By The Talks, May 25 2015 03:16PM
Blog written by Iain Allen.
The Talks May Germany tour Part 1
So we disembarked. Onset for Mainz for pre May Day celebrations. Van packed, crew packed, brains assembled, or thereabouts - due to the 3am start appearances were a little disheveled, fully equipped with sleep lines on faces. 3 o'clock, A63 bound, getting up to speed. And getting up to speed. Trying to get up to speed. Oh, no speed. 50 miles an hour, and labouring. Opinion poll - "it's gonna be pretty hard to get Germany like this". So back to Hull. The van had undergone ongoing repair work for the past month - apparently that's how long it takes - but we were assured that everything was now hunky dory. Not the case. So 4am, back in Hull. Luckily Mercedes are 24 hours in Hull, and we dragged the limper over. The turbo was jiggered, hence the lack of thwack on acceleration. So 3 hours sat drinking coffee in the Merc showroom in a haze of backward lethargy, and the stead was still no better. Apparently the parts that they had supplied (the engine) no more than a week ago, wasn't right and the turbo was a dud. Nothing could be done till dinner time so it was home again until further notice. Dinner time came and went and it became apparent that we weren't going to make Reduit in Mainz for the first gig. Mainz was the first show we ever played in Germany and one of our favourite parts of the country. Saddened by this we waited for news. Midnight came and back to Hull Merc, with fingers crossed; exhaustion starting to rear it's head now. The Van was fixed - all singing, all dancing, all guns blazing. One of the most joyful moments in Talks camp for a while.
So we finally disembarked. With the van purring away we journeyed on the standard route toward the Eurotunnel, no hick ups, just the natural trying to get some shut eye where possible. On the continent and the 7 hour jaunt to Hannover for the Mai day faust, an outdoor city festival in an urban, bohemian part of Hannover - bicycle sales being a profitable industry here. There's always a really positive atmosphere about these kind of German festivals, it's like the whole city gets behind it without judgement or prejudice, and really praises the event for the good that it does for a community. So a few Gilde Ratskellers in the catering areas to dust off the cobwebs then on stage. This was a good opening show for the tour. The crowd digging straight in from the word go. A few more beers later and it was to the hotel for some exceedingly overdue kip. I think I got a solid 9 uninterrupted hours in, which is almost unheard of.
Spirits high and heads well enough rested we sprung off to Marburg, but not before a quick tyre change. On the way to the previous nights gig we'd noticed a flat spot in one of the front tyres, so the next morning, Saturday, we went to buy a new tyre - "just straight down the road and turn left", not open. Onto the industrial estate, all closed. It was becoming apparent that tyre merchants were averse to opening on Saturdays in Hannover, not on the agenda. We found a car park next to a garage, managed to use some air against the will of two disgruntled German mechanics and changed it for the spare. Onto the Autobahn. About 30 drama less minutes and then clunk, clunk, clang. What was that? Followed by Pats high pitched volcanism of 'pull over Jo' then higher still 'pull over Jo'. Another tyre had gone, one of the rears. So tyre changing skills at the ready and this time on the side of the motorway - the no speed limit autobahn. The feet had been ripped off the warming triangle so Titch had stand 50 yards up the hard shoulder holding it in the direction of on coming traffic, in hindsight, probably not a wise move. This time we (well, Pete) swapped the one that we'd taken off the front for the burst boy at the back. On the way again. By this point the van has had more work done to it than Joan Rivers after a disastrous skiing holiday with Vanessa Feltz, and no less aggressive in the aftermath.
We arrived in Marburg. Marburg is a very authentic German city, steeped in heritage with a sought after academic University. The gig was, again, a success, KFZ was pumping from the off. Then to the hotel, before Joe and Iain decided to sneak out to explore the local night life. Into Marburg's old town and a bar called Delirium. This part of Marburg had a very medieval feel about it, and Delirium was no less so, with it's narrow corridor and additional cellar bar. The beer was exceptional and flowed with haste. We got talking to some of the locals, mainly students and struggled to find anyone actually from Marburg. A chap called Fabian told me that the Brits had made a pact during WW2 not to bomb certain German cities, and Marburg was one of them, the Germans had done the same with the likes of Oxford and Cambridge in the UK - none industrial places where education flourished seemed a little immoral I suppose. I smoked with him then went back upstairs to find Joe.
On foot to the next bar and we came across 5 unsavoury looking guys in baseball caps, who took a disliking to us. A bit of swearing and shouting later we decided to exit the street and disengage - the guy wanted a cigarette which I refused. They followed us in to the bar which we then decided to loop a group (of students) and exit again, giving them the slip this time. The old town is on a hill and we cut through a winding stepped alley way and found a Keller bar (still nameless to us as recollections get hazy here) and proceeded. We drank more and made friends. We decided at 6am it was probably time we called it a night. The next day, the day off, was inactive to say the least. The hotel was outside of the city, in between the motorway and the countryside and comparable to the Kidderminster Travelodge, it had about much activity as Walsall's bus station on a Sunday afternoon. I think we were the only guests in the entire hotel. Monday morning couldn't come around quick enough and as Pete put it we were pretty happy to "gan our lads dean and get the flock out of dodge". Not before another little trial, as we only actually booked two rooms for the second night, but just decided to stay in all three and see what happened. So what happened was, Joe and I had to climb out of the room window to narrowly avoid the receptionist who was on the war path about the mystery of the third room - she should've worked Sunday. So out the window, through the gardens, and a little orchard and to the van. Onto Regensburg.