Um European Tour Debrief Part One, Day One.   Leave a comment

Okay. I’m still alive, although I have a bit of a tickly cough.

It was the night before I left…

I was trying my best to not to freak out and stick to normal routines so I drank quite a large amount of Guinness but nothing seemed to stem a rising sense of doom and panic. I described my state of mind to a drug-fan I know in an anarchist’s bedroom and he produced a packet of chill-out pills of some kind (Valium-stylee) like an emergency doctor. Then we drank Pernod, because it was all that was left. I popped a tablet experimentally and went to bed. After a sound and refreshing sleep I woke up again and began panicking anew in earnest. I took Syd to school and hugged him like I’d never get the chance again. Then Sam drove me to the airport and we said goodbye, also with some depth of feeling. I then took another magic pill and headed for the Shakespeare Bar. By the time we were due to board I felt reasonably neutral – like not drunk or whacked-out but no spineless terror either. I think I just sort of emotionally shut down, and I barely recall the flight. I tried to listen to Bowie’s Low but it didn’t seem to have anything to do with me.

Berlin was cold and snowy, however, and the price of beer is almost as sweet as the taste. Nathan laid out a welcoming plate of:

Carrots
Peppers
Stuffed vine leaves
Raw-ish ham in large chunks with cloves of garlic stuffed into it
Olive oil
Pesto
Hard cheese
Soft cheese
Dark bread
White bread
Sun dried tomatoes in oil

Nathan ate like a horse. I ate like one of those small, prehistoric horses. This pattern continued throughout my stay. Apparently the reason that they have those flat-bottomed INSPECTO-POO bogs in Germany is because parasites can be present in uncooked meat. I did actually enjoy the food (the pork excepted) but I still managed to seem like an ingrate and crack jokes about carrots, which was upsetting to my kind host. Sam has since had a go at me – “You and your little jokes…”

Then we headed out to find the venue. At the arched iron entrance to the RAW Tempel a man stood smoking. He was lit from behind and was dressed like a 50s actor, possibly in a German film without many gags in it. As we passed he said: “You are from England?” This was Bernd, my contact. It seemed funny to me that he was waiting outside in the sub-zero for me to get my stupid ass over from Great Britain. The venue was great – a big old barn of a place a bit like a smaller version of Dachstock in Berne. I was so excited and keen to get on with the job and chuffed to be there that I don’t remember much about the gig except that I was a bit of a show-off and drew attention to someone who was wearing leather trousers. “What’s leather trousers in German?” I quipped, and then felt pretty stupid when someone told me. The set finished with a dog coming up onstage to gently greet me as the music faded. Then I sat down and saw Panos from The Chap coming to greet me and then went over and hung out with these London boys, which was great. There were with a geezer called Alex, who has some sort of connection to They Came from The Stars, I Saw Them, and who was organising the The Chap gig the following night at Schoko-Laden. He suggested that I also might have a small role to play in the entertaining of the punters at that gig also, which was kind of fittingly weird as I had been terrier-ising the various Chap chaps about this possibility for some weeks previous, but for one reason and another the idea had fallen off the table. So, now, although I’d booked my plane tickets to Germany without any definite gigs, the two miracle gigs that had been hastily organised just before I had now suddenly become three. Three gigs in a three-day visit! I felt amazed and chuffed and incredibly artistic and a little bit up-myself. What with Bernd’s charismatic handler number and Nathan introducing himself (in German) as my tour manager to all and sundry and me not having much to do save for singing and smiling and drinking free beer it was all a bit odd in the most brilliant kind of way. Eventually we left and went home to Nathan’s, so that was Day One done and dusted. Thank you and goodnight!

Posted March 3, 2005 by peteum2013 in Uncategorized

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