April 27th, 2023 -Train from Cologne to Bielefeld
The last time I toured Germany was January 2018. I was touring in support of ‘Dream Your Way Out of This One’. Since then I’ve become a parent, survived a pandemic and made a new album.
Leaving for tour has been harder since myself and Clare got together in 2010. Leaving for tour as a parent, is now even harder. A mixture of the usual parental anxieties and post pandemic stress I suppose When I called home last night my daughter spoke to me for about 3 minutes before asking if she could go back to what she’d been doing before I called. She’s fine.
I watched Aftersun on the flight to Frankfurt. Superb film Terrible choice for an anxious parent though. Have you seen it? Discuss. Without spoilers for those who haven’t. I thought it was magnificent. I watched the first half of the Elvis movie too. I think I know what happens next.
Last night I played the first show of the tour. It was a house concert in my friends Mel and Ulf’s beautiful home. Beforehand we had a great dinner together and chatted about music and motorbikes and friends and life and death and tanks and the war in Ukraine.
I enjoyed the gig very much. I learned the German word for Sea Area Forecast ( Seewetterbericht) and Distracted ( Abgelenkt) . I also learned that Baby Yoda is NOT Baby Yoda. Or should I say Baby Yoda, not Baby Yoda is? Baby Yoda is Grogu who is not Baby Yoda at all. Clearly, the pandemic was not long enough for me to catch up on my Star Wars. It also occurs to be that Star Wars might be the amalgamation of all the dinner’s conversation topics?
I was out of my mind jetlagged but the gig was lovely. I played a lot of the new album, learned that mein Deutsch ist etwas eingerostet. Ich verstehe viel besser als ich spreche.
German trains are very comfortable and when purchased in advance, cheap and always on time. Right after I typed this an announcement was made that there would be a delay. I am all powerful.
Next Day, Different TRain towards Duisburg
Last night I played in Bielefeld and it felt like a triumph. Thank you Ronny, Christina, Theodor, Frida, Sonja, Ralph and everyone who made everything so easy for me. German songwriter Ronny Kummernuß organised this one for me. We had a delicious meal together before the gig. ( Danke Christina!) I learned that there used to be a British military base nearby and because of that a lot of the Brit-pop bands used to play here. From here our conversation travelled back in time, only a little, and I learned about how Ronny grew up in East Germany and about his experience moving to the West right after the wall came down. He and I are the same age, I remember it so vividly in my my own mind, it was fascinating to hear his first hand accounts.
The gig was great. Sound was really good. The room was really nice. Great crowd. Great singers and great sales at merch table.
I stayed in a private room in a nearby Youth Hostel. It was very clean and very nice. There appeared to be a teenage wrestling team in the room next door to me. Their yelping at each other made me glad to be an aging old fart. It’s not easy being a teenager. Aging old farts like me would do well to remember that. The hostel was 30 second walk from the venue and right next to the Straßenbahn. Ronny, you really could not have made this any easier for me, thank you.
Tonight I return to Rees for a gig at Kätzchen – Cafe & Bar. This is my first time back in Rees since the death of my good friend Andrea Collins. Tonight’s concert is dedicated to Andrea.
Ronny and myself after the gig.