Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Bonkers 'on tour' in Germany again: The travel bit - Part 3: Augsburg & Berlin

Augsburg (continued)

The next day was mostly taken up with switching hotels and sightseeing - partly on my own and partly with the hospitable support band, Friedrich Sunlight, acting as tour guides. These walkabouts included a good deal more 'standing on street corners' - not to hail a taxi as in Hamburg, but simply to wait for the 'green man' at a pelican crossing.  For the German authorities take a dim view of jay walking, even at 3am with not a car in sight, and most locals are law abiding in this regard.  

That evening, the 'official' Augsburg gig was held upstairs in the achingly stylish City Club.  Its peeling paint and plaster were reminiscent of the therapy room from The King's Speech, while the cafe downstairs thoughtfully provided bike storage at the bar, along with customer mattresses suspended from the ceiling.  



At this venue, the door in the ladies' toilet had been 'customised' to fit the cubicle, but the sink was sadly lacking a tap, prompting me to sidle over to the men's loos instead, emboldened by their conspicuous lack of a door.  




There was no dressing room whatsoever, not even a nanosized cavity, so for any fan who had worked this out for themselves, the area just outside the men's toilets afforded the best glimpses of semi-clothed musicians.




This gig was characterised by that ever present problem of 'very tall German man syndrome', notably in the front rows.  There were in fact some very tall women there too.  Apart from the atmospheric surroundings and the lofty and appreciative audience, the City Club gig will forever stick in my mind - not in a good way - for a misunderstanding between Steve the drummer and me, dubbed 'The Towel Incident'.  

About two thirds of the way through the set, Steve - who wasn't playing throughout a particular song - leant forward over his drum kit, displaying a small towel stretched tightly between his hands.  He caught my eye with what I can only describe as a stern and meaningful glare.  Or it would have been meaningful if I could have discerned his meaning.  And you need to know that it was stiflingly hot in the venue that night - perspiration could be seen pouring off the faces of the players on stage, and many of the audience, so my first thought was that he meant: 'My towel has become sopping wet and disagreeable to use - please fetch me a fresh one at the double.'  



Accordingly, I burrowed my way through the crowd to the bar, where I explained to staff that the drummer needed to wipe his head with a fresh towel as a matter of urgency.  After extensive rummaging, the bar tender could only produce a sticky wet dish cloth, so I ran to the merch table and asked Jane for advice. 'What about a jumbo roll of toilet paper?' she suggested brightly, and we promptly went and stole one from the Ladies.  'Hmm, actually I think he might have problems manhandling that', I replied, 'Why, it's bigger than his snare drum.'  So in desperation we decided to sacrifice a brand new T-shirt from the merch stall. 'Quick, quick, Jane - what's the slowest seller?' I asked. 'Women's small!' she exclaimed, as she ripped open a plastic bag and handed one to me.  Moments later, I had lunged forward across the stage and tossed the T-shirt on the side of a drum, my life and death mission seamlessly accomplished. Strangely though, at no point did Steve retrieve the T-shirt during the remainder of the set.  What had I done wrong?  Could it possibly be that he did not want something approximating to a fresh towel after all?




Reader, he didn't.  I later learnt that he was merely trying to show me the logo on his towel, which commemorated the ill-fated Titanic steamship - he had got it at the museum in Belfast, and - knowing that was my home town - thought to draw my attention to it mid-song.  I would never have seen that coming, not in a million years.  'But...but...', I protested, when we held a post mortem about the incident later that evening; 'I thought it was an emergency.'  'Trust me', the drummer intoned solemnly: 'If I ever do have an emergency, you'd be the last person I would ask for help.'

Berlin




Saturday was the final day of the tour, and we set off early on the long train journey to Berlin.  Though not before Jane had kindly brought my red hair brush from the Grand Hotel Cosmopolis, where it had almost got irretrievably lost in the all-encompassing pink and red decor of my room.  'I have Herr Brush!' she texted cheerily from the tram on the way to the station.  Herr Brush in a little paper bag no less, with my room name on it and 'The Monochrome Set'.  It might be stretching a point in my own case, but Herr Brush is evidently 'with the band'.

On the train up to Berlin I carried on knitting wrist warmers; people read or slept or played silly travel games.  At one point the bass player showed us his unfeasibly large banana, of the existence of which we had been apprised the day before, following his latest fruit-buying spree.  That also morphed into a predictable game of: 'Guess the length of the banana.'  Steve was the winner with his intriguingly precise guess of nine and three quarter inches...


Jane's husband adjudicating the banana challenge

The final gig was at a fast food restaurant called White Trash.  It was always understood that the punters were going to be there primarily for the burgers, but even so, a very respectable crowd of (mostly) first timers formed and a few new converts to the band's music were made by the end of the night.  The White Trash gig was also notable for another toilet-related incident, namely the unexpected presence of a man in the Ladies.  When I remonstrated with him, he explained that his girlfriend was in a cubicle and very ill.  'I have diarrhea!' she exclaimed helpfully through the door, 'and I can't get off the loo'.  It must have been serious, for eventually the paramedics were called, and the blue lights of a waiting ambulance flickered through the window for much of the main set...




Steve waggishly showed me his towel again in another non-drumming moment, but I saw him coming this time.  This one had a little Berlin Ampelmann on it - I smiled and gave him a thumbs up.  The thought occurred to me that if he ever does want someone to fetch him a clean towel mid-gig he is going to be pretty much stuffed.  Oh, and the 'Bunny Lady' was back!  I quizzed her some more and learnt that she is an artist, and that her business has a rabbit for its logo - the whole dancing bunnies thing is in fact an ingenious PR stunt.


The bunnies checking out the burger selection

All too soon, it was the parting of the ways at the tube station nearest our respective hotels, where abrupt but warm goodbyes were exchanged.  The guitarist said I had helped the band 'immeasurably' - presumably for my ad hoc translations and analysis of 'train composition' to determine the most ergonomic spot on the platform for the band to stand with all their luggage and gear.  There again, he had just downed a margarita that he said tasted so strong it probably equated to three.



Herr Brush and his travel bag

For anyone feeling a bit bemused by the last three 'pure travel' posts, perfume-themed blogging will resume shortly!

18 comments:

  1. How surrealistic. I can only hope that Steve never needs a towel. How useful that you had a tape measure with you. Prevented any confusion regarding the precise length of the banana. I would very much like to come along next time. Broom, broom goes the armadillo ....... lalala .....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Val,

      Only you could think up some excellent parallel universe lyrics with 'armadillo' in them! Aha, the tape measure would be for the wrist warmers... ;)

      Delete
  2. Haha, thanks for sharing some more of your hilarious tour adventures, I hope you don't suffer a toilet-trauma now!
    Btw, rumour says that the White Trash Club is the favorite Club of Brad Pitt...
    Greetings
    Anka

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Anka,

      Glad you liked the post, and the fact that we came back to Berlin again. What a fascinating titbit about Brad, which I would no more have seen coming than the towel business. I wonder if he had the most elaborate dish on the menu, smothered in Raclette and all sorts - The Marquee de F*** Burger. I am not making this stuff up, honest. ;)

      Delete
  3. I for one love these travelogue posts. That toilet door cut-out is hilarious! And that room in The Kings Speech - I want to live there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Carol,

      There wasn't room to post a pic of the tapless sink in the Ladies, but that was also an eye opener. ;). The King's Speech room is magnificent, isn't it?

      Oh, and thanks for your vote of support for my travel writing posts. I never know whether they are really suitable or not for a perfume blog, but I tend to write what pops into my head and the tour provided a rich seam of material!

      Delete
  4. I really enjoy your travel posts too. I learn a lot!

    Surly Steve is out of his tiny mind. You are the very first person to turn to in an emergency! The perceptive guitarist on the other hand is quite right :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Tara,

      I rather think Steve was adopting a kind of 'faux sternness' in person, ie that it was all meant to be tongue in cheek. And on the basis of the mishaps and adventures that routinely seem to happen on my travels, he might be wise not to trust me in a crisis...;) But I appreciate your vote of confidence, for sure!

      Delete
  5. I read about 20 blogs that write about perfumes and only one that, from time to time, covers funny travel experiences - so I really welcome those non-oerfume-related bits.

    You should have brought him a roll of toilet paper! ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Undina,

      It's good to hear that you don't mind my off-topic travel reports - and this series has been quite substantial. ;)

      Yes, a regular sized roll of toilet paper would serve as a towel substitute in a pinch!

      Delete
  6. I really love your travel posts and I think actually travelling with you would be hours of fun. You have a good eye for the quirky and the quirky has a good eye for you :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Sabine,

      Very kind of you to say so! I think I may attract the odd and the quirky - as a colleague once said: "Weird stuff happens to you."

      Delete
  7. Lady Jane Grey3 April 2014 19:52

    I agree w Tara 100% - you definitely are a "turn-to-person" in emergencies. And that's perfectly shown with the towel story. Nevertheless, it's also a major laugh.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Lady Jane Grey,

      Nice to hear from you and thanks a lot for your vote of confidence. I think I am well-intentioned in my wish to do good turns, but history has shown that these can backfire in spectacular and humorous ways. ;)

      Delete
  8. These posts remind me of being 15, in the best sense of the phrase. :) Hope you have had / are having a delightful time (are you back home?).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi anotherperfumeblog,

      Haha - I think I must be a late developer then, some four decades on. When I was 15 I was bookish and rather earnest - a bit like the daughter in Abfab, come to think of it! No madcap antics of any kind.

      Yes, am home now, still recovering / coming down from all the capers. ;)

      Delete
  9. Hilarious - I've thoroughly enjoyed reading your mini travelogues. For some bizarre reason I keep thinking of bananas clad in knitted warmers...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi SallyM,

      I am pleased you liked them, and I did once take a photo on FB of a banana wearing my knitted whippet coat-in-progress, so I wonder if that was what put the imagine in your mind.

      I have found the photo(!) but sadly I can't post it in the comments here...PM me if you are curious!

      Delete