I was laughing out loud then, and I’m still laughing inside now when I think about it: who could have foreseen a year ago (or even, a week ago!) that I would find myself gladly going into a textile free spa, and taking part in a sauna ceremony which involved being wafted with a towel, bringing down the heat from honey water on hot coals, then heading into a shower with around 30 other people, not to shower, but to smother myself in honey before sitting in a steam room for 15 minutes to let it work its antibacterial magic…dear me. Adaptability. An incredible blessing. And I’m pleased to be slowly losing my Scottish inhibitions, though I’ve still quite a way to go.
The past few days have seen us travelling through the Ruhrgebiet, where we passed this fascinating piece of public art: in large red neon letters, on top of a forderturm (a tower for digging out and bringing up coal from underground, as far as I understand):
This piqued my interest, and had me asking myself several questions: What does the artist mean love could be like? In this region where underground coal mining has been the main industry, is love being – literally – held up as something elevated, that makes life better? Or the means by which you can show your true inner self, bringing up your personal coal from out of your own depths and sharing it, using it for common good? And why is love not actually like this, why is it only how love could be, in the eyes of the artist? Are we humans able to mess love up, as well as most other things? I believe so; this piece of art made me acknowledge all the ways that love can get entangled with less positive emotions: love that can grow alongside regret, anxiety, shame, guilt, fear of future loss, resentment or the desire to control. Love that can be confusing, painful or problematic; love that could hurt another. And yet, do we not all aspire to love well, and to love better? We’ve been having some serious post gig chats so far, about the meaning and purpose of life, and learning to love well is a large part of the point of things for me, personally. So here’s hoping, as my hair continues to turn grey, that wisdom will come along with it… 😉
The gigs have been loads of fun; it’s such a pleasure to play in well run venues and meet friendly, professional staff on a daily basis. I had my first repeat gig in a venue where I played with Cara last autumn in Troisdorf; and two friends from the north of England made it all the way to the gig, which was a lovely treat for me. We shared this gig with Broom Bezzums, or one half of them (!) due to Marks broken wrist, but it was lovely to hear Andrew’s music again, and in particular, a beautiful new song called Fishing In Troubled Waters. We also had a great birthday celebration-come-session with the band Crosswind in a local pub afterwards. Bochum was a delight – a beautiful piano, and a lovely venue, not to mention a very friendly audience. Westoverledingen the following night felt like performing in America for some reason; maybe the barn venue itself, or the party atmosphere – and I was pleased to sample a local drink: Korn, I think it was called? You can keep me right. I like food and drink cultural exchanges! Though I also had a wee taste of home with a whisky before the night was out…Two nights ago, in a venue converted from a church in Lingen, we had a packed audience of 400 and again, a beautiful grand piano to play. And last night, in Bodenwerder, the friendliest welcome and audience, and the best pumpkin soup and vegan chilli I’ve ever tasted! I feel very lucky. Even more so, because between them, Rolf and Juergen are helping me to fight the fear and actually make back ups and updates on my computer and my iPhone! Soon I’ll achieve world domination…I’m only a few apps away 😉