February 12th, 2017
On the road out of Ghent to Mehr. Casey Black on the stereo. “Fire, fire, fire, fire in my head tonight.” Roadblocks in Ghent thoroughly confused the satellites and us. Windmills on the E17. The road, not the boyband. Direction Antwerp. Ghent is a fine town. I’ve told you before. I may tell you again. If your life presents you with the opportunity to go to Ghent. Go. The gig was at Café de Loge. It was only my second time playing here but the owners Mieke and Jos provide the kind of warm welcome that makes them feel like instant old friends. Aged 50, they have been together since their twenties and are getting married this summer. “In our twenties when all our friends were getting married we always said we would get married when we were 50, well, now we 50.”
The gig was really enjoyable, I had a great crowd who were incredibly quiet throughout. It is a lovely room to sing. Really a venue to be treasured. I did ‘Be There If I have to Swim’ as my encore. The best answers for “What is the worst job you ever had?” were:
“Shovelling sugar in a cake factory”
Mieke told me she has three rules to help keep the audience quiet during performances.
1. Be completely silent.
2. Be as quiet as you possibly can.
3. Don’t be louder than the music.
Should you per chance drift somewhere between rules 2 and 3 she will come and sit down next to you as a warning.
I stayed at Monasterium Poortackerie, a 13th century monastery in the heart of Ghent. We hung out at the venue afterwards with some of the guests and the sound man Jonathan. I chatted with two older English couples who live in boat houses in town. I did a little too thorough a tasting of Belgium’s finest beers and was thoroughly educated in their various Trappiste ways by my very generous hosts. This morning I woke up on top of blankets with the window open feeling like I had been mugged. By myself. The Belgian beer is a fine stallion. It will certainly get you there. Fast. If not approached with caution and respect it will most certainly kick you in the head.
Today I am playing a church built in 1776. From the 13th century monastery to an 18th century church. In a day. The gig was lovely again. I did one longer set instead of two sets tonight.
The answer to the worst job ever question was “working in a fast food restaurant kitchen.”
February 13th, 2017, Rheinterassen Collins, Rees
I am back in John and Andrea’s place. Up in the attic listening to the boats go about their business on the rhine. Mac is reading some history books. He and John both are hugely knowledgeable in this regard. To be sure there is a lot of history right here. I could learn a lot by shutting up and listening to them talk.
I was given two gifts of chocolates. If I ate and drank everything I was offered on tour I’d be much bigger than I am. And probably dead.
Mac has gratefully pointed out that none of the venues of houses we stayed in so far none have had television.