More tour: Rotterdam Pt. 1   Leave a comment

OK. I’ve just left Germany for Holland, right?

I get to Rotterdam and meet my man Sascha at the station. He takes me to the Worm (their venue/organisation) offices and I am introduced to a young Japanese guy using a PC who I only later realize is the main act on the bill, i.e. Miss Hawaii. Later on I think I did ask him why he calls himself Miss Hawaii but his English was only somewhat better that my Japanese and we never really got to the bottom of the matter. (I think he said something like “Because I am Miss Hawaii, that’s me…” and I was like, “…right.”) After a while we hit the street to rendezvous with a guy who is going to drive us to the station, name of Peter. As he helps us pack ourselves and our gear into his little car (seats all fucked, loads of junk in the boot etc) I check his moustache, his messed-up Hitler youth cut, his thin 80s leather jacket and general rough and ready appearance and assume he is some sort of hired-hand or useful acquaintance-with-car figure. Not so, for he is actually one of the head honchos at De Player Club, which is where the gig is at. Worm used to have their own venue but it got condemned, or something, and so they have a little deal going with the Player people. The whole Player thing is interesting. It seems that the square where the club is situated had gone to the bad and it was all derelict shops and the heroin business etc. Historically it was where the sailors had themselves a good time and in fact the Player club is an ex strip joint. So, enlightened Europeans that these crazy Dutch are, the authorities turned to a local collective of young artsy culture-worker types and said “Do you want all these premises rent-free? Could you just keep the nastiness away? Here’s some skips for all the rubbish.” And that was that. Because these guys don’t have to pay rent, their costs are low, and so they can afford to do interesting things like pay chumps like me that no-one’s ever heard of to come and play at their place. Cool. Instant art serving a purpose. I’m not quite sure how many buildings they were operating in but there was the former strip club, another bar where they screened films which I didn’t get to see, and another place where they stabled their visiting artists. But more of that later.
The club inside was a bit damp-smelling and seedy looking, as you might expect, but once the lights were on and people started bustling about it soon took on an appearance of slightly ludicrous, edgy glamour (or something). The weird thing about the Player posse is that there seemed to be about eight or nine of them working, presumably for little or no money, and that definitely leant an air of professionalism about the proceedings that you don’t often get in the UK, where you tend to get left in the hands of a taciturn sound engineer who doesn’t do people. Well, I exaggerate a bit but you know what I mean. All this lot seemed to be late 20s to late 30s, and all really bright and switched on. All the gear worked, pizza and beer (Belgian beer) appeared, and the DJ was an affable Irish guy who played all things under the sun. He played something by Pink and Brown and Teppei (Miss Hawaii) got very excited and went up to point at the record and say “Pink & Brown!” However DJ boy thought he was asking him to turn it down, and he did!
Then Peter gets up and introduces me, and it is at this point that I realize that I seem to have missed the fact that he is one of the most savagely stylish fuckers I have ever been forced to feel shabby next to, but in a piss-takingly understated way. Annemiek, who seemed to be his partner in one sense or another, shared this uncanny sartorial, er…knack. I’m not really a fashiony person myself, but I think that most people dress like clowns, and the trendy people are the worst. Lately I keep seeing these boys walking down Mill Road in suit jackets and scarves, maybe with a trucker cap or a trilby, and I just feel embarrassed for them. Some of the drunks dress better in my opinion, but maybe that’s just me. Anyway, my point is it’s nice to see it when it’s done right. I won’t itemise their actual clothes for fearing of sounding gayer than I am already (No! I mean…) but I guess you could sum it up by saying that it’s that thing where one wears something slightly more recent than the current retro style and looks unique without drawing attention to oneself and also might have just chucked it on and possibly doesn’t give too much of a shit. Anyway Peter and Annemiek. Very. Fucking. Stylish. Peter’s in a band called Coolhaven, funnily enough.
Yeah, so…I do my set and I know it’s going OK but the audience all sits round the edge and watches politely like it’s Christmas with Mad Uncle Peter, and it’s only when I get off that I start to get my head round a specifically Dutch phenomenon (as far as I can tell having done a few gigs in Holland since then) which might be called NETHERLANDIC INVERSE HYSTERIA or something. Basically it means that they are attentive to a performance, but they save their emotional response until after the show, whereupon you have to explain to fair-haired and statuesque maidens that although you are able to provide them with copies of Um For Charity, A Small-Scale Operation, Umerz, and Um For Science, as well as Giraffe, , and with some sort of reasonable discount for a bulk purchase, you are as good as married back home and it wouldn’t be ethical to engage in a romantic physical encounter, even if you wouldn’t get killed if you did. I exaggerate for effect, of course (the blonde was actually on the next Dutch tour – she told me I was the new Jamie Lidell, and that she had fallen in love with me during my set, whilst Nathan tried to eat his own knuckles), but I did sell a ton of CDs and did get polite touchy-feely vibes from a woman called Joke. Surely if I was to stray outside the boundaries of a monogamous relationship whilst on the road then sleeping with a woman called Joke would constitute the least worst of all possible offences?
Then Miss Hawaii (the act, right?) steeped up and struggled a little with the void of the silliness characterised by the previous turn but did do some very fluid things with a lot of tabletop gear and made me think that on a good night he might have been pretty kickass in a quirky Japanese way. Indeed he mentioned as much afterwards and I could well believe him, as I say. So, thereafter he appeared somewhat glum in addition to looking profoundly socially ill at ease and I began to feel for the little dude and was rather surprised at the end of the evening when he informed our host rather directly that he required some marijuana. He pronounced it kinda funny too.

OK, in the next episode me and Teppei go camping and get STONED.

Posted February 9, 2006 by peteum2013 in Uncategorized

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