Nothing too clever or funny or anything today. I played football for a long time this morning and I feel exhausted. Boss though because we've started playing on a proper astro pitch as opposed to either the park or the muddy pitch
I went to the melt festival over the weekend with an old friend of mine and of 28 Costumes called Sophie...she lives in Berlin now too. I was too-ing and frowing whether or not to go as I didn't really have any money to take with me. i got the ticket for free so it wouldn't have made a difference like. I'd spent the week before the festival at Edda's dad's place over in Saerbeck, near Muenster and it was amazing. So nice to get out of the city and the chaos and just be in the countryside. Of course,it helped that Rolf (Edda's Dad)'s girlfriend has a massive garden with a swimming pool and stuff! we spent a few nights there having bbqs and late night swims which was mega. It was also nice to hang out with Philipp, Edda's brother. We get on dead well and it was boss seeing him and edda together because they have a dead nice relationship. So yeah, it was kind of hard deciding to leave all that behind and get back to berlin to the festival but after quite alot of thought i decided i'd be mad not to go.
We left on friday afternoon in a ford KA. That's 4 people, 4 massive bags, 3 tents (i didn't have one) and everyones food and stuff. It was a horrible journey there cos it was so hot and so cramped in the back. i think me and marius might died if the journey was any longer than it was. Once we got there we headed to the camp site and I was still unsure what to do about my sleeping arrangements as i didn't have my own tent. However, there was an area for people who paid €50 to sleep in these sponsored tents and have breakfast and stuff so i just went there and pleeded with them to give me a tent and told them i'd just realised i'd left mine at home and i cant believe it and it's so, so sad and in the end he gave in and let me take one of these tents.
Saw loads of boss bands like the shout out louds, blood red shoes (were amazing), yeasayer, the futureheads, fucked up, darwin deez, the xx (bit bland), dj shadow, foals, hercules and the love affair (dead gay), hurts (dead crap and contrived) and danced to loads of mad techno stuff too. one thing i've noticed actually is that all the indie kids are mad into techno too. its weird cos i remember being a bit younger than i am now and it kinda being one or the other...it's boss though! i like it that they're into loads of different stuff.
had geoff stay with us for a couple of nights too and had some fun...went swimming in a lake not too far from where i live which was ace and it had a massive fountain in the middle that you could swim too and sit under.
Thursday, 8 July 2010
So I biked all the way to Mickey's Bar on Fuldastrasse in Neukolln and waited for the man with multiple noses and alas he did not show. I can't say I'm surprised to be honest. I sat down outside Mickey's and while I waited another man, a big stocky fella with Terry Venables style brushed back grey hair and a salmon coloured Eldorado-style shirt on which was largely unbuttoned revealing a large amount of grey chest hair underneath a large gold medallion, came and sat opposite me. He was studying a map of the Berlin U-bahn lines. This was Mickey, the proprietor of Mickey's bar, naturally. Mickey was about 60 or so and had moved to Berlin 14 years ago from Southampton. He sat and spared no small detail as he told how he came to be here. In a nutshell (if i told you exactly we'd be here for literally days) he came here to work as a builder, he met a woman, not in a sexual way, he lived with her for a bit, she rented him a room, he spent so much time on the wrong side of the bar he decided to buy a pub, he bought a pub, he paid LOTS of different people amounts of money to make this happen ('every cunt had their hand out, waitin' for me'), he'd been to jail so he wasn't sure if he would get his license, he got his license, he wasn't sure if people would come to his bar, people came to his bar, he bought another bar, he threatened some dutch people because they were going to trash his car, his daughter knows a dentist, he doesn't miss Southampton, his friend Mick supports Liverpool, his friend Mick was in jail too, his barmaid works hard, beer is cheap, he isn't tied to a brewery, the capacity of Mickey's is 28, he has 30 or 40 regulars who come 3 or 4 times a week...this went on for ages but between every sentence was about a 30 second gap in which he would take about 4 long drags of his filterless ciggies. Don't get me wrong, he was a fairly interesting chap and he bought a couple of beers whilst he was telling me all this and I did find it interesting to be honest...just a bit long winded. Anyway, I listened to his stories for a couple of hours and then made my excuses and said goodbye, promising to return soon.
I made my way up Kotbusser Strasse to get myself some food from an amazing kofte place. They do these absolutely wonderful Kofte baguettes with rocket and fresh mint on this delicious bread for €3...if you are ever in the Kreuz-Kolln area you should well check it out, it's just past Sander Strasse. I'll try and remember the name which would probably be useful.
From here I headed towards home but the sun was shining and it was suddenly dead hot so i changed my mind and went back on myself and went to the Sommerbad which is a massive outdoor swimming pool in Kreuzberg (Prinzenstrasse Ubhn). I fell asleep for an hour and a half and got woken up by these kids who were playing a game where they jump over the sleeping man on the floor, dripping water on him to see if he wakes up. I don't know how many times they'd jumped over me - it might have been the first time or more embarrassingly it may have been 4 or 5 or 20 times. Anyway, I woke up and felt stupid and cursed them in English and dead quietly because i didn't want to get into a fracas with some children who were just having a laugh and would probably have battered me because there were maybe 12 of them. I eventually jumped into the pool (literally jumped in, dead ugly, i can't dive, it always ends horribly) and swam for about an hour...it was dead cold in the pool and it took my breath away for a bit but once I got going I enjoyed being outside and in the water - it was dead refreshing. I done about 20 lengths (about 1km) which was enough for me and I got out and got showered and dressed and left.
It was the germany vs Spain football match later that day and I went with Edda and James Slater to this place in Prenzlauerberg to watch it. It was really cool - it was outside an antique furniture shop and they'd put all the furniture from the store out in front of the store for people to sit on and they put a big telly in front of the window and had a bbq too. I met some lovely people too who were dead funny. We all had a splendid laugh and then Germany went and ruined it for everyone by getting beat at football. Oh well, it's only a game isn't it. I don't think Edda was too sad although she did seem a bit sad. We said goodbye to James and our new friends and hit the road on our bicycles. We were really close to home by this point so it probably only took us 7 minutes or something. When we got home me and edda had a glass of milk and some chocolate and then watched a billy bragg interview on youtube before turning the lights off...
Tuesday, 6 July 2010
Last night i met a strange man with three noses and he offered me a job. I couldn't quite make out all of the details but the three things i managed to understand from our conversation were 'renovation', 'pirate party' and 'Bruce Sprinsteen'. I'm going to meet him at noon today. I've got a feeling that he's either going to be mental and a lunatic but I'm going to go along anyway to find out. He was a guy maybe in his mid to late 50s who obviously had enjoyed a life-time of drinking and specifically drinking whisky, judging by bizarre nose which appeared to have 2 other noses growing off it. It was difficult to look at him in the eyes not just because he had such an odd nose but because he had 2 pairs of glasses on. I don't even know why I'm bothering to go because after re-reading this he's clearly insane. Only thing is, when he spoke to me about the job he sounded like he was dead serious and fairly intelligent. I guess that's why I'm going really, just to see. It could be interesting. I think he mentioned something about helping him renovate something or another. I don't know...I'll let you know later on. If I make it back. He might be a massive psycho and perform a murder upon me.
Monday, 5 July 2010
There was a huge storm last night here. I remember the rain waking me first because even that on it's own was deafening but then a massive strobe of lightning struck followed almost immediately by the loudest thunder I have ever heard. Honestly, it caused an audible pang of fear from me. It was scary as hell!
I played my first gig here on Friday night and it was amazing...I enjoyed it so much. I played withmy electric guitar and did some 28 Costumes songs and some Hallo songs plus a new one I've written since I've been here called 'Come, let us run away'. It was a dead nice atmosphere because it was only in a tiny basement that maybe held around 25/30 people and it was full too. The room was actually perfect for the gig - I played all the songs as quiet as I possibly could and it worked really well so I think I'm gonna do that for future gigs too.
I bought a bicycle on Saturday. It's already made such a big difference and it's so much better than travelling by tram or bus or train, especially in this weather plus it's easily the best way to get to know a city.
Yesterday I worked a double shift at the Rod Stewart concert in the o2 World which was really easy and today I'll work on the Prince concert.
I feel really tired today and my head feels all confused and dizzy so apologies for not making any effort to make this blog more fun. I can't be arsed to be honest.
Friday, 2 July 2010
It's so fucking hot here right now. I think the weather forcasters predict that the temperature will reach 39 degrees tomorrow and it's about 35 now. It's just so fucking hot. Even my beads of sweat are sweating. Sweating and crying. My sweat is crying.
I've spent the last 2 weeks working like a dog. Sometimes the working day has been as long as 18 hours with a couple of hours sleep before starting the next job and all the jobs have basically been carrying heavy things from one place to another. This weekend I'm working at the Rod Stewart concert and then on Monday I'm working at the Prince concert. I hope to god I get to see some of Prince. I didn't see any of the AC/DC show at all which was disappointing but nothing compared to the sadness I will feel if I'm actual inside the same concert arena as Prince whilst Prince is on-stage being Prince and performing Prince songs and I don't see any of Prince at all.
In one hand I feel relieved that I've managed to find some work here. It was a tough first couple of months and nobody likes to be financially dependant on somebody else for a long period of time. Even if the other person doesn't mind and is completely understanding about the situation. It's just not a pleasant feeling is it? So yeah, on one hand I'm grateful that I've find work and there is lots of it for me to have. On the other hand I'm finding myself so exhausted by the work and so consumed by it that it's not leaving any space for me to do other things, the things that I would like to do here in Berlin...enjoy being with my girlfriend, write some new songs, maybe get a band together to play the new songs with, play some shows, start the club night with Jules here. All of that has just been put on a back burner somewhere out of sight and out of mind. I don't want to get caught in a vicious cycle. You need to earn money here, or rather I need to earn money here. Back in Liverpool you know through experience what you need to do to get money to live off, to feed yourself with, to drink, to go out, to buy necessaties like guitar strings and what have you. You know you can do a few DJ jobs, sign on, get housing, do bits and pieces of other work as and when you need to in order to survive without falling to kiss the mouldy feet of a job that will make you unhappy for the rest of your life whilst your dreams and ambitions and ideas get put on a big, blazing bonfire, along with your happiness and your dignity. I don't think it's so easy here...you need money not just for eating and drinking and stuff but for things like health insurance - you're obliged to buy health insurance as there is no NHS or similiar. Health insurance isn't cheap either. You need to pay the rent, obviously and the normal deposit for flats here is 3 months rent upfront which can be around €1,500 obviously depending on what your rent is. You can't sign on here unless you've been working for 6 months. not that I want to sign on - I just don't want to spend the whole of my time in Berlin working myself into the ground...I could do that very easily back in Liverpool. So this is something that i need to figure out and fast before I start wearing blue dungarees and own a fully equipped tool belt.
I had my cousin, Stephen, here last weekend. He came with three of his friends who are also my friends but more his friends and we had a really good time and I think they really liked Berlin. we went to one of the outdoor swimming pools here on Saturday which I can heavily recommend for making hangovers vanish. We did alot of drinking and went to a few clubs and on Sunday we watched the Germany vs England game at a massive public viewing in The Kulturbrauerei in Prenzlauer Berg. I honestly think that out of the 2,000 people there watching the game we were the only English people there. The lads all wore their England shirts too but decorated themselves with Germany florets as a gesture of goodwill. The moment of the weekend came shortly after we bought these floret things and we were walking to the venue...as we got around the corner there were about 40 Germany fans we had to walk through and as soon as they noticed the England shirts they chanted, very loudly, 'You're goin' home, you're goin' home, you're goin', England's goin' home...' to the tune of 3 lions. It was both hilarious and frightening. It was good craic though and the lads made a few deutsch friends, although I'm not sure it would have been such a friendly response if England would have beat Germany.
I've got my first gig tonight. I'm calling myself Silent Sleep and it's just gonna be me and my electric guitar...I'll probably play some 28 Costumes songs and some Hallo...I Love You songs and maybe a few new ones. The gig is at this place called Madamme Claude and it has chairs and tables and what not on the ceiling to make it look upside down or something and the room holds about 17 people. I'm really nervous and I don't really know why because I've played lots of gigs and even loads of gigs on my own. Half of my mind, the nice side, is telling me I've got nothing to be worried about, after all it's only going to be around 17/18 people. The other half of my mind, the nasty little bugger side, is whispering 'It's sold out to capacity...17 people means you're playing a SOLD OUT show, Chris'. It's a right meanie sometimes.
I'm really unprepared too - I just practised once here in my living room and then I couldn't be bothered doing it again so when it all crumbles live on stage later on I can think back to that exact moment and call myself a big cunt.
I've got to go, the sound of my sweat crying is deafening me.