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The Night Before:
I’ll have you know my great grandmother was Irish!!
The Day after the Night Before:
Hotel checkout times aren’t synced to a muso lifestyle. Just forty-five minutes to rise and shine before the 11 a.m. checkout deadline. I luxuriate in the power shower for most of them – ignoring relentless, industrial volume hoovering and two attempts to access my locked room. The previously silent-as-the-grave phone rings at 10:59 to remind me. Don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out.
In the empty reception area, I eye the remaining buffet breakfast spread – especially that massive flask of coffee. Three or four staff are enjoying a smoke in the doorway. The duty guy ambles in, and I ascertain that breakfast is NOT included in my deal. But I could have the last lonely dry roll for free. No thanks. I have important time to kill. Three hours with a guitar and a travel trolley in the Hamburg rain.
The Show – I’m the centre of attention. The Day After – I’m in the centre of nowhere
The only encore I’m getting now is a second cup of fairly average coffee (in a modest bakery one block from the rejected bread roll) Never been more anonymous in my life. I didn’t bring my I-pad and I don’t possess a smartphone, which is just fine, because I actually want to experience and explore this alone time. It feels – surprisingly – okay. No urge to call home. No bored-and-stranded terrors. My inner bitch berates me for allowing a three hour void to happen, but I manage to shrug it off.
I’m relaxed. At the show I was focusing ninety nine percent of my entire being on the show. (and one percent on the dodgy cable that might cut my guitar out at any second.) But the only thing to concentrate on now is leaving an inch of foam in the cup for an hour to prove that I haven’t officially finished it. After my fairly-average-coffees I take the S-Bahn to Hamburg Hauptbahnhof, where I’m meeting a friend in two hours and heading home to Berlin in three.
The station is unrelentingly hectic and not a salubrious place to hang around in. Without the trolley I could at least have a wander. I dither around in a room full of luggage lockers, drunks and tourists. Lack of sleep has caught up with me, and by the time I’ve figured out the instructions and realised most lockers are full (and sporting too many dire warnings about what isn’t safe to leave in them) another half hour has passed. Out on the station concourse there’s a sad line of rain-spattered empty tour buses. YES! Something to do! I could see a large chunk of wet Hamburg without getting wet myself. Something to validate these weird lost hours. But I find out the trip would take too long, and hell, I wouldn’t have paid THAT for my own limo.
Then I spy the “Junge” Cafe-Bakerei where I could drink a slow tea with no-one hassling me. Nice people. Spontaneously start to write this …. scrawling in biro on scrap paper for over an hour. I go to the loo in a basement that has remotely lock-able doors, with ultra-violet lights (all to keep out the junkies, the waiter apologetically explains) Finally its time to see my friend and slot back into the flow of normal life (whatever that is.) I meet him at the ticket office, then we go back to the “Junge” where my teacup sits reassuringly on the table, exactly where I left it.
A month later
my second solo foray to Hamburg. This time, no weird gaps in the schedule and a great time was had by all at the PiPaPo (Stade)