I just wanna start this one rolling and see where I end up. I will start it like this....
When you get a blockage of words that get stuck in your pen or fingertips it's best to just spew out some memories and see where they lead. It's because I have started a few blogs and left them unfinished, and then there becomes a pile-up, so to speak. But I have phases really. Sometimes I love to write, sometimes I love to draw and I always love to make music. I have been in a drawing phase this last month and have got some nice doodles done. It is so peaceful to draw and not to think about where the pen is going, but just putting on a nice play list and putting your subconscious in the pilot seat. But time to get the writing engine kick started again.
Palm reading has been my main passion lately and I am getting rather good at it. It is great meeting random people and telling them all about their life and inner feelings by all the signals they give off in many ways. I have been reading a few books about it and I really feel I am developing a whole new sensory awakening. When you don't speak the language in a country, you start to look at what we are saying without words. It is great to sit on the Ubahn and guess all you can about the lives of the people sitting around you by every little clue you can cipher from their clothes, demeanour, grouping, posture and expressions. Berlin is a great city for it because it's such a great mixture of crazy, colourful characters.
The busking has been going good, cold, but still doing nicely. It was just mid-November things went to Minus Degrees and the chill caught me a little unsuspectingly. I was getting ready for a slow and seasonal decline but all of a sudden it took a massive jump and I felt the cold in my bones that I hadn't felt for a while..I remember when it was 36 degrees and I was saying "Ahhh, you know what, I think I actually prefer the Winter cos I must have Viking Blood". Well, as it reached zero I started to think "Ahhh, you know what, Summer wasn't that bad, I think I prefer the heat". Well, it's not just the heat or the cold it is a mixture of them both that I prefer. I love days that are between 15 and 22 degrees, with a gentle breeze and some white clouds and one or two rainy days a week. If anyone knows where I can find this climate on this good Earth then please let me know as I will be emigrating there shortly.
I know where you can find it. You just have to constantly travel between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres always in the midst of Spring somewhere. I do plan to travel again this next year, my feet have been stuck in Berlin for a while now and I am becoming quite used to the place. It is a good life here though, music everywhere, great bier, ample second hand shop treasure hunting, good smoke, beautiful people, did I mention there is music everywhere? Good. But I am planning on going on a little cycle adventure in the Spring. Heading North from Berlin and finding my way to Copenhagen and discovering a little bit of Scandinavia. I hear it is great busking there and I am eager for a little change of scenery. I bought a new bike last month and it is swift and sturdy and he is called Wolfgang or "Woolfy" for short as he pounces round the bends like a pack of wolves. Berlin will always be my home base but it's time to feel the wind in my sails again and follow that amazing feeling of being lost in a brand new city, hopefully finding a couch to crash on and an adventure waiting to happen and friends and memories to make in a new city. But the reason I love Berlin is because I am always in motion here and on trams, trains, Sbahns and Busses. I like that feeling when you are in motion. Best to not stay still for too long. I am excited to just load up the bike with a few suits and my guitar and see where it takes me.
I also found this incredible treasure that has a whole meaning behind it that is quite important to me. This summer was hard, I wasn't making much geld as I wasn't enjoying the buskin, cos it was too hot, and lonely, anyway. I had lost my tobacco pouch and my Zippo lighter over the preceeding seasons. I was using this tin from poundland and whatever lighter I could find. It was a sad sight. I didn't have the geld to get a new one and was feeling like I had come down a few pegs in style and success. As we all know, the more stylish you can make your smoking habit, the less chance you have of getting cancer. Autumn came and I started to enjoy the busking again and had some pocketsfull o geld to treasure hunt the markets. In England it is the smell of a roast dinner slowly cooking that makes a Sunday a Sunday - In Berlin it is the Fleamarkets that make a Sunday a Sunday.
It was a rainy day and I went to have a mooch around the Boxhagener Market. If you go at around 3 or 4 pm they are virtually giving the stuff away. I found a stall with the usual magnetic bric a brac and nik naks and had a little look at his wares when I found this viking staring at me. It was a Zippo lighter with an engraved viking in beautiful detail. I looked at the other side and it said limited edition 095/1000. I held it up to the guy who just wanted to go home (plain side facing) and said how much for this old Zippo mate? One euroe was the reply and I couldn't get the geld out of my pocket quick enough. I opened it and there was no click. The flint was gone and it had no fuel. It was also hard to dismount the viking from his case as he had been left to freeze for a while it had seemed.
With earnest excitement I pieced him back together. I got a nice fire stone (flint) and some petrol. I opened him and softly dislodged the inner casing and placed the fire stone in and filled him up with fuel. I placed him back in his armor and with a little strike I struck the fire stone... It lit first strike! And now he has even got his click back. When I open it and light it he makes that sound of a real Zippo. I googled the design and found that they were selling second hand for 500 EUR! Not that I would ever sell him, he is priceless to me and a reminder of the spirit I need to have to get through the winters. A few days later I took the bus and got out at a random station and came to this little tobacconist shop that were selling Faux Crocodile skin tobacco pouches. Of course I got one and now I have returned to my stylish old smoking self.
I think it is because I have been homeless for so long now that I am suffering from a bad case of Fengshuitus. It is this strange condition where I re-arrange furniture and decorations and other objects to put them in their optimal positions for Feng Shui. Sometimes I cannot help myself and spend the whole day moving things around at my friends houses. That was big part of the joy at having my studio - that I could decorate it! It was so calm and creatively constructed to be able to do any of the holy trinity - Writing Words, Drawing Doodles and Making Music. But it still felt so liberating to tear it all down and let it go. Ahhh yes, what became of the Berlin album?
In a way the studio days were a great success to me, I used the space intensively for a year and a half as a space which is what it is - a practise room. There were so many noise intrusions from outside and bad vibrations that it was hard to emotionally commit to recording. You would just be getting into a good flow and then the metal band upstairs would shake your walls and you would have to stop and turn your music to ear bleeding decibels. You just never knew when the sounds would start. Sometimes it was quiet for days, sometimes never an hour of rest for the ears. It taught me great patience though - to be able to sit underneath an awful metal band and to stop yourself screaming obscenities at them while you are in a very chilled nice cosy room after a good few days o buskin take a lot of restraint. But it is what it was and is - a pratise room.
One reason was the noise and the other reason was my ears. After 17 years of being in bands and rehearsing in tiny rooms with huge P.A's, feedback sandwhiches, blistering guitar amps and drums. Gigs with loud but tinny P.A's and hard frequencies. Recording for 16 hours straight 6 or 7 days a week with headphones on at all times. It is starting to catch up with me and my ears are not what they once were. I am not becoming deaf, but extremely sensitive. Loud voices on trains, shit P.A.'s, sirens, everything is becoming like a punch in the head. If it takes me by surprise it really hurts. Spending that whole year at Zappa Strasse didn't help either. Trying to sleep through a techno party or a metal band is quite a challenge. Ear plugs can sometimes make things worse by only letting in very high frequencies. I should invest in a set really. I just couldn't find the stamina to do big sessions with the headphones on at that place. The mics were so sensitive and I could hear it all in my ears.
The other reason was the equipment. I have always been proud that I can get music out of whatever tools I have, but this one was hard. The computer is an old netbook from 10 years ago, I had to bounce every midi track to audio, everytime I did a vocal, I would then need to drag it 26/ms to the right. It only had enough ram for 1 reverb and one valve compression. I still got a good few songs to a good level, but they still need a little more work. I am sad in some ways that I didn't put a closure to them all before I left as I have always done in the past, but, there are some good ideas that came out of those songs and I am going to use them for my next project with Louis. I just hope you can understand that there were a few things against me when it came to the recording side of the room, but with the practise side it really excelled me in my vocalising, piano playing, guitar playing, drawing, writing and learning lots of new songs and having some great jams. I need seclusion and quiet to record at my best, but alas, I just couldn't find enough of that to get something finished. I tried on the last day, but I ended up getting sandwiched between the drummer downstairs, the metal band upstairs and the techno junkies to the side of me, it was quite a brutal end and as I looked at everything I had teared down, it went back to what it was, a bare, cold, empty practise room with only a memory of the love that was once put into each one of her corners and square inches of space.