This Berlin report comes to you direct from a bathtub in Brussels where I am soaking off the first day of my three-week tour which will take in parts of Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, France and Switzerland.
I left Berlin bright and early this morning in my slightly-more-fancy-than-expected rental car and arrived in Brussels almost exactly on time for an interview and small live performance on Radio Campus Brussels. The interview went really nicely and because it was only set up quite late, which meant that I didn’t manage to book a show in town, the evening has been spent hanging out at (my interviewer and host) Kika’s house. It has been a really nice and chilled few hours of hanging out in the garden or at the kitchen table, listening to music, chatting about random life and music related things and eating strawberries picked from the garden.
All of which has been happening against the small mental note I have made that I just drove most of the width of Western Europe for a radio interview. Ok, I was kind of coming this way anyway but it’s still a funny thing to have done on a Monday. It’s also my first real taste of being on a real live European Tour – the kind where you get to say: “Ya, I played in xxxxx one time but I didn’t really get to see much of the city because I was only there for one night.” It’s a funny feeling, and it’s a funny feeling mostly because now I know what being on tour in Europe feels like. I mean, you can’t know until you know. Obvs. So ya, it’s mixture of the familiarly that comes with driving a semi-fancy car 750k’s on the wrong side of the road for an interview in a city (and country) you never been to and the strangeness of the fact that this is probably quite a normal occurrence in a tourey sort way. Whatever. Its been a long day. I’m sure I’ll be having similarly deep for the next three weeks on a daily basis.
But before I get in with all of that, here is a quick update from the last couple weeks. Last time I wrote I had just the one (really nice) gig under my belt. Since then I have had:
- One gig where no one came and so I didn’t play.
- One gig where the only person there was a really drunk British expat who loved the show but turned down the chance to take me on as a client
- One gig in Leipzig where five people came (two of whom were my friends) and where one of the other three audience members (a middle-aged lady) said the thought the show was quite different and a bit loud but that she enjoyed it nevertheless.
- One gig where seven people came (one of whom was Esther and one of whom was a friend) but where the response was so good that the owner (a middle-aged man) felt compelled to kiss me right on the mouth.
- One gig at a steam punk bar where nine people came (or mostly just happened to be there) (the two who actually intended to be there were friends of Esther) where the response was nice enough to prompt one of the accidental audience (a metalhead) to offer to play cahon in my band if I could find one for him to play.
- One gig (in Leipzig again) where ten or fifteen people who I didn’t know at all (plus one friend and a friend of hers) arrived for the gig on purpose and seemed to quite like it. And..
- One gig where at least twenty people (plus Esther and two extra friends) arrived on purpose and clapped enough at the end for four songs worth of encore. So basically it has been a sliding scale of all sorts.
Also, I saw Manu Chao play live (!!!!!!!!), learned to drive on the wrong side of the road, saw the guy who played Darth Vader in the original Star Wars films, ate five ice-creams, swam naked in a lake and made a first (and mostly failed) attempt to cook a pad thai.