Friday, 27 September 2013


Friday September 6, Enschede, Netherlands - Woke up in Franks place in Antwerp with my boots on. Joined the artist/film maker/musician Ludo Mich and Chantelle Strubbelingen for breakfast. A bit like Kris Kristoffersons 'Sunday Morning Coming Down'. After a while I had a boiled egg. We talked about the Hunters Moon Festival in Carrick on Shannon, and I flicked through Karen Constances wonderful book with a 7 inch single hidden inside the back cover. The postman delivered collectable vinyl LPs, the atmosphere delivered heavy rain.

When the rain cleared we headed for the station and a train to Enschede. Needed to change trains in Rotterdam but missed my connection. Hung around for a while. Commuters were packed in like sardines, no seats available, only standing room between carraiges. A man wearing a white suit and white shoes did his best to make room for me to squeeze in. Looked like an Angel. As I trundled on board he said "Welcome to Hell". I nodded at him not sure what to think. Eventually I arrived into Enschede where a street festival was underway. Played the gig, had a sleep. Nice folks to deal with.


Saturday Sept 7, Dusseldorf, Germany – The lady in the ticket office was of no help. She said “You can by a ticket on the platform.” I explained I needed to go to Dusseldorf, which is in another country. She told me to go to Hengelo and buy a ticket there. It was hot and hazy. Outside on the platform the train to Hengelo awaited but I couldn’t see any ticket machines. I asked a ticket inspector. “You dont need a ticket to Hengelo” he told me in a no nonsense sort of a way. “So if the ticket inspector asks me for a ticket what do I do?” i enquire. “Im the ticket inspector on this train. No ticket!” Fair enough I think, and board the train. In Hengelo I bought a ticket to Dusseldorf and when the lady handed me the itinerary I noticed the first change was at Enschede. I said “I’ve just come from Enschede.” She shrugged her shoulders, I took the ticket and found the platform and waited....and waited.


Back in Enschede there was a long wait for the slow train to Munster from platform 4B. Two ladies were deep in conversation on the bench. I re-checked the details on the screen. I swung around to ask one of the ladies if this was indeed the right platform and they were no longer there, and neither was the bench. It was a bit early in the day for this type of spooky stuff. Trying to rationalise this psychic event I became aware that my shirt was soaking wet. I was sweating profusely. Maybe I had a fever, caught some bad bug, my cup of tea was spiked, a drone had shot a micro poison dart into my neck. A man of Persian aspect approached me “Do you speak English?”. I told him I did and we discussed the train to Munster scenario. He had also been given the runaround by the ticket office inside, as i had an hour earlier. I noticed he too was sweating profusely as he took out a hankerchief and mopped his brow. It wasn’t just me. It must have been 35 degrees and humidity was high as a kite. I had to accept that people, and sometimes the benches on which they sit, simply disappear. It never crossed my mind to ask the man of Persian aspect if he was troubled by invisible people. Sometimes its best to keep your mouth shut.


It was a long lonesome day. In Dusseldorf the rain came down and I felt lost but made it to Solaris 53 in one piece. Greeted Uki and crew before having Thai food in a small family run restaurant with all the gods watching me.  The same place I had dinner last time I was in this town. Then I went back down to the dark end of the street and played the gig.






Tuesday, 17 September 2013


Wednesday September 4, Amsterdam, Netherlands – Woke up to the sound of the alarm bright and early. Mick drove me to some far flung train station on the outskirts of Munich and I hopped on the train. Lost my phone, found my phone, got to Copenhagen where one of the restaurants has the novel approach to keeping the bored and lost supplied with liquid refreshments. For example, buy a beer for 55DK, but get a refill for 20DK and you get to pull your own pint. And I thought my bar tending days were over. Read parts of The International Herald & Tribune, the inevitable slaughter and mayhem in Syria being a sober reminder that many of us live a bubble wrapped life.

Got into Amsterdamned and read a bit and nodded off in the smallest hotel room in the world. Went out on a ramble. Sister Sledge on the stereo in a bar near Dam Square. Found the hotel without getting lost or taking a taxi.

Thursday September 5, Antwerp, Belgium – Intense heat. Traveled on through Rotterdam, Rosendal, Kapellan and Ekeren eventually arriving in Antwerp. On Frank Vranchx’s show on Radio Centraal i played 5 or 6 songs, we had a chat and he played a few tracks from CD’s of mine. Sarah conducted the interview and Crystal did her crocheting. Then we went up to Hoogstraat to the Half Souke bar as is the ritual every Thursday after the radio show. A hang out for poets and musicians since the 60’s the bar is small and with a floor like sea waves. It being sunny, we sat outside. Met a lady obsessed with the Tuatha De Dannann. That took up a few hours, but of course she had no interest in going to my gig. I had a red shirt on and down the street we met a lady with a red shirt (and red shoes) so Frank took photos of us together in our finery. Went to the opening of an exhibition where we met Kika De Silva wearing a magnificent red dress so we took a few photos. Inspired paintings by Fred Bervoets on the wall, but it was time for soundcheck. Met a long lost girlfriend of Nikki Sudden. She was cool, damaged, living in the past and lost.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Sweden / Austria / Germany September 2013

Friday August 30, Göteborg, SwedenSpent half an hour looking for a Pat Conte record. Eventually found it and stuck it on as the ships rolled into the harbour. Its called ‘Folk Music Of The United States’. Issued on red vinyl by Jalopy Records its a good start to the day. Pats also responsible for compiling ‘The Secret Museum Of Mankind Vol. 1, Ethnic Music Classics: 1925-48’. Far-out tracks from his personal collection of obscure 78’s from Ceylon, Poland, Abyssinia, Andalucia, Rajahstan, Fiji, South Africa and so on. First time I met Pat was a few months ago on Columbia Street in Brooklyn NYC.  His car pulled up to the kerb and Jack shouted over “ Hey Pat”. I went over to say ‘hello’ to this man I’d heard so much about. The car was full of smoke. I assumed they were smoking gigantic spliffs, but no, it was sweet smelling Nag Champa incense that clouded the old Buick. Billows of the stuff. He burns it everywhere he goes creating his own world of smoke/mist/fog and great music.


Windows wide open - the far away rumble of traffic, it was hot and humid. Fizzy drink in mind, I stuck to soda water. Put on the Stones ‘Out of Time’ but it sounded muddy. This was from the Rolled Gold compilation. But I was used to hearing a version from a Russian pressing I had aquired about 10 years back. Dug that one out and I was right, the old cold war era pressing was surprisingly better, maybe even an alternative mix. Probably a bootleg as well. The doorbell rang and the Nikki Sudden  6 CD box-set arrived. Looks great and it’s full of obscure stuff as well as some of his better known songs. Im to be found on one track playing guitar and harmonica. Later on it seemed appropriate to try and remix a version of Nikki’s ‘Death Is Hanging Over Me’.


Sunday September 1, Salzburg, Austria – They played The Lemonheads as we boarded the plane to Berlin. The flight attendants wore tight ass enchancing jeans as they dished out the water and fruit juice in a swift and cautiously friendly manner. We plebs had a choice of snack. Salty or sweet. I had neither. A heavy downpour of rain greeted our arrival in to Tegel. But in Salzburg it was drizzling and humid. Played the gig and had an early night.



Monday September 2, Salzburg, Austria – Flags hanging on their poles, the bustle of the tourist town. People looking lost, some looking for adventure. On a ramble through the old city I discovered elaborate tombstones, magnificent metal crosses worthy of a place in an art museum. Church spires, horse drawn carraiges. So many people looking down into the abyss of the internet on their i-phones/smart phones/stupid phones. Who am I to judge. I had to get wifi sorted and once I did I discovered Im going to be on Frank Vranchx’s show on Radio Centraal in Belgium in a few days.


Played the gig and met top attorney and big time music fan W. Scott Wallace and his wife from Dallas, Tx. They bought CDs and invited me to their home town for a show and I will in due course put some effort into making that happen. 

Tuesday September 3, Munich, Germany – Off through Badendorf, Rosenheim, Grafink Bahnhof and arrived into Mucich. Navigated the S Bahn and found the bar at Marianplatz. Chatted to Tigue, a young Irish chao currently working in a fancy nancy Michelin hotel up the street. Its his third day. Met Mick (from Dublin) and Karen (from Deutschland) who had received an email from Brian in someplace in darkest Ireland saying to go check out my gig. So they did. They even had a list of songs I should play...’Down Into Hell’ ‘Nowhere Fast’ and ‘Tell Old Bill’. I played them all and got a bed for the night as well. Thanks Mick and Karen.