Wow! This was nice!!! It started out with an elderly lady giving me her train ticket because she had bought one too many. As I was going to give her the money, she went “No, no, just keep it, that’s yours!” I was speechless! As a small way of reciprocating I gave her one of the CDs with my tracks on, of which I usually carry a few items with me for promotional reasons or situations like this, along with saying if she wasn’t into this kind of music, then she might consider giving it to her grandchild or something. We had a really nice chat while riding the train downtown and made fun of Munich’s municipal and regional transportation system that seems to have problems with their switch tower almost every other day. And we parted with happy banter like they were going to show up if I performed in the neighbourhood. Nice!
Tonight I had a packed schedule: Meant to stop by Kongress Bar Munich and see at least one set of Peter Schneider’s Midnight Band feat. Adriano Prestel on vocals, whose performances I’ve already enjoyed a couple of times at Kongress Bar and other venues. I had also meant to drop in for a a drink at Mister B’s, probably the world’s smallest Jazz joint ever with only about a dozen seats and where the band sort of performs in the window overlooking the street. It would have been Ines Goldfisch on vocals and Heinrich Wulff on guitar. But I never made that because of the messed up schedule of Munich municipal transportation tonight – and that’s usually my luck when I decide to take the train instead of the car ;). I had then planned to cool down at Bayerischer Hof Nightclub and enjoy the remaining two sets of Michael Nitsch Band. But like I said, the transportation schedule was messed up and I didn’t feel the need to repeat another surprise overnight at Munich main station for finding that trains only run until 1.30 a.m. and then again at 5.00 a.m. 🙂
So, anyway – I had nothing pressing on today’s todo list and decided to arrive early, so I’d get a little appetizer of the band during soundcheck. I got in at around 8 pm and they were scheduled for 9 pm. One by one, the musicians showed up, while bandleader Peter Schneider took care of some business with the lighting. And I tried to remember what it was like for me in the early days, when we’d often find ourselves confronted with all kinds of technical situations that had to be taken care of – and often last minute. I must admit that I enjoyed the fact that I was able to sit here without any pressure at all and watch them setting up. At the same time – I sort of noticed I missed the nervous anticipation of getting ready to play a show and the total uncertainty of not knowing, how people might respond. Lost in my thoughts, I make a preventive stop at the men’s room before the place is too packed and before I’d risk losing the perfect spot I’d made myself comfortable in: Right across from the stage and in the center of the sonic field of the speakers. But I was never prepared for the fact that what I had come for – the music – would get easily overshadowed by yet another strange encounter of a similar nature like the Neanderthal the other week… So what happened?
OK, I enter the men’s room and as expected it’s empty – at least for a second until another guy drops in. I’m pretty sure this goes back to some ancient instinct in us, but there’s this funny ritual between men where we somehow seem to mark the territory or something. I mean, the guy looks down at first until he notices me. I also briefly glance over to him, he glances back, both of us immersed in some sort of mute communication which seems to negotiate, how we split about half a dozen available urinals between us. Just when the guy got ready to pick out one half of the room, I made sure my body language signalled “Hey dude, I was here first, I get to have my pick of the litter first, too.” Ok, so I move to the very left and he keeps to the other side of the room. Fair enough, works for me. Then of course, there is this awkward, tense moment of silent attention, where both seem to check out who’s comfortable enough in their skin to go first. Again, I’m pretty sure this is some sort of ancient instinct that tells us to be on the lookout until we know what to make of the other guy. Is he friendly or getting ready to attack? Because when you eat, sleep or take a leak (or worse, but we’re not going there…) – even our ancient brains will have known that your pretty much off guard in those moments, right? So… that moment passes too and I go, sort of satisfied with myself over having “won” this. But apparently, I flattered myself too soon, for I’ve not reckoned with this guy: Geez, I don’t know what drink he had or how many of them or for how long he had to hold back, but man – this was some serious business! I mean, the sound of this gushing out wasn’t just going, this was no less than an orchestrated assault, a well-directed attack, fanfare and all – right on the ceramics! This isn’t simply doing No. 1, it’s him vs. the plumbing! (And I’m pretty sure, some drizzle from that must have “backfired” on him…) I frantically try to keep my focus and not be distracted by this guy going to town like that, my God! Ah scrap that, what was I talking about: He’s at war with this thing of his! It’s like he was briefed on a mission, got deployed and went right into action! I allow myself getting carried away with this movie in my head: I’m getting afraid for the fixture to come loose, the urinal dropping and smashing into a billion fragments, we see the men’s room getting flooded with his “output”, people start yelling “Somebody save us here, S.O.S, call 9/11, evacuate the building, clear the block, call authorities!” In the next scene we see the prototypical Secret Service agent softly speak into the mic on his wrist: “Mr. President – yes, it’s urgent. I’m afraid we have a situation in the basement.” “Alright, I’m sending the Army in – stay put and save as many as you can!” Wow!
But I’m sure, we wouldn’t have had to call for help, because after having soundly tested the quality of plumbing, here’s the guy’s encore: His sigh of relief, which I’m sure people must have heard from down here to the last floor of the nearby high risers: “Booooooaaaahhhhhh!!!!!!!” Actually, this sounded more like a mini orgasm preceeding the real thing, sort of a warm up and short warning directed towards whoever his lady is, so she may cover her ears in time and not get her eardrums torn….
Frankly speaking, I’m distracted now and declare defeat. I prematurely call my business done and pound on the flush as heavily as I can, get my parts tucked back in and head for the sink. Luckily, the situation has a happy ending, cause everybody lived and I get to go back to my seat and enjoy a cracking first set of the band! (B.t.w.: If you think, I was exaggerating and this is all just pulp fiction from a wacko, be here for Oktoberfest and see and hear for yourselves! 😉 Seems like my “peeing buddy” had decided to “get in shape” for drinkfest a week early ;)) But really – was it just me being peculiar or are we regressing as far as behaviour in public? Hm. I guess, I’m going to keep wondering… 😉
Oh, P.S.: On the way back I happened to run into the same guy who had sat at the bar next to me and earlier on (no, not the “pee warrior” :)). I asked him, how the second set had been and we got to talking. About music in general, what had us gotten into it, what it was about for each of us and so on. Turned out, we really hit it off on and found ourselves agreeing on a lot of things. This made me realize: I’ve been missing my natural habitat for decades now. No wonder, I had almost “tipped over” from lacking and missing practically everything that gives any man a sense of identity. Well… this was really a great night despite nothing “sensational” or “way out” happening. It just felt very good. I haven’t felt this good in years 🙂