Xmas in Xberg – Christmas in Berlin

It’s Christmas in Berlin.  I’m writing from a small café in Xberg, as the rebels call it when they’re sure they are amongst friends.  The regime has ears everywhere, or so it seems to the besieged people here.  No one is prepared to take a chance.

Berlin having tumbled from the Weimar Republic’s crippling debt burden, which offered a foothold to the fledgling fascist movement, grew into a forbidding capital built on lies, oppression and genocide, and finally ‘liberated’ by Stalin’s colossal army which at times appeared to operate solely on the basis that they had more soldiers than you had bullets, and they were not afraid to use them.  From the brief liberation it was not long before the remaining rubble of Berlin was carved up between the Allies… And then simply between Capitalist and Communist regimes.  It became the frontline for a bizarre and quietly brutal war, with two bullies circling each other for decades, refusing to throw the first punch – much preferring their tiny minions to get thrown into the napalm or machine gun fire or whatever their weapon of choice was at that particular moment. Berlin was only given some respite and chance to become one again at the tail end of 1989.  Citizens had been marching for weeks in other East German towns like Leipzig.  They grew in confidence. In the end the collapse of the DDR was eerily meek.  It was as if the people just en masse ceased to believe… and in turn the DDR ceased to exist.

There was a fabulous story by Anna Funder in “Stasiland”, where she recounted stories of the citizens storming the HQ of the Stasi. (Imagine US citizens just walking in to Langley – that’s the level here.) Such was the effect of the regime that while “storming” the building, the Stasi officers at the door were checking ID papers upon entry… and people complied!  If Berlin were your friend you would have to take pity on him/her (Berlin’s gender anyone?).  The unlucky friend, fantastic to spend ashort hedonistic time with but ultimately too self destructive for anyone’s health, falling from one abusive relationship to the next, and finally when everything seems to be turning out okay against all the odds, it finds itself somehow under the control of another cruel despotic regime.

Any Westerner will recognise the claws of the new leader. Spending most of his time in the shadows, like they late Kim Jong-Il, his public presence is trapped up massively at the end of every year for the anniversary.  Just like the Parties of old, both Fascist and Communist, the city is decked out in colours and bright, shiny things to attract and indoctrinate the youngest citizens and to stir nostalgic feelings in the older ones. Few rebel.  Unlike days of old they do not fear being disappeared in the night by the Gestapo or Stasi thugs.  No, they fear alienation.  They are vastly outnumbered.  To rebel is to be seen as curmudgeonly, mean and ill-befitting the self proclaimed most prosperous country in Europe.  Throughout the winter months, the bulls up begins. The party colours cleverly re- engineered by some marketing experts in the thirties.  Families are forced from sheer weight of expectation, peer pressure and relentless TV propaganda to splash out on the anniversary celebrations.  The threat of not celebrating while oft threatened is never realised. No one dares. Everyone caves. In historical terms-it’s a phenomenal achievement, evil as it is.  Like Genghis Khan, Alexander the Great, The Roman Empire… You just have to marvel at the drive in achieving such things, horrific as they may be. The young family next to me in the café are surrounded by shopping, and the little bit is totally in real to ask the present sing things and that elusive promise of happiness. His parents look weary and drained. They speak in hushed tones of these jolly one, but we all know his true form. Another year of empty promises and short lived satisfaction. They’ve seen it all before. XBerg and Berlin will rise again I’m sure. As will the West. Shake the shackles off. But when?

25 Things

I found this hidden on my facebook page, and decided to dust off the cobwebs and repost it here.  This was written in January 2009, back in the days when you didn’t have to pay The Facebook Corporation when you wanted to share thoughts online with your friends.  It was the result of the only illuminating chain post ever – 25 things.
Enjoy!
T

“I want everyone to know that I’m not in the least bit fooled by all of this superstition business. I’m only doing this out of courtesy… I feel guilty knowing all of this crazy shit about people and keeping quiet about my 25 random things. I’m not tagging anyone but the people who were nice (or bored) enough to send me theirs! 
I just hope this isn’t mind-numbingly boring for you all…”

  1. Of my grandparents, I’ve only known my maternal grandmother.  My maternal grandfather met me briefly though.  He sang and acted in the theatre, so it would’ve been nice to have known him better.
  2. I was once in the middle of a weird stand-off moment between Reg Presley from The Troggs and Paul Jones from Manfred Mann. Paul’s an evangelical Christian and Reg believes in crop circles and aliens. They’re not entirely compatible.
  3. I once watched a World Cup match with Daniel O’Donnell. Yes, there WAS a sweater around his shoulders. There were other people there too.
  4. Every time I play football (or “soccer” for the Americans!), the big toe on my right foot bleeds. It doesn’t hurt, but it stains my sock.  [2012 update : This stopped happening eventually.  New boots stopped removing my toenail mid-game.]
  5. One of the weirdest drives I’ve ever made was from Dublin to Kenmare on a beautiful clear night while I was in college. I had to stop on the road between Killarney to Kenmare, which winds on for miles and miles through amazing scenery, in order to wake-up and physically push the sheep off the road. They wouldn’t budge. Big woolly boulders in the middle of a tiny boreen. Thugs!
  6. I have never broken a bone in my body, which is miraculous considering the stupid things I’ve done.
  7. I learned how to walk at about 3 years of age. Until then, I realised that rolling was by far the quickest way to get around, and used it to devastating effect. I could also climb out the window before I was 1. I don’t know how that works either.
  8. My parents, in an effort to get more than 1 hour of sleep, eventually nailed the sides closed, and nailed a lid down onto my cot. Not to be outdone, and inspired by the WWII prisoners at Colditz, I decided to tunnel out, by pulling back the mattress and mesh wire bottom, wedging myself into the gap and wriggling until I hit the ground head-first.
  9. The prison theme continued into the garden, where in an effort to avoid the early death of their first-born, my parents surrounded my play-area with very tall chicken wire fencing.
  10. At three years old, incensed at being sent to bed at 10pm, while the sun was still shining outside and there was clearly valuable playtime left, I jumped out my bedroom window to avoid the sentry near my door. I missed the corner of the steel oil tank by centimetres, and didn’t quite expect the force of the fall. My heels dug into my backside, leaving me quite sore, but grand. The “tuck and roll” technique has its flaws. I was aided by my superman t-shirt, which had a nice blue cape. If it weren’t for that cape…
  11. I haven’t chosen an epitaph yet, but I think it’ll be hard to beat Spike Milligan’s, “Dúirt mé leat go raibh mé breoite!”, which is Irish for, “I told you I was ill.”
  12. Hairiest moment while driving – when the gearstick came off in my hand, mid-corner, leaving me in fourth gear – which is not the nicest gear to be stuck in. It’s very disconcerting when it happens, by the by.
  13. Most accomplished moment while driving…  Coasting from the Swiss Alps towards Turin with the fuel reserve light on, in the middle of the night, because the Swiss petrol stations in the ski resorts were not open 24hrs and didn’t take our French debit cards. The Mont Blanc tunnel was still closed due to the fire a year earlier, so we tried to cross the mountains… but the mountain roads had snowed over, so we had no option but to turn back to Italy.
  14. I’m a mine of entirely useless information, like Michael Caine, but with a more realistic Cockney accent.
  15. I have an addictive personality… tinged with a bit of OCD. Hence my fear of computer games and gambling.
  16. I’ve played shows in French and broken, nay, shattered German. Not the songs themselves, just the banter… (It’s really hard to sing “Elphinbine Herz”).
  17. Strangely, I’ve had more problems with my name in Ireland than anywhere else. Bloody Paddys!
  18. I’m a Virgo. I don’t believe in horoscopes, but I’m apparently typical of Virgos. I’m obsessive about details, and I over-think everything… including this sentence.
  19. My first concert was The Big Day Out in Galway (the Wescht of Ireland) in 1996. The line-up included The Divine Comedy, The Cardigans, Nenah Cherry (I can’t remember if Youssou N’dour was there with her), The Bluetones, Ron Sexsmith and Radiohead. Donal Dineen DJ’ed in between acts (I distinctly remember a euphoric “I want to hold your hand”.) If there was ever a doubt before, I was totally lost to music from this point on. I took the three hour bus journey alone too, which I’m proud of. I later discovered that one of my future best friends was at the same gig. I’ve a sneaking suspicion Ash played too, but I’ve no evidence of that whatsoever.
  20. Anyone who tries to tell me that my University years were the best of my life, automatically gets filed into the “blithering idiot” sector of my brain. I spent hours every week learning how to prove conclusively that 1 is equal to 1, without the aid of narcotics. It was not fun.
  21. I feel really guilty going to areas where I don’t know how to say at least a few poorly pronounced words in the local language.
  22. I’m an idiot, but I think the fact that I know I’m an idiot makes it less of an issue. Although maybe that’s just me being really idiotic.
  23. Mick and Kev from The Guggenheim Grotto dubbed me “The Singing Duvet”, and I think it’s the best description I’ve heard thus far. Thanks lads! (Most common names include : Tiger, Tigger, Der Teig, Todger, Taj, The Long Fella, and Ya Lanky Streak of Piss… no, that last one’s not one I use myself.)
  24. Good music sessions, after gigs or at friend’s houses, is one of the most amazing experiences you can have. It’s a shame that more people don’t get to witness them.
  25. I believe that there’s more than one true love out there. I know I’ve missed one already, so if I ceased to believe in that, I’d be forced to combust right here in front of your eyes.

Tadhg to Tiger over on Friendface

Greetings dear readers…

This is just a short note to notify of a slight change to our internet presence. Facebook, despite appeals from all quarters, refuses to allow page names to be changed. This means that our Tadhg Cooke page cannot become “Tiger Cooke”. Slightly annoying, and not very consistent – in an age when consistency is really required (although admittedly not often shown).
So we’ve set up a brand new page called, yes, you’ve guessed it : Tiger Cooke. There’s a little link box on the right hand side of this page. Yes, that’s over there! –>
Please do join us, and help spread the word, so we don’t feel so lonely. It’s tough starting from scratch.

Dear FriendFace. Please move to Tiger Cooke. Thank you.

In other news, there are things afoot behind the scenes here. All will be revealed soon – but keep your eyes peeled in Dublin in the next two months. Also, I must post some tales from our New York/Philadelphia shows in March. Myself and Tony Maceli enjoyed three fantastic shows at three great venues. We have some photos, and more have been promised to us. (If you have any yourself – please do send them on!)

More soon – I promise!
T

 

 

Goodbye 2011

Dear 2011,

It’s been emotional. I said goodbye to some dear friends and close family. You bade farewell to some vicious dictators. What does it all mean? Does it need to mean anything? Well, some meaning would probably help, and would certainly aid our bid to get “2011 – The Movie” picked up by Hollywood, but really, it doesn’t need to mean anything. In the year that Gil Scott Heron died, I’m not sure what he would have made of the many revolutions that were both televised AND live. (I just hope that they lead to better lives for us all.) So, in no particular order…

In a freezing cold Irish February, myself and one Rory Gavin headed down to Dun Laoghaire for a glamourous video shoot. The glamour ended about halfway down the pier when the full force of the biting north wind slapped my cheekbones. I’m really proud of the video – but almost even more proud of my survival on that pier in a mere shirt. The line between bravery and stupidity really is a fine one. (The video link is further on down – the embedding feature doesn’t seem to be working tonight.)

David Geraghty and I set off for Germany in the Autumn. We hit the mean streets of Berlin, Hamburg, Bielefeld and Münster after a gorgeous start at the Münsterland Festival. Huge heartfelt thanks to Jenni & Purgen, The Donots, Patrick, Kathrin, Lars, all at the Ramones Museum, and the countless other lovely folk who put us up, and put up with us.

After such a lovely tour in Germany, we thought we might extend it a wee bit. The Scratcher in the East Village was the venue for our first New York show together. Plagued by sound problems, when we finally got going, I was a bit shocked. I hadn’t realised how large the crowd was. We had to improvise a little – performing part of the set acoustically on guitar and banjo in the heart of the bar surrounded by a motley crew of New Yorkers, adopted New Yorkers and of course, the Irish. Also, we took advantage of Paul Noonan’s presence to have an impromptu interlude of BellX1 tunes. I need to stay longer next time…

The Workmen’s Club, a stunning new venue on the Liffey turned one year old in 2011, so we organised a show to celebrate that fact. Nixer Night, which featured Rob Malone (Lir, David Gray), David Geraghty (Bell X1), Cathy Davey, Vyvienne Long and myself, was a candlelit soirée to the soundtrack of everything from Sea of Bees to Marvin Gaye, not to mention the stunning original music on display. It was designed as a one-off… but I suspect, and hope, there will be a reprise. We have a lovely memento of the occasion taken by our good friend (and genius) Bob Dixon.

 

301761_320841924656103_2015549049_n

Back in Spring, we (Dave Redmond & I) ventured out to the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Austria for a tour. It was our first time in the region, so everything was bright, shiny and new to our weary eyes. It’s been a while since I was in a country where I did not understand a single utterance from anyone’s mouth – and I’d forgotten how tough it can be. Luckily we had Ivi looking after us. Most of the tour was unamplified which was a rare treat.

I got around Ireland in the solo… em… line-up?… more than I expected to this year. I teamed up with Colm Lynch and Fiach for a clutch of gigs around Ireland – there’s even evidence of some Christmas tunes floating about on the interweb… although you’re probably sick to your back teeth of Christmas songs at this stage. Maybe next year. I had the pleasure of opening for Mélanie Pain and her band – if you don’t know Mélanie, you may know her work with Nouvelle Vague. Fantastic show. And after a gap of a few years, I finally got back to Northern Ireland thanks to John Deery & The Heads. We had some fine times in Belfast, Dublin and, of course, their hometown of Derry.

I played in London a bit this year. Huge thanks to Rae, Ana Maria, Sarah and all at Urban Fog, Bar Bodega and The Mermaid. Urban Fog was a beautiful installation and bar in Dalston… and a fantastic event. I’m just glad I missed the riots that engulfed whole swathes of that postcode a few months later. The definitive list of things one should not carry through a riot zone include : “massive barely-portable continental quilt” and “guitar”.

Tiger Cooke ‘Your True North’ from rory gavin on Vimeo.

That’s it for now… I’ll leave you with the blurry unresolved mess of firsts, lasts, and undefineds that happened in the last 12 months : The Queen visits Croke Park; the POTUS visits Ireland; the Arab Spring sweeps across North Africa into the Middle East… and is still going; a tsunami kills thousands in Japan, cripples a nuclear plant, and forces the evacuation of huge swathes of land already obliterated by the tsunami; Bin Laden and Gaddafi are killed; Kim Jong Il is no longer looking at things; the world’s first synthetic organ transplant is carried out; the US shuttle program ends; UNESCO recognises Palestine as a state; musicians Gerry Rafferty (Stuck In The Middle With You, Baker Street, etc), Gil Scott Heron (The Revolution Will Not Be Televised) and Trish Keenan (of Broadcast – check this out : Broadcast’s Papercuts, featuring the vocals of Trish Keenan) pass on; the US ends its war in Iraq; the Euro’s existence looks increasingly shaky as the EU writes off 50% of Greece’s debt, bails out Portugal, and still no end is in sight; in September, encouraged by the Arab Spring and frustrated with every single politicians’ unwillingness to do anything for the people they represent – the Occupy Movement starts, spreads to over 80 countries and after an initial media blackout, eventually creeps into the news;

I hope that you all have a wonderful 2012, and that we meet on the road soon. Slán agus beannacht libh!

Pre-Chrimbolic Shows in Derry, Belfast & Dublin

Greetings!

We seem to be having some issues with our mailing list settings – some of you recently received mails that are months late.  Everything should be correct now, but we’re still battling the spam filters of the world.  It seems that as soon as you start to put images into emails the spam filters go nuts!  I’ll have to tweak things methinks…

Anyway, I didn’t log in to write about emails…  I came to warn you that I’m coming to your town.  That is, if your town happens to be Derry, Belfast or Dublin.  I’m playing just a handful of small acoustic openers before Christmas, and one triple bill with Colm Lynch and Fiach. It’s been far too long since I’ve been up North, so I’m glad to get back…
1st Dec – Sandino’s, Derry : with John Deery & The Heads
5th Dec – Black Box, Belfast : with John Deery & The Heads
9th Dec – Sweeney’s Mongrel, Dublin : with John Deery & The Heads
22nd Dec – The Cobblestone, Dublin : with Fiach and Colm Lynch

In recent months I’ve had the pleasure of hitting American shores for a solitary gig at The Scratcher in New York’s East Village, and of touching down in Germany for a small tour with the masterful David Geraghty. I haven’t written much about the trips, but I posted a few shots on our facebook page. As soon as I get clearance from Merkel, more stories of our German adventures will be leaked…

Also, we have absolutely ludicrous Christmas deals going in our online shop at the moment. So get your orders for “Fingertips of the Silversmith” and “Wax & Seal” in early!  (Remember to send us a message if you have any special requests.)

Take care now!
T

Kidnapped

“Your True North” was partially inspired by the thrilling Robert Louis Stevenson story Kidnapped, which I loved as a little nipper. All the images of Georgian life and cities, and their modern equivalents, were flicking through my slide projector. Any visitor to Dublin will know its extensive Georgian and Victorian architecture – well, that was my setting – a setting I know well. A beautiful city to shred your knuckles upon. Kidnapped, however, was set in Scotland.

So it was timely that a documentary about the inspiration for Kidnapped appeared on my radar the other night. There’s no definitive proof because Stevenson never mentioned it, but the story of Kidnapped bears very close resemblance to the life of one James Annesley. It turns out that James Annesley was Irish, and spent his youth destitute on the streets of Dublin after his father, the Earl of Anglesey, had disowned him and kicked him out. After his father’s death, the Earl’s brother, James’ uncle, decided to get rid of James permanently in order to inherit the title of Earl of Anglesey – and of course all the wealth and power that came with it.

Anyway… strange to find out I wrote a song set in Dublin, inspired by a story set in Scotland, which was inspired by events in Dublin. Circular!

Tour of Eastern Yurp – April 2011 – Part III

Note: To aid your reading, you may wish to check out the whole set of photos on Facebook.

Dave Redmond on the train to Olomouc

OLOMOUC

In the morning we wake, and drive to Wien. Bratislava and Wien are surprisingly close together, so we’ve decided to drop our rental car back to Vienna before hopping on the train to Olomouc, to the east of the Czech Republic.

Olomouc’s astronomical clock, the second oldest in Czech, before it was destroyed in WWII and before this 1950s Communist addition to the Town Hall.

Dropping the car is a simple enough task, and finding the correct train station on the U-Bahn (Vienna’s underground railway) where we can change to a regional train to take us north and across the border. Trying to find the correct train was a nightmare. Thanks to Party-Fifi, we eventually confirm that I did find the correct platform, and was waiting for the correct train. Not ONE sign or notice on the platform could confirm it though. Bloody irritating. Anyway, we grab some coffee and pastries to see us through the trip.

Sitting in some old border train stations at places like Breclav, you can’t help thinking of all the old Cold War films and spy swaps under yellow street lights. If it weren’t for all the bizarre espionage goings on between Russia and the US lately – with spies getting expelled and whole cells being uncovered – I’d say that those days are gone. But you never really know, do you?

Our little espionage meeting is with Vlad on the front steps of Olomouc train station. It seems pretty, but when Vlad whisks us to the venue in a taxi through the leafy streets, we quickly realise that the train station is in the ugliest part of town. Olomouc is amazingly beautiful. A gorgeous old university town, with a really lively feel. The venue is massive, and seems to be close to sold out, which is great news, and a great way to end the tour. We kicked out the jams. We’re only disappointed that it’s the final night of the tour… we were really enjoying it.

WIEN

After a slap-up breakfast in Olomouc, we head back to Wien where we hang out with my old friend Party-Fifi (not actual name), and get to see a little bit of the city, and move a washing machine. I’m a big believer in avoiding tourist traps wherever possible. Partially because I hate crowds, but also because if we all have exactly the same experience of a place, then it will inevitably lead to dull conversations. So, there’s a challenge for you all. Go forth and move washing machines.

Party Fifi at Cafe Sperl

At a bar that night, someone asks us what we’re doing in Austria, and I tell him we’ve just finished a small Eastern European tour. He’s surprised that we include Vienna in Eastern Europe. I don’t think he’s pleased. So, the final night brings a diplomatic incident. Oh well! Thanks to everyone for looked after and fed us so well, translated for us, and especially to those who came to the shows. It really means a lot. Hopefully myself and Dave will be back again soon.

Tour of Eastern Yurp – April 2011 – Part II

Note: To aid your reading, you may wish to check out the whole set of photos on Facebook.

BRNO

At Stara Pekarna, Brno

Our driving seems to be perpetually punctuating by traffic jams in Praha/Prague. Just before we arrive we get done by the motorway patrol people – I don’t think they’re police, but I’m not sure. (I didn’t test their trigger-happiness.) Nobody informed the idiot musical tourists (us) that you need a vignette (sticker) for the window while driving on the motorways of the Czech Republic. We would’ve got away with it too if it wasn’t for a toilet break we took on the outskirts of Brno with just 800 metres of that motorway to go. Shit. So close, and yet so… broke. Dave returns to find the car empty, and no sign of me. I’m sitting in the back of a van handing over hard-earned cash as a fine for our offence. So the moral of the story is : never stop.

We make it to Brno after my experience , rolling in beside the main train station, where we meet up with Ivi and Iva, the finest ambassadors for Slovakia and the Czech Republic you could ever meet (and the first ones I ever did – years ago back in Dublin). Dave & I stuff ourselves with food, which is often what one ends up doing on tour to compensate for the tiredness and fatigue, when one doesn’t have the cocaine budget of, say, Fleetwood Mac at their peak.

The language barrier is in evidence again. Soundcheck at Stara Pekarna is navigated ably via a series of hand gestures. (Not the ones you’re thinking of. Honestly.) This is the first plugged show we play, which is quite a change. We have a great crowd. I’m not sure where they’ve all come from. Yes, some have come all the way from internetland, and I recognise them. But the others seem to have followed posters and flyers! Old school.

After the show we trek to a pub up the road called The Immigrant, where we get involved in Irish Immigrant activity like drinkin’, fightin’ and playing more music. The smoking ban is not in place in the Czech Republic yet – so I carelessly shred my voice singing in it.

BRATISLAVA

Scherz Kafe, Bratislava – Taken by Ivi

Tonight we play the Scherz Kafe in downtown Bratislava. We’re staying with the lovely Ivi and
Anton tonight, in their magnificent apartment. My voice is tired, so we spend the day running around buying herbal remedies and honey.

Scherz Kafe was in a lovely part of the town. Unusually, across the street from the cafe was a Tesco Express. Globalisation is a real blight! (Tesco are a massive supermarket chain… apparently, the world’s third largest after Walmart and Carrefour.)

The sound is fantastic in the café tonight, and great craic to play. My voice holds up thanks to the diet of honey and some incredible fresh mint and honey tea made by the lovely cailíní at the Kafé.

I’m always amazed and really impressed by the energy and enthusiasm people have for concerts outside of Ireland. Some music fans regularly travel to multiple shows on the same tour separated by hundreds of miles. We’ve seen it all over the States and all over Europe. It’s a great honour to have people making that effort, and I can only hope that our gratitude translates and we send them home happy.

Tour of Eastern Yurp – April 2011 – Part I

 

215541_10150225212109257_99979_nNote: To aid your reading, you may wish to check out the whole set of photos on Facebook.

WIEN

We had a welcoming party at Wien Flughafen (Vienna Airport to you and me) and were whisked immediately into the city, swallowed whole by history and architecture. Dave Redmond (double-bass player extraordinaire) and myself were to play that night, so apart from eating, we did nothing but try to catch up on sleep from the previous night. Last minute packing is no fun. Nor is the lack of clarity and sleep that normally accompanies it.

The venue which was the Laden at Verein 08 was tiny. A living room. But it made for a cosy gig and one which we enjoyed immensely. Usually we’d like to play shows like this a capella and unplugged but we couldn’t afford the huge costs that comes with transporting a double bass – so we brought an electric instead. We plugged into a crappy guitar amp and set up. It actually worked very well. The a cappella thing really focuses your mind on projection. It was interesting. I’d love to compare recordings from plugged and unplugged shows to see which I prefer.

LITOMERICE

Undaunted by the bed-sharing that inevitably follows these budget tours and heartened by the fantastic welcomes received wherever we go, we managed to keep sane… or maintain the same level of insanity we arrived with. Touring the States has been good training for this, where you’re masters of your own destiny completely. Our second show is in Litomerice, which is in northern Czech Republic near Dresden, East Germany. It’s a long drive from Wien, so we rent a car. It turns out that the rental costs a great deal more than expected… so our delicate budget is feeling the strain. Still, onwards to Litomerice.

Now I know practically nothing of Slavic languages, and the fact that it’s not New Year’s Eve means that the number of phrases I can

 

301761_320841924656103_2015549049_nrealistically use have just been halved. Our hosts for this evening are Lukas & Marta. Marta has made us some vegetarian wraps with soya that we could’ve sworn were chicken. (They say everything tastes like chicken. Not true. Humans taste like pork. The cannibals used to call humans “long pig”. What I never found out was whether we taste like wild game, or domesticated animals. I’d like to know – preferably without having anyone killed, or indeed eaten.)

We have a little lie down before heading out to the venue, which is in a park beside the summer cinema. It’s another unplugged show, but with a split level floor, so a ready made little stage. It’s another small venue, but it’s full and the people, as we become quite accustomed to, are lovely. (And all quite beautiful too. Slightly intimidating!)

We didn’t get much time in the town, but it’s got a beautiful old square – cobbled and well-preserved. We also are quite lucky. That night, after a little after-show chat, food, and drink, we spent the night in an old Communist apartment block. Nothing strange, but it was a first.