October 12, 2010 14:44

Flowers Of Hell mainman mistaken for MI5 spy in Papua New Guinea

Greg Jarvis had to play 'for his life' while holidaying

Flowers Of Hell mainman mistaken for MI5 spy in Papua New Guinea

Photo: Press

The Flowers Of Hell founder Greg Jarvis has said that he got mistaken for an MI5 spy by the Organisasi Papua Merdeka movement (OPM) in Papua New Guinea while holidaying in the country recently.

Jarvis, who releases new album 'O' on November 15, explained how he saw a political demonstration from an OPM group while in the Sentani area of the country, and walked over with his camera visible. However, he was unaware that the group, whose name translates as the Free Papua Movement, is outlawed in Indonesia, and that membership of it is considered treason.

After the protestors saw him and noticed his camera, Jarvis was apparently chased back to his hotel, where he was forced to plead with the group for his safety and convince them he was a musician.

"I just kept feeding them Elvis' old Vietnam War-era line," he explained. "'Look, I'm just a musician; I don't know anything about politics.'"

Jarvis added that music did eventually play a part in his escape.

"I knew the OPM has a history of kidnapping and in some cases killing foreigners," he said. "So I asked if I could go to my room at get an instrument – I had a travel ukulele that I'd picked up on Denmark Street (in central London). In that moment I just wanted to play, for it didn't look like I'd ever get to play again.

"I started playing a version of 'Opt Out', our usual set-closer, and I played good, like my life depended on it - because it did! Almost immediately the tense atmosphere dissipated. After a couple minutes one of them stood up and yelled and they all left abruptly!"

The Flowers Of Hell release their new album, '"O"', via Optical Sounds on November 15.

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