2:45 a.m. in Brieskow-Finkenheerd and getting out of bed took more will than any other rising in recent memory. But the sky on the walk to the train station was ore clear than I have ever seen it, and the silence was deafening, and I was happy.
16 hours, but 7 of it was spent just chilling in Amsterdam.
two pretzels from Ditsch in Berlin-Gesundbrünnen.
Incidents of note on journey:
- I was in line for passport control in Amsterdam. The train manager walks up to me and says that I can’t get on the train with my guitar. This is of course absurd; I had been on trains with the same guitar for the past two days. I told him so. He dug up a very obscure regulation that COULD be interpreted, if you tried really hard, to mean that musical instruments are expected to be in a “case,” that mine was not (because it’s small and doesn’t need one), and that I must therefore choose between missing the train and leaving my guitar with him in Amsterdam. Clearly just screwing with me, but was dead serious about it too. I told him there’s no way I could find a guitar case in the train station in 10 minutes. He pointed at a worker changing a trash bag, and said, I quote, “I don’t know, find one of those people and get them to give you a trash bag. I don’t know man. Not my problem.” He turned his back on me but guarded me from getting in line for passport control. I was really seeing red; it’s hard to get me mad, but whooweee, when you do, bad news for chill vibes. I kept a lid on it and went downstairs, begged a bunch of people for a trash bag, got a worker to give me one, said thanks profusely, ran back to the passport line. Guy looked satisfied — perversely so — and let me through.
- Amsterdam is full of psilocybin shops with really really grumpy hippies playing psytrance. Disappointing. Smartshops I’d seen in smaller Dutch towns are great — clean, minimal, feels like being in a store that sells perfume and science equipment.
- Amsterdam is absurdly cute. Even the tough parts are cute.
- The host-promoter and her wife gave me a tour of the park in Crystal Palace where the eponymous trade hall used to stand. I was blown away. See pictures above. I don’t associate London with this kind of half-ruined grandeur (and an RC race course!) and I was very grateful to see it.
- In CP a guy was playing bad pseudo-rave out of a battery-powered PA at the top of the stairs to a dog and three goths.
Lunch (previous day, in Amsterdam):
Green drink and spicy tofu burrito from Albert Heijn (excellent Dutch supermarket chain). Ate it in the transit hall at Centraal, whose ceiling is covered in an irregular grid of mirrors with beveled corners. Exquisite.
Soundperson’s name/shirt color:
Beatrice, dark blue with a small print icon I couldn’t quite identify
- (3-minute ambient improvisation)
- Freewy in Heaven
- False Metal
- Wasted on the Senate Floor
- The Crows of Emmerich
- Allahu Akbar
- …a few others I can’t remember…
- Oversleepers International
- God Save Coastal Dorset
- Right to the Rails
- At a Rave with Nikolas Sarkozy/Schopenhauer in Berlin
Incidents of note during performance:
- This isn’t an incident, it’S a tendency I note that I’m realizing is a big part of my motivation for touring this way. I compared the properties of concerts in traditional mid-sized venues like the one I played in cologne a few nights previously and this one — a vintage clothing shop buried in an alleyway with a soundsystem mainly used by the proprietor to play her rad steel drum hip hop records. One difference tonight highlighted was an inability to escape the awkwardness of being in a room full of people with whom the only thing you can be sure you have in common is music. In a dark venue, lights focused in saturated reds and blues on the stage, saturated mood sounds from the PA providing cover to avoid the need for conversation between songs, it doesn’t feel intolerable to stand next to a stranger and say nothing. In a smaller environment, undarkened, unfilled with spectacular (in the Debord sense) sound, conversation with people you may not know becomes an awkward requirement. Lots of people who didn’t know each other talked this evening, and this can be challenging, especially for folks in Gen Z who tend to struggle with anxiety.
- I MET SOME PEOPLE IN THE THE ZOOMER E.X CONTINGENT! For some unknown algo/viral reason, my following online has more than doubled since 2019, mostly from younger folks. This is a huge source of joy for me because it indicates that something in my music short-circuits generational gaps. This has long been an explicit goal of mine (“I make music for the future, not today,” etc.), but it’s even better than I’d planned and doubly nice because, since I’m still active, I get to enjoy it mid-career instead of not enjoying it posthumously. The people who show up at my concerts are a very particular kind of awake, and I’d like to get to know them better because I think I could learn a lot from them.
The promoter bought me a falafel. I’m spoiled for falafel in Berlin, but it held up. Respectable falafel.
00:00 in my pal’s flat in Stoke-Newington. Slept great.
Woke up late, headed for airport, slept more on plane, watched three moves:
- Everything Everywhere All At Once
I took detailed notes and have thoughts on all of them. Will put that in the next show report if there’s room.
From the Amtrak to Connecticut,