Archive for February 2007

The Last Post? Euro tour diary Pt. whatever…   Leave a comment

Yeah, so following my revelation that I could actually cope with short periods of travel in Europe, and even find some things about it to enjoy, I suddenly chilled out on a profoundly deep level, and I began to look forward to doing a last gig and then fucking off back to Blighty in my own personal understated version of triumph. In the morning, clad in our hangovers, we shuffled over to Peter’s flat for breakfast. He seemed to be aware of the ongoing carrots theme because he amused me by plonking down two huge unwashed examples down on the wooden tabletop first, as if to say “you’re really going to have to get down with this shit sooner or later, Cornflakes-boy.” I think I delicately filled up on some rough granary bread and honey, thinking that I’d better eat whilst there was food in front of me, and then Annemiek appeared with varieties of the most delicious-looking cheese and a long, foldable strip of Turkish bread. Teppei had already managed to embarrass himself by adding sour cream meant for coffee or carrots or God-knows-what to some muesli, and sat there mute and ashamed whilst our hosts quizzed me about the psychological motivations behind a career in singing-over-tapes. With my new found sense of things being generally OK, I perhaps was more forthcoming than usual, which surprised me, but served to further strengthen the sense of rapport with my new Dutch friends. Then, on being furnished with details about train connection times and so on, we were rushed to the station for our rail journey to Nejmegen. As sson as we were on the train, hwoever, we realized that we didn’t have any details about where Extrapool (the venue) was, or any contact details for the promoters. I realize this sounds a bit silly but …well, the more I think about it the more silly I realize it is, especially as the only phone number we had for the Rotterdam posse was the WORM office, and it was now the weekend. Oops, as they say in Holland.
The journey from Rotterdam to Nejmegen is not a pretty one at the best of times, as the landscape is almost identical to East Anglia, and so I felt at home it the worst kind of way, and plus sheets of very heavy rain were tumbling out of a very black sky, but I still felt as cheerful as it was possible to feel whilst travelling blindly in a storm with a companion to whom one cannot communicate. Actually I am over-emphasizing Teppei’s lack of spoken English, and we were able to thrash out a rough plan of trying to phone a mate of his in Berlin who I’d met at C-Base, Sebastian from ADADAAT, if I’m getting this right. This we attempted on disembarkation at Nijmegen, but to know avail. Then we moved onto a sort of impromptu plan b situation of asking random people who looked like they might have been to a gig once or twice in their lives if they knew the fuck where Extrapool was, but they just seemed to think we were polite forgein junkies. This situation continued for over an hour, and I was beginning to think that there might not be an Extrapool, or that if there was, and that we did ever make it to the gig, we would be one of a select few. Eventually I asked the guy who was working in the Europop CD shop in the station, and although he didn’t know, he thought he might be able to phone some who might. They didn’t, as it turned out, but they thought they might be able to phone someone who… Anyway, eventually we received directions along the lines of “that way and then that way”, and we set off accordingly. It wasn’t that hard to find, especially since that once we were in the correct street Teppei bizarrely began to behave in the manner of one who had been to the place already, as indeed, it turned out, he had.
Extrapool is a very cool combination of an artists space/living quarters/venue/printing operation/bookshop and general focal point for the incredibly nice folk that do their thang there to do that thang. The small stage room has no stage, and neighbour issues prevent them from being too loud, but I would say it was worth travelling there from East Anglia just for the wallpaper, which you can’t say about most venues. They also provided me with one of the best vegetarian suppers I have ever had, and since vegetarian catering is something I do in another life, I do not say this lightly. Whoever made that soup knew some shit about soup, for instance, and that sort of person is an indivdual to be celebrated and cherished. I could go on for some time about how cool I thought Extrapool was, but it would most likely bleed into my usual riff about how much I like Holland, and Germany, and value highly the organisational talents, the general switched-on-ness, and the downright straightforward niceness of the folk I have encountered in my gig-related dealings on the continent. I’m sure mainland Europe has devious and dumb people in its musical underground communities, but I have been blessed to have avoided them thus far.
So, the gig goes OK, insomuch as about 35 people sit with their backs to the fabulous wallpaper and seem a bit reluctant to look me in the eye whilst I am singing the short songs, but afterwards an illogically large percentage of them want to come up and chat and to exchange Euros for CD-Rs. In my subsequent experiences I have discovered that this is HOW HOLLAND WORKS, so my advice to fellow musical travellers in The Netherlands is to HOLD ON IF YOU FEEL GOOFY. The rest of the evening passed real mellow and swell, with Miss Hawaii and other act Fokudda joining up for a good-humoured all-star jam at the end. I also had a good chat with this other Peter dude from Extrapool about the utter pointlessness of all this supercharged hydroponic shit that is more or less the norm these days. Like, to me, smoking dope is an art, he he, and it isn’t just about MORE MORE MORE. If they started selling beer that was 25% in pubs I’d probably have one once for a laugh but I wouldn’t suddenly switch from my perfectly adequate pint of wife-beating Stella or whatever. It almost strikes me that there ought to be a CAMPAIGN FOR REAL DOPE or something just to raise awareness, because skunk is just making a lot of innocent teens DEEPLY PARANOID etc etc. You know what I mean.
So, finally I have wrapped up the tour diary that covers five days in Europe and took about a year and a half to write. Nothing else really happened except that whilst attempting to chill out for my flight I drank about 3 bottles of Duvel in Rotterdam and took a couple of special mellowing pills for nervous flyers, and by the time we got to Stanstead I was actually bouncing along the walls of the corridor to the terminal. I also fell asleep on the coach to Cambridge, and in the morning every time I tried to relate some amusing anecdote to Sam concerning my European adventure she said “You told me this last night while you were high and drunk”.

Anyway, guess I ought to try and sort things out with Colin so’s we can all get out of here, huh?

Posted February 6, 2007 by peteum2013 in Uncategorized