The Billy Shinbone Show

Rostock, Lubeck, Bremen & Hanover.

Ah yes, I haven't posted for a couple of days, it's been busy & I haven't had a chance to sit down & think or anything. So where were we? As yes, a Sunday evening in the one-time East German Baltic Sea port of Rostock. Yes I know it's still a port on the Baltic Sea, but it's now in a re-unified Germany. I have never seen such a collection of terrifying concrete prison blocks, unlit empty car parks & wasteland that makes for the cosy suburbs of Rostock. But this is where we were staying. But it's all just a ruse. Inside the horror block which was to be our cell for the night it was warm & bright & full of plants & pictures with delicious food smells & clean bathrooms & huge bosomy sofas to fall into. Our hosts were also warm & bright & friendly & clean & clever & funny. The gig was in town, much more appealing than the suburbs. A wohnzimmer gig. That's a gig in somebody's sitting room. The sitting room of some medical students. Once they'd taken our pulses & made a few basic examinations & probes we had FABULOUS fun singing without microphones & amps set to just under one. It was just like being a student again, if I'd been one in the first place, which I haven't. (I chose the dole instead. Happy days!) Thanks to Phil for sorting it all out & Mandy for her kind & attentive beer chilling activities.  Next night was a gig in an anarchist-squat-collective-community-café-meets-trailer-park-thing on the edge of Lubeck. Sorry folks, there's an umlaut needed there but I haven't a clue where to find it. Lubeck is a beautiful medieval city built entirely of marzipan & it looks gorgeous even when it's PISSING DOWN with rain. Gig was fun & the vegan chilli was a welcome break from the pork, preservatives & pizza regime that we've been sticking to (quite literally in some cases) for the past few days. There's a picture of me standing amongst some community anarcho-vegan bits & pieces with a morning after look on my face. We'd all slept in a giant communal bunk bed the night before. No joke. One bunk bed big enough for for twelve people! Guess how fresh & floral it smelled after a drunken rock'n'roll band had been sleeping in it? Then on to Bremen, well, a suburb of Bremen called Stuhr. I didn't play a Shinbone gig here as there was a built in support band at this venue which was a music school. Squeaky clean, grey carpeted, hoovered & hoovered again, fresh flowers & lots of brand new guitars everywhere. The support were a bunch of teenage students from the school. Wish I'd been as good at age 14 as these kids were! Then we drove straight to Hanover for comfy beds. Next day Nick, Robin & Tom (my fellow False Alarms) went for a swim & a speeding ticket whilst I wandered round town with our host Olly & found a little bar that brewed it's own rather delicious beer. The gig though was in an Irish bar. Fabulous. The Shinbone gigs are getting better & better & I'm growing in confidence as a solo act, & the Nick Parker & the False Alarms gig was great as ever. In this band I play guitar, banjo, lap steel, mandolin, accordion & harmonica & sing back-up so it takes me forever to set up & forever to pack down. Whilst I'm still coiling up cables & putting instruments in cases our drummer Robin is already half-way through relieving the bar of its unnecessary over-stock of Jack Daniels. OK, that's the catch up. I'm going to work my way through this cup of tea & choose something from the newly clean laundry. They even have washing machines here! Thanks to Hardy, Olly & the gang for being such generous hosts for the past couple of days. x