Twenty fish, five Germany’s and a rainbow of embarrassment

The train is a perfect de-stresser for the rush of losing (then finding) a passport. However, I must have looked quite odd to my fellow passengers (nothing new there), smiling to myself at regular intervals with the odd giggle.

I had received an email translation of a newspaper review of my Flensburg show. I’d played a new song titled "Plenty other fish in the sea," the words of a parent meant to ease the pain of an adolescent break-up. Although the review was well-written, the writer misheard the title and in the paper noted the song "Twenty other fish in the sea", which we all know is not a lot of fish, and even less comfort to a heartbroken teen!
Paul teaches Grevenbroich kids Gaelic Frisbee

Paul teaches Grevenbroich kids Gaelic Frisbee

I reached the industrial town of Grevenbroich, forged between Dusseldorf and Cologne. Since my 2009 tour I’ve had a deeper connection with Grevenbroich more so than most locations largely due to the support from Stefan, venue manager, and also because of friends Ingo and Christina and their adorable daughters, and the Ploenes family. I was playing some school workshops and as usual the students of Grevenbroich proved to be an excellent audience and willing participants. The hospitality is humbling and a wonderful reminder that much of what I do would not exist if not for the kindness and friendships I experience on my travels. I hope I can return such goodwill one day.

Gottfried... the worst of times, the best of times

Gottfried: the worst of times, the best of times, the worst...


Nov. 14
From Grevenbroich, the train rolled into Marienwerder, 30 km east of Berlin, where I met Lars and Steffi. The venue was a lumber yard until Gottfried and son, Mika, completely rebuilt the site with a wonderful hotel and spa. At 80 years, Gottfried was born on the cusp of the Third Reich, spent his childhood in the Allied Occupied Zone, his youth in the DDR, his middle age behind The Wall, and now his senior years reunified. He lived and worked his best years in Soviet Germany, and now spends his breakfast in conversation about how life has significantly deteriorated since The Wall came down. Being a fine construction worker, I felt if Gottfried was asked, he would single-handedly rebuild it free of charge!

Spoon playing Marienwerder show stealer, Nov. 14, 2014

Spoon playing Marienwerder show stealer

Nov. 15
The morning train rolled eight hours south to Mering, in Bavaria. The train carriages were varied, including some designed for families, regular cars, and silent ones. Mobile phones are not permitted, and there is the general air of a library. I used the time wisely practising Jungle Run (I’m terrible at it) but was distracted by two loud men, one of which answered his cell phone, loudly. I stopped playing, threw over a mildly disapproving frown, popped in the headphones and drowned them out with a rather funny homegrown video featuring a guy singing about a double rainbow, including colourful (no pun intended) language. The noisy guys stared at me with deep frowns. The cheek of it! They were using phones and I was simply indulging in a little private music! But at the point the F-bomb was deployed, I realised to my horror the earphones were not secure which explained the muffled sound! I had treated the entire carriage to the double rainbow song. I hadn't thought it was possible to flush so red I'd be purple, but it is.

My soon-to-be-released single, "Temper Run", will include the lyrics: people, glass, houses, stones, throw, shouldn't and, double rainbow.

Paul O’Brien

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