Spring Tour 2017 – Day 1
As I sit on a crowded IC train headed to Stuttgart, I am feeling reflective as well as sweaty, and stressed, and jet lagged. I should have just stopped at reflective I know.
The tour began by flying from Victoria to Vancouver, and then from Van to Toronto, and then from Toronto to Munich. Sadly, my suitcase decided not to join me in the cross-country flight, deciding perhaps to hang on in Vancouver and catch an over-priced Canucks game.
Air travel (I once read in a book, a very old book) used to be the ultimate way to travel. People used to actually dress up, as if going to a job interview or a wedding. New clothes would be bought, even new underwear. What the heck has happened? I now consider Trans-Atlantic travel as a form of punishment. Let’s cut the prison population down by asking offenders to travel to Dublin from Bremen on Ryan Air (if only I could insert a short scary piece of orchestral music here, using diminished chords). That would seriously make a hardened criminal think twice. Or what about Victoria to Frankfurt via… wait for it… Seattle! Actually, that’s possibly too dehumanising.
So I sat waiting for my suitcase, watching expectant travellers head off towards their Airbnb’s, hoping the reality is vaguely similar to the pictures on the net, pulling behind them their faithful and loving suitcases.
I was reminded at this time of the only time, truthfully, when I was stood up.
In the spirit of full disclosure and with no hint of fake news, I have to say it was not by, my now wife, Louise.
This was PWT (Pre Wife Time). It’s a dark and murky place, often best left well alone, especially when recalling “adventures” to your wife.
There’s always a few sad looking suitcases that are left on the carousel; perhaps people were too ashamed to actually retrieve them because they bought cheap. It took about 15 minutes to accept my bag had buggered off. In my previous situation, it actually took me an hour to make the cognitive bridge that my date for the night had thought better of it. I had bought flowers, cooked a meal back at the house, I had washed, didn’t bother with the underwear, I mean I had underwear, just didn’t buy new underwear. I have to stay on track here.
As I sit here fumbling through my memories, I actually cannot remember her name. It was to be the first date, nothing fancy, dinner for two cooked by moi. I think it was a French dish, but I could be mistaken. Usually I play the cooking game very safe; I was not that experimental. When my wife put cheese on to the beans for beans on toast I thought it was the second coming. But I wanted to impress, and besides the garlic was on sale.
I waited outside the Odeon Cinema on New Street.
New Street was actually the name of my very first band, a reggae band. Unfortunately, the band split after some 6 months because one of the band members quit and took the reverb unit with him. I can still remember that first rehearsal after he had left, sans Reverb unit. It was terrifying, we had no idea we were that bad. A double whammy, as it was actually my reverb unit.
There was no money for another one, as we’d spent all our money on matching burgundy suede pixie boots (you know I’m not making this up).
Head bowed, I trundled over to the Baggage Tracing booth. I said to the lady I wasn’t that interested in doing any artwork at that moment, on account of me having no baggage to trace. Ahe offered somebody elses, but I politely declined; my heart just wasn’t in it. She understood.
She did offer me a free wash bag, and XXL T shirt. I felt like saying that I was probably just a little bloated temporarily by the flight, but my German isn’t that good, and the thought of trying charades to explain that concept didn’t feel comfortable. She was very nice, she smiled a lot, and she told me my bag would be delivered 24 hours later. I was defeated, but her smile made it bearable. She said I was entitled to $100 for not having my bag. I thanked her, and headed off to the bag shop but, being Sunday, it was closed. So I invested the money in Haribo (you might be surprised how much you can buy for a hundred bucks.)
When I left the Odeon Cinema on the 31 bus, I was wondering “what had I done wrong?”. Had she looked over at me from the opposite side of the street and got cold feet? In fairness, if that was the case she shouldn’t have worn flip flops. Was my tuxedo too much? All these questions…and ellipses…
Still, I had the meal to look forward to, but the thought of eating alone was not appealing so I called (using a phone box - I’ll have a diagram/picture at the end of this piece to explain) my friend Peter Fitzpatrick (Pete, Pete Fitz, Fitz, Fitzy.) I said I had heard he loved French cuisine, and would he like to try a new recipe I had found? No, he didn’t. Heartbroken, and holding back the tears, I told him about me being stood up. He said he was hungry. I like male relationships.
I got to my friends place in Mering and had a reasonable nights sleep, and then yesterday took a train to Hamburg to collect my guitar. The journey was quite uneventful, until I woke up this morning to realise I had left my entire tour schedule, with all the train tickets inside, on the train. Why make touring easy when you can involve lost luggage and no train tickets? There was no smiling Lufthansa lady to calm me down this morning, but Stephanie did save my ass by printing off my train ticket. I got a bus to the local train station but they said there was no lost and found office there. I took a cab to the main station, had a lovely chat with the driver, Gunter, who was originally from El Salvador. I arrived at the main station, got lost looking for the Lost and Found office, found it, and was told it could take 3 or 4 days for it to end up there, if indeed it was handed in. I also left my song-writing book on the train also, with all the words of my new songs in it. Please keep an ear out on the radio for any songs that might mention leaving Victoria with a wife and a dog, sung by an ex-railway employee; it’s probably my song.
Editor's Note: I was unable to insert a picture of a phone box here, but just imagine one of those large, red boxes that used to house telephones. You know the ones.