I’ve been in Berlin for just under a week now. It is really nice to be back but it has also been a bit surprisingly strange in that the city is becoming quite familiar. So while I am really excited for the summer ahead I have also found myself trying to get into a nice routine of practice and daily life stuff as quickly as possible.
I arrived on Thursday morning last week and stepped out of Tegel airport into a pleasantly warm spring morning. Esther collected me in her car and after a solid two hour nap back at her flat I unpacked my gear and had my first practice. Later on we went out for a walk along the canal and a welcome back dinner of schnitzel and asparagus. The next day was much the same, just swop out the schnitzel for a pizza.
Saturday was the first gig of my trip at a great little venue called Kallasch& in an area called Moabit, just west of the city centre. The venue got its name, I was told, because it inherited the neon signage from the previous tenants – Kallasch & Jonnas – of which only the ‘Kallasch&’ was still working. The show went really well and, in fact, I don’t think I could have hoped for a better start. The venue felt good and there was a nice crowd of between 20 or 30 people, including a few familiar faces. I got a really great reception and even sold some CDs.
We hung around afterwards for a couple drinks and I had my first really interesting random conversation with an Italian film maker named Rocco who I met on the pavement outside of the club. He had just come out of his edit suite where he is working on a documentary about a university professor in his 60s who is dealing with the breakup of his long-term romance by taking himself off the capitalist grid and living out of his Cadillac, a couple blocks away from where we were talking. The most interesting point that Rocco made was (and I’m really paraphrasing here) that he felt that there needed to be a movement by men that was an equivalent to, or at least alongside, feminism – and that rather than a reactionary movement (like getting angry about Mad Max) it should be about men shedding the same nonsense masculinity that inspired feminism in the first place. Something to think about.
Sunday was taken up mostly by a picnic/braai at Tempelhof which lasted from about lunchtime until the sun started to head home at around 9pm. It was a great summery afternoon and evening of catching up with some old friends and making some new ones. We then ended the day with some drinks on the roof above one of Esther’s friend’s sixth-story apartment. And then we ended the evening for a second time at around 1:30am with a leisurely beer and pizza on the way home.
The week kicked off with a public holiday which meant having breakfast at about 2pm after which we met up with some friends for ice-cream and a walk through Tempelhof, including a break for some shape-note singing and an interesting-slash-random meeting with a couple from Kenya/Cape Verde.
On Tuesday I packed up all my gear and went off to find my friend Lukas who, along with another friend Daniel, is in a band called Queen Kowalski. Lukas has offered to record a song of mine at their practice space in a building called The Music Bunker – a three or four story building of practice rooms. I arrived just after midday and after running through the song (Wait By The Phone) a few times with Lukas on drums, we recorded my guitar parts. It will probably take a few sessions to get an idea of what the track will sound like and I am really curious to see that that will be. I think that Lukas has a really great ear and I am really excited to play, even just for the purposes of recording, with a real live drummer!
That evening we just hung out at home and I worked on some (long overdue) lyrics that my friend Erik has asked me to write for a song for his new album. With all the preparation for this trip it is one thing that has gotten quite delayed from my side. I finally managed to sit down properly with it and feels like I have got most of it down now. It just needs to be finished off by the end of the week, which I should be able to do. And then hopefully he likes it.
And then, finally, it was Wednesday (
today yesterday). I woke up, ate breakfast, practised, visited Becky and her super cute daughter Nia, came home, had a nap, practiced a bit more, went out for the worlds greatest burger at The Bird, came home, spilled tea all over my computer which thankfully was turned off at the time, turned my computer on to find that I had neglected to save the blog post I had been writing, wrote the whole thing again but leaving out the story about the really (infuriatingly) wobbly baggage wheels I bought for my gear bag, SAVED THE DRAFT!!, had an amazing idea about using animated gifs instead of photos, and then went to sleep.