2004 Touring in Germany
Monday April 12 Home
Well – it’s the evening before the grand tour in Germany with my new band. They are Clive Bunker and Martin Brunsden. We’ve been practicing so I hope people like it.
Clive is a drummer who used to play with Jethro Tull. He always gets this ex-Tull thing – it must get slightly irritating but having said that it’s Amazing. My brother Joe used to listen to Tull while I was listening to Fats Waller. He’ll be most impressed!!!
Clive has got a special little kit for doing gigs with folky-types so he’s going to use that for my stuff too.
And Martin Brunsden has played with Jacqui Dankworth and Cleo Laine and Hothouse Flowers as well as just having toured with Chris While and Julie Matthews.
These players are both great and my songs loverley with them. Clive also played on my album and I’m sorry I didn’t manage to include Martin as well.
Have you heard about my new album?
I have recorded some of my recent songs at last and I’m really pleased with the results. I got some great players on it – you’ll have to read about it somewhere else cos it’ll take too long to explain and this is sposed to be a diary of my tour in Germany.
So – anyway – it’s the day before. Ulla has booked all the gigs. Ulla is the most important person. She has always been my tour manager and she is brilliant and funny and a lovely person.
I have booked the ferry, and the plane for Martin and his bass – it’s a stand-up bass you understand. No – not a comedian which is a bass. It can’t possibly-ossibly fit in my car as well as all my stuff and Clive’s kit. I don’t even know if that’s going to fit!!! So Martin will arrive on the plane with his bass in a huge massive great ginormous hard case which looks frightening. He says he will talk its way onto the plane and off. Good luck.
Martin also plays the musical saw. He makes a curious expression while he plays his musical saw. I wonder what the airport will think…
I have packed all my things. Never know what to take even though I’ve done this enough times to know. But still don’t. I’m not even sure I’m even taking this laptop. It’s quite heavy. I am certainly not taking any girly clothing which need irons and coathangers.
I had to sudddenly buy a car only about 3 weeks ago cos I realised that it might be a foolhardy to take a car to Europe which has done 190,000 miles and sometimes only goes click when you turn the ignition and you have to hit with a hammer and also overheats in the slightest traffic plus makes a banging noise plus also is maroon.
Even though it IS a VW Passat which is sposed to go up to 250,000.
It was ok though cos I’m relatively good at buying cars suddenly. Usually what happens is my car breaks and then I drive it to a dump or give it away or leave it surreptitiously by the roadside and run away and then try to get another one without having a car to go and look at new cars. This time I have triumphed by overlapping this process rather cleverly I think.
So I have another VW Passat. But it’s a basic model with no roofbars. Which means I can’t fit my topbox which means less space for stuff.
Don’t’ you find this exciting????
Anyway – tomorrow have to get up at something I’ve never heard of and drive to Clive’s and pick him up also at a time he’s never heard of and then get to the ferry. If we miss the ferry we miss the first gig.
It is very tiring doing this but I am so looking forward to playing with Clive and Martin and I would do it here but as you can see from my giglist I have none in UK because it is SO hard to get any. Perhaps if Germany works Clive and Martin will want to do it again and even people might give me gigs here!!!
SO – the next time I speak to you will be in Germany. Byeeeeeeee.
Wed April 14 Solingen morning after the gig…
Well – we’re here in Solingen and done the first gig.
It was very nice with a small audience.
I did this gig when I did my tour with Chris and Kate but there was nothing in the fridge this time!!!
However Claus the promoter is a lovely nice bloke good looking and fun. He fed us and gave us drinks and he is great.
…It was a very tiring day yesterday.
Here’s what it went like:
6am at Clive’s
dring………. Dring. Hmph. Chuck. Clang. Scrumph. Brmmmm.
9.30am at Harwich.
Ergggg. Slurp. Crunch. Brmmm. Wait. Brmmm. Wait…..
Meanwhile at Stansted airport.
‘You can’t leave that here’
‘You can’t bring that in here and leave that there’
‘You can’t leave that there’
‘You can’t bring that on here’
Trudge trudge trudge.
‘You can’t take that on the plane’
‘You’ll have to get the next one’
Martin got up at 3.30am and got to Stansted at 5am. They wouldn’t let him pull his van up outside the airport to unload his bass cos they wouldn’t let him leave his bass unattended or his van unattended.
So he parked in the carpark and they wouldn’t let him put his bass on the shuttle bus.
So he walked 2 miles from the car park to the terminal. With his bass.
Then they wouldn’t let him on the plane because they didn’t like his bass.
So he had to wait to get a later plane. And they charged him an extra 40 quid.
Meanwhile on the ferry we are very tired but not sleeping just talking and reading our books. I bought some horrible chips to eat.
The weather is lovely and sunny and there are boats out on the sea.
3 or so hours later we get to The hoek and into a queue to get off.
Then the long drive to Solingen. Would’ve been quicker to take Dover to Calais but who knows how long in traffic on M25???
Arrive at 7ish. Talked in over mobile by lovely Claus.
Martin and Ulla and friends Gosse and Trix already there.
Quick load-in and set-up and rushed food very nice. Clive can set up quicker than me with his little kit…
but Martin is the quickest cos he has hardly any gear only Bertha his bass who he loves and a saw – rather a dangerous combination don’t you think I mean it’s rather tempting when he leaves both these things close together on the stage I mean I’m surprised he has never come back to Bertha with sawing marks on it – anyway after he has set up he spends his time being stupid as you can see.
Which is fine cos we like stupid.
I got Ulla some loverley pink maracas and Gosse + Trix brought lovely presents of chocolate, beer and things for my family. I brought Gosse a pretend dog which was his birthday present from January.
Another nice thing was that Marco arrived. He is lovely and always tries to get to my gigs. He came with his video camera and filmed us.
Decided new cartoon strip will be The Secret Adventures of the AR Group. They will be super-heroes with special powers such as sawing, subsonic sound and other such stuff which rescues people in trouble or themselves.
Have to go now cos everyone’s waiting for me in the lobby downstairs. This is a great hotel and I haven’t got time to enjoy it.
Wednesday April 15 Frankenthal the morning after the gig…
In my hotel room at Frankenthal.
The gigs so far have been great. Clive and Martin are wonderful musicians and very nice too. It is just so brilliant to play with such people. It always amazes me how in the end the musicians I meet just want to play. They have huge enthusiasm and work really hard on the songs I wrote. Trying to get it right for me.
The other thing that is incredible about Clive and Martin is that they seemed to have crammed so much stuff into their lives. They’ve both travelled to far away places and done real stuff and their stories are fascinating. There will never be enough time to hear them all I reckon.
Ulla as usual has also been wonderful and all the people we meet and the promoters at the gigs. She is also an amazing person rushing about in her car all over the country and other places. She is so energetic. She seems to have got thinner – I expect it’s all the racing around. She says she’s lost a stone!
Solingen was chocolate brought as well. And Marco came and filmed it. He is a lovely German who I met through Fairport probably. Most people I have met in the last few years has been because Peggy and Fairport have introduced me to them or they are something to do with them. They Do know So many people.
Anyway Marco gave us a lift back to our very posh hotel. Marco is the tallest person in the world. In the hotel we acted stupid.
Acting stupid is one of our main leisure activites.
Solingen is a beautiful place but only got a chance to take photos out the window not actually go for a walk.
The sound-check for last night’s gig lasted 3 ½ hours!!! It was very wearisome.
But the sound was not at all bad after all that. EXCEPT for this strange crackling
sound which seemed like a loose connection or a faulty cable or something but no it was Clive’s hi-hat making static noises!!! Can you believe that? We didn’t and Clive in all his years of playing has never heard of such a thing.
So I know what Clive will be in my cartoon strip – Statico-Man!!
Anyhow – he just removed his hi-hat and did the second half of the gig without it occasionally glaring at it where he’d put it on the stage in front of him.
It was quite amazing that it seemed it WAS static??? And that Clive could just as easily play without a hi-hat as with.
The promoter for Frankenthal was called Wolfgang but he didn’t seem to enjoy our pronounciation of his name so we called him what Ulla calls him – Charlie Fudder. This is a ticket for the gig and I got his autograph on it!!
Except it’s not spelt like that. He was very nice and also said something peculiar. He said the second half of my new album was difficult.
I like the different things people say about my stuff.
This is one of the more strange comments.
He remained in the room though and seemed to enjoy the set.
Because of the static problem, we did lots of off-the-cuff things such as featuring Martin playing Somewhere Over The Rainbow on his saw and then playing a nose flute.
It was great fun.
Just thought that, if I ever get time on this tour, that Martin’s special super-hero power would be his coat. It’s a big long coat which is his suitcase, his office, his washbag, everything really.
He could have things in his coat we don’t know about which could solve the problems of the world. And perhaps Clive can prevent nuclear bombs etc by creating static with his nylon brushes on his magic hi-hat….
Anyway – I can hear the bells chiming ten which means I am going to go to breakfast now. Every hotel has bells next to it because the hotels like to get the guests up so they can meticulously clean the rooms……
Friday April 16 Bad Saulgau morning after the gig…
Oh yes! Nice food at Bad Saulgau. I came here a few years ago with Chris and Kate and we had lovelerley food.
This time it was the spargel season. Spargel is asparagus. We had to wait a very long time for our spargels but luckily Clive and Ulla had brought their Swiss Army Knifes magnifying glasses which kept us entertained for a very long time. I have no idea why the other people in the restaurant did not join in.
I had Spargel fish.
It was one of those moments when the table goes quiet except for happy eating noises and people going ‘mmm’.
Bad Saulgau is on the south and quite different from the middle. It has big houses with wood beams and big roofs and cobbledy streets.
The journey was about 3 ½ hours. We have been playing nest (see MUSICIAN’S CARGAMES) and talking. It’s funny how when you do this job, you get thrown together with people very suddenly and do things like travel together, eat together, go to hotels together and sit together in all the gaps between sound-checks, hotels, etc. It’s actually a really good way of doing life in general.
The gig was lovely. Hans was there but he didn’t bring out his strange headgear at the end of the evening like last time.
The promoters of all these gigs are great. They are so welcoming and pay for food and the hotel and so far they have all given us extra dosh.
So the gig was another fun time and the audience was very good.
They clapped and laughed and understood things.
I’m always a bit worried I might say stuff and they’ll just look blank. Just thought that that happens anyway in England.
Martin had cleverly found a pen and paper and had written down the German for some of the titles of my songs funettically so I could say them at the gig which turned out to be a good. He also introduced a couple with an excellent German accent. He seems to’ve done well with the German. However it is to be expected as he did German A level.
Vash Masheena – Washing Machine
Ine Howfen Meytal – Heaps Of Metal
Das Papeer Maydshen – Paper Girl
Hair Leapritesnd – Mr Lovely
Tashen in Brandzetzen – Pockets On Fire
Zaygal Bort – Sailing Boat
Dervisor Man – The Whiteman
Fear Beers Bitter – 3 beers please
Gooter narked – Goodnight
So today it is a long journey to Giessen. 4 hours. Yesterday on our journey to here, we saw a storks nest while we playing nest and took photos.
I have to go to breakfast now which Martin is looking forward to immensely. He seems to eat lots and not get any bigger although he is tall and his coat is big. Perhaps some of the food ends up in his coat.
Because he travelled with his bass, he hasn’t brought a rucksack he just has his spare clothes tucked around his bass and the rest of his things like his toothbrush, comb, office, shampoo, conditioner, phone, fax, computer, vacuum cleaner etc are all kept in his coat. And now Martin has a cartoon name…
He bought six big glass bottles of apple juice yesterday and that’s probably in his coat. Got to go now….
Saturday April 17 Giessen the morning after the gig…
We are at the Giessen hotel. Again another lovely sunny day. The weather’s been brilliant. Last night was a great venue but with only 13 people in the audience. They were very attentive.
Peter did the sound he is the bass player from mark Gillespie Band and also Marcus who is the drummer. And Bettina who is Marcus wife. All were very nice.
Amazing thing is that where we played was over one of Hitler’s bunkers
I think it was called the Vermaach bunker.
That’s a bit strange.
Martin gave a bass workshop to Peter (not sure if that’s his name)
and then we acted stupid for a while.
We had a piano which was great for Mr Lovely and suchlike.
Can you tell which item belongs to which person? (The answer is at the end of this page)
It’s Easter hols here and we must set off soon even though it’s not that far to the next gig at Ladbergen. It was a long drive yesterday and we stopped at the services for food which is not remotely related to the food we get on our service station motorways in England.
You see – it was nice tasting and looked appetising.
We have kind of settled into a way of travelling which is I drive my car with Martin as passenger and Ulla drives her car with Clive as passenger. Clive is old friends with Ulla.
I sort of feel though that we should swop around a bit cos it’s nice talking with everyone.
Me and Martin played nest and sentences and talked. We went past a bikers funeral which was literally hundreds of bikers on the opposite side of the motorway and loads of police. It was strange. We ran into loads of traffic but never as bad as the M25 or M6.
The venue was easy and the soundcheck was easy and the gig was good although we had to stop earlier so we had to miss out songs which always puts me off a bit. Cos I can’t get into my stride. Ulla took photos.
I have made Clive some lovely anti-static gloves out of the shoe-shining gloves which are in our rooms. I hope they work. I don’t expect he will mind looking a nerk while playing his hi-hat. He seemed most pleased. I expect it’s something he’s always wanted.
The breakfast competition is so far being won by the first hotel in Solingen by miles even though Clive had caviar and salmon for breakfast this morning, it wasn’t as good as when we last came here and also our rooms are different not so posh they are on a different floor.
Ulla is in charge which she enjoys. Just now she said to us after breakfast ‘Now go to your hotel rooms and we’ll meet in the foyer at 11 o’clock!’ and she pointed to the lift. But Martin started to walk the other way.
Ulla said to him ‘Martin, where are you going? I told you to go to your room.’
And Martin replied ‘I’m wearing mine.’
Last night me and Clive and Ulla had a pleasant end of evening bottle of wine in Ulla’s room. It’s great to do this and talk. Clive has loads of interesting stories – the amount of stuff he’s done is amazing. He’s worked with loads of names and I expect even if we worked with him for years we wouldn’t hear all the stories he has. A bit like Peggy.
The answers are:
Left = me
Middle = Clive
Right = Martin
Sunday April 18 At Lunen Hotel Drei the morning after the Ladbergen gig.
Doh. We all don’t wanna go home now.
Tonight is the last gig in Lunen church which I’ve done twice before. Last time we created the A.R.S.E.H.O.L.E. club. (Anna Ryder Society Europe Home Of lasting Entertainment) here in the pub across from the hotel.
Martin is going to Peru straight after this and then on to New York and Clive is going home and then touring with Jerry Donahue.
I am going to do the washing up I expect.
It was another loverley gig last night.
Having left the not-so-posh hotel we went to the gig to collect the gear. Each time we do a gig the routine is leave the gear at the gig, go back to the hotel, then in the morning get the gear and go on our way. It works really well cos you avoid 2 more load-ins.
We had a lovely day actually. First it was brilliant sunshine and warmth so we gradually changed into our shorts starting with Clive being stupid as usual.
We also went a-walking in the Giessen forest which was just around this curious bunker. Me and Martin sat in a tree making bird noises. Then Clive came and joined us having stuffed some leaves in his ears. And we all made jungle noises and tried to call Ulla. She didn’t come I spect she thought we were very embarrassing.
To be honest I don’t see why cos usually she’s just as stupid as we are.
Then Clive found some lichen and we found some bark and we brought them back to the gig where we were sitting at outside wooden tables.
We got out Clive and Ulla’s swiss army knives upon each of them having a small but very powerful magnifying glass which we used to look carefully at our booty from the forest. Everyone looked including Peter and it is just so interesting what you can see through a magnifying glass. People should do this more often. When I get home I will immediately go and buy a magnifying glass round my local ironmongers which incidentally is called Torries.
Then off we went to Ladbergen a longish drive especially as expecting traffic and got it.
Clive drove and Martin went in Ulla’s car. This was nice for everyone cos you get to spend time equally together.
Clive and me played nest and earthing the static electric build-up in Clive everytime we passed a wind-farm.
His static problem with the hi-hat still had not gone away BUT amazingly he didn’t have it last night so I reckon it’s cos we earthed him or it could be the fault of Ulla’s car???
We finally got to the motel. At a motel you just park your car right next to your front door and walk in. The rooms are basic but fine. We are right next to horrid places though but we don’t at all care cos we are grateful to have rooms each.
Shock horror key lost crisis happened when Clive lost the car key IN HIS POCKET!!!!. It was just a ploy to get to look what we had in our bags. So unfortunately he saw my Lesbian porno mags and Ulla’s differently shaped and flavoured condoms and then Martin’s pornographic picture of double basses having sex with bassoons and suchlike. However we got to see Clive’s Crufts magazines as well as Pink fluffy handcuffs and stilletto heels and quite surprisingly, his trainspotter-spotter books in which he notes down the names and addresses of trainspotters.
We looked and looked everywhere. Then I saw the shape of the key pinned against his thigh in his rather fetching beige shorts. ‘That’s it! I said. No, it’s the hotel key thing. No it’s the key. No it’s not – we don’t have keys for this motel we have cards. Oh. Oops! This was after 3 hours of looking. Statico Man had blundered.
We took the piss out of him all day. Ha Ha Ha.
Here is a lovely cartoon Clive did of himself…
Ladbergen was great and I taught Ulla and Martin and Clive how to make owl hoots. A great achievement. But Martin could not teach us how to go ‘gggououououououou’. And he could not teach us to put our tongues sideways.
On the way to Ladbergen – I couldn’t believe it – my name is at last up on lamp-posts I have always wanted my name on lamp-posts. Clive’s also but not Martin’s – on the way out of Ladbergen this morning we stood next to them and took photos. We put Martin’s name on one poster too cos he is left out of the name-on-lamp-post thing. If you have your name on lamp-posts you have made it apparently.
We were yet again given nice food and drinks. I cannot imagine promoters in England doing this: providing top class food at the gig, and free drinks all evening and even breakfast in the morning and drive us to our hotel and pick us up in the morning and help load and unload our gear. Which is basically what Gerd did for us. (Mind you – I spect it’s because I don’t get the right gigs eh.)
Gerd is another incredible person. He buys sailing boats on E-bay and does them up – big boats. He showed them to us this morning before we went. You can’t believe it. He not only runs this quite big club in Ladbergen but builds boats and sails them.
Anyway – we sat outside under a big tree with birds singing all around having our meal in our shorts with the sun shining. What more can you ask? The sound check was good.
People started arriving. Because Clive is with us there are people who arrive to hear him. Also the odd nerk who wants him to sign 500 records of Aqualung.There was one such person tonight and Gig-God (Ulla) was not happy at all. She did her frightening school teacher look and pointed. Clive was ok with it and didn’t blinch.
There were 86 people at the gig!!!! PLUS Mark Gillespie (superstar) turned up to support us.
Mark has got his home in his van. Like Martin. Martin has got his home in a van also. But if you were thinking about it, you could say that Mark’s van is the equivalent of a mansion whereas Martin’s van would be a small hut. Mark is loverley person who has come from Manchester a long time ago and set himself up at Giessen to play music and tour. He has a band and did Cropredy last year. He has a beautiful dark voice and can just make up words on the spot. He speaks perfect German as well as obviously English. We got up with him to do a number. I felt bad cos at the end of the evening I totally forgot to thank him to the audience. It’s especially bad because I’ve been support lots and sometimes don’t get mentioned and you feel a bit…..well miffed really. Sorry Mark.
Anyway after the gig we went and saw his amazing home in a van-mansion type-thing. It’s a big van and even has room for an electric car inside it. It’s a kind of quad-bike thing. He is coming to Cropredy and says he will be the king Of Cropredy. I think he will with a set-up like that.
I am still thinking what is my super-hero name cos choc-girl isn’t quite right. We have Gig-God for Ulla, Coat-Boy for Martin and Statico-Man for Clive. What should I be? My quirks are …. My powers are being stupid, singing songs, playing instruments… Ulla says I should be The Boss. Perhaps I should be Boss-Girl or maybe or Mad-Girl… no not quite right.
I am supposed to be getting some sleep really cos this is the first time we’ve had during the day to rest. Instead I’m writing this. Cheery bike.
Sunday Night April 19 after the last gig of the tour
I get the feeeling that I wiknll never have as much fun ughe or as good a time again. We have just trished Clive Blunker’s hotel rjnoom here. Honest. See the picturfre.
We have had some nice things to driunok and have welked back o the hotel going shhhhhh and bringingongin martinis bass sinside the th9oletel going teee heee hyeee. I did g9ved out the doshen and people was ahpppy. Hoorrioay!
The day has been truly wonderful. The gig was fantastic. In a huge church like that you’d think the sound would be really difficult and it was but it worked. I don’t know how Clive made it sound ok. Statico-man is brilliant.
There were enough people there to make it be proper. They sung beautifully and also were able to make the sound ‘urhhhh’ (band moto).
Ulla gvae us all presents of chimes ont strunings going chimchim chim. Which we bo9ngeded in the church for a phtoto. There haved been holtos of god ophontos.
Ulla is loverley we love her we do.
Me and Ulla well we do admit we did put the condoms in Marint’s folder of music noteses and in Clive cowbell which boundced out onto his snare drum and he didn’t notice and the didn’t know hwere it cqame from. Tee hee.
After the gig was Italian restaurant and loverley food. We went with the promoters Oliver and Sara. They are very nice and I have seen then lots of times now.
We must all get up exteremely earlyr int the morhinging. Alrhouthg me and Clvie can stay and rest but Martiun has to get the plane and Ulla has to go back to work.
Me and Clive will get the ferry but first we siwll shopr for a bag as he has accidentaqly on purpose cut his one up. I don’t know why he is mad and he is a drummer it’s a mystery to me. Whuy I had him ont hi9s tor I don’t know.
It is very sad that we are finished now. It’s the best tour ever.
I have to really go to speelp now as ther will nbe no time caos we have agreed out of honour and respect for martin who will have to walk again 2 miles at stansted airport to get his bass tp the car cos the bastards will not let it on the shuttle bus bastsards I will phone upa nd complian when I get ome.
It’s 9.15am and I’m writing this from my bed in the hotel. At six this morning Clive and I got up to see off Martin and Ulla. They left at 7 and we went back for more kip before making the journey back to Engerland.
We all had another nice breakfast. I had smoked salmon and other fish, cheese and croissant and nice tea and orange juice. Poor Ulla has to go back to nasty skool but she will be in time and she looks great this morning like nothing happened – ehehehehehh!
It was sad saying goodbye – it reminded me of when I was touring with Fairport and had to leave the crew but this time I’m going to be seeing a lot of Clive and Martin I really hope anyway. If I don’t them before, it will be the rehearsals for Cropredy in August. And I will get to see Ulla there too. We squished each other for a bit, then Martin squished ‘Bertha’ into the car (he likes his bass better than anything on earth I think) and then me and Clive waved til they were out of sight.
I can’t wait for the photos are developed. Clive took them as well as me and Ulla and also there were lots of people taking them from the audience so hopefully there will be photos of the three of us on stage.
During this tour I have had time to read a book called ‘The Kid’ by Kevin Lewis. I picked it up on the way to Amsterdam with my mum a couple of weeks ago. I chose it for a really basic reason – it was thin and light enough for me to fit in my bag and not take up extra weight. I read most of it during this tour and it’s a short and factual book about Kevin’s growing up being battered and beaten by his parents and what that means. It sounds a stupid kind of book to read on tour doesn’t it? Depressing. But it was what you might call uplifting and I reckon most people could identify with the feeling of rising up from being trodden on. Or the feeling of a part of you never being watered or nurtured and then suddenly you get watered or put out in the light and you blossom. I haven’t put that very well but anyway I think – not to trivialise Kevin’s own experience but I think Martin and Clive have watered me.
Oh by the way of course my super-hero name is ‘Paper-Girl’.
Here ending the tour diary of the neW annA rydeR banD’s first tour.
These are Clive’s cartoons…
And this is Martin showing off his coat…
And this is us 4 how we’d like to be remembered…