Last day in Germany, Shrove Tuesday, Siv made us pancakes for breakfast, English style thin with sugar and lemon. It takes me straight back to childhood, not only because of the taste, but because we only had this treat once a year. I really thought that you were only allowed to eat pancakes on this one day…and then I went to America. In Sweden they eat semlor, a creamy super sweet cake and it seems like this tradition exists in the Christian world to use up what’s left in the cupboard before the fast to Easter. I had no idea, Siv did some research. I didn’t even know that Christians had a fasting tradition. If you are not brought up with religious ritual these things pass you by.
It was get up and pack day today, will the records fit? Do I need my two acoustic 12 strings? Can we carry everything bearing in mind we are on the train and not flying? Is there a baggage limit on the Eurostar? Do I need my big coat? Are we taking sandwiches? Are my iPods charged? Do I have the right adaptor plugs? How long will we be in England? Despite being a veteran traveller it’s not easy to remember absolutely everything. I’ve started to make lists: Gym/pool lists, shopping lists, record lists, Brahms and Liszt.
Despite all these mind-numbing responsibilities we had arranged to go to Bonn today to meet Barbara who supported us at the Düsseldorf gig and livestream. Siv lent us the Fiesta and I broke all cool protocol and listened to Double Vision by Foreigner on the iPod. Olivia had to go and pick up her cellolin today from the luthier in (wait for it) Mozartstrasse (Mozart street), so while she was in there I took the opportunity to listen to the first Foreigner album, too (formed by Mick Jones who was in the latter day Spooky Tooth and Ian McDonald who was in the early days of King Crimson). 80 million records later, yes they sold that many records but despite being much maligned by anybody who might have taste, I think there’s one album that has great songs, Double Vision, that’s the only one. Hot Blooded is of course very silly, but I Iike the other songs. After that it was Fire And Water by Free and Houses Of The Holy by Led Zep so I went a bit seventies Rock mad today. We went to Nobbi’s record store and I bought Sound by The Mighty Lemon Drops (1991) and Permanent Damage, the last Icicle Works album (1990), so big jump from the seventies sound to the nineties sound. A record by Alan Ross (I already have two records by him, but nobody really knows who he is), last but not least I bought a vinyl copy of the brilliantly titled Electric Landlady by Kirsty MacColl. You may know she was tragically killed, run over by a boat whilst on holiday. It’s one of the most terrible stories, I won’t retell it here.
We arrived right on time at A Taste Of India in a part of Bonn I hadn’t been to before. It was a Southern Indian cuisine. It’s funny, I’m not a foodie, but Barbara was telling us tonight how she was a foodie after we discussed our hobbies, (ha ha, mine were…) Olivia and I are so picky with food. Whenever anyone invites us to dinner I always say “Are you sure you want to do that?”. But anyway, nice chat about the universe with Barbara. We ate the typical dish of this cuisine, vege dosas, nice. I never talk about food and that’s twice in one day.
We got back to the house in time to see Chelsea get hammered 0-3 at home in the Champions League against Bayern Munich. Then I listened to a bit of new artist Hazel English, before listening to the new Ozzy album, Ordinary Man, the last two tracks featuring rappers Post Malone and Travis Scott. It’s a long way from seeing Black Sabbath on the Vol. 4 tour at the Stadium in Liverpool in the seventies, or is it? I was talking to sesh man Tony on Sunday about how unheavy Sabbath’s sound actually was, especially Vol. 4 onwards and when you compare it to what happened in Metal music since…Ozzy has a kinda sweet voice actually, is it double-tracked all the time? It’s always so smooth. I went to see them with the Anekdoten lads in Stockholm on their final tour, Ozzy sang Iron Man so flat, all the way through. No one seemed to notice. Flat Iron Man. I’m back on Hazel English now, so keeping it eclectic.
Whenever I’m in a foreign country and heading back to my own country, I always hate to leave. Not because I have a problem with my country, but because I like the strangeness of somewhere I didn’t grow up, especially when it’s a foreign language. I’ll miss the left hand drive cars, the signs that I can’t read and all those odd little differences that make you feel like you’re in a parallel universe. It’s exciting, isn’t it? I don’t identify with home, not a home, that would be nice, but home as in where I’m from (Heimat in German). I’m at home with people from all over the world, like I’m at home with other people’s ways of making music. I don’t have to like it to appreciate it and the image never hides the quality or blurs the intent. Remember when Bowie toured with Peter Frampton as his guitarist? Remember when Aerosmith and Run DMC did Walk This Way?
Did you know that John Mayer plays with the Grateful Dead? What a wonderful world of surprises we live in.