Well, we're back from our summer break and straight into a short tour of Northern Germany. For the rest of 2018 we'll play through to Christmas in Europe and the UK - just playing our regular show, plus dusting off our World War 1 show (Lousy War) in October, and then starting to incorporate a Christmas playalong on ukuleles for audience members. I wonder how long things will continue like this (hopping over to the continent) after the UK exits the EU on the 19th March 2019 - no one is really sure how it will impact our travel? Already some of the band with Irish ancestry have taken out Irish citizenship
My own efforts at getting a Portuguese passport were stymied when I discovered that either: you had to be able to speak Portuguese, employ eight Portuguese people or pour 500,000 euros into their economy!
While I have friends on both sides of the divide who voted differently, the vote has really split the country - some blame the lack of investment in certain parts of the UK (eg the North east - if you've ever taken a train from Newcastle to Manchester (two major English cities)) you can understand why there is resentment at the south which gets all the modern infrastructure projects (eg the Elizabeth Line in London).
But I don't know many musicians (who after all, have to travel to ply their trade) who are in favour of it, and I've had several awkward moments at the merchandise table in Germany where bewildered punters have asked 'what is this Brexit?” - in the words of Bob Dylan - "It ain't me Babe"!
If it does get complicated then we'll have to travel further afield to play gigs I suppose, but it will mean more time travelling. This trip to Germany, for example (five days) will be one gig short of the ten days the band spent in China this summer.
So the day started at 6AM when I got up and went to the station to catch the 6.30 train up to London. While I was changing trains at Paddington, I got buttonholed by a nice woman called Helen, who had seen us many times and she stopped me to say how much pleasure we’d given her over the years - I haven’t been recognised in the street for ages!
Dave and Doug in the queue at Heathrow - which one is looking forward to the tour and which one isn't?
Viola (tour manager) meets us at Frankfurt Airport
The flight over was pretty easy and the plane was a little late, which meant we had to go straight to the venue in Vellmar from the airport, a two and half hour drive up to the north, with a quick stop at a truck stop with some of the most vile chemical toilets it has ever been my displeasure to visit.
Richie had found an old English-German phrasebook from the 1950's in a charity shop and we all had a good laugh at the antiquated and outdated phraseology.
Ben gets on the bus
I grabbed a few ZZZZZ's ahead of the evening show.
On arrival at the venue, a bizarre multi turreted tent (which we’ve played before although I don’t remember it) we we're greeted by some autograph hunters -
who demanded that we sign their photographs - I don’t mind saying that I find some of these people deeply creepy (always badly dressed). I'll sign anything for anybody if they ask me politely but half the time they are not interested in coming to your show, they just want to flog whatever they’ve got you to sign - well, more fool them, as we’ve already signed a ton of stuff in our careers and it won’t fetch much.
Theaterzelt SOMMER IM PARK
Arriving at the theatre we went straight into eat (schnitzel) before the soundcheck so Doug (our sound guy) could get the desk set up
The gig itself was good and we’ve altered the song Heroes a little bit - adding some german phrases which were featured in a tv show here ’Die Kinder von Bahnhof Zoo’ to which David Bowie provided the music (so Jonty, who lives here told us).