Friday, 26 July 2013

On the road again.............

Where can I possibly start this chapter?  It has been nearly 2 months since my last entry, and so much has happened in that time.  I think I will take it back to the leaving of Liverpool, and there were many fare thee wells.....

I left Liverpool this time full of life and energy for the next chapter to begin.  It had been so great being back, I felt like a rich man I was walking around with pockets full of pounds from gooood busking, feeling very comfortable.  When you have a little bit of financial freedom, it allows you to rest a little easier.  I was busking hard though, over the weekend nights playing for 7 or 8 hours a day.  Getting 40 quid drops and 20 and 10s and 5s.  Was beautiful  And I was a little sad to be leaving.  I was eating well, reading a book every 2 days, seeing some beautiful friends and bands and really enjoying being home with my family.  A violin player had got in touch with me after I posted an ad on a musicians site, looking for a travelling busking partner, and said she wants to come busking with me.  All last year I wanted a violin player to play with, and was about to meet a special one..
I packed my stuff into my big bag, and realized how little clothes and stuff I actually had.  The only heavy things were my amp, a warm coat, tea bags and multicoloured socks.  Oh yeah, and lots of  books and pads.Though sad I was a little to be leaving, I was looking forward to playing with a violinist.  I set out once again for an 18 hour bus ride to my beloved Amsterdam to start the next chapter.  I was meeting Niz (The Violin player) that night, and had been offered a gig at the bulldog, so thought that would be a good place for us to play together for the first time.  I always think if you can just tune in with eachother without practising it´s a good sign.

I touched down in Amsterdam the next morning and popped in to see a few people and pick trigger up.  I ate my favourite Albert Heijn slaad, bought my favourite La Trappe beer and smoked a joint in my favourite coffee shop De Graal.  It was nice being back, but different. I knew I had my heart set on Berlin and other places this summer.  But it always feels like a second home to me, Amsterdam.  It was approaching the time for the gig and meeting Niz so I headed for a little back ride and to the Bulldog.  I got in there and sat through the usual offerings of an open mic acoustic night.  The host was quite excited to have me play it seemed, and I was quite looking forward to playing and seeing if it would click with the violin, if she made it in time.  After my first glass of La Chouffe she called me and I went to meet her.

I liked her from the very first moment. I was so full of energy after a month back in Liverpool and being back in Amsterdam that she thought I was on drugs by how I was speaking (this happens a lot though) She understood what she could of me speaking as we went to the gig.  By this time the noise of the place had got a bit loud, and I hate playing in loud places, we set up to play and I was getting angry by the almost deafening noise, so me and Niz just played for eachother.  I put the mic to her so I could hear these perfect violin lines she was playing.  We met that night, after our first jam at our first gig, all the signs were good.  We shared our beer and I felt I had found a good travelling partner.  And from that moment I went from being a lonesome traveller to a band of gypsies.

The next day we went busking for the first time at the tunnel under Vondel Park, the first three drops were 5 euroes!  Another good sign.  Then we went to Waterloo and played for half an hour and made another 20 euroes.  Each moment I was liking her more and more.  After a good first busking start, things started to get slower.  We were making not much, but still going at it.  That's the thing about busking, it is so unpredicatable!  You never know how it's gonna turn out, and who your gonna meet.  Some sessions we would get a great response, others hard and none. We were splitting our money at the start, and it always burns a hole in my pockets.  I always spend it, but we knew after 10 days in Amsterdam we were heading to Berlin, and to the Fusion Festival, Nizha didn't have a ticket so was trying to save.  It was hard when things were slow, we were leaving on Sunday and it was now Friday.

We were staying at Barts at this time and he was looking after us with that golden heart of his.  It was approaching the night after being gray and rainy all day and we had 10 euroes between us.  We were wondering wether to go out, when I looked out the window and seen 2 patches of blue.  This was the sign!  We jumped on our bikes and headed to Max Euweplein.  The sky was clearing up and we were setting up.  There was something good in the air, as soon as we started the drops came dropping in.  People filming us, in an hour we had a pot full of coins and big smiles.  A few days before, we had been busking at Rijks museum, and we seen this girl who was playing before us.  She was playing bass accordion and singing these stunning opera songs.  The whole massive ancient tunnel was alive with this beautiful sound and she had a crowd and a bag full of coins.  After we had a few sessions of slow drops, we much needed a bag full of coins, and that night we got it.

As we were packing up to go, we got a phonecall from Bart, he was having a party at a house boat and wanted to see if we would come and play some music, there is a fridge full of cold beer and a room full of warm people.  We got to the house boat and felt in such good company.  We started to play and they really enjoyed it!  We were in great spirits and feel it will always be a special night in our memories.   Bart put the hat round and got us a donation for our rainy day fund to Berlin, and the next day the same happened!  Another beautiful gig in a house boat with beautiful people and food. Another kind donation and we left Amsterdam that evening on a beautiful high. Whenever I arrive in this city, I will always feel I am coming home.  Wherever I go or see, Amsterdam has a place in my heart like no other will and on that last moment as we were leaving Bart found a fusion ticket for Nizha, and everything just felt so right and perfectly in place.  We had a ticket and a bit of money to get to Germany and a ticket for the best festival in the world.
Before Berlin we were stopping off in Groningen to stay with my dear Danni, Wytze and Flitz who I met and went through something big and special with at the first Magneet.  I was gonna be working the coffee bar again with them, and this I truly LOVE!  I take a pride as I am cooking the best coffee on the festival on a motorbike with an oven, baking the best most sweetest home made cakes on the festival,  being with the best people you could be with.  Danni is a festival pro, and seeing her at work is brilliant and good to feel a part of.  It's a little festival family and we all just have a good party with eachother, eat good food and keep the coffee bar cooking with love and good coffee!  You always feel at the end that you have just gone through something with someone that will always give you a bond.  Me and Niz had become very close after spending almost a month living on the road and busking together.  After over a week of not playing any music at the Fusion, we were excited by the road to Berlin and getting back to Busking and exploring the place we had heard only great things about.

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