States refuses french artists


I�m again not coming for my gigs in the States this weekend. Really believe me I�ve tried everything, but here is what we have to deal with now with the US embassy in Paris.

After obtaining a new passport 2 weeks ago, it was sent directly to the US Embassy.

Since the Iraq conflict, it is totally forbidden to access the premises. You can only send documents by special courier like �Chronopost� (our equivalent to Fedex or DHL).

There is no way you can speak to anybody on the phone, free of charge, unless a matter of life or death!!!!, otherwise you have to pay via credit card 15 Euros (= 15 dollars) for a �recorded� conversation to be able to ask a question !!!!! (believe me we tried it and we only go one person once on the phone for about 10 trials).

So far it is simple !!! ��. But that is nothing.

It says on the Embassy�s web site that a visa takes 5 days to get done� (this was true in the past as I already applied for about 8 visas for the past 10 years, without any trouble).

After waiting for 8 days with no reply whatsoever�(remember it�s impossible to get in touch with them) we then decided to send a fax to ask about my visa, the following day somebody got back on the phone to my agent literally insulting her, asking her who the hell did she think she was to ask things like that !!!!!�

We finally got back my passport this afternoon �.and guess what !!!! it says that my request was incomplete ????

01) My pictures were not conform to the new demand of the US Embassy �they were of course regular passport pictures (sounds pretty obvious doesn�t it) but these don�t work anymore for a US visa in France. They actually now request a very precise size, back drop colour, and format for the pictures, (they now give you a couple of addresses where to go and get those pictures done)����.I got my little ruler out, checked the size, everything is conform regarding size and colour, but they still refused it �..I don�t know but maybe they don�t accept people wearing tee shirts anymore on the photos !!!!! This had never been specified before to me.

02) They now asked me to fill a new form that is compulsory for people living in Iraq, Iran, Libya, Ireland, Syria, North Korea, Sudan, Cuba !!!!!!!

Yes you are not dreaming ���. It looks like France is now either considered as a terrorist ,a communist or a threatening country !!!!!

Here are just a few questions from this form:

-Give all the names of every single country you have visited in the last 10 years, also give the years of each visit (I have roughly thought a minute about this one, each time I�ve been abroad in the past 10 years I would have to put around 900 dates and countries)

-Have you ever been involved in an armed conflict�? (that�s a good one, euhhh not really other than what the television shows me every day�).

-Have you got special experience with explosives, nuclear, chemical, biological weapons? (heuuu sorry I�m French, we make very good Camembert, does that count??).

This form has never EVER been required before�

So here are the facts: I have paid 3400 Dollars !!!(yes you�ve heard right 3400 Dollars) to the US embassy in December 2002 for a visa that they still won�t give me yet.

They did not refuse it, it is more unclear than that, they are just making it impossible for me to receive it�

They were fully aware of my dates of departure ,they only waited until this morning to tell me that they needed new things that they never requested before !!!!!!

Quite frankly I�m getting very sick and pissed off with the situation, and to see that we cannot access the Embassy and have tried to move mountains I�ll never get my visa before next week ��..and even that is not sure.

This is what we have to go through now � is that the price that French artists have to pay because of our government�s position?

Well all I can say is that I hope that one day artists will be free again to travel to the States, but until that date it doesn�t look like
I am going to be able to come over and play records for you.

With regret,

Laurent Garnier