Wide awake.. A glimpse at the 2013 tour of Europe. Solo & with Jon Sanders and other assorted friends..

(written in Walldorf (Hess), Singapore and NZ)

so, wide awake after ducking in and out of sleep-land today on the train between Kassel and Walldorf where I stay tonight with friends before flying home tomorrow, I begin reflecting on the tour that has been these last 6 weeks in Europe.
Alot of names I won’t mention though many I’ve spent very special times with.? And I won’t go deep into every day for it would be a novel long and involved.. it’s just a glimpse.

The weeks & months leading up to it
were of a nervous, skint and hibernationesque nature
in the cold rainy depths of the Pukekohe winter.
Worries of the coming tour nagged incessant
like a Rottweiler, unhappy, hungry and drooling.
Will I make enough to get by? will the people like the music?
will I this, will I that?
So here in a comfy bed where the WiFi (not to be confused with Wifey, of course) smiles and accepts my ageing laptops advances
I must admit to being quite content
I’m in one piece with some Euros in my pocket,
I’ve some stunning memories in mind and I’m heading home..

Start –

Brother Steve met me at Dublin airport and whisked us safely to Sligo
where the jetlag wore off slow..
a monday that I thought was sunday
meant that the first gig with Chris B was only two days off
so we organised a rehearsal
where we wrote a set list, drank,
and admired the fine farmlet in the Irish country side where he lives with his lady..

The two Sligo gigs were easy going affairs
with Chris and I busting out a few originals interspersed with covers and the like,
easing into it & all.
The jaunt to Donegal to visit Rory Gallagher’s statue was imperative and satisfying to this long haired muso type..
Brother Steve wasn’t quite sure what the fuss was about
but drove the miles all the same in the name of? curiosity and brotherhood..

Galway bound we waved farewell to Sligo town..
the Races were on so the streets were lined with men folk drinking from plastic,
girls and women clad skimpy-like sporting? jewellery and goose bumps in the late night rain.
The gig was a marathon of grin and bear it appreciated by some gathered Italians and the sound man Donal bless.
then a Paddy “band” played plastic paddy songs with a drum machine that stopped mid-song as though even it had taste.. and so it went.

Dingle ho, an old haunt. Skimming stones in Ventry,
old friends and jelly fish..
some things stay the same some things do not..
the funk band at An Connor, yuss! A pint at Dick Macks..
A gig or two with Martin yessiree.
coffee and brunch with brother Steve and said friends.
talkin walking on cars with Duigo & Becs and its then..

Dublin bubbling as Dublin does,
a gig at the Grand Social and catchin up with a Kiwi banjo pickin friend,
good old Dublin town, where children danced for the gypsy busking band
and the city walks also with sadness in hand.

A jaunt to the north with Dan and her man..
Bally Castle via Belfast and 60 marching bands,
which spoke of oppression banal and bland,
Couldn’t help but think I’m not a marching band man.
The Causeway of Giants and a fishermans bridge
of rope and of hope
tied a rock to the shore,
we looked out towards the Mull of Kintyre and I sung of the song.
We looked over to Derry, and Islay and so,
could not help but think of a Bob McNeil lyric
that sings of the old times and of old time spirit..
“there are no men left in Derry, none in Donegal, there are no men left on Islay, build me a Norway Yawl” (Bob)

To Blaney via Belfast and a tour of the past
that’ll haunt quite a many right down the the last..
Now Blaney yes Blaney a classic wee town
where if you’re not quick of the mind you’ll get left well behind..
Where musos are gifted but lay their words low
not wanting to brag or to tell for they know..
walk surely of foot, hold high up the head,
maybe before dawn you’ll crawl learned to bed..

a ferry awaits but we’ll catch the next.
As the mind it is foggy and the schedule is wrecked..
Cairn Ryan where an angel comes dressed as a bus driver
and drops us near where we need to go, nearly is so..
95 pound sterling to the taxi cab man
and we’re seen unto Ambleside frazzled and frayed..
play the gig so with some pints with old friends met in Spain
then starfish in a backpacker bed, face down near lifeless.
Dawn sees the dash for the train to the north..
Dan is sent London ward and the worry mounts like stones on Maeve’s grave..

Inverurie, welcoming,? as always she is..
barbeque, mind a-stew breathe deep and long.
breathe deep and long, launch into a song
breathe deep and long the show must go on..
a couple of days recovering bless my dear friend.
thank you so, thank you so, now it’s south ward I go

A town I’ve heard of much,
so and so such and such..
Magnificent night at the Clutha with folks from all around..
from Germany and from Holland and locals and more.
some sang, some told stories, some spoke of war,
“my brother’s a piper the best in the land”
so says yer man, with a pipers book in hand…

Megabus, Manchester, Huddersfield ho..
a few chilled days with some old friends met many years a gone..
a night at the acoustic club then to the Moroccan bar.
Where we solved the worlds problems and hongi’d til late.
The York park of Sculpture seemed then on the cards.
If you’re ever in York I’d suggest it assured..
we looked to the skies through a square in the world.
The clouds swirled like a raging river and a bird done a twirl.
As if only for us as if only that day
as if only she never again fly quite that way..

Shrewsbury (like the biscuit) a wedding to play.
whole thing was surreal as weddings can be.
Hospitable hosts gave me keys to the van
and with said van I toured the mild English land..
Into the township of tudor and relics
remains of the Romans and empires & marauders.
a sweet little town of gardens, river and ghosts..

Camden, Camden, ahoy here I come..
on a sunday afternoon where the markets abuzz,
stark contrastingly so from the country side morn.
the Blues Kitchen not far from the backpackers door,
where I know I’ll go back to for more and for more..
Dirty Sound Magnet tore down the scene,
a quiet man played Jeff Beck on a Telecaster clean.
a great few days Londonesque loved and adored,
by some, but by others quite simply abhorred..

Ibiza, Eivissa through London down streets
I run this dawn gauntlet with wings on my feet..
Ibiza, Eivissa, where I once died a death,
only to be reborn again battered & blessed..
Ibiza, Eivissa where we once lived, alive.
Ibiza, Eivissa, on the rocks where I lay..
is stunning and parched from the summer sets’ pillage.
the villagers grimace and wait till it’s over.
Dalt Villa, and Sangria, family and friends..
old haunts and vivid memories from now and from then..
fly out through a lightening storm thunder beats at the sky..
a deluge signals the near end of the season gone by..

Frankfurt my old friend I’ve been through so often
I land once again in a transit-land state…
heading south to who knows where, a welcoming friend,
of a friend welcomes the waywardest of travellers, amen..
A night of drink and youtube, Blundstones & Doc Martens
then Jonny arrives and our axes we sharpen.
3 gigs on the trot with my old buddy J.
In a place where punk rock is the order of the day.
We play hard acoustic, win battle after battle,
take a late lunch in France and then we skedattle.

Jaysuss, we head up to Mullenbach, Cochem way
for Frans and dear Katrin and the gathered to play..
the set scene is splendour with a banquet table too.
A sound system in the corner brand spanking and new.
Well fed and well watered we pick up the stringed things
and play long and hard things you play on said stringed things.
The gathered are enthralled such and a mellow smoke wafts,
through the cold Eiffel air, to the heavens aloft.
A few wines and a guinness and? birthday cake to finish.
Sadly, here from afar, slow the memories diminish..
A morning walk down through the country side so,
blackberries hang ripe then it’s southward we go..

Freiburg soft water runs cleansing the street,
an air of peace, tranquil and of relaxitivity.
Too easy too easy with a lock in til late.
Massages and tunes and some transient tattoos..
With eyeballs, red, and like demolition ball lead,
we shake off the shakes as the day tries to wake.
A day mooching round gob smacked by the scene,
pick some new toys afresh from the music shop tree.
Cajonitos a pair for my friend and for I.
Beat rhythms through the streets echos dance off the walls..

Basel, for kicks
and dinner on the banks of the Rhine.
So I can say I’ve been to Switzerland.
At least once apon a time.
Layed it on she did,
and the place glowed from go to woe.
Hard to describe,
how to describe,
hard to know..

A late brunch with friends, fond farewells, we’ll see you again..
Jonny turns the car East to the Austrian Alps then.
A day of stunningness, I’d say hard to beat.
The naked alps sunning beneath the late summer heat..
At a guess I’d imagine they’d look even better dressed in white..
But winter may never see me here so imagine I must.

Up to Friesing via Munich where beer tents erect,
for the coming of Octoberfest in September month next.
Somethings goin on downtown as the cops hover round,
like an army of moths around a something’s happening flame.
Freising where Cuz has beers cold and kai warm.
Where till late in the night we laugh, yak and yawn.
A bit of a jam from the music tree fruit.
Ukulele & songs, with rhythms to suit..
Out comes the Zweibr?cken Grappa to resounding applause,
and sets about laying down sweet smoothe Grappa laws..
my god, yet again, the clock has struck four,
half an hour ago, maybe less maybe more..

Daylight and Cuz decides we’re waking at ten.
Ten! man are you insane? do you not know where we’ve been?!
My eyes bash like kick drums,
in my head a washer woman is beating a rug..
can you not let us crawl back into these holes we have dug?
small brekky and so to break broiled brains from their brawls
we walk the river side beneath the green summer leaves.
Skim stones on the Isar where the frogs leap haphazard
and we talk on the walk of all things deemed to matter..

Halle ho, Halle! Halle we go..
Toni Geiling and family will greet us we know..
Autobahn 9, we’re unstoppable, nein..

A building site that was, is an apartment plush and wow!
we’ve no trio show planned here, so no need to rush now.
Debrief and detach to recharge and relax,
with coffees and pints over lunches and chats..
talk of next year and of songs old and new
and a jam into the night for it is what we do
A little recording and a gig in the town..
Pop over to Liepzig might as well might as well.
Yet we walked the river Saale
and looked to the sky disc
popped in on pottery
and of course took the odd risk
jazz band down at Mojos
took us quite by suprise
could not believe my ears
could not believe my eyes..

so then yet again it was on to the end
again goodbye Halle
again goodbye friends
Autobahns and country roads to Kassel to the west
where I’m deposited at the train station and transit-land bless
by my old buddy Doc
we’ve travelled many a tune
see ya bud catch ya soon
go well in all that you’re doin

Train to Walldorf
where with friends from down under I’ll dwell
til the plane from Singapore comes and takes me away.
across the seas across the land to my home in the south
I’ll be there in a few days as its distance is vast
but I’m shown then round Frankfurt by a man who knows well
each and every nook and cranny
that has a tale to tell
so this place that i’d touched on so many times past
comes to life with a character
which seems set to dance
a town comes to life
by those you meet in its arms
for it’s the people who make it
with their ways and their charms

so I’m thankful to the Rottweiler
unhappy, hungry & drooling
grateful to family and the gifts that they’ve given
grateful to my buddy Doc and the miles he has driven
grateful to friends I’ve done met on the way
grateful to those too I’ve known many a year
who forgive me my failings
of which I’ve a share
grateul is a state of being
alive and aware..




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