Sunday, April 12, 2015


We had the run of the place this morning, only us in the building.  We didn’t really have any plans to hang around in Wroclaw, deciding a couple of hours in Berlin would be a couple of hours far better spent.  We had a quick bit of breakfast, I skipped the Turkish coffee and went for tea, I had a quick shower that was through a garden hose attached to a tap, and then we loaded the van and got going.  It was another glorious day, would be perfect if it was like this in Berlin.

Whilst loading the gear some weird kid walks past the van and in through the gate and just kind of stands there hanging around smoking a fag as we load the rest of the van.  Anywhere else in the world and you’d tell him to fuck off but not here.  And then he gets on his phone and starts talking to someone and we decide he’s obviously calling a posse and we have to get out of here before we’re all slaughtered.  We’re in a tight spot with the van and it takes a bit of wriggling around on Ronnie’s behalf, and there is this guy who looks like He-Man changing the tires on his car right beside us.  I can’t even imagine what would happen if we pranged his car.

The weird kid comes back out and then starts walking about the car park and looking at himself in windows and fixing his hair.  I’m happy to get out of that grove and on the road again.  We drive through the city and I’m consciously looking for the area which Dr. Doom called breathtaking, but I don’t see it.  It’s pretty cool in its own but it’s not exactly Vienna.  The road out of Poland turns out to be pretty easy too, driving through Poland has turned out to be far less painful than anticipated.  Ronnie takes the whole shift to Berlin which takes around three and half hours.

It’s nice to be back in Berlin, it’s been a while since the last time.  We drive through the streets of Kreuzberg and the sun is shining, everyone sat outside drinking beer, lapping it all up.  There’s a buzz in the air, there always is in the city.  It’s funny, I’ve played here about eight times I think and I don’t think I’ve played the same venue twice.  There is such a good scene here, it’s a shame we didn’t work out a gig for this tour.  We pull up outside a record shop in Fredrikschain, the guy running it is a friend of Pyramido.  We hang out for a bit whilst we’re waiting for Clarrisa, a friend of Luc’s from Brazil, to turn up.  I’ve got no money for records so there’s really no point in looking, it’s just punishment.  I go and lie outside in the sun on a bench outside the shop, close my eyes and enjoy the heat.  It’s a wonderful feeling.  Kev is probably not into this weather too much.  The guys asked him the other day in the van what he thought the perfect temperature was and his was “cold.”

Luc’s friends turn up not long after, another friend of his from Brazil who now lives in Paris is here, and they’re all coming to the show tonight.  Seem like a nice bunch.  We walk a few blocks over to this vegan burger place called Yo Yo’s which is a big favourite of the Pyramidos, especially Crappy.  He tells us that they were here one time and they went for both lunch and dinner here in the same day.  He says he likes the comfort of familiarity.  “I know what I’ve got, not what I’m getting”, he explains.  “Classic Wendel” laughs Ronnie.  There are around fifteen of us including the Brazilians at the joint, I’m amazed by how fast the food actually comes out.  I’ve gotten my burger within a few minutes.  It’s good too.  I have to say I’m not too into the vegan cheese, the one thing keeping me from going vegan I reckon, but the burger tastes good.  And its joy just sitting there in the warm shade in just a t-shirt, eating good grub.

When we’re done we head off in search of a chair in the sun and a beer, leaving the Brazilians behind to finish their food, those guys are never in a rush with anything.  Kev, Stix and I find a bar on a quiet corner and order some beer, Kev going for the cheapest pilsner and me and Stix opting for a weissbeer.  When the beers comes out Kev laughs at our cloudy brews served in what he calls vases, and says we should have a flower in the top of them.  To be honest, it’s not as good as I imagined it would be.  I remember that I don’t actually like the German wheat beer, it’s the Belgian variant I like, it just seemed like a good idea on such a sunny day.  Kev’s tastes like piss too though so I don’t have too many regrets.

We drink up and head over the big railroad bridge to this hip bar by the Wall next to the river that has a man-made beach within its grounds.  I remember being here with Battle of Santiago a few years ago in the middle of the summer, we had a day off and spent the afternoon sunbathing and drinking cocktails that they served out of a hut which is closed today.  The beer garden they have here is packed today, being that this is the first hot day of the spring, so Stix and Kev head off to the bar whilst I grab a seat.  When they’re not back after ten minutes I walk over to the bar to find out what’s going on and find the two of them looking well pissed off.  Turns out they’ve stood there being totally ignored by all the staff, not even looked at.  Kev tells me to ask one of the staff running around, since I know this business.  I politely ask this one guy who is walking past with a tray and rude as fuck to me, a total cunt.  Won’t even look at me when he’s talking to me, says just sit down and they’ll come over, so I treat him with the same attitude and we all walk off.  I hear him chasing us, “Hello, hello!”  Kev turns around and gives him the finger as we leave.

We meet up with the rest of the guys on the way back over the bridge and we all head back to a little kiosk next to the record shop which has some tables outside and we sit there have a perfectly nice, cold bottle of pilsner.  We leave around five thirty and head out of the city, back through the streets of Kreuzberg and towards Potsdam.  As we’re creeping through traffic we spot this guy on a corner juggling, he keeps dropping them though.  Dan Arne sticks his head out of the window and tells him to stop it, tells him he has no talent.

We get to Potsdam around six thirty.  The venue is an apartment building on a very quiet, very pretty little street in the middle of a housing estate.  We’re wondering at first if we’ve gotten lost again but then we see a punk and realize we’re in the right place.  It’s good to see Loffi again.  It’s been a while.  Loffi is one of the main people in the German punk scene, he’s been heavily involved in both Leipzig and Potsdam, he booked Hard to Swallow a couple of times back in ´96, which was their first European tour.  Luc was seven at the time.

We load in the gear, through a gated door and into a large back yard where they have a brick outhouse where the gig will be tonight.  The place has a bar at the back of it and at the other end we set the gear up.  Twenty people in here would be pretty good going.  Loffi is expecting a few more though.  The house itself it really nice, clean and really well taken care of, not a hint of graffiti or brick anywhere.  We set the backline up and then let the guys in Debre Lebowski, who we met the other night in Leipzig soundcheck.  I don’t bother standing in and listening, there’s no need, you can hear it pretty well from the bedroom in the house where we’re sleeping.  Fuck knows how they manage with the neighbours, this would never work in Sweden.

Loffi gives us some beer tokens and tells us food will be on the way but it takes a while longer than expected.  I go and hang out with the Lebowski guys in the garden, the night is closing in now and the air has chilled considerably but they have a steel drum bonfire going and it’s cosy sitting there in the warmth of is its flames.  Wendel has been feeling rough all day, coming down with a bad cold, coughing all the time and feverish.  I saw him earlier wandering around the bottom of the garden and then later on he was sat on a chair having a bit of alone time.  It’s dark down the bottom of the garden so I can’t see him now.  Ronnie comes out asking for him, I say I haven’t seen him since he was at the bottom of the garden earlier, which is maybe twenty foot away.  Ronnie’s is wondering aloud where he can be and then he looks in the direction of the garden and calls his name, “Yes?” comes a soft reply, he can only be sat a few feet away, immersed in the darkness.  It’s food time, anyway.  We head upstairs to the nice, clean kitchen of one of the flats and tuck in to some great vegan food.  Absolutely wonderful.

We take the food to a lounge just off the kitchen and I sink into the sofa.  I’m feeling really low on energy today.  A little homesick, a slight headache, my eye is stinging again, don’t know what the fuck that is, and now I’m full again.  At least I got to speak to Jen and Polly early when we arrived, the first time for a few days.  Felt better for that.  But the energy is severely lacking tonight.  After dinner we head downstairs to the gig shed and watch a bit of Debre Lebowski.  There are a lot of people here already, maybe forty inside which makes it pretty much impossible to see the band playing, and then another twenty or so hanging out in the garden, drinking around the fire.  Lebowski sound good in any case, power violence with its share of stompy sections.  The sound is strangely dampened inside though.

Will from Born Dead, an old friend of Stix’s, has turned up, making the trip from Berlin.  It’s nice to see him, I met him for the first time a while back when Victims were in Hamburg where he used to live.  He was hoping to sort out a gig for us in Hamburg for tomorrow but he’s been in the States with Born Dead for a while and couldn’t arrange it.  Malmö works out better anyway really, driving home from Hamburg would have been a pain in the tits.  It’s nice to catch up with Will for a while anyway.  I get talking to another guy whilst waiting for the toilet, some guy called Barry from Scotland who lives here, he’s a friend Kev made a while ago who lives in Berlin.  Nice guy.  He was telling me about when he and his mate biked from Berlin to Copenhagen and back a couple of years ago, with no money and pretty wasted the whole time.
It’s our turn to play around eleven.  It takes a while to get sorted out with the gear, things a bit chaotic in the alcove behind the drums where everything is stored.  By the time we’re ready the place is packed and it’s hot as hell.  There is nowhere to stand or move and the air is filled with smoke.  We play tight enough, but it really does feel like a struggle tonight.  It’s hard to find the energy to play when there’s no space to play in.  And it sucks, because this is a great show from a crowd point of view, they seem really into it but I don’t enjoy it as much as I should.  I see Loffi over next to Luc, he keeps hitting him in the back all the time.  Loffi gets excited at these punk gig things.  Luc seems to get annoyed with it after a while and gives him and elbow to the gut.  I don’t know, weird gig.  Both really cool and hard at the same time.  A friend of mine, Kurzi was here watching, this really great girl who is friends with Stachel, it was cool to see her.

Afterwards when we’re hanging outside in the garden we notice that there are still loads of people paying in through the gate, although the people coming in now look a little different.  Instead of punks it’s now middle aged men that look like bankers out on the piss with the firm.  A gang of five walk in, this one slick haired cunt looking about and grinning at the punks in the garden.  He turns to Luc and goes to fist shake him, or whatever you call that move where two people clench their fists and put them together.  Whatever, he looks a right cunt anyway.  And there are plenty more with him.  Some other twat comes walking past with a couple of drinks in his hand, starts asking Luc something in German, when Luc asks him if he speaks English he grunts, “Toilets?” at him and then when Luc opens the door for him he just turns his nose up and walks through.  I don’t like where this night is going.

I can’t even be bothered trying to fight through the crowd to see Pyramido tonight.  I make it in for the last couple of songs, just hanging out by the back by the bar, listening.  Stix had been watching them for a while but had some drunk girl waving a fag in his face the whole time despite asking her several times to watch it, so in the end he fucked off.  I can sense that the guys are having a hard time with the show too, it’s all a little too cosy and a lot of people seem fucked up.  All I can think of now is that bed.  I’m doing the early drive in the morning and I’m really tired now, it’s already one am.  Thing is, there is an after party happening in the shed with a couple of DJ’s playing Eighties tunes.  Trouble is, there are way more people here than Loffi had banked on and they need us to move the gear out.  It’s all very confusing for a minute and it’s starting to get a little tense, we don’t know how the fuck we’re going to get the gear out of here through all the punks and wankers in the garden.  As it turns out, there is a back door and Loffi and the guys from the house help us load out and we decide to just load the van straight away.  I notice there aren’t that many punks left in the place by the time we’re done.

I’m contemplating having one beer before bed, I’ve only drank one all night, but first off some wasted party guy falls into Luc a couple of times and gets a bit agro when he tries to talk to him, and then some punk guy nearly lights up when a the bonfire spits out burning debris on his shoes.  He runs of screaming but it seems he’s alright.  Fuck this though, I’m off to bed.  I go upstairs to sort the money out with Loffi and take a quick shower whilst he’s sorting it.  There’s plenty of money to go around anyway.  And Loffi feels bad about the whole fucking around with the gear thing, although in all honesty it was just as well, saves us time in the morning.

I head to the bedroom, making sure I close the door soundly so that no party wankers stumble in here looking for the toilet.  Despite the party going on out back it’s surprisingly quiet in here.  Stix had been on about having a party with Will tonight but he heads back to Berlin with friends which Stix is grateful for, seems he’s pretty tired too.  I really hope I don’t need to get up for a piss in the night, this party is going to go on until the early hours of the morning and I’m in no mood to go queue up amongst pissed up bankers in my pajama bottoms.

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