Updated: Jul 1, 2019
This is it, the moment of truth. I step towards the customs officer at New York City Airport with my declaration form in my hand. He's a 50 something, six foot, barrel chested, probably Polish or Irish origin New York Native in the intimidating type of uniform that the States does so well. I have cleared immigration, now I just have to get past this guy. We will very quickly find out whether or not I have played my cards right. You see I have some copies of my new CD and vinyl 12" - that shit is heavy - in my bag. I have done the right thing and declared them on my form, since I have to pay import tax, but my guesstimate at the exact amount of vinyl might be a little bit less - oh, OK, it might be half the actual amount. I am trying to look calm and casual in the midst of my jetlag as I step towards him and he stares down at me "What you got there?" "The other officer" I say, pointing behind me, "sent me to you" "Uh huh" he grunts "Where you from?" "Australia" "Where you headed" he still hasn't asked for my form, "New York" "Yeah, where?" he barks "Oh, a friend's place, I'm staying with him and his wife" that sounds good doesn't it, marriage, respectable "What you got" he grabs the form from my hand and looks at it as if it is written in Hindi "Oh, just some vinyl" "Vinyl?" "Yeah, some copies of my 12" record, I'm an independent Hip Hop artist, I've just brought some promo copies with me" I try not to sweat "How many?" "About twenty" I lie "Where you staying in New York?" "The Bronx" "The Bronx?" he looks at me directly for the first time, slightly surprised, "Yeah, the Bronx" He scans the room for any supervisors and says with a slight smile and wave of his hand "You can go through, welcome to New York".