After a night on the streets of Berlin, I was waiting for the bus for fusion to arrive, watching the festival goers in their sunny gear and crates of German ale. Here I was in a suit with just a guitar on my back. I hadn’t taken any luggage on the plane because it would have cost much more for the ticket. I had a look at the ticket for the bus I had printed off and felt a wave of worry it me as it said ‘You cannot board this bus without your festival ticket, please respect’ I didn’t have a ticket; Danni was going to meet me at the gate and get me in, I kept going over the story I was going to tell them. If I couldn’t have got on this bus I would have been screwed. No money, no energy and no way back to England.
They started boarding the bus and didn’t even ask me for a ticket. I thought ‘Phew!’ That’s the chilled out vibe of the fusion though. And it made me smile to think of the previous 2 years I had been at the festival. Never any trouble, just happy dancing, drinking Germans. I really love the German people and culture. The first year I was there was a magical time. I would find myself in stitches by how they spoke, how they happily waited in long lines for water, never complained. I’m smiling now just thinking of them.
I settle down on the bus with a nice bit of legroom and just fall asleep straight away. The Germans are very quiet and respectful people, it wasn’t a bus full of rowdy loud drunks, and they all just quietly chattered and talked between them. We arrive about 4 hours later and I try to find someone with a phone so I can send a text message to Danni to tell her I am here. I went to the front desk after 5 people I asked couldn’t get a signal. I chatted to the guys on the front desk, and they were so nice while I waited giving me a bottle of water and cup of coffee, the sun was burning down and I felt it was gonna be a great festival.
Flits, who is Danni’s son came to meet me at the entrance, I get my ticket give a salut to the guys on the front desk, they had been so nice. I then head to our camp to meet Danni. She always has the best most prepared set up and I could smell the coffee the nearer we got. Again, I was running on an energy I didn’t know I had. But getting into the festival and that little sleep on the bus had given me a good recharge. I was so full of life and as soon as I jumped on the coffee bar, the charm came out and the Germans were queuing up for a cup of the special stuff.
Like sleeping on the streets and being in Berlin again, the fusion was reminding me so much of Nizha. Last year we had fallen in love so deeply, the fusion had really bonded us. The familiar sites, the smells the sounds all of it just made me more conscious that she wasn’t here and I wished that she was. In the isolation of Argentina, many times I would miss Amsterdam and Berlin. I would wish I was there drinking a Berliner Pilsener or smoking a joint in De Graal. Well, here I was and without Nizha it was shit.
The reality started to hit me more and more and I would think of Nizha alone in the desert while I am at the biggest party in Europe. Things were feeling bad, and I couldn’t escape the the fact I felt I was moving backwards. I had done the festival season, and in style! All over Holland, 2 months at Magnet (twice), Ruigoord, ADM. I didn’t really feel like dancing drinking and partying, but I did enjoy making the coffee again and seeing Danni, Wytze and Flits.
I had been eating so good in Argentina, Niz is an amazing cook and would always cook these great meals with veg, potato and salad. I would only have 2 coffees a day and was in a good rhythm with everything. Since being back in Europe I had been on coffees all day, fried food, lots of pissy beer. After that studio job and drinking that shitty tinny ale all day I came home and threw up. I just felt I was putting so much bad stuff into my body and the festival was going to be more of the same. But Danni does make great food aswell, and we eat a good meal each day, but you can’t escape what you are putting into your body, lots of strong coffee, beer, vino, rum, cakes and all the other stuff that tastes great but is bad for you. I think that time in the desert had truly changed me. My body had become so used to eating good stuff that it was struggling to go back to the old ways.
I felt fearless also. Taking a trip to the desert of South America with a 1 way ticket and no way to get back, and then making the album we made, learning a lot of Spanish, riding the motorbike through the mountains it had changed me. I just felt, and still feel fearless. I had a very strong energy and some lovely German girls were really attracted to me and literally throwing themselves at me! But none were ever as beautiful as Nizha, and I was never tempted. Why risk losing someone that you have been looking for all your life, for some squidgy drunk sex in a dirty tent?
Niz was in my thoughts constantly, every train of thought I had returned to her. And even if I was thinking of something else, she was still there with it. I was glad I had made this journey though, because it made me truly realise what I wanted and how I felt about things. With Nizha, we move forward, we move on we conquer our fears together and become stronger from it. I felt I had made a step backwards, but kept a strong heart and persevered as you must.
The only way you can deal with 70% people drinking, dancing and popping is to join them. I did, and I am sometimes cursed with a vision. The rain had came from the second day and lasted till Sunday. And on one morning when I returned to set up the coffee bar, this grey wet drizzly morning had made everything soggy and sluggy, grey light made things seem grey. Peoples eyes were all crooked, their jaws chewing and I just felt a real sense of not belonging. Of thinking that I am done with this. Chep phony chemical highs were people are your best friend for a few hours was just not attractive to me.
The festival passed and we packed up and made our way to Groningen in the East of Holland. I stayed there a night and then took a train to Amsterdam. The place that had been most in my thoughts while I was in the desert. I thought I would feel good there, OK maybe the festival wasn’t right for my frame of mind, but Amsterdam and my bike and Degraal would be, wouldn’t it?