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. I hear the naw-nee of a German police siren. The sky is a curtain of pewter.
I take a more rugged path through the woods, coming upon some uninhabited shelters constructed from cut branches in rough A-frames. An animal flits across the track, too quick to identify. I think of our two perspectives — my bipedal elevated view, this ground dwellers low-earth scenario. I can spot danger from a distance, a badger or a rabbit close-up and imminent. I trudge back, an old badger myself, wobbling on two thin legs and keen to get coffee.
Waiting, waiting, waiting. These out-of-town venues are killing us. Cooped up all day with nowhere to go, no city to explore. We attempt to entertain ourselves with chit-chat, some quiz questions, discussing the best method for killing houseflies. We’re under-stimulated and institutionalised. I boil a kettle. Perhaps I’ll make another cup of tea. No wonder I used to drink like a drain on the road, the boredom is crushing.
In the morning I flop out of my bus bunk at 6AM and watch the sun rise over northern Germany. No one else is awake, all is still. Through the smoked windows I see deep green woods and yellow fields as ground mist burns off in the rising sun. A flat moon floats behind us. Another rosy fingered dawn, another odyssey, another long wait to rock.
Four countries in one day: Germany/Denmark/Sweden/Norway. We’re on an epic 840 mile, 18 hour drive from Cologne to Oslo. I have some schnitzel and pastries in a Danish service station at lunchtime and we answer internet quizzes through much of pretty Sweden. There are gorgeous lakes, pine covered rocky outcrops, picturesque wooden farmhouses.
We pull into our hotel on the outskirts of Oslo around 7:30PM and I go horsing off to find a sushi place 20 minutes walk away. I find myself angling through a college campus meeting a crowd of football players drifting home after a match, big units all. The sushi place proves to be a bit insalubrious so I opt to go back to a student kebab place. They don’t seem keen to serve me so I give up and go to the service station outside the hotel, eying the hot dogs. But I can’t seem to get anyone’s attention there either so admit defeat again and go to my room with a salad cannily purchased en route as back-up. I watch some films on my laptop and drift into a black sleep, my system stunned at the silence and the stillness.