Monday, 26 December 2011

Wed July 6 Göteborg…The genius of Joe Phelps brightens up the first hour of the day. “Shes A-1” “Wasting My Time” two great songs. ….and “Love Is A 5 Letter Word”. (its spelt M.O.N.E.Y.) Tell it like it is Joe.
Leonard was singing about Montreal, when I see on the interweb one of Orite Shimoni’s photos of her old pad in Montreal. I remember it well. Scanned her writings on touring, not having a home, the nomadic life and so on and so forth. Put on the Little Birdie CD. The sun was streaming through the trees.

Fri July 8 Dublin….. Met a dazed Liam O Maonlai on Duke Street. He was standing in the middle of the street staring into space. “You ok ? “ I asked. He went on to explain that he was trying to figure out if he should go to the US in the morning or stay in Ireland. A solo tour was set up but his work visa hadn’t come through. We went to the International for a drink and a chat.

Went to the Steps Of Rome for pizza and red wine, sitting outside on the street as the sun faded. Thin Lizzy’s “Dancing In The Moonlight” blasted out of the Gendist Fire and Safety van parked a few yards away. On the next street Phil Lynott’s majestic stuatue presides over the weekend revellers. Met Cormac Figgis AKA Ted of the Teds fame for a chat.

Sat July 9 Cong / Enniscrone…the car radio was on. Not my decision. The midday DJ was telling a story about some visitor to his home who commented on how lousy his CD collection was. He told his friend that he wasn’t all that interested in music !! And here he is on national radio admitting this, and still playing records for the young people of Ireland, helping to make and break acts, indoctrinating the gullible lazy youth of the emerald isle. No wonder the radio is crap.

Found Nymphsfield on the outskirts of Cong. These stone circles were first noted by Edward Lhwyd on his tour of Ireland in 1699. Lhwyd measured and made sketches of the four circles, and noted smaller inner circles or settings within two of them. William Stukley, the great English antiquarian later reproduced Lhwyd's unpublished drawings. The biggest circle was odd in that the stones were all warm to the touch, like electric heaters. And this was on a windy rainy day. The most complete circle is in somebodys back garden. How cool is that. It was around here that the famed first battle of Moytura took place, when the mythical and mystical race, the pre-celtic Tuatha De Dannan defeated the vile Fir Bolg.

The yellowing compass was pointing north. The rain came down in a sideways fashion. Dinner in Ballina led to a trip out to Enniscrone the wild and windswept seaside town. Down in the sand-dunes, the rain came in from the sea. The Atlantic waves rolled and rumbled, unstoppable. An old guy sat outside his mobile home thinking of what might have been and the tales of yesteryear, the forgotten lore of days long ago. The years belie the face and the hands belie the deed. Theres darkness on the edge of the page at this time of the evening.

Tues Aug 16 Berlin…. People in a hurry, S Bahn, U Bahn, taxis, planes, bikes. All on the go. Stopped for food in a small Thai restaurant near Frankfurter Alee. A beer to wash it down, followed by coffee. The food was passable, the beer very good, the coffee atrocious. Stank of saccharin, stevia, aspartame, sucralose, neotamee and acesulfame.

The gig at East Of Eden was a sad affair. The last Tuesday show ever as the place is closing down. End of an era. I felt rusty. The guitar was like an alien in my hands. Tobias from Trailhead played a set too and all the usual suspects were up for a late drink and a ramble through Friedrichshain.

Wed Aug 17 Berlin… Spent the day in Allen Devines studio working on a song. Well, Allen did all the work. I just hung around. Later a taxi deposited me in the Tiergarten at the door of the Haus Der Kulturen where Lord Mouse and The Kalypso Kats put on a great show. A big hall, could probably hold 2000. I reckon there were 400 in. Later, re located to Artliners for beverages and discussion on a myriad of subjects.

Thurs Aug 18 Berlin…Went to a Russian Bar with Mark for a beer and a chat. Sun beaming down like a 150 watt lamp at close range. Later I had dinner in a Thai restaurant and from there went out to Kreutzberg to Soul Cat for the gig. A hot sticky evening, but one with a cool vibe. Later I hung out with Paul trying in vain to avoid the heavy down pours.

Fri Aug 19 Heidelberg….Last thing I wanted to do was deal with a 7 hour train journey with changes at Hanover and Frankfurt. Wasn’t in the mood for reading. A few phone calls. A drink. A sandwich. Another few hundred miles to go. Found a private carraige for the last leg of the journey, but was promptly joined by a lady and her two kids. They were just back from Southampton where they now live. But she learnt her perfect English in Ireland. Lived in Oz too for a long time. Her kids speak fluent English, German and French. I told her my story too, a very abbreviated version.

Got in a bit late for the gig. No panic. Sold CDs and had a good time chatting to Scottish Iain who had supplied the PA. The manager of the place took me out to a few dodgy bars and then I went back to the hotel for 40 winks. Another day, another gig done and dusted.

Sat Aug 20 Ludwigshafen….Had a much needed long sleep in. A ramble through a hot Heidelberg took up early afternoon. Down by the River Neckar and then up through the baroque style Old Town. I’d been here before several years ago, but didn’t get to see much of this Handsel and Gretel town snuggled in a deep deep valley in the Odenwald. People were sitting outside cafes and bars, some inside to avoid the sun. Afternoon drinks I the lonesome world of daydreams. I decided to join them. Ordered a bottle of Rathaus Pils. Sat in the window looking out onto the busy street.

Earlier in the week I’d been reading Burroughs and in the hazy heat notions of ‘reading between the lines’ using his cut-up technique on some automatic writing / streams of consciousness prose as a means to divine the future. Scribbled down a few notes and made a promise to look deeper into this at a later stage. The past however, is a different kettle of cacti. What if you had no past, no memory?. No ghosts, no demons. A clean slate, a clear path to walk through the gate.

Swatted an annoying wasp to death with my pocket diary. Straight away there was another one on the scene, but he kept his distance, either understanding that he may suffer the same fate as his murdered relative or maybe he couldn’t be bothered.

A lady went by in a wheelchair. Both arms amputated from the elbows, and legs amputated from the knees. A practical medicinal cigarette holder attached to the upper arm allowed her to chain smoke while she was pushed along. A tall skinny man with a walking stick followed closely behind. He had huge rubber stumps where his feet should be. As big as a young elephants feet. Another guy with a wobbly leg arm in arm with his blind girlfriend. A balding spastic type guy in his 30’s, pushed along in his chair by his elderly parents who were probably thinking ‘what will happen to our Wolfgang when we are cold in the grave?’ Makes you realize how lucky you are to write a cliché that hits home. When a well dressed hunched old guy came around busking the tables with his hand-clapping gig, it was time to move on. You could train a monkey to do that and it would still be shit. Sir, buy an instrument, a modicum of talent goes a long way. I should know.

Got down to Ludwigshafen, which seemed urban and moderrn by comparison. A nice place to play on a hot steamy night and Andreas is a genial host. Luckily I had two huge fans either side of the stage to cool me down a bit. All the windows had to kept closed during the gig to avoid complaints from neighbours. Later as I was getting ready to crash out the rains started and it lashed down all night.

Sun Aug 21 Friedelsheim…Thankfully the rains ended and after a cup of tea and a few biscuits with Andreas, I was on a train for Friedelsheim, a small town near Mannheim. When I stood up and grabbed my guitar and bags to get off the train, all the passengers stared. I felt I’d made a mistake. Could this be the right place? No town in sight, just a dusty platform and mile after mile of sun bleached vineyards stretching to the foothills of the distant Taunus mountains. It was 34 degrees celsius. I expected tumble weed to roll by. Luckily I had a mobile phone so I called Jenny. She told me I was in the right place and she drove down to collect me. The town was about 2 miles up the road. I quickly et Mark and crew and a fine pint of Guinness was put in front of me. It didn’t last long.

The festival vibe was in full swing. Then I met Hans, a journalist from a national newspaper who took me off to a bar on the edge of a big field where we drank sweet white wine. The sun eventually sank behind the hill and I played my set. Enjoyed it too.

Was invited to some guys nearby house but something told me to politely refuse. I recall once in Switzerland when bass player Brian accepted an invitation into some guys pad. After sharing a glass or two of whiskey Brian was subjected to a martial arts display with several high kicks just missing his head. His derranged host then produced a knife and insisted that Brian should buy it from him and when he refused to buy the weapon the guy got very very pissed off. Somehow or other our bass player got out of there in one piece, albeit a bit shook up. When I refused this German gentlemans invitation he too got really annoyed and Mark and crew had to get involved and ejected him from the area.

A few hours later I was on a train to the airport and it was all just another piece of fiction, that might have been true.

Friday, 1 July 2011

Denmark, Sweden , Germany

Friday 25 March, Copenhagen....The castle in Helsingborg looked a lot more interesting than the last time I passed through here. Maybe they changed the route. Made a mental note to visit here some day with a camera, but mental notes are precarious and get lost in the hard drive in my skull. Pen and paper came to the rescue. Apparently Helsingborg is one of the oldest cities in Sweden and has been the site of permanent settlement (officially) since 21 May 1085. Thats a long time.

Same half-sunken boat bopping dead in the waters as the last time I passed this way. I was on a speeding bus on the Øresund Bridge which happens to be world's longest cable stay bridge and spans Øresund sound between Sweden and Denmark. My destiny was Cafe Svejk, Copenhagen where I was due to play a solo gig. A small Bar in the Frederiksberg area with a good atmosphere and the sound was good too. Kim was a genial host and we stayed up all night after the gig. I think I nodded off for a while on the sofa and awoke to the sound of Phil Shoenfeld on the stereo. Time to get into the taxi and catch the bus home. But the bus never showed up, leaving about 80 people stranded in the blinding glare of the 7am sunrise. I opted for the train and got back into Sweden in one piece.

Saturday 9 April Göteborg....With three rehearsals under our belt we were ready (just about) to play the Klubb Honky Tonk at Cafe Hangmattan over in Masthugget. A cool club, the place was full and the folks there knew what they had come for.

Started off with ‘Sweet Angel’ on acoustic, followed by a few other songs playing electric and then The Renegade Three joined me. Slick Andy on drums and Mika Hakki on double bass. There’s only 2 of them, that’s why I named them Three. Really good gig, enjoyed it and so did the folks there.

My travelling companions were peckish so we stopped in a late night takeaway joint for chips and veggie burgers and so forth. I couldn’t get over the guitars, snare drums, cymbals etc left on the foot-path outside. A metal band were peckish too in those early hours, and completely unworried about their expensive gear which was left unattended. Of course you can go three or four weeks in Sweden without seeing anybody who wears a track suit. Åsa asked one of the metal guys how his gig was. “Terrible” he replied. “Shit, really bad, worst gig ever”. His friend joined in to go into greater details about how bad it was. Cool guys , and it’s always good to have a sense of humour about music, be it metal, country, rockabilly, soul, zydeco, cajun, folk, calypso or hard rock. Not sure if it makes much difference if techno is your cup of tea.

Thursday 14 April, Berlin.....Arrived into Tegel Airport and got over to Friedrichshain without much hassle. Soundcheck was followed by some food and a drink and folks came down that I knew. Eb arrived with his Italian friend and later Carmen arrived and it was like old times. Enjoyed playing too. The sound is always good in Artliners. Afterwards with Sean from Montreal, we rambled off into the night accompanied by the guys who run the Lost Books Blog spot to locate a late night squat bar where Matt De Harp from Two Dollar Bash was hosting a musical extravaganza of epic proportions. Bottled beer came at one euro a go. Before long I was on stage performing ‘Tell Old Bill’ and was soon joined by a percussionist and a trumpet player. All good mad fun and the hours passed by like a dream.

Friday 15 April,Greiz...........On the train to Leipzig trying to read a Thomas Hardy book but there was way too much dialogue all written in phonetics to get the idea of a Dorset accent across but it became tedious after a few pages. Train officials asked all the people in the carriage to please move as the window was cracked. Apparently it might fall in. Lets avoid an insurance claim. Next door was the dining carriage so thats where I went and had a beer to slake my thirst. The sun cut through bright and warm as the metal transport machine made its way down through Pegau and Zeitz. Green fields, roadhouses, farms, small towns. We went through Bad Zöstritz and eventually I was on a phone call on the platform of the station in Greiz.

Up at Peanuts I was greeted by Norbert. Daniel already had the PA up and running and soundcheck was as easy as pie. CD’s changed hands and tentative plans were made to do something in Daniels recording studio at some point in the hopefully not too distant future. Checked into the hotel next door. A spacious room, a big bed and big bathroom ....warm and lonesome as only hotel rooms can be.

Photographer Karsten was down for the gig as well as some of the guys from Daniels band and we had had a merry time. I spoke to Mathias who is a historian and a man who by his own admission spends all his money on CD’s and books. He spoke of the cold war days and how difficult it was to get records and that one of his all-time-favourite bands was Tir Na nOg. Had I ever heard of them ? When I told him I knew Leo and Sonny he was blown away. I told him I’d pass on his email address to Leo and they could correspond. I had toured with Leo back in the 80’s, those long distant days when you might expect to see Nicholas Cage in a good movie, music didn’t come on a file but was scratched into the surface of a big black disc and the gated snare drum was all the rage. A previous life.

Saturday 16 April, Berlin
.........Back in Berlin it was hot and humid. Summer had arrived and looked like it might stay. In Kreuzberg I needed a falafel. Fan on the ceiling whizzing around, a mild-mannered mustachioed proprietor. The display cabinet included olive oil from Andalucia for 4.50 a bottle. There was food to eat-in or take out, a well stocked fridge, ice-cream and middle eastern newspapers. Some born-again Christians walked by on the street handing out leaflets. I’d join but I’m allergic to nuts.

Passed through Görlitzer Park, a post-apocalyptic gathering of junkies and frisbee enthusiasts, family BBQ’s, dog walkers, voyeurs, short-cut takers, pill-poppers, punk rockers, buskers and blue rinse ladies. Down by the canal we went and found La Girafe Art Gallery and I spoke to the artist Vibeke from Copenhagen and it turned out I knew her neighbour in Christiania. Onwards through Treptow Park, up towards the Turkish area, apartment blocks speckled with hundreds of satellite dishes with their blank faces pointing towards an unseen space machine.

Later we passed by Wild at Heart, can’t recall who was playing but it was 12 euro to get in. We kept walking. A guy was playing an impromptu gig in a bar sans PA. He was a bit whacked out of it but still gave 100% and deserved every penny he extracted from the bemused clientele. An Indian guy dropped in to sell big fat samosa’s, so I ate one and Eb ate one and we ended up in a bar with a menagerie of antiques and mad gear hanging from the ceiling. I counted seven great grandfather clocks, several clowns, rocking horses, witches, seafaring ships and Punch and Judy puppets, but alas, bad music on the stereo.

Sunday 17 April Berlin....Wandering through Mauer Park and found a really cool and compact record player that plays 78’s. Unfortunately it wasn’t for sale, and needed repairs anyway. But speaking the English language brought me to the attention of an American guy who was there checking things out himself. We spoke about record players, 78’s, vinyl etc. He said “ what are you doing here, you on holidays or living here?”. I said I was playing a few gigs. He asked my name and I dutifully told him he replied “ oh, Ive heard of you. Im going to see you on Tuesday night.”

It turned out this Bostonian was Allen Devine and we both have tracks on the Cannery Row Records sampler album. (I had never gotten a copy so it was to take me a few days to get one and have a listen, and Allens stuff is indeed great)
The ramble continued and bands played and jugglers juggled and food was cooked out in the open areas and the market was crowded. A 200 year old Austrian acoustic guitar took my fancy but I had enough gear on the move and couldn’t handle another piece of luggage. I picked up a few soul LP’s on the Stateside lablel and had a drink and later some Thai food.

Tuesday 19 April Berlin...The afternoon was spent in the Museum Of Prehistory where the 3000 year old magicians golden hat is kept. The conical hat weighing one pound and 29 inches tall, is ornamented with 21 zones of horizontal bands and rows of symbols along all of its length. 1,739 symbols were carved by the craftsmen under instructions from the magician/shaman. Basically it’s a lunar/solar calendar capable of predicting a 29 year cycle. Great to see it at last. Also on display was lots of Egyptian stuff including Nefertitti’s famous bust.
Later we were down at East Of Eden on Schreinerstrasse 23 for the nights gig. Anto, Sean, Alan….all the crew. Had a drink over at the Anastasia Bar before I did my thing. Got a 10 inch LP from Lord Mouse of the Kalapsyco Kats fame afterwards.

Wednesday 20 April Berlin…Played over at Beakers. A nice bunch of people on a hot and sticky night where the good vibe spilled out onto the street.

Thursday 21 April Weimar….After I arrived in I met the goth lady who was runing the place. She asked me if I liked ‘secure’. I said, well, I like to feel secure. No, she said….ze band…ze cure, do you like them ?. Ah yes, I got it. The Cure….Robert Smiths crowd, Boys Don’t Cry etc etc. Yes, they’re ok. She put them on the stereo and we went back to small talk. I went off on a ramble to see the majestic old town houses and state buildings. This sure isn’t Kansas. Cello’s being tuned and piano recitals being rehearsed and a cacophony of classical sounds leaking through the ancient windows. Elsewhere punks drink their Berliner beer (1 euro a bottle) outside the graffiti covered nameless bar.

Back at the HQ, Hempi, Jana and Dirk arrived all the way from Wurzen. Met Irish man Mark and his wife from Frankfurt and we all had a good time. Photos were taken, CD’s changed hands and there was a great crowd in. Another cool gig.

Friday 22 April Berlin……After three hours kip it was time to get to the railway station and get out of dodge. On the train I met Michael from last nights gig and talk is of mp3’s , vinyl , the end of the record industry etc. When I got into Berlin Eb took me up to Vicktoria Park and later to Golgotha Beer Garden. I suppose its appropriate as its Good Friday. Golgotha being ‘the place of skulls’ where the Biblical cruci-fiction took place. But in Berlin Golgotha is a cool beer drinking-hang out with good food available too.
Later we were down in Soul Cat to listen to good old Rn B and late 50's early 60's rock n roll records were being played loud. A good end to the night, and the tour.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011


Thursday Feb 10 London….The rain was coming down in an unrelenting spray. A slice of pizza lined my empty stomach and as I ate it sheltering from the rain over in Camden Town, I called Fi Shanks on the tellerfone and asked what the plan was, if there was a plan ? ‘Let’s meet in the Elephants Head’ he said, or words to that affect. I walked there, a short stroll and ordered a beer and sat looking out at the downpour. The streets were busy as London can only be. The last time I was in this town was about 4 or 5 years ago and it was raining heavily that day too. We had come over for 24 hours to shoot a video, and we spent a lot of that day filming in various locations around Camden and Portobello Market and all went well. But then Joey Cashman (Shane MacGowans manager during the Popes era, and The Pogues tour manager) borrowed the camera (including film) and somehow never returned it. So, needless to say the video was never finished…. and never will. )

Fi soon arrived and we had a drink and chat with good times on tap and misery and confusion knew no place at our table. A bus ride later and we were in Aces & Eights, a bar in Kentish Town. Nice place, good vibe. They built a stage, brought in the PA, I checked out the jukebox and had a Guinness. Soundcheck was followed by food (pizza) and a lie down was in order. Fi made up a bed for me in the rehearsal room downstairs and I went to make a phonecall. When I got back to my bed, it was gone and a guy was trying out a guitar in one of the rehearsal room amps. I quickly learned a band were due in for rehearsal, so I lied down on the floor in a sleeping bag in a room across the way and nodded off. Woke up about an hour later, and the band sounded good. Back to sleep. Woke up and they sounded terrible. Could’ve been a different band.

Played the gig, using Fi’s electric Hofner on a few songs, and the sound was good, and Fi joined me for a song or too. Paddy arrived down and I got to meet Daniel Jeanrenaud. Last time I saw him was in Dublin about 7 or 8 years ago. Jean said he was being managed by Terry O Neill at the time. I told him that Terry had tried to manage a band I was in once, but he gave up cos he thought we were unmanageable. ‘That sounds like a good band to me’ said Jean, the Camden Cat (although he’s French).

Friday February 11, London….Woke up on a sofa…. Fi was on the other sofa. We were in the living room of the house owned by Whiskey Mick, but he was away somewhere. Hes got a two-sofa living room. Stereo seating arrangements. His wife arrived in. We had tea and decided to leave. Fi has been sofa surfing for 3 months now and is on the verge of getting a new flat. He told me that breakfast is a drink that should be taken standing and who was I to argue. We talked of other gigs that should be played, phone calls were made. He reminded me of a song I never wrote (but should) called Stick With Me. Sometimes all you need is the title. He phoned a taxi, no time for the Underground and Terrorvision busses. Didn’t want to miss the flight, so I took a taxi to the airport. Nodded off to sleep, woke up not sure where I was. Asked the guy to pull over because I BADLY needed to pee. We were on the motorway but he pulled over anyway. To hell with the law. I ran onto the grass verge, took a leak, turned to my right and there was my Indian taxi driver taking a leak himself. We were both in the same boat. When you gotta go you gotta go.

MondayFebruary 14 Göteborg….Johnny Hodges on the stereo for breakfast. He was Charlie Parkers idol apparently, or maybe the record company hired a liar of a scribe to concoct a tale for the liner notes. Either way, he was good on that alto sax. The Sun was bright and shades are needed to cut out the glare. Marianne Faithful claims that in the 60’s she would select potential boyfriends on whether they had read Huysmans ‘Against Nature’ or not. I’m reading it now, but as usual I’m a few decades too late.

Thursday February 17 Dublin… Arrived in yesterday evening, and had some food, and a chat and a lie down. I was left in an empty house from early morning, but with access to the internet, I could get a few chores done and read a bit of ‘Shantaram’. The wife asked me, or should I say…told me to read it. Its definitely wiped away any romantic notions of wanting to visit India from my brain. I’m sticking with Europe for the time being thank you very much. Its big enough and varied enough.

Rehearsal was good fun and we got a lot done….and that rhymed unintentionally! Tried a version of the old Byrds song, ‘So You Want To be A Rock n Roll Star’ and it sounded good. That’s going in the set. Had a drink after in the Foggy Dew pub just off Dame St under the dark sinister shadow of the Central Bank.

Friday February 18 Carlow….A trip to the internet café was the first port of call having washed down a slice of bread with cheese and chutney. A damp day in Dub world , the smell of hops from Guinness’s along the quay. Long time since I got that smell. Brought me back to the last century…the early 1980’s and those smog filled days of aimless penniless street wandering. Going to the Hare Krishna’s ‘open days’ to score a free meal, the dole office on Werbrough Street, rubbing shoulders with criminals in the queue, the churlish counter staff, damp flats, butter vouchers. The clock pub on Thomas Street, McGonagles, musty second hand book shops…all long gone, The Alchemists Head, Saturday afternoon goths on Grafton Street, the old Foggy, Tobins of South Anne Street and Temple Bar was like a Dickensian ghost town.

Tried to get paid money due to me by somebody I used to know who works in a record shop, only to be told times were bad and business was bad and they have very little money. Well, I have very little money myself…but of course I didn’t get paid. Instead there was drama and nonsense and profuse apologies and YES we WILL get you the money etc etc. The usual crap. I’ll believe it when I see it. Not many record shops left in Dublin now. I’d like to get paid before they too close. Went for something to eat. Coming down Georges Street I met a guy. Homeless… on the street, trying to busk but doing a very bad job at it. He asked me if I remembered him and he mentioned a few people we used to know. Gave him some money and on I went feeling shit.

Had a drink or two with Niall Lawlor in The Stags Head while I waited for the car and off we went in the pissing rain to Carlow. Nodded off to sleep for a few miles of the monotonous motorway as Chris and Les chatted away in the front of our metal transportation box. We were playing The Castle Tavern and it was cold and damp and the UV lights didn’t help the slaughterhouse vibe. But just before Broken String Company started their set, the lights dimmed and in poured a whole gang of like minded souls. The vibe was instantly great. We were all in good form. Gala and crew played a great set and after a short break we started to make a racket. Good fun, loud, melodic and we got it very right. A great night and a great reaction from the folks in Carlow. Thank you guys for a memorable night.

Saturday February 18 Dublin…Off to Arad Studios to do some work. Chris was adding real drums to some songs I had started recording (with a drum machine as guide) in Sweden. Things started to sound good fairly quickly. Bear, who is boss of the Art Gallery and landlord of various artists studios seems to have a never ending supply of bottled beer. I meet some of his artist friends as we sit out in the damp dusk gloom as he tells me stories of his days as a member of a punk band in Mongolia. He’s the first person I ever met whose been to Mongolia and I reckon I’ll never meet another person who has been in a Mongolian punk band. It’s all down hill from here.

Chris nailed 4 songs, there were 2 others, but we ran out of time. No rest for the wicked. Off to sound check in Sweeny Mongrel. After we made the required amount of noise I bumped into my old friend Mick Cronin from Ireland best band The Aftermath. A quick jaunt across the way to Sheebeen Chic for refreshments and a good chat and then back to see Lois and Clarke who are playing ‘45’ and they’ve recorded it too. The lyrics have been changed a bit, but I like their version. The Hot Sprockets were great, as were the band who keep changing their name. Sabine and crew had arrived and Ann, Alanna and Barbara. Jessica was there and the place was packed. Wasn’t expecting such a big crowd. Enjoyed the gig, had to drop my solo acoustic slot, the rowdy drunken Saturday mob wanted it loud and rockin’…so that’s what they got. Sheila Sullivan guested on violin on 2 songs but quit after that. She said we were too loud. I beg to disagree, I’ve played way louder gigs.

Sunday February 19 Tramore…Ugly politicians faces on posters all the ways along the road. General election fever, the Black Death…a plague foisted upon the man on the street. An insult to the intelligence. Down past the Beacon Hotel we found a chipper and got fish and chips and we ate our dinners looking out over the wild waves of the Irish Sea. Manann Mac Lir was having a party tonight. The gig was fine, with a good turn out for a Sunday night. People showed up because they heard us on the radio. A few songs into the set my fingers went a bit odd, I was losing the feeling of the little finger and the ring finger on my left hand. I thought I’d had a stroke. Chris wanted to stop the gig. I soldiered on with great difficulty. Got through the show. Selling CD’s and records afterwards I apologised for my sloppy playing, but folks were saying ‘Didn’t notice a thing wrong’. Many complemented ‘the drummer’. This could be the second last gig with Chris. Hopefully not. Australia beckons.

Saturday February 25 Göteborg …Thought I woke up with a dark demon at the window. Somebody called out ‘Loki’ but this was the wrong name. An elemental presence , malevolent, dumb and then gone. Then I really woke up . We played Henricksberg with Christian and the 2120’s. A good crowd, not packed, but a 40 minute set is an odd affair for us. We are used to playing an hour and a half, sometimes two hours. So we hardly had time to even get warmed up. But the folks enjoyed it and we got the job done. Earlier in the week I had wasted several hours of my precious time in the hospital. A trip to a reflexologist proved more useful. Diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome a period of rest followed by exercise and acupuncture, deep tissue massage etc, and I can hopefully get my hand / arm back in action. So the gig in Henricksberg was a test of sorts. I just about got through it. Not an easy night.