interview’. If the date they give you is inconvenient, too bad: back to square one. And when it’s time to pay, then comes the big shock. « American Express cards are not accepted »! Amex cards are more American than apple pie! However, I digress. Before you can make your reservation for an ‘interview’, you must have in your possession a very important document which you can only receive having made the complicated application through a US lawyer in the US itself. (Average lawyers fees for my visa, $6000). Of course, this does not include my necessary flight to Paris (my closest US Consulate) the night before as the interviews are invariably given to you for 8h30, and the hotel costs. To give credit where it is due, some years ago, we were required to stand in the middle of the street, come rain, shine, snow, whatever, until we were allowed into the hallowed ground of the Consulate itself. Naturally enough, we were well protected from harm by marines with sub-machine guns who observed us stoically. These days we are allowed to enter as soon as we have been ‘controlled’ at the entrance. Once in there, it’s really just a question of taking out your book, (very necessary as no phones or computers allowed), and the interview takes form in questions about one’s motives? for visiting the US, and do you have all the documents? and being photographed and fingerprinted. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been fingerprinted and photographed by the US authorities since they repeat the exact procedure on arrival in the US, and then I’m in!!!
And there, are the greatest audiences in the whole world. God bless you all, only you make it all worth the hassle.