Sunday, 26 January 2003

Ireland & Holland, Dec. 2002 - Jan. 2003

Sat 30 Nov. Having played a few acoustic gigs since Scandinavia it's good to have the full-on noisy electric crew in the Gaiety Theatre on a Saturday night. Teusner on drums, Brian O Tool on bass, and Foxy Murphy on guitar. My old friend and artist Ger Sweeny is in town and drops in for the gig. Early on, it's kind of quiet, but later the place is packed. The usual ones, "Hard Times", "Racketeers Lament" go down well. Old songs that haven't seen the light of day are resurrected like "Don't Ask Me Any Questions" and Foxy rocks the place up with "Peepin' and a Hidin'" and Johnny Burnetts' classic "Train Kept A Rolling".

Guitar-doc Eugene is on the guest list, and he gets me a Guinness, and Dave Slevin is in as well. The place is hopping and it's always a pleasure to play with Foxy. Over the last 7 months I've learned so much from him. He's really affected the way I play guitar. Get back home around 4.30 and I crack open a bottle of port and we drink hot ports and play records until 8am......time for a lie down, as there's the Swedish Fair at 2pm and then Cian has a session in the Celt on Talbot St. at 6.

Sat 7 Dec. An acoustic gig with Fiachra Shanks....we've already done a few, a warm up in the Dice Bar, and a Slattery's one (Dublin). When we get to Connolly Station nobody seems to be able to tell us if the 'Sligo Special' is traveling or not. Eventually the girl in the ticket office believes the announcements that are blasting out over the tanoy speakers and sells us the fucking tickets and we get on the train. Nod off for a while and we have a beer or two. I discover a baby bottle of Absolute Vodka in my pocket!

When we get to Mount Someplace the train gets a bit fucked up...they can't close the doors! After 40 minutes of not going anywhere an announcement tells us they can't sort out the problem, so we have to get off the train and a bus will bring us the rest of the way to Sligo, apparently a regular occurence. Only problem being the two 24 seater coaches they've called, won't carry all the passengers. So we're left in the bitter cold in the middle of nowhere, with a couple of locals as company, who had planned a night out in Sligo. I reckon another train is due to pass through soon, also bound for Sligo. When I enquire about this I'm told, "Oh, sure that one's broken down in Boyle " EVENTUALLY a bus comes and gets us to Swinging Sligo.

The gig is in McGarrigles. A nice place where the audience really understand the concept of LISTENING! We have a good time, the PA is great and we enjoy ourselves. We stay in a kip called The Belvedere. The beds are shit and the shower isn't up to much. The breakfast is fine though, and they get us a late one, none of this 'breakfast ends at 11' bollocks.

Sun Dec 15 On Thursday me and Fiachra played an acoustic gig in Slatts, and it was a late one as usual. All back to mine for late drinks and the Ritual of digging out old records. Last night we played The Gaiety and it was LOUD ! Tonight its a benefit show for some Hospice ( I think) over on Leeson St, in the Sugar Club. Also on the bill, Settler and The Walls. The sound is good and the stage is the right size, but the bar is everything else in Dublin these days.

Thur. Jan. 16 2003 Up early (7 am) to catch the plane to Amsterdam with Fiachra Shanks. We played another local gig a few days ago and I reckon we're in fit shape for a ramble around Holland. The guy who is bringing us our drinks on the plane says we did well getting our guitars on as hand-luggage. I tell him I always bring it (and sometimes two guitars) on as hand-luggage and nearly have a nervous breakdown if they give me hassle over it. I tell him of my few nightmare scenarios with Ryan Air and the guy tells me that the owner of Ryan Air is up in first class. (this is an Aer Lingus flight). I feel like going up and strangling the cunt.

On arriving , I enquire how we get to Schipol as our booking agent had told me , once we get to Schipol to get a train to Deventer to meet him. The very patient lady informs me that THIS is Schipol. Aha !! I see....the airport is Schipol..!!!!...Need a beer after that (Fi has a coffee). Sleep on the train and when we get to Hengelo the place looks sort of familiar. I know I've never gigged here before but I may have done a bit of shopping here when our driver needed to sleep for an hour or two. It was '97 and we were on our way to Kiel in northern Germany. Sleep a bit more....shower, dinner and Fiachra finds a junk shop next door (which has loads of great stuff) and so he buys an 8mm camera for a fiver ! Play the gig and its fine. Late drinks. Crash.

Fri 17 Hengelo......Up early and get breakfast in a little place across town. Hengelo doesn't seem such a bad place at all. Check out some boots...ramble. Get a text from Klarky in Helsinki and he's talking about the documentary on the band he started to film a few months back, and the possibility of getting it on Finnish TV. The gig is moved to a bigger room and the sound is bouncing all over the place. Meet Gary from Radio Hengelo who wants us to do a radio session. Late drinks in a place called Rooti Tooti.

Sat 18 Concidering the time I got to lie down, the 12.30 alarm call is too early. There's a car downstairs waiting to take us to the Radio Station. We play 4 songs live and and do an interview and the DJ manages to say the word 'fuck' on air more often than the combined efforts of the whole Osbourne family. We enjoy the whole experience.

Meet a local promoter who might do something for us in that nebulous thing they call the future. A metal band and are the next guests on the show. Can't remember their name but they seemed like nice guys. Find an internet cafe but it's all Mac's and I cant get it to access Hotmail. I'm confused. I'm a PC man myself. Find a bar called Innocent where bottles of Grolsch cost 1 Euro !! Have a little nap before the gig. I need it at my age.

Sun 19 A day off. Have a few drinks waiting for Fi to surface, then we take the train down to Enschede. Wander around and come across a gig. We're in Cafe Jansen and Jansan drinking and get talking to some people and soon we're up on stage with a couple of borrowed guitars. Drums and bass join in an the place is rockin'. A lot more up for it than last nights crowd. Great fun.

Mon 20 Meet Mark (booking agent) in Deventer for a few afternoon drinks. His son Tristan (aprox 5) reckons I look like Elvis !! Get into Amsterdam around 6pm..... Find a cheap Hotel near Central Station. It's pissing rain big time. Lucky I brought my umbrella. Don't like getting caught in the rain. Eat a falafel, wander around the place, down the red light area, a few of my old favourite bars, can't remember what they're called, but remember the streets.

Tues 21 Amsterdam.......Lenny arrives over from Dublin and the gig is in St. James' Gate, over on Rembrant's Plein. It's shit. The PA is a toy. Dinner is good though.....and the people that came in to see us seemed to enjoy their night out. I'm a little bit of sunshine in peoples lives............... Eventually locate a late bar. Lots of stories..... Lenny tells us about meeting Marianne Faithful and singing with her. We drink to the early hours and I find an internet connection in the my emails. Miss my missus.

Wed 22 Called over to The Tara to see my old friend Michelle. Have wonderful pints of Guinness, a big dinner and more pints. Nod off to sleep for a few minutes and Michelle sorts me out with a tequilla. We're playing down the road in Mulligans Pub. Lenny joins us for a few songs, Canadians take photos and buy CD's.

Thurs 23 Still in Amsterdam.....Eamo make big fry-up....eggs, tomatoes, onions, waffles, toast and a big pot of tea. Its drizzlig rain all afternoon. Later I bump into Lenny and Fi out on their shopping excursion. Lenny gets a kick out of my bright green umbrella...I tell her my umbrella is a patriot. Take a few photos. Takes a few hours to get to Appeldoorn. Been here before. A boring town. Apparently The Levellers played here last night. Mark calls down to the gig.

Fri 24 Appeldoorn............. Buy a couple of CD's. The Band, the one with 'The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down' and a compilation of old timey, bluegrass and country, with folks like the Stanley Brothers, Bill Monroe, The Carter Family, and Blind Willie Johnson. Back at Hoofstraat 16 everybody is tired. Some of the gig is ok.

Sat 25 Still in Appeldoorn.....Not exactly the greatest gig of my career. Wouldn't have minded moving on to another town for a change of scenery. Afterwards I catch a bit of a blues gig around the corner. Howlin' Wolf on my stereo.

Sun 26 Take the wrong train and get lost. It all works out ok eventually. We were given the wrong information. Have a few hours to kill in the airport. Drinks while we wait. Hold out for food on the plane...and have a few red wines. Home late...shower ...dinner....count my money..