wilkommen aus deutschland!
james has been going over like gangbusters here. people say they've never seen anything like him. two encores each night! i've even gotten compliments when he calls me up to sing with him, the one i wrote after we first hung out. "you sure know how to do cute," blake laughed. "they just love you!" i don't "do"cute as much as, i think, have my family's friendly, polite, kinda weird temperament, which might come off cute. still, it was a nice compliment.
i feel fortunate to've gotten to go on the trip as james's personal assistant & bundini. i mean, i'm not part of the band; i just got to go, which is pretty cool! still, he's blown up madder as a hornet many times & sent me home about 100!! "oh no," smiled scott. "you're coming next time, too." james has smoothed out a lot over the course of the trip as it has proved to be so hugely successful. he wrote me a card thanking me for accompanying him, & i'm pretty happy about the possibility of another adventure. "things can only get better," as he wrote in a song not yet in his repertoire, "when you're with me." i can see these european tours will be lucrative for james; he's gonna be big over here real quick, if he just holds it together, & he says he will! it's all up to james, as most of what happens, for those of us privileged to grow up without huge want or war or strife, is up to us each.
the group's made up of me, the band, & road manager willsie, who's also our tour guide & a historian of sorts! now & then i wish there were another female along to chat with, but oh well: i'm happy for the funny & big-hearted company; they're a good bunch of fellows, for sure. we're loading up to leave for switzerland right now, a halloween show at a showcase place near the swiss alps. then tomorrow morn buttcrack early it's back to the states, where, tho europe has so many advantages by comparison, we can't wait to be again!
shows have been at the friendly café de weegbrug in netherlands, where we climbed 3 flights of tiny, narrow staircase after the show to our little beds. "is this where anne frank stayed?" joked max bangwell, to the matronly owner's puzzlement. they fed us like kings & queen & standing at the cozy bar, we enjoyed cup after cup of heavy, fragrant european coffee w/sugar & crème. in the morn, we got delicious fresh eggs fried on a square of bacon atop white bread. yum!
next was dark, long bar blue devils, beside an abandoned military barracks in a small alley through the windy cobblestoned streets of arras, france; the proprietor, herve, a large tough-looking fellow, embraced james heartily & repeatedly, so much did he love the show, feeding us beforehand from big bowls of french fries, french bread, & a thick, wine-flavored stew ("a meal fit for digging ditches all day," i said). after that was a grueling 12 hr slog to altdorf, south germany; we rolled out the van with tired james swearing a blue streak cause it had been one long-a** day, but the clean, well-lit, 50s-themed club hosted the most wonderfully happy show, with the band banging it out to cheering, dancing crowd & large honeymoon-suiteish room awaiting us that night & next morn, sumptuous german breakfast spread of cheeses, glass jars filled with fresh jams, hard bread, fresh yogurts, & thin, thin sliced black forest ham in beautiful airy breakfast room, its whitewashed walls typically bavarian, that is, painted with german greetings & bucolic scenes.
the last show, in the black forest, required another endurance drive, albeit willsie took us the scenic route on country roads bordering austria, then france to view the bodensee & verdant vineyards & fields & dark trees & thick forest resembling both grimms' tales as well as the black hills of the u.s.a. i missed the show cause i got sick, but it was the most popular of all, with standing-room only & loud, friendly late-night partying for the band. i laid there on the bed flashing in & out of consciousness, worrying, "they must be tired - they messed up that song!" then realizing, no, they're just fine: YOU ARE SICK! next, "oh crap, i love that song; i'm missing it!" so it was an outstanding time for the band, not so great for me, but oh well. next morning i was greeted just like part of the family with another great breakfast that featured a "real german egg," prepared by the kitchen, soft-boiled, egg so fresh, the yolk stood dark & plump before being plucked by spoon.
that day willsie took us to both a castle & treiburg, "the biggest tourist town in bavaria," he explained, where we bought an inexpensive cuckoo clock to celebrate our recent 1st anniversary as well as other knick-knacks & then had pizza from an italian-run joint & i liked my margarita pie, wood-oven baked, quite well. at night we rolled into willsie's 4000sf house, spacious, w/gleaming ornate floors & walls bearing paintings of hawaii, from whence the family migrated, & in morning woke to beautiful view out his back picture windows, view of forest & trees, much greener than at our mountain home, & he says there's a hawk's nest up there someplace. i went out in the cold & watched a black bird with orange beak & white crest hopping in the bushes, pecking for a morsel. willsie took us all for a few hrs of touristing in stuttgart & james & i went solo, having a grand time exploring the schlossplatz, which willsie explained was most infamous for photos of hitler & his army parading upon. the swastika that once topped the train station has been replaced by a mercedes symbol, the schlossplatz now a one-mile pedestrian shopping mall. james happily ate his way thru the train station, then up & down the schlossplatz as we looked in stores & at people & statues & museums, tho we didn't go in the last. what a fun time. :)
this morning, i decided to go for a jog & got spectacularly lost amidst the corn- & other fields. it was a cold, cold morning & it felt great to finally run again, but i got more than i bargained for & ended up shin-deep in frozen grass for quite some time, my path even obscured at one point by a giant seeming-dung pile! finally i got directions from a nice young woman who pointed me to the "street where the americans live." i was so grateful to get back here!!! now we're off to pick up max, & then it's the last show, & ain't life grand? :D :D
pictures will come soon, once we're back to california. be well, & hope you've enjoyed reading this little report. auf wiedersehen!