A Musician in Chains
As is posted on The Great Game's website:
"SCOTLAND TOUR IN JEOPARDY, DAVID HASTINGS ARRESTED FOR NOT HAVING A WORK VISUM TO PLAY FOR FREE!!!!!!"
Wednesday evening, after 10pm, I arrived home after a hard days work at the warehouse (the place where I currently train my body and mind,while earning more money for the publishing and life living.) After a few minutes spent at home, eating and preparing to do the good work for the day, I received an urgent message from a new friend, Khiara, telling me to call her as soon as possible.
And so, exhausted as I was, I decided that I had better call her. So I did.
After shortly dispensing with the pleasantries, she told me flat out.
"David is in a prison in Gatwick and he'll probably get deported to New York tomorrow."
Immediately, I knew that this was no joke, and my brother could be sent to a city where we have no family or friends... not even acquaintances. He was returning from visiting our family in the US, and was about to go on tour with his band, The Great Game. To be honest, I had instantly become a bit worried. This could put him on the street, or imprisoned, (knowing nothing of UK law at the time.) The details would have to be learned later, but once she had told me, that was it... and I could not help myself, but to burst out laughing.
Let's just say, David is a true musician, with his heart and mind on the music, and only his curiosity and compassion draw him away from it. We used to ask him to stop talking about music for only fifteen minutes... which he never could. At the same time that that makes him a true artist, it distracts him from... well... just keep reading.
Kiara was able to give me a number with which to reach David, in his detainment cell, as he awaited the dreaded "processing." While she tried to contact the band, and let them in on the situation, I called my twin brother, and asked him what happened.
He told me that he had had a bad feeling about this, when he'd boarded the plane from San Francisco to New York. His will to do the tour was strong, so he boarded the plane anyway. David's layover left him bored in New York for a while, and then he would eventually go to Gatwick Airport, in the UK.
Upon arrival, when going through customs, they had asked him what the reason was for his stay in the UK. He told them the truth, that he was going to be doing a few gigs in Scotland. As a follow-up, they asked him whether or not he was getting paid for the performances. His honest response was that he was staying at someone's place, so that he would not have to pay for a hotel. The officer's unjust, immediate response was, "So, you are making money in the UK."
Having no work permit, or UK citizenship, David was now in a bind. Suddenly, security was on the spot, and took him into questioning. My bro was put into a very small room, together with the police, as he was able to tell his story again and again. Unfortunately, their protocol dictated that he would be sent back to the airport that he had flown in from.
David had no idea what to do, as his possessions were taken from him, and he was put into a detention cell at the airport with a payphone, and other 'immigrants' who had not been able to get through customs, for multiple reasons. He was given coffee, dinner, and the treatment of a prisoner. The avid smoker could not even go outside for a smoke, to calm his nerves, and around 8 hours later, he was able to make a phone call to Khiara who, in turn, had contacted me.
I had been working all day, and when I got home, I called Khiara immediately, and so here we are. All caught up.
I also learned that he was going to be transferred to a detention center in the neighborhood. He had not been given the name of this detention center, so I could only guess which one it was. When we hung up the phone, he said that I had about an hour to figure something out. As Khiara and I were the only two people who knew about this turn of events, it was up to us to try to get the band over there, or anything else that we could do to try and get him out.
My telecommunications adventure began with calling our little brother, Alex. I told him that David was in prison, and after a laugh, and my story about what had happened, we both concurred that the only way to get him out of New York was to send him to our mother, so we called her. We had a few laughs, and did our best to devise a plan, still hoping that he would be free to do the tour.
After the conversation, and planning for Plan C, I called David again. It was a quick conversation, as he told me that he was going to be transferred to the "detention center".
I started to do some research on a place called "Brook House Immigration Removal Centre", the only detention center that I could find in the area. Considering how much of a problem that immigration has become the past few months, for most of the EU, I started to become more worried, especially after reading this article, among others.
Brook House Immigration Removal Center
Brook House runs like a prison. They open the cell at 8am and then close it at 11.30am. They open it again at 12pm for lunch. Shut again at 4.30pm. Open again at 5pm for dinner and then close at 8.30pm till the following morning.
While I was doing the research, Khiara was able to get in touch with the band. After Khiara had explained a bit of the situation, I was also able to call and give all of the details. By that time, I had tried to contact Gatwick Airport, Immigration, and any information centers there. Busy or closed, there was no way I was going to be able to help, until the services were open. As I told the band then, I was not able to reach him anymore, as he was being transferred to Brook House.
Even though the officers had told him that he would be able to charge his phone, that he was able to call when in Brook House, I heard nothing. I decided to get some sleep.
Thursday morning, I woke up, and immediately started to call the same numbers that would not pick up the previous evening. Immigration services were the most help, with immigration officer Kerry Longley offering great assistance. She told me that David was going to be deported to the United States, and that he would be on a plane by 5.10PM GMT. Apparently, he was going to be sent to a place where he would most likely end up on the street, or worse.
As I've said before, I was unable to contact David while he was at Brook house, so I went to work and kept my cellphone close by. About an hour after I had called her, Ms. Longley sent me David's itinerary, and I learned that he was being transferred back to the Airport. I needed to act quickly, so I sat myself between some pallets in the warehouse, and made my calls.
Every phone call I made, I was sure to verify that I was calling from Belgium, and that David did indeed live here. After a few phone-calls made, the immigration officials that I spoke to had already heard about David's Brother, who was trying his bet to get him out of there.
Hours passed without word, and I could not reach David, who was conferring with the guards about the tour, the band, and the fact that he did not live in New York but in Belgium.
Get this. He convinced them to let him book a flight to Brussels, a half hour before his flight to NYC. I don't know how he did it, or if I helped at all, but it was clear. We were going for plan B, that he would be sent to Belgium, and be able to stay here for a little while longer.
The band was doing their best as well, and had arranged paperwork for him to re-enter te UK and do the tour. There was just one problem left, which brings us to the way things are.
David Lee Hastings has been BANNED from the UK for 12 MONTHS for wanting to play FOR FREE, only for being honest about his actions in the UK.
Now, he is staying at Khiara's place, trying to find a way to return to Scotland victoriously, and continue "The Great Game". We will keep you posted if there are any turn of events, but as it stands, David is not able to perform with his band, which is a terrible thing indeed.
Here is the picture that they have posted on their website:
Image provided by The Great Game
You can get their FREE CD at The-Great-Game.com.
If anyone has any information on how to get David back into the UK, to finish the tour, contact me or the band, and let us know! A petition would be great!
FREE THE MUSIC
Here's YET ANOTHER link to the Indiegogo Project!
(Still not there, but one more Phase to go after this! )
(Phase II ENDS at the end of March, so get these deals while you still can!)
(We have new plans coming, so the Phase II items will be collector's items soon!)
Many other things have transpired this week, so first: what everyone wants to know. I'm going to make this quick, because he knows the time is short. Enjoy, and free the music!