I had to get up and get to the hotel, have a shower, and deliver the keys back to reception before noon today. We had to book somewhere for when we came back from the British tour (sorry Wales) because the new headquarters weren’t ready yet. To get the deal on the hotel we had to book it for a month, so although we haven’t been staying there for the last ten days we still had it to go to take a shower. I was out of there in time, dropped the keys off, and waved farewell to torture chamber showers, collapsing beds, shrunken rooms, and actually, really friendly people.
We will be travelling soon and our Portuguese bank does a travel insurance deal which we wanted to get in place before heading out into the big bad world again. So we took the train to Gaia over the Dom Luís I bridge with the amazing view of Porto. We went by luthier Jorge’s new workshop which was close by but it seemed like the new gates were closed and he wasn’t there. I got a message later saying he had been there, I should have knocked. Jorge is looking after my guitars till we get all the security sorted on the new place – sentries, private army, booby traps, gun turrets, and the like.
We came back via Tubitek, it seemed they had found me the McCulloch album Slideling (2003) after all, the U2 – Songs Of Surrender box (2023), and the two latest Curve reissue vinyl EPs. We met João in there who runs intimate shows at the Hard Rock Café in Porto and he wants to put a gig on for us. Jay Aston from Gene Loves Jezebel has played there and Nick Oliveri from Queens Of The Stone Age. Sounds like the right place to play here in Porto. Talking of playing here, The Mission are here tonight plus the other Gene Loves Jezebel, Michael Aston’s version, silly innit.
Back to The Archive to await the delivery of a piano from Leipzig. It didn’t come from Leipzig today, we think it came from Leipzig about 100 years ago. It only has one dodgy key, and needs a tune but having said that it’s not so bad. Great to have a real piano in the place, especially a nice old one from the A. H. Francke company. We were wondering how we were going to get it lifted out of a van on a busy Saturday street and up some steps. There were cars parked all along the street until all of a sudden the car right outside moved. I ran inside and got three chairs and reserved the spot. They showed up with the piano an hour later than expected (probably struggling to get it in the van at the other end). I was standing in the street waiting (Olivia can’t because it’s the ladies of the day and night street). Whilst standing there a police car came by, and the policeman saw the green chairs reserving the spot, he said, “What’s all this then?” but in Portuguese. I explained in my best Spanish that a truck was imminent and was delivering a piano into the premises, he accepted the reasoning and drove on, phew.
The van arrived with two guys. I’d already spoken to the fellows across the road at the restaurant, letting them know that any help would be most appreciated. As it happened the van pulled into the parking spot and then a car pulled in behind them and asked me if it was alright to be there as they could see the piano in the van and the task at hand. Then they said, “Can we help?”. Haha yeah, you sure can! Between their help, the van guys and one of the guys from the restaurant and of course my half-hearted help (my hands issue), we got the piano in and it’s a beautiful thing, the first thing to see when you come through the door.
Music today has been the strangest of things, Mike Oldfield’s demos for Tubular Bells. Fascinating, who could have predicted what would happen from here?