I sit in the back lounge listening to Sky and the Family Stone’s There’s a Riot Goin’ On until I’m weary enough to insert myself into my perch. The long drive rocks us through deep sleeps and we hop off the bus refreshed in the light rain. It’s Sonntag, sleepy Sunday in Bavaria. I walk over a river and pass the Deutsches Museum but don’t feel the cultural pull. As I move into town I spot much lederhosen action, unsure if this is normal. There are old guys in the full Bavarian — leather shorts, long socks, hat with feather. The younger guys wear those lapel-less Beatle jackets with their hand-tooled leather plus-fours. Women too are kitted out in Heidi-type garb. It’s like a New Romantic convention. I meander down a typical wide pedestrianised thoroughfare, all shut chain stores and lonesome pigeons. Where once hooves clopped now skinny jeans…—More Tales
We all sleep fractiously after a late leave and a lot of stopping. I slouch off the mothership into a concrete compound containing some rubbish hoppers and a crowd of old cars waiting to be souped up or scrapped. A man is waiting to have a pile of things signed and I realise the need to perform my ablutions is too urgent to spend the first five minutes of my day scrawling my name over images of my own face. I get back to him later without remorse for my rudeness. How would you feel if there was a guy standing outside your bathroom in the morning with a pen and a copy of one of your old school photographs?
I meet a friend around two and we have a coffee before getting the U train to the Memorial For The Murdered Jews of Europe at the Brandenburg…—More Tales
I don’t sleep much after 2AM so read until 6 when I finally slip under. I charge off the bus around 1:30PM, walking a mile or so along a nondescript high street to town. There’s bugger all to see — just bike shops and burger joints. I pause by the canal at Christiansborg Palace, watching tourists disembark from open-topped barges. Sitting astride a snorting horse is Frederik VII, proudly guarding his palace with a silly helmet with a bird perched on top. A bird on a hat on a man on a horse on a plinth. The sun is out but there’s a strong sea breeze whipping about. I weave into the snarl of narrow streets marking the town centre and cut through some pretty arcades. It’s very busy and where not pedestrianised, the pavements narrow. Copenhagen (the whole country) is flat and the bicycle is king. The cyclists…—More Tales
We’re late arriving after getting stuck at the Norway/Sweden border in the middle of the night due to a closed customs post. The day is gloomy and very wet. I meet a lovely music writer called Anders who is just off the plane from New York and we have a long chat about music. He tells me a little about the impending newly elected right wing government. Though the votes are still being counted, it seems certain that a coalition of wankers will take power. He mentions the word Nazi. Sweden, for Christ’s sake.
The rain eases after dinner and I have a brief gad about. The club is by a body of water called Årstaviken and the neighbourhood is a middle-class residential zone with people in puffa jackets walking ridiculous ornamental hounds, some of whom wear similar attire. Put them in a stew and be done with it.…—More Tales
The bus brings us into town. This is not the Oslo I remember. It’s all gleaming towers in the downtown American fashion. Half this stuff wasn’t built in the early ‘90s when we were last here for some promo nonsense. But it’s a relief to be in an urban environment. The old brick and granite buildings are redolent of San Francisco. It has the feel of a major capital, solid and monumental. I hop off at the venue and find a street food court, long benches with QR codes on the tables surrounded by scores of purveyors. I opt for a Bibim Bap at a Korean stall. I head in any old direction down a busy thoroughfare; cafés, bars, falafel joints, clothes shops, veg stalls and halal butchers. It’s more multi-ethnic than I might have ignorantly predicted. There are a few panhandlers and I pass
a man slouched…—More Tales
Like yesterday the venue is nowhere near anywhere. I sniff the air outside the bus. Cool, overcast, intermittent cats and dogs. I walk into a forest park in the teeming rain. I make for a mushroom shaped pagoda and stand in the shelter for a bit, the forlorn rock singer in a Gore-Tex shell. The rain is making the sound of unbroken applause and screens the surrounding traffic din. Dog walkers disconsolately escort their mutts on their thin chains.
The path weaves through tall trees and leads me to a field, recently reaped of some indeterminate crop. Parts of the park appear to be in a process of re-wilding, others highly managed. Beyond a distant bank of trees I hear the familiar pink noise of a motorway. Four crows amble about and peck among the yellow stubble like officious pitch inspectors. Desultory birdsong broadcasts from the tree line.…—More Tales
I peer out of the back lounge window. Dark clouds torn and tattered stir around the sky. Downstairs I discover that we had a blow out on the trailer last night, sparks flying off the wheel rim, truckers honking warning. Simon and Buddy managed to get the spare on in what must have been trying circumstances. Most of us slept through it all. I go up an exterior industrial spiral staircase to our dressing suite. At the top I survey the area. Factories, warehouses, heaps of rubble, a wooded hill with houses. I meander through roadworks to a thickly forested park where I sit in a brief patch of sunshine opposite a pristine football pitch. It’s spookily quiet for a lunchtime. I can hear city traffic at the end of a long straight path and I head into its promise and the possibility of lunch somewhere. Promise of civilisation…—More Tales
There’s a milky green canal two feet from the door of the bus. I edge tentatively along its edge and head out into early autumn sunshine. I find myself in familiar places, the American Hotel, the ornate town hall. The Dels spent two freezing days here in February 1992, shooting for the Change Everything album sleeve with tall-drink-of-water American, Kevin Westenberg. It was here I discovered my first grey hair, a single long wire that I had David Cummings pluck out immediately. I remember swallowing a bit of hash when we wrapped and travelling home in cruise class. Bshzzzzzzzzz….
I take a table at a corner café to hoover up eggs, crispy bacon, OJ and tea. I’m on Tweede Weteringdwars Straat. Woollen Knickers Street. There’s a mild hubbub of tourist tattle in many different tongues. Bicycles stream by and electric delivery vans nudge through cautiously. The background noise…—More Tales
I’m sitting in my usual seat in Glasgow airport in a quiet corridor just beyond the scent and shades gauntlet. Work people are drilling and sawing overhead, doubtless building more retail disgorgement centres. It’s another flight to Heathrow to pick up the tourbus en route to the former mainland (now the Lost Territory). There’s a nail bar (Aerospa Airport Beauty Lounge) behind me emitting a regular sidestick, the telltale signifier of “chillout” music. Music that is called music but isn’t music but a hybrid of background noise and air pollution. The launch factory is quiet today, a few stragglers dip in and out of the crud purveyors in vain attempts to achieve distraction. Wheelie cases give out little railway rhythms on the tiled floor as they glide past. A man in a hi-vis tabard comes by with a comical troglodyte gait, static arms arched out from his body with…—More Tales