In bed at 3 AM and up at 8 AM, Olivia’s parents planning to leave the house at 9.30 AM, so I went with them for a lift to Bonn. It always takes some commitment and preparation and probably some lack of sleep to go to Nobbi’s in Bonn-Beuel because there are endless racks of records and you need hours to look through everything. I was dropped off around 10ish and I stayed there perusing, digging, investigating, and chatting with Nobbi for five hours until Olivia arrived at 3 PM. By then I still hadn’t looked at everything (I autographed a copy of Starfish for Oliver and Ruth) and I did find a nice selection of interesting records (Daisy Chainsaw anyone?), and I wondered when they will meet up with their cousins, sisters and brothers that are languishing in storage in England – God Only Knows.
We left the shop and headed through the streets of Beethoven’s Bonn to CAN’s Cologne. We were meeting our friend Brigitte Handley who writes, sings, and plays guitar and is part of Australia’s Dark Shadows, she lives in Cologne. The train trip from Bonn to Cologne was about half an hour and we got talking to André opposite us on the seats, a conversation inspired by his T-shirt, “Heroine” and underneath “Suede”, I gave him some music tips, The Drowners EP, various Bowie albums and T. Rex. As we said goodbye we realised his parents were Portuguese, and he spoke Portuguese, what are the chances?
We met at Underdog, another record store, where I managed to pick up two of the hard-to-find Mars Volta vinyl reissues, The Bedlam in Goliath (2008) and Amputechture (2006), and in frenzy Swedish love, the latest Dungen album, En Är För Mycket och Tusen Aldrig Nog (2022), and Alice Boman’s The Space Between (2022). I called Tubitek in Porto and had them remove the Mars Volta albums from the wish list. Next door but two, there was another record store that had some reasonably priced nice condition records in the sale bin, double Doors, Absolutely Live, Caravan Dos (1977), a Spanish compilation, and more.
We walked through the streets of Cologne, it’s Halloween night but this is Germany and there’s little evidence of celebration. Suddenly a witch child and her sister following Mama towards the train but then nothing, no bats, no ghouls, and then you realise that there is no tradition or are there cynical commercial overtones here? (The Valentine’s Day syndrome.) Christmas and Easter are executed with full respect as are other religious holidays, one wonders if it is the commercial aspect of Halloween or if it just isn’t godly enough.
We found our way through the unusually warm autumn streets to a Vietnamese restaurant that Brigitte knew. Inside, friendly and not too busy and after we ordered, the door opened, and in came three small scary witches and a ghost, the smaller of the witches slammed in the door. The waiter gave them fortune cookies and they were out as fast as they were in, the smaller witch getting slammed in the door for a second time. Almost immediately after two more witches arrived but it seemed to be only the small kids involved and then they were few.
Brigitte had to go quite early so we left soon after she did and caught two trams to the train. On the way the occasional adult ghoul but you could count them on one claw. We managed to catch the earlier train because it was late and were back in the countryside less than an hour later where Olivia’s dad picked us up. Long day, great to be wandering around German cities meeting friends, and buying records.
Music today is the official notification that you can now buy the vinyl version of the Space Summit album Life This Way through Schoolkids Records in the USA. We are very happy to finally have this available on gatefold blue vinyl, lyrics included. Please give the record a good healthy listen and be aware that we have continued writing since this record was done and have a lot of songs for the next one – and the next one. All the videos are available on the link: I’m Electric, Life This Way, and Queen Elizabeth’s Keys as well as a new video for the latest feature song Ancient Towers.