Fall Tour 2016
On a train from Hamburg-Harburg to Hannover.
As you know I'm trying to retrospectively piece together the scattered and varied memories from this tour. The last dispatch brought me up to the recording of the new Solobrien 3 CD. I had such a wonderful time in Switzerland spending two glorious days in the mountains in Fdan (but maybe I've already spoke of this... I think I have, come to think of it... that's worrying.)
Ok, let's begin with Grevenbroich. I got to Grevenbroich on October 2nd. I played a gig that evening at the museum, and enjoyed a super evening with friends. I was staying with the Ploenes family in Bedburg. The following day was Fuertag (?). Basically, it's the celebration of the unification of Germany. The Ploenes family invited me to share Shützenfest with them. I had never been to Shützenfest before, and I can tell you I'm not likely to forget it either.
Shützenfest is basically a massive party, where the whole town sort of marries itself.
There is a King and Queen coronation, live band (Groove House), men in black hats with a sort of floral appendage, and clogs, of all different colours and styles (I'm not joking). It's actually quite difficult to really explain, I spent most of the afternoon with my jaw permanently fixed to "dropped" mode. There is drinking, lots of drinking. Huge trays of beers kept appearing and disappearing....and that was from just the kids section of the tent. I tried to figure it all out, but even after asking a guy called Elvis, who will be King Elvis in a few years, I still didn't really know what was happening. But it didn't matter; it was joyous, crazy, passionate, and completely fascinating, a bit like a Trump Rally... without the psychos.
I spent the week in the area, mainly at the "Britta" Ford detox clinic, but I did manage to visit a few schools. I met up with Nina and my friends from Bedburg, visited Jorg and his amazing school in Juchen, and met Martina and Claudia in Kirchzarten. I also visited a new school in Monchengladbach and met Andre, whose son is going to be a professional soccer player for Borussia Monchengladbach.
I am now, and have been for all of my teens and adult life, a Birmingham City fan, but when I was a kid my team was Liverpool.
Kevin Keegan (yes I did have a Kevin Keegan perm and hopefully all the photos have since been destroyed)
I saw them play a few times, but my greatest memory was watching on TV the European Cup Final between Liverpool and Monchengladbach. I was allowed to watch late night football as long as I didn't wake up my younger brother who was three years younger than me, actually still is. I've no idea if my younger brother ever knew about the "plan". The plan was: my mom would send the two of us upstairs to bed, we shared a bedroom. My job was to pretend to fall asleep and then with the acrobatic skill of a Cirque Du Soleil performer slide out of bed and crawl out of the room, and head downstairs to footy heaven. Looking back now it's very possible my brother was totally aware of the plan but just didn't like football and enjoyed making me behave like a mission impossible Tom Cruise lookalike in flan annett pajamas... I must ask him.
To cut a long, Liverpool beat Monchengladbach, in Rome if my memory serves me right (but that's a 50/50 at best) so when I found myself in Monchengladbach, I really felt like that spy behind enemy lines, except I don't wear pajamas anymore. Too much information, I know.
From Monch' (there are so many long words in German, these blogs really wear me out) I went to Eppstein for a show. Bahn really tried to mess me around, and I got to the gig with 30 minutes to spare, but had a great night with friends, Michael and Ellen, Katja and Gregor. Thanks again for the use of your amazing Garrison guitar.
From Eppstein it was back to Hamburg for a rehearsal with Lothar and a birthday lunch with Lars. We met Heinz who very sadly recently lost his Father, Heinz Snr. I spent the following week in Hamburg working at the Rehwinkel (which I still can't pronounce despite being there at least three times) with Clas and Leo and Sankt Stefan (more of him in the next dispatch). We made a new album, featuring my songs that I perform in school.
What a gift I have been given, to hang out with teachers and kids makes me so happy. I hope I bring a smile too, but in truth I know it's me who really gets the benefits.