Thursday, 6 March 2014

Embrace the weird and strange times.......

Friday 25 October, Gothenborg - Down at Trixter Theatre Distel various dark ambient acts were playing, industrial noise on tap. Chatted to Marijn from Those Foreign Kids and bought a copy of their “ Zero Gravity Somersaulting Craze” LP on see through blue vinyl. Somebody was saying that they were drinking to much and needed to slow down. You gotta watch out for the booze, it surely is the road to ruination, misery, delusion and the devil. Music is recommended at all times, day and night and books can save your brain from stagnation. Embrace the weird and strange times...If things get too normal, buy a new pair of boots.

At the local record shop I picked up “Memphis Rockabilly”, a 1987 Sunnjay Records Production, Sunjay being a Swedish label.Its got  Lioyd Arnold with The long Hairs doing “Go Go Go” that sounds a bit like a proto “Subterranean Homesick Blues”. Charlie Feathers has two tracks on the LP as well as Jim Shaw.

A snow storm blew in from Russia. The electrickery went off for an hour. When it came back on I slid a Fred Eaglesmith CD into the tray and listened to the Canadian genius. “Water In The Fuel” is the closing track on the disc. Wish I had written that one.

Thursday 31 October Dublin - Daytime rehearsal at Sonic , then load up and across town to The Odessa. Unload, up 3 flights of stairs with help from hastily hired roadie. After sound check I was interviewed by Patrick Freyne from the Irish Times newspaper and it was filmed....for what Im not sure. After the gig a politician told me he really enjoyed it but never asked for my vote.

Friday 1 November Wicklow - Whrn the regulars in the Glimmer Man know you've a gig in Wicklow its time to re evaluate how  'hanging around time' is spent or mispent. Out in Wicklow the place is empty but we play our gig and the few who have braved the elements seem to enjoy it.

Saturday 2 November, Dublin - Recoring in Sonic, Clarence layed down some pedal steel and I played bass on three songs. With Debra I went to Whelans where I played a solo set opening up for Cronin, and even joined them on stage for a version of 'Gloria'. A late night of stories and vague plans about recording together.

Sunday 3 November Dublin. Caught a bit of the session at the Cobblestone and then onwards to the Thomas House to see Niall Lawlor and Felim Drew play a set. Got up and played a few songs and a few hours later I was in the airport drinking fruit juice.
Wednesay 11 December, Leeuwarden, Netherlands - First lie of the day was at Landvetter Airport. They told me the flight was fully booked but of course the plane was half empty. I checked the guitar in....had little choice and it was too early in the day for an arguement. Flew to Frankfurt and there I boarded another half empty plane and arrived into Schipol Amsterdam in one piece. On a brief stroll from Central Station I found a corner bar I had frequented before. I asked a gentleman to keep an eye on my gear while I went to the toilet and this led to a conversation. Baz from Grimsby and his girlfriend are on the last day of their shopping holiday. They disagreed on how long they've been together. He says 2 months, she claims its 3. They hit the road to catch the ferry to Hull, i took a train up through Leystad and Zwolle, arriving into Leeuwarded at 7.20 thirteen hours after I had set out from home. It was foggy and gloomy.
At the bar I met with James who is very proud to be from Nashville Tennessee, but he grew up in Idaho. H must have told me this about 5 times in 7 minutes before I got real busy making an imaginery phone call while he spilt his drink all over his friend.

Thursday 12 December, Amsterdam - Stayed at the Hotel t'Ankor. Small, run-down , bathroom down the hall type of place. The breakfast room was full of elderly out-of- town Dutch ladies. The regular buffet breakfast malarky. I had a boiled egg, an apple and an orange and a cup of tea. Dairy free.
On a morning ramble through town I came across the Oldehove Tower. Originally part of a long demolished church the tower dates from 1529. During construction, the tower began to sink and the project project was stopped in 1532.
It leans more than the tower at Pisa apparently, but I've never seen that.
Nothing to do and all day long to do it. I left Freisland behind and traveled through Aakrum, Steenweljk and rapidly onwards through desolate terrain. Marches, swampland, crippled tress, wind battered cattle. Flat fields with hundreds of deer, a field with seventy horses all tan with black manes, they wandered aimlessly in the gale. I was getting hungry. I was already thirsty.
On arrival in Amsterdam i returned to the bar I had been in the previous day. Sat at the same table. An Italian guy tried to engage me in conversation, but he had very little english. He tried to sell me a ring, but I wasn't interested. Too early in the week for retail therapy. His call-girl friend tried to translate.
After the gig at Monumentje I spoke to Peter from Australia. A film maker based in town we chatted about all sorts of projects, traveling, gigs, music etc. The guys had forgotten to book a hotel for me so I stayed in Harry's new pad in Goldenstraat in the centre of the red light district.

Friday 13 December - Dusseldorf, Germany. An hour or two was spent in Dirty Nellie's chatting with barman/musician David Masciari, the never ending hussle. Then took the train down to Dusseldorf to play Solaris 53. A good crowd were in, old friends, photos were taken and slices of plastic were sold. 

Saturday 14 December - Rupelmonde, Belgium. After a very late, back onto the lonesome train. A day of cancellations and missed connections, trouble in mind, a detour to Aachen and eventually a much appreciated lift from Inneke's mom Louisa who picked me up in Bercham and drove me to Rupelmonde where I played a gig at t'Guildenhuis, arriving over an hour late. Nobody complained and the gig was enjoyable with a big PA to blast out the sound.
Sunday 15 December, Ghent & Antwep, Belgium - Woke up in a room with hundreds of LPs, the one that caught my eye was a Benelux compilation, "16 Great Hits." All I need is one. Downstairs at 12.45 theres a Sunday morning coming down vibe. Young gentlemen playing pool, the balls swirl into their pockets, church bells chime.  Elderly ladies sip their gin & tonics.
My host Bert is not only a talented musician but a genius of an film / video editor and we conspire to work together, if I can get my hands on the film thats been shot the past couple of years. Phone calls need to be made, promises need to be kept. Talk is cheap. Inneke 23 phoned me to say she has located a recording studio in Ghent. Within an hour she arrived in a borrowed car and off we went on our adventure. I had the bones of a track called "The Rivers Frozen Til April" on a memory stick and the plan was to get Inneke to sing on the sng. After a long drive we pulled in to YelloTape Studios and got to work with Peter van der Veir. Inneke got her vocals down, sounded great, then we drove to Antwerp arriving very very late for a shambolic gig and then I took a train to Amsterdam and got on a plane to Sweden via Copenhagen.

Wednesday December 25, Alingsås, Sweden - Onwards past the dog hotel, before the turn off to Tollered. Past the 'rent a canoe' place, caravans perched on top of rocky hill tops, skinny pine trees in the inclines. Past Hemsjö and Norsesund. Horses in the gloomy fields wearing jackets. Onwards past Hästeryd, under the fly-overs, under the Nifhelm, under the Nordic darkness, under the blood of the tribes.
In Alingås CDs were sold and people recognized many of the songs I sang, having colleced some of my recordings in previous times.