Monday, October 28, 2019


I woke up in the Germany Vegas hotel room, foggy and confused, by Jon shuffling about the room getting dressed to go out. I looked at the clock on my phone. It said it was eight am.,but I felt like I’d had more rest than six hours. And then I realised the time had moved to winter time and we’d gained an hour back. Jon looked at me on the way out, “Proves my point about circular time exactly,” he says, continuing on from the weird conversation he was having with me/himself last night. He was off to the market with Helene for a few hours. I wished him well and went about enjoying a couple of hours relaxing on my own in the hotel room.

He got busted on the tram without a ticket and ended up with a sixty euro fine.

After breakfast in the enormous lobby area we dumped the bags in the van and went for some coffee and scones at some cool little cafe just round the corner from the hotel. Heike and Colin lived right nearby, as well as our friend Jobst from the bands Nothing and Munster, so we met up with everyone and hung out for an hour or so. It was nice seeing Jobst since he couldn’t make the show last night. We understand of course, he’s old like us and has two kids, and sometimes it’s hard to work things out. It has been nice being able to hang and socialise with friends these first few days, have to take advantage when you get the chance, there’s always a long drive lurking around the corner, it feels like.

I drove all the way to Dresden today, happy that it came in at the two hours as advertised. We got to the venue about a half hour before load in time, but the place was about a thirty minute walk from the old town and we have time in the morning to check the city out, so end up just hanging around in the backstage room drinking mug after mug of coffee and nibbling at the various vegan snacks on the table in the backstage room. Once again, the room feels a little bit on the large size tonight. I’m a bit confused though, since I’m sure Jen told me she played this place with Misdemeanor a couple of times back in the day and that it was a cool little place and they had really good shows here. But then a while later a friend of Zoli’s turns up, a guy who actually booked Victims years ago, and he tells me that the venue did used to be a lot smaller but they got a cultural grant from the government and built it out a bit. Typical. Sunday shows can be hard, I know myself that draggin my ass out to a Sunday show at home is a rarity. Would have been nice with a smaller room, all the same. As if to compound the Sunday feeling, Alex the promoter, a big German guy with a big smile, greets us, and tells us that he booked our show at Zoro in Leipzig five or six years ago. It stokes good memories, we played with our friends Moloch and Thou and the place was packed. Alex then laughs a little, slightest tinge of nerves in his voice, “I guess it won’t be like that tonight.”

After soundcheck Johan and I sit in the backstage room and watch the Liverpool Spurs game on his tablet, my neck straining nervously as the Mighty Reds come from behind to win 2-1. With that taken care of we nosh on with some dinner, and then get down to the all important business of Yahtzee. Serena and Zoli join in, neither having really played before, so Jon happily guides them through the match, advising them what moves to play, huffing and puffing as he critiques my every move, which then spurs me to ham it up completely. My first throw I get two sixes and a five. Jon insists you should always go for Yahtzee, but I defy him and throw the last hand for a full house. Jon shakes his head incredulously, as a five and a six bounce up and give him a huge whoop! He’s proper annoyed, “It was still an amatuer move!” The rest of the game goes shit for me, but I still get a kick out of winding Jon up. Zoli, after on game, is totally hooked. He stumbles upon a bit of beginner’s luck and after that he wants to play again. Jon has found a Yahtzee disciple.

The local band start playing, and from the first few notes Jon concludes, “They sound like a band that is going to play for a very, very long time.” They don’t really, though. A modest half an hour or so. Germany used to be famous for having local opening bands that would play an hour set and then encores. There are over a hundred people in the place by the time they’ve finished and all of a sudden it doesn’t feel too bad. Alex is a little relieved since we’d only done around thirty pre-sales. A hundred or so on a Sunday night is about as much as we can hope for, and it looks pretty good when Svalbard are playing, and they get a good response too. Heike and Colin made the trip over for this show too since Heike’s parents live close by and they could babysit for them. I sit with them in the bar room and talk about Dresden, the guys giving me good sightseeing tips for tomorrow.

I’m feeling good and ready to play by the time Svalbard are done. Always gives you a little push when you think it’s gonna be a bit of a stinker and then there ends up being quite a few more people that it originally seemed it would be. As we’re waiting in the dressing room the Svalbard guys to pack down, Jon asks us if we’ve seen this Marvel film that has some sort of Hitler character in it, or something. I don’t really catch it, but Johan and Andy jump on it straight away. “What, like, Superhitler?” “Spiderhitler? Awesome concept!”

It’s a really fun show playing wise, and the crowd are having a decent enough dance of it. It’s easily the best on stage sound of the tour so far, and it feels like it’s almost at the point where the songs are playing themselves. There is one guy grunting a lot between songs, shouting “Hallelujah!” and “We love you! We need you!” Bit weird, but okay. He looks chuffed as fuck, anyway. Jon seems to be doing some sort of ballet dance thing between songs at the minute, which just adds to the bare feet thing. Fuck knows. Anyway, all in all, a very, very decent Sunday show. As I’m packing up my gear afterwards some big crust punk with a mohawk beckons me to him and starts shouting German at me. I tell him I can’t understand and he just shakes his head and says, “No English! Singer!” I happily oblige and find Johan and smirking, tell him his presence is required. I check it out as I’m packing the rest of my gear up and hear them saying something along the lines of “Best singer!” Johan thanks them, Mohawk has a mate now, who seems to be translating his German into more German. It all ends with them giving Johan a pair of snazzy sunglasses and insisting he wear them. He looks like a right tit. He walks around with them on top of his head for a good while afterwards though.

I get chatting with Mark the Svalbard drummer once I’ve dried off and gotten myself a cold beer. He asks about my dad, since he thought it was great how he came to the show last night. We make a nice connection, although a sorry one, since we both have parents that have passed away. We stand chatting about that stuff for a while. I really like him, a real mild, easy going chap. We’ve made a really good connection with the Svalbard guys very early on, it feels like.

Liam has had a couple of beers after the show, first time I’ve seen him a but tipsy. He comes up with the great idea of trading in all the beer tokens and taking a crate back to the apartment. He’s making a few saucy remarks, obviously taking the piss. Serena starts laughing at him, and Liam says he’s going to go all out Tommy Lee. “Tommy Liam!” I chirp in, well chuffed with myself. Serena and I decide we’re gonna make that name stick. When we get to the place, it’s one of those typical German style squat/apartments, although I guess it isn’t squatted. But it’s rough and ready, a couple of rooms with hand crafted bunk beds made out of thick pieces of wood. There is a shower and towels, though, and most of the beds have quilts and pillows. Of course, I left my sleeping bag in the van and the bed I’ve been alloted is bare, but Johan gives me his since he has his bag. Going back to the van would have been a pain in the ass. Andy laughs, saying that it’s typical of me to forget the sleeping bag, since I used to have a bad habit of not bringing one with me, and now even the one I have was given to me as a birthday present from Andy and Johan, and then I leave it in the van. Liam has done the same thing, it turns out, but he can’t be arsed going back either and says he’ll sleep in his clothes.

This all leads to a conversation about sleeping bags as we’re sat around a long table in the front room whilst some of the gang play Yahtzee. Alex Svalbard tells us that he had once had this sleeping bag that had been left somewhere for a couple of years, he’d forgotten about it I guess. And then this one night they played in Bristol and were staying at Liam’s and the sleeping bag had turned up. When he went to remove it from it’s holder bag, though, it was no longer a sleeping bag and was now a scuba diving costume, the body suit you wear under the wetsuit. We all piss ourselves laughing as he says, dumbfounded, that he ended up just wearing that and sleeping in it. I’m laughing so hard it hurts my stomach. I don’t know why, but it tickled the shit out of me.

We sit up until around two thirty, the Yahtzee gang, now including a very enthusiastic and equally serious Zoli, at one end of the table, Andy, Liam, Serena and I at the other. Serena and I get talking about studying and it turns out she’s a kindred spirit, psychology and sociology major. We sit there talking about our favourites theorists and the stuff we are working on at the minute. She is in the first year of her PHD, and she’s interested to hear about how it’s going with my soon to be completed Bachelors. It’s been another nice day, and a really good end to the night.

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