The German tour diaries

Ray in Germany

March 29

I had a good start to my German tour last night at the Raucherei club in Kiel. It was a nice change to get to playing a real German rock club after all the strange places like churches and museums I have been in recently. Lovely audience, thanks very much for the reception.

I had a good but long drive down here on Thursday. I like the road down through Sweden and the beautiful bridges in Denmark.

I’m now in Flensburg staying with my friend Thies who organized the whole tour for me in Schleswig-Holstein. However Thies is not here, because the doctor rang up yesterday and ordered him into hospital for an operation. I went to see him this morning and he is doing OK. This means I will be driving myself and not drinking much for another couple of weeks.

Thanks to Suze who fixed me up another gig on April 4th to fill in for the one in Aukrug which was cancelled. She posted a note on a house concert facebook group and found one for me in Hannover.

Tonight I am playing in the oldest church in Flensburg. I like this town, I think I like all harbour towns.

 March 31st

I had an interesting and very different kind of show last night (well, most of my shows are interesting and different nowadays); I played for a longbow archery club in Nübbel near Rensburg. There was a combined ticket for a shoot, a barbecue, and then the concert in the clubhouse. I knew some of the archers already and had shot with a couple of them before.

What a great collection of bows and kit they had, almost nothing had been bought in a shop, even the quivers and bow bags. Among the impressive collection of longbows of all styles was a turkish style horn/sinew/wood bow, I talked to the maker, this is a particularly difficult kind of bow to build, and it was beautiful.

We had a nice show in the clubhouse afterwards, crammed into a little hut. They bought a lot of CDs, thanks people. Maybe I should do a tour of the longbow clubs of Europe? That could be fun.

 April 3rd

Having a good time here in Germany, spring has arrived and I have been playing a few more shows, including a house concert near Hamburg (thanks to Frank for the picture). Today is a day off and took my car to the garage to get a new set of brakes, it seemed like a good idea for these autobahns. I like most old things, but not old brakes.

I also stocked up on beer for the journey home, 96 bottles cost around 64 Euros. I think I will be very popular in Malmköping.

The tour continues tomorrow with Bad Oldesloe, Ochsen Inseln (one of my favourite places, an island with a bar/restaurant in an old boat house), then Hamburg (2 shows), Bremen, Hannover, Reuthen, Braunswig and Hannover again. The Hamburg shows mean a lot to me as they will be my first solo shows there. I played Hamburg over 20 times with Oysterband. I like harbour towns, and Hamburg is one of my favourites, I like the little bars down by the docks that stay open late.

April 6

It has got to the point in the tour when the impressions and memories are all starting to blur into the soup of experience; the traffic jams around Hamburg in the Elbe tunnel, the misty still days when the giant wind generators hardly move, the dressing rooms where I sit and wonder what to play and in what order, all the many many conversations, (I talk to people much more now I am not in a band), sitting round a wood fire in Thomas’ garden in the night listening to his stories of bear hunting, listening to his demonstration of the traditional hunting horn echo round the suburbs (I requested one called ‘The Bear Is Dead’), loading all my gear, including PA onto a small boat late last night and then sailing through the fog after playing on the Oxen Island in the Flensburg Fjord.

Another week to go, I am heading a little further south and with my new album finished I am wondering all the time, what I going to write about for the next one?