There’s an ominous roar outside, the trees are bending silhouettes against an ever darkening sky. The street lamps extend over the street on long metal poles, moving the light backwards and forwards on the glossy wet tarmac. The other day it poured and blew like a hurricane for 15 minutes and then stopped unnaturally and completely. There’s two stationery cars hidden in the shadows and at the end of the street by the church someone is driving home. The village is otherwise deserted. The lights of early evening are still sparkling in the windows as people look for an excuse to stay awake, wishing for the morning and the brightness of daylight. It’s Rose Monday tomorrow and carnival in Western Germany is in full swing. All the revellers are praying for a rain and wind free day for the celebrations so the parade and the floats aren’t hindered as they were today, cancelled in parts of Cologne and Bonn. Many people are free from work tomorrow, but somehow a Sunday night never feels like a Saturday night despite the following day of leisure.
Everything is closed on Sunday in Germany, apart from the obvious, but the supermarkets are closed, so you can’t buy groceries. Garages are open, cafes, restaurants, but anything retail is closed. I suppose everyone’s at church. Hm? You are not allowed to mow your lawn in Germany on a Sunday. Whispering is allowed, but only quiet whispering. It’s mandatory rest. As recognition of the sabbath (that’s ‘the’ sabbath not Black Sabbath) has waned, Germany keeps up the tradition of Sunday being a day to slow down. It seems odd that the one day you are not at work you can’t get around your garden fixing all the things you couldn’t get to in the week because of work. Saturday is filled with the supermarket and other shopping – it takes all day. Out on Saturday night? Sunday night, well you’re back at work the next morning. How do people that lead a traditional 9-5 lifestyle ever get anything done? This is where the 4 day week comes in. Shop Saturday, fix and mow Sunday, rest Monday. Then there’s the holiday issue – it seems that in America there is no requirement to give employees any holidays at all, mostly they do, but you could work for 20 years in America and only get 10 days off plus public holidays. I wonder if this helps or hinders productivity? In my world, there are no holidays and no pension, no retirement and no job security, no guarantee of anything at all, but that’s the world of the self-employed in the field of creativity. Plus you can get lucky and can get very rich – or try so hard and get nowhere. Either way it’s worth the risk.
Gerd took a picture of the hole in the protective piece under the chassis (silent c in England) where we hit the piece of metal in the Citroen on the road yesterday. No serious damage to the workings of the car, but it’s why there’s bumper bars, you protect the body work with something in front of it and there’s something under there that protected the car underneath. These days cars seem to just crumple, I suppose that’s how they are made these days like so many things, built to bend but not to last.
The bell in the village just rang as it does all day and night. There’s something spooky about it. Something about it ringing when no one’s listening. It makes you wonder if there will come a time when no one hears it again, will we survive the bell or will it continue chiming after all living things have gone? There’s nothing more mysterious and atmospheric than a deserted village. The imagination runs riot, exploring a derelict house, a mansion with dirty windows and ripped curtains, cobwebs around the doors. Impressions of a life unknown, reliving the affect that life has had on inanimate objects. You see the vacant chair that was once occupied by a child every morning for years. The pots and pans still hang above the stove. You can hear the chatter that rang around the kitchen table in its most vibrant days. No ghosts, just shadows, distant voices and vague memories lost in time.
I’ve been hoping that I can get these ‘tour’ records back to the archive in two wheelie bags and our suitcases as we are on the train, so there’s not going to be a weight limit but we still have to haul them across Europe. It’s always a task and always worth it. Filing them away in the In Deep Music Archive whilst listening to some unlikely forgotten record or in turn a popular gem. I sometimes say to Olivia, no one in the world is listening to this album right now. As I write I’ve been listening to the Elvin Bishop Group debut from 1969 and Ben Sidran’s The Cat And The Hat from 1979, see what I mean? It’s not that they’re obscure, more just forgotten. The fans that liked them when they came out are dying out and I can’t see them being replaced by a new audience. Frank Sinatra, Jimi Hendrix, sure, but it’s not only limited pressings of unknown groups that fade into memory, it’s music that was once well known, drew a crowd, had a following. Times changed, it’s the way of things, but I am happy to preserve these treasures for someone, as yet unknown.