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Blog: The German Tour: part five - Ostpol

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Safe at last in Dresden we unloaded the car and strode into the venue, Ostpol. Inside was LOVELY - they'd just redecorated but it looked like it was unchanged since the early 1970s. This was, apparently, because they'd taken all the decor FROM houses last decorated in the early 1970s. It looked very nice anyway, and we spent several minutes saying "ooh, we used to have those curtains."

We slipped into the back room which had also recently been re-done (previously bands had played in the main pub), this time to look like a Church Hall. We set up, whilst drinking EVEN MORE of the Free Beer which Germany appeared to be FULL of, soundchecked, and then stepped off stage ready to go and look at The Artists Apartment which we'd heard so much about. I was WAYLAID briefly by a young man called Sven who was ANOTHER person who'd had Matti's tape ages ago, and who was busily requesting "Post Jazz Prog-Rock Virgin." It was all very odd. That wasn't his first choice, however - what he REALLY wanted to hear was Family Wedding 2021, which I don't think I've played for about 10 years. I apologised profusely for the fact that I wouldn't be able to play it, as I didn't know the words, but he was so insistent that it was his favourite song that we ended up singing a DUET of it, with him starting each line and me saying "AHA! Of course!" and finishing it off. There is FILM of this occurring which will be part of the DOCUMENTARY we started talking about later that night... as you do.

While all this was going on I noticed Frankie and Tim EDGING towards the door. I KNEW what they were up to, they were trying to sneak off to the apartment to BAGSIE beds, DESPITE our agreement that, as I was on the foldout sofa in Berlin, i'd get first choice in Dresden! The rotters!

On the way there we'd been asking about The Apartment - Martin hadn't seen it as it'd been part of the refurbishments, but he assured us it was "new". I pictured something like the IBIS, but that wasn't quite accurate. I went upstairs to find what looked like, and WAS, a set of rehearsal rooms. Rehearsal rooms ALWAYS look the same, and there was the usual smell of surreptitious smoking, beer and SWEAT as well as piles of half broken amps and beer cans. We went into a room which looked like a rehearsal room but with the drum kit taken out, and a couple of chairs put in its place. This, apparently, was The Apartment.

How could this be? It was a really small room - maybe it was just the lobby? There were a couple of doors, both of which led to cupboards, one of which contained an unassembled, unplumbed shower unit tho little else. What was going on? Where were we sleeping?

Then we noticed a step ladder, looked up, and realised there was a second "floor" that had been put in. We went up the ladder and saw three mattresses - one double, two single - which filled the entire MEZZANINE, apart from a GAPING HOLE in one end. THIS was the Artists Apartment!

We decided the best bet was to get drunk. Luckily this was easy, as the Free Beer continued to flow! We also got FED - a strange sort of BROTH which came in two flavours, Normal (spinach, potato, spinach, carrot, spinach and sausage) and Vegan (no sausage). It was quite nice, especially with bread to dip into it (they also provided three different sorts of Worcester Sauce, i don't know why) but a group of girls sat on the next table seemed to find it HILARIOUS. They kept pointing and laughing at the bowls in front of us until, once Frankie had asked what was going on, they admitted that they were amused to think we'd believe this was German food.

They protested, but it's worth noting that, once Martin had sat down and WOLFED down his share, we gave the rest to them and they ate THE LOT. Germans, they LOVE Spinach!

Over the next couple of hours the room got fuller and fuller - LOADS of people turned up, although we weren't sure how many would be coming from the pub into the gig room. We were quite SANGUINE about it - there was plenty of Free Beer to see to this and we'd begun to slip into TOUR MOOD anyway, so it was getting on for eleven o'clock when we FINALLY took to the stage and did THIS:
  • The Gay Train
  • Never Going Back To Aldi's
  • My Boss Was In An Indie Band Once
  • If You're Too Turned On
  • Clubbing In The Week
  • Leave My Brother Alone
  • Fucking Hippy
  • Billy Jones Is Dead
  • We Are The Giant Robots
  • Being Happy Doesn't Make You Stupid
  • Payday Is The Best Day
  • Do The Indie Kid
  • The Lesson Of The Smiths
  • Easily Impressed

  • Hey Hey 16K
  • Boom Shake The Room

  • It was GRATE! Martin had told us on the way that the people of Dresden were DEAD enthusiastic and CRIKEY he wasn't wrong - there was DANCING! there was JOINING IN! there was even MORE of the KNOWING THE WORDS! It was a strange experience - i find it hard to believe at the best of times that people would know all the words to our songs, let alone in GERMANY. As with the night before I was conscious THROUGHOUT just how PAROCHIAL some of my subject matter is. I always think I'm writing about what i know, and what matters to me, but when I'm singing outside the UK (well, outside ENGLAND really) I become painfully aware of how LOCAL some of the references are.

    Still, everyone seemed to DIG it and we had a FAB time - even my many and various REMARKS seemed to go over well, and the three of us sounded (NB to me anyway) like a TIGHT ROCKING OUTFIT. At the end Tim even threw his TOWEL into the crowd! Somebody picked it up and put it back on the stage for him, but still, it's the ROCK GESTURE that counts.

    Afterwards there was more MINGLING and BEER before we settled in for the evening. We'd wondered where the toilets for The Apartment were and had been told there WERE none - once "the party" had ended ("the party" seems to mean "the opening hours" in Germany) they'd give us the keys to the whole pub, so we could get downstairs from the rehearsal rooms to have a wee. We also discovered at this point that a hardcore punk band were coming in to do some recording next day in the room next to ours. The drummer was arriving at 9am!

    Anyway, we reckoned it'd all be over by 2am, 3am once all the stragglers were sorted, and it was suggested that, as we had the keys, we could probably sleep on the sofas in the pub itself. Sorted! Drink?

    We got chatting to a few people, including one girl who said "I've always wondered what Martin Petersdorf looked like, I've listened to his radio shows for years". We realised at this point that Martin wasn't just a really nice bloke who'd decided to book us some gigs, he was actually a sort of East German Steve Lamacq who'd had various shows for nearly 20 years! AHA! THAT'S why his name was on all the posters as Special Guest DJ then!

    We had a DELIGHTFUL time, including a Wonderful Announcement (details to follow another time) and LO! there was much hugging and laughter and MORE FREE BEER. This was all around half past three, at which point we slowly began to give up hope of sleeping downstairs. At last, at 4.45am with the pub emptying but nowhere NEAR empty, we decided to go to bed.

    Or, rather, go to THE bed. Martin, quite reasonably, decided to set up a duvet and some cushions on the Lower Level on the apartment, so that it was me, Frankie and Tim who clambered up the wooden steps to our SINGLE BUNK BED and snuggled up together... i mean, lay down making HUMOROUS REMARKS about the Life On The Road Situation. "It's nearly 5am" said Tim, so we waited as he counted down to our ROCK BEDTIME - we're not too old YET to want to say "We didn't go to sleep unto FIVE O'CLOCK!!". The hour passed and within 10 seconds we were snoring.

    An hour or so later either Frankie woke me or I woke him by getting up. We both needed the loo so decided to set off together, for SAFETY. Downstairs we found two bloked - one of whom was probably the proprietor - sat at the bar, rather surprised to find two men strolling by in their PANTS. "Ah! Piss, Ja?" said one of them. "JA!" we replied, as we went towards our business.

    Three hours later we were woken by the THUMP THUMP CRASH, THUMP THUMP CRASH that is the International Sound Of Drums Being Soundchecked. None of us had fallen down the massive hole at the end of the bed, and another day had dawned. A day ON THE ROAD.

    posted 18/11/2009 by MJ Hibbett

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