Enough chicken dinners for The Hound

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So, Xmas day itself, I spent partly in Weißensee, on my own, having a very traditional Kirsty-Xmas eating crazy (but not traditionally festive) food, and reading. Perfect! Later, I decamped out to Reinickendorf where there was both very good company and delicious food… Xmas dinner Mark 2 was chicken with all the trimmings and a very traditional enormous heap of leftovers. Thank you Nicole. Buuuuurp!

Boxing Day found me out deep in the ‘burbs, and in over my head with a houseful of (only some of) Jean’s large family, trying to speak German. I tried hard, smiled a lot, ate everything put in front of me (many homemade biscuits, Stollen, endless coffee, another Xmas dinner – though a couple of others were on tortillas and salsa) and generally just sat feeling happy.

The family at one point had favoured really old fashioned names – I was particularly tickled to find one was Uncle Gotthard. Not a bad band, Gotthard… I did have one moment of odd musical glory. Someone’s phone made the std Facebook message beep, and, pretty much entirely without thinking, I reached out to the piano behind me and plonked a key somewhere up there … exactly the right one! Zum Glück,  I said,  but I’m not sure I was believed. In honesty, I’d have bet on me getting it within 2-3 either side, due to pitch-finding practice at the CVI, (about the limit of my piano skills! ) and the pitch tracker I used to use for singing practice displaying the note you sing on a piano keyboard – but not exactly.

Later, as we walked the dogs, it snowed…  and kept going. 🙂

Heiligenabend (or, Xmas Dinner: Round 1)

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Xmas eve feast at Arcanoa, with Sarah. This is a really cool bar with a cozy medieval banqueting hall upstairs. I was invited to join in the festivities, and though I didn’t try the Glühwein (I give in, I can’t spell the bloody word…), I merrily tucked into everything else on offer. First of course, I had to get dressed up – which involved borrowing some of Sarah’s gear. She thought the blouse suited me so well that I should keep it! So very kind, and I will.

So, meat, veggies, Rosenkohl (the very logical German word for Brussel Sprouts – Kohl is ‘cabbage’) 2 kinds of doughballs (dumplings for you heathen English), Rotkohl. gravy …. and chocolate pudding. I even managed to follow some of the conversation, including a couple of the long, well-performed jokes. I’m quite familiar with this sort of bunch, and with epic feasting from my days doing Viking/Saxon re-enactment with the Dark Ages Society. My speciality at public shows was genuine Viking Sleeping – always drew a big crowd wanting to know if I was real… People Are Strange…

A conversation about childhood led to an impromptu performance by me of “thank you for the music” by Abba – which was a bit differnt to the full-on rock that people are used to hearing from me! I wasn’t a dancer before I could walk (I was a climber), but I very probably sang before I could talk – and my nephew seems to be taking the same path :-).

There was bagpipe music going on downstairs, but I stuck with conversation, and didn’t make it a late one, wending my way home to Weißensee before midnight, ready to sleep – to and wake to Xmas in Berlin. The very best present imaginable.

Jam Tarts. Uglyburner. Afterfruit. Whatever …

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The Social Club always makes *especial* efforts over Xmas, with a lush jungle of decorations – you expect glittering mirror-glass-scaled snakes to slither from the tinsel creepers, strange sloths to crawl down for their weekly shit, exotic birds (Rosie! Rosie!), stealthy natives poised at full draw, ready to get us horrible colonial types with their poison-tipped arrows… Or maybe that’s just the free tarts/pies/chocolates going to my head and inducing weird psychedelic effects. I don’t *think* frog venom arrows are the weapon of choice for Stoughton natives – but you’d have to ask one. Carefully… and watch out for the mesmerising effects of the jumpers….

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Double joy this week, with the festive jam PLUS a Saturday gig featuring Afterburner and Uglyfruit, most of whom come regularly to jam at the club. I almost didn’t make it. Another attack of lethargy, introversy, sheer worn out from workness…

Well that will change. In a perfect, wonderful, “having all the cards ready to play and seizing the opportunity when it came in the game” move, I’ve gone part time at work. 2.5 days! Only compromise I gave them was accepting the mandatory corporate chair choice. Seems fair exchange for getting so much of my life back. Berlin/boat/music here I come….

So, a celebratory rock out seemed justified! And these guys certainly provided. Good tunes, hyperactive wireless bassists and remarkably unselfconscious teenagers (and their long-past-any-sense of embarrassment parents) having a good time were incredibly infectious and I chucked myself around the dancefloor to much good effect. At least on my soul.

Festive Season

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Jump the Curve, wear the tinsel, deck the halls, join Marketing in a super-ultra-mega-blowout-feast… we keep them behind glass, like rare specimens … But they do know how to party!

You’ll see my promised “Black Xmas” tree. Black fibre optic tree, black tinsel, black baubles. Just needs to be playing metal…. next year, next year. Very Metal Xmas – with Dio carolling “God rest ye Merry Gentlemen”. Now That’s What I Call Xmas….

Something in the air

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A short week, then a semi-spontaneous visit to Berlin, necessary, two weeks far too long in coming, finally, finally back. The very first time that I get met at the airport, no longer a stranger, coming very much home. Means such a lot. Music and more. Life running a straight road, even through the tangled forests we somehow build.

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Knicki Knacki’s birthday at Open Stage. A brilliant evening with amazing friends. Real friends, even in the hard places – but there are way more good times. So many more.

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Another round in Bauhaus. 3 hours, but the guys at the counters know their stuff, I can see the logic behind having to order each kind of thing at the right desk… So, now, all bathroom things are bought – just up to Kev to work his magic. And bring me another step closer to home…

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Beyond Reason

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[All pictures by Stefan McGarry (https://www.facebook.com/stefan.mcgarry.3/media_set?set=a.10152422339171836.1073741858.587846835&type=3)]

Raaaaaawk and Roooooooll! Or rather, \m/ Metal Madness \m/. Beyond Reason and I rocked on up to The Cody Sports and Social Club for a gig … to find that in-house PA meant “in the cupboard PA”. Just add well I know how to set it up then. Even if it is a desk I have never seen, one channel is blown and there is no way I can find to get seperate volume control on the monitor (given only one channel I can’t even use tricks with panning). Still, it kept me to open busy for the ghosts of the past to pay me too intrusive a visit… I didn’t even use it as an excuse to nobble the support band, Late to The Party.

They are a bunch who work with the drummer, so are all pilots and other aircraft related types. And pretty good, in fact. Very tight for a 2nd gig! Possibly tighter than us, also on our 2nd gig. I forget that point – I have played all these places before, with other bands in another life…

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Decent crowd, good gig, minimum of technical hitches (Just Mick’s volume levels – cured by dumping the Marshall’s FX control board). I even managed to find my way out of the maze of airfield and army base that surrounds the club. And managed to forget the past. Almost.

The show always goes on. Always.