Monday, 8 October 2012

Summer 2012 - Sweden / Ireland / Austria / Czech

Sat 9 June Göteborg - the Andralangatan Street Festival was upon us and I had a 2pm slot on the Klubb Honky Tonk stage. Thankfully it wasn’t raining. Emmett, our friend visiting from Toronto found the place no problem. A big fat dog shit in front of the stage and the wandering folks walked through it and dragged it all over the place and it being a hot sticky humid day, the stink was bad. The pissed off roadie who likes to think of himself as a promoter wasn’t too pleased about having to clean up the shit. If he had had the manners to reply to my emails I might feel sympathy for him. But he didn’t and I don’t. A few good amps are set up. I plug in the electric Ibanez to a what might have been a Fender Deville and let rip.

Later, after two trams and a bus ride we arrived at a sort of wedding party. Emmett is mystified by Smörgåstårta, a big Swedish cake with bits of fruit, cheese, cream and random bits of dead animals stuck to it. They eat this to celebrate. What do they do for torture ? Two identical twin girls in matching dresses ran around the place, people were getting drunk and talking crazy. It was looking more like The Shining by the minute.

Sat 16 June Göteborg – The gig was at Mitt Andra Hem on Andra Langgatan, a small place with friendly staff and a slightly dodgy P.A. But they got curtains!

The rain was lashing down. The place was empty, things not looking good. Re-located to a bar on Linneagatan, and then over to the Bellman. A lady I knew invoked Thor and Odin. Umbrellas at the ready, back at HQ a few folks had braved the elements. By the time I went on there was a reasonable crowd in. I hit a chord and the manager opened the stage curtains and I kicked things off. That’s showbiz. Glamour with a small ‘g’. Enjoyed the gig and stayed up til dawn with Leif and Mariana on a balcony looking out over the city from Strummensbarrie waiting for the sun to rise. Armageddon postponed yet again.

Frday 29 June Göteborg – Slick Andy had been practising his glockenspiel scales and his melodica scales, so he played on a few songs in Vansinnet, a cool bar down a back-street beside the Maritime Museum in Majorna, near the staue of the sad and forelorn lady waiting for her seafaring husband to return home. But he never will. He’s brownbread. Dead as a doornail at the bottom of the North Sea.

This is the pirate side of town. Åsa Kärrman got up to sing on one song. It all seemed to make sense and the pool table was vacant. Good crowd, good bar, good money, bad weather.


Sunday 8 July Alingsås, Sweden – Green trees whizzing by, pretty girls, their long legs as brown as varnished mahogony. The train sped through Jonsered, Aspendalen, Partille, Floda, Stenkullen. Brightly painted houses - yellow and powder blue. Bikes parked in sundrenched railway stations that would never be robbed. In Alingsås I met with Nono who calls me Mr Eamonn. We talked about the upcoming gig and he showed me around his bar. Chatted to one of the locals having his Sunday afternoon drinks. Told me about southern China which is hipper than the north, apparently. He pulled out a laminated photo of his pretty Chinese wife. She looks 21. He proudly tells me she’s 40. “You should see her younger sister” he tells me. “She looks like a doll.”

Monday 9 July Dublin – Had a sort of a breakfast in Landvetter underneath a chandelier like light construction made of reindeer antlers. One would be ok but five hung low in a row across the airport restaurant ceiling is a bit spooky.

In Stockholm I had words with a pig ignorant Norwegian who kicked my daughters bag out of his way. He scampered off down the corridor to hell. Got into Dublin in the grey damp evening and across to our Harolds Cross base.

Clarence Winter had been working on some songs on his keyboard so we called down to his place and went through a few ideas. Later, his missus Barbara wanted to eat at Odessa so we all met up there. Had a beer, some white wine with fish and vegetables and relocated to the Gypsy Rose to see Jack & The Wild Horses play a show. Nodded off at the bar. Nobody batted an eyelid. Proper order.

Tuesday 10 July – Had a drink in the Glimmerman. Met Ciaran The Professor who says hes not in business anymore. I asked about a mutual acquaintance who had recently been married. He said he missed out on the wedding as he was “on his holidays.” Les, who had dropped in, later pointed out that his holiday was probably in Mountjoy.

Rehearsed for the afternoon at nearby Sonic Studios. Al had recently had Sinead O Connor in recording stuff. We were pleased to hear she didn’t say Mass in the studio….and nobody got married either.

Wednesday 11 July Clane – Another afternoon of rehearsing and then took a bus to Kildare, falling asleep on the way but waking up just before the stop at Clane. Nan bread courtesy of Holly, Indian vegetable curry courtesy of Ann, red wine courtesy of the good people of Chile.

Thursday 12 July – Back to Dublin and drinks in The International Bar on Exchequer Street. Åsa is all “remember this, remember that…” Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be. In the house I took it easy for a while and then grabbed a taxi across town to Sonic Studios. Taxi driver was talking about music and guitars and then about his son’s suicide. I empathized with him. He seemed like a nice guy. But I began to lose my patience when he couldn’t find Sonic. I didn’t know the street name but told him where it was…over past the Cobblestone, next door to the Glimmerman pub. He knew the Glimmerman, but still couldn’t find it . We went around in circles and twice took the same wrong turn. The meter was up to 16 euro. I suggested he use the satellite navigation. “Ah sure, I wouldn’t know how to use that” was his reply. Well, thought I to myself, begorrah would it be suiting you now sir to get on an auld FAS course and learn how to use the fucking thing.
To cut a long story short, as in the Who Wants To Be A Millionaire TV show, he phoned a friend (asking the audience not being an option) and his friend told him how to get there. Gave him 8 quid and loaded the gear in Al’s wagon.

Played the Leeson Lounge. Not as big a crowd as last time. Good to see Cathal and Emer, Alanna, and Willie Van Velzen who I hadn’t seen in years. Late drinks with band and ex comrade in arms – John Lalor, Justin and crew. Hailed a taxi that was well capable of navigating the puke-stained grey city streets.

Friday 13 July Ennis – Pebble-dashed facades, overgrown gardens, skips and Superquinn. The car arrived and we drove to Stoneybatter and I swapped over to Al’s wagon and hit the road, stopping off to pick up Mercedes along the way, waving at the Brazillian girls , eating blueberry buns in a one-horse town. Passed through Boris In Ossory, where according to Al the only known case of vampirism occurred in Ireland. On Bishops orders the body of a young boy was exumed and his head cut-off and placed at his feet, as was the fashion at the time. No stakes through hearts or silver bullets required. I assume they reburied the boy and that was the end of that.

Got in to Ennis with Daniel O Connell high on his pillar presiding over the town. Had a drink in a purple pub, and the gig was upstairs in Brandons. Watched Clarence do his solo set. Debra followed. Both sounded great. Chatted to Paul. We did our thing. Enjoyed it too. Met Geraldine and Gerry from Gingerjam. Photos were taken, vague notions about record releases, the sticky carpet in the Stella Cinema Rathmines, and Galway in the mid 80’s. Back to Pats place for pizza and drinks until 7am. Lied down then for a while.

Saturday 14 July Rockfield – Stopped off in Claregalway where Ed ate chips and sausages and beans washed down with coffee. Onwards down the N17 with the Sawdoctors song running through my head like WIFI. Arrived into Rockfield for a late afternoon dinner followed by a ramble in the fields where leaking boots prevailed against the odds.

Sunday 15 July – Sunshine, threats of rain. A faery fort to explore. Jamaican rum, Dutch beer, white Italian wine, Irish food.

Monday 16 July Dublin – A little Hitler in Heuston Station was yelling out orders…”you cant hail a taxi there”. But I did and in we got. The uniformed fool took out a digital camera to take a photo of our misdemeanor in progress, I assume to report the cab driver to relevant authorities. The driver was unfazed. Laughed at the idiot as he drove off.

Met Felim Drew running down the street. He stopped, we had a brief chat, then he turned around and ran in the opposite direction.

Mowed a lawn, cleaned bird shit off the garden furniture and ate Thai food as darkness descended on the streets of sad suburbia.

Tuesday 17 July Dublin – Checked out the Twisted Pepper venue on Middle Abbey Street, collected posters from the printer and ate pasta at the Steps Of Rome where I saw seven ghosts.

Thursday 19 July Galway – Stopped in Athenry for coffee in a big old hotel. Didn’t feel so lonesome, not as much as Paddy Reilly did anyway. But he was out in the fields. Onwards into the City Of The Tribes unassuaged of purpose, delivered from the lust of result. Got there in one piece. Spied Les and Ed in an Indian restaurant across the road. Al went off to eat fish, I hung around the venue – Monroes.

Paul arrived down as did Hugo, Kevin Duffy, John Fitz, Sabine, a few of the Lawrence clan and some folks I’d not seen in years and years. Got an unexpected encore, went through the hassle of getting paid and shortly afterwards hit the black road back to Dublin.

Friday 20 July Dublin – Met Joey The Clown on Dawson Street, no longer gainfully employed by the Leeson Lounge, and a few minutes later Count Tornado approached looking for a support slot. A phone was made to last nights promoter who’s cheque just didn’t make sense in the cold light of day. Later on, I played a solo / acoustic gig in Sean MacD’s.


Saturday 21 July Carlow – Slept all the way to Carlow, waking up bright eyed and bushy-tailed on arrival. Lost we were. Knocked on the door of an Art Gallery. A rather startled lady opened the door. I have this affect on women. I politely enquired about the whereabouts of the Pembroke Club d’Art and she pointed me in the right direction on the wrong street.

A small place but a place with a good vibe. An interesting set was delivered by Niall T-Vita as girls in exceedingly high heels tottered about at the bar.  CD’s were sold and my shirt was soaking wet afterwards and I had forgotten to bring a clean/dry one so I had to wear the wet one all the way home risking pneumonia and muscular pain.

Sunday 22 July Dublin – Killiney beach - as always, windswpt and grey and awful. Dunlaoire was better, with a market and planes flying in formation overhead. Dinner later with friends….intense fatigue and a deep desire for 40 winks. 

Thursday 26 July Dublin – Leeson Lounge.  The gig was recorded and filmed, so we’ll see how that turns out. An experiment really. We played well, and harder than last time. Stayed back late to stare at the fish in the aquarium as is the tradition.

Friday 27 July Portrush – A long drive to the northern coast of County Antrim. A bleak grey day. The sweet aroma of incense greeted us at the venue, used wisely to mask the seaside dampness. Nice crew, good PA and the sound was spot on. Cheap Harley Benton distortion pedal died a death. Luckily I had a replacement, a Boss DS-1. Pedals that only cost 20 quid aren’t really suitable for the road. Lesson learned.

Saturday 28 July Dublin – Sonic Studios nightime session. We record versions of Iron City, The Price Of Everything, Your On Your Own and The Ballad Of Aleister Crowley. A good nights work.

Saturday 4 August, Alingsås, Sweden……A trip across to Pennies from Heaven on Södravägen resulted in a bag full of records. No vinyl…today its shellac. A bunch of 78’s, including Louis Armstrong, Johnny Desmond, Sugar Chile Robinson, the Harry James Orchestra and Bill Haley and The Comets ‘Rock Around The Clock’. Bill’s record cost me the equivalent of 50 cents.

My instincts told me through a riot of crackling shellac surface noise that I would be too late arriving into Alingsås for dinner, so I ate pasta, had a lie down, got to Central Station and learnt there was only one train an hour instead of the usual two. When we got to Aspen the metal travelling machine broke down. Something wrong with the brakes. Eventually made it to the gig in one piece. A phone call from Nono informed me that the PA had arrived and was ready to roll. A hot sticky night. Met some good people, friends of Jonas the P.A guy. Everybody was asking me about the Emerald Isle all night long. I told them I wanted to bring back the snakes.

Sunday 5 August Jonsered, Sweden – Stopped off at Jonsered, a small industrial town by the Säve River. Not a lot going on. Called into the only bar/restaurant that we could find. Ordered coffee and beer. A TV as big as a politicians ego dominated the room. That Fergie fuck from Black Eyed Peas was on the screen sounding like a hyena in heat and looking like a knacker. Sat outside, a safe distance from mind control machine.

Sunday 19 August Salzburg, Austria – A friendly couple accompanied  me from the airport to the last stop. Bus # 27 did the trick and I located the bar, which looked a lot more run-down and lived in than the glossy website photos. Good crew, friendly and helpful. Alex showed me to my apartment up the street with two windows overlooking streets of baroque architecture.

Hanging around waiting for showtime I met an English couple. The guy told me Oasis ‘Champagne Supernova’ is the best song ever. Whatever floats your boat. His missus asked me if I knew any of the guys from Westlife. I dont. She was talking about spending time in the West Country. I mentioned that PJ Harvey is from down there. She said, who’s HE ?
Played the gig, hot and sticky.

Monday 20 August Salzburg – Alex had recommended breakfast in his brothers place. Its only 10 euro he said. I settled for a bottle of water and a tub of salad from Spar that cost 2 euro. Not interested in a big breakfast anyway in this kind of heat (approx 29 celcius). Just up from the Spar shop is Mozarts former residence at Getreidegasse 9 where the family lived from 1747 to 1773.

Found a gothic graveyard at Linzer Gasse, took some photos and rambled the streets. Attracted by the faint whiff of olibanum  I had a look inside St Peters Church. Theres a sign inside the door saying ‘This is a house of prayer, No guided tours allowed.’
But they’ve got ‘phonomats’. Judging by their design, these telephones were installed in the early 1960’s. For the price of 1 euro you can select a language and listen to a long tale all about the church. Not sure if it’s a hotline to God, a saint or a taperecording. Languages on offer are (and I quote) Deutch, Eng, Francais, Italiano, Espanol, Netherlands, Magyarol,
中國的, and another one I couldn’t decipher it being in ancient hieroglyphics. Possibly Atlantean.

The Stations Of The Cross, central myth to this obselete middle eastern death cult are elaborately decorated paintings, framed in black and crowned in gold, Roman numerals identifying each scene of horror.

The place is full of tourists and many of the ladies are (as my mother would claim) dressed immodestly. Teeny weeny hot pants, bare backed dresses, tight sweat stained T Shirts, nipples sticking out. Priestesses of Babylon all. I love them unconditionally. But surely this is the work of Satan. 

Penny candles cost 65 cents. A mere trifle to ask God to ease the torment and suffering of your loved ones in purgatory. I lit a candle and wished upon a five pointed star that Ratzinger and all his contemptable cronies would get food poisoning and die purple-faced choking on their own puke. But I didn’t pay the 60 cents for the candle.

Went back to my room with a plastic tub of pasta, salad and mozzerella cheese, a piece of bread (that turned out to be stale) and a small bottle of JP Chenet red wine. The traffic rumbled outside. Four floors up I could still hear the evening chatter of the diners and the drinkers. Talked to the wall for a while. Stretched out on the bed and nodded off. Woke up, went down the street, played the gig.

Tuesday 21 August Prague – Salzburg train station in the afternoon. A Californian girl walks up to the SANDWICH BAR and says “ do you have….like…..noodles?”

Buying a ticket to Czech wasn’t easy. The lady at the desk for Austrian Rail couldn’t figure it out and recommended I speak to the German repersentative across the room at the other desk. He could sell me a ticket half way, but couldn’t guarantee a seat on the connecting bus, or if the bus would even be there. Another fool told me there was no such thing as a train to Prague ! Eventually a German guy came up with a fast train with seven changes that cost 120 euro or a slow train with one change that cost 50 euro. I went for the slow train, and ten and a half hours later I arrived into Prague.
It was late and most places were closing. Had a beer in the old town square just around the corner from my room, too tired to venture further afield.


Wednesday 22 August Prague – Visited Edward Kelleys Tower on Mala Strana, half way up the hill to the the castle. It was here that Kelley carried out his alchemical experiments in the late 1500’s. This is the same Kelley name-checked (along with John Dee) in Rambling Jack. Interesting to see his former residence, one of many properties he owned while being bankrolled by Emperor Rudolf ll. All went well for Dee and Kelley as they ran the gamut from ceremonial magic to alchemy to discovering / inventing Enochian, conversing with angels, and so on and so fort, until Kelley slept with Dee’s foxy young wife at the behest of one of their angelic contacts. It was all down hill from there.

Later I risked the subway and with some luck got to the right place. An Israeli guy overheard me talking english on the phone and struck up conversation. When I told him my name he asked me if it was like the Eqyptian god Amun. I told him it was but with a different spelling and on occasion I was like an Egyptian god in attitude. A statuesque, elegant blonde lady with magnificent white shoes helped me figure out which tram to take, and while on that tram another lady helped me find my stop with the aid of satellite navigation on her phone.

At Mon Ami I was greeted by Vesna who has self-published a novel and a collection of short stories and there’s more on the way. A very large poster of myself hung in the doorway. It was a warm balmy evening and I met some great people, genuine, no hidden agenda. Czech, Canadian, Norwegian. Played my songs and had a post midnight feast of egg plant and baked vegetable pie. Thankful for the hospitality I hopped in a cab bound for Týnská 19 in the old town.

Thursday 23 August Prague – Needed a long lie in. Must be getting old. Rambled the packed streets, tourists everywhere. Found Kino at Lucerna. Walked on the dark side of the street to avoid the blinding sun. Boats cruising down the Vltava River, buskers on the King Charles Bridge, pretty girls worn down by the world.
The gig was at the Globe Bookstore located at Pštrossova 6. An independent bookshop with a big bar out the back. Played and then hung out with local musician Petr and a Finnish guy and his Canadian/Czech wife. A few hours later I was in the airport having pasta and red wine for breakfast before taking a plane to Berlin.