If you're going to wake up in an unfamiliar apartment wake up here, warm, comforting and dark as the North Sea...I slept like a stone.


A very chilled start to the day of coffee and gear talk with Ulf...we're both closet equipment nuts or perhaps not so closet. An easy hour discussing the merits of parametric over shelving eqs and signal chains and noise floors and microphone gain stages v microphone technique...absolutely nothing anorak about it thank you very much.

First show tonight in Bonn at Fiddlers bar and looking forward to how it goes down. Fiddlers is a cracking wee pub we played last time we were up this way, full of nooks, crannies, beams and surprise steps...well they're a surprise at a certain time of the night. To be fair my 'nothing happened there' technique is pretty well honed this weather.


Become a full time musician they said, plenty of time for writing and rehearsals they said...aye mibbes once you've finished the million things that every other one man operation needs doing to keep it ticking over, boohoo I know. Anyway I finally grab some time for myself to reacquaint with my guitar and my scratchy voice, change some strings and check out Mel & Ulfs wall of fame in the attic room, Brendan O'Shea, Niall Connolly, Casey Black, Garrison Starr, Josh Ritter...some fella Shane Ó Fearghail and Lisa Hannigan's show ringing in my ears. Great musos, brilliant writers...too many eyes on my practicing...I retreat to corner free of knowing looks at my clumsy fingers and concentrate for a couple of hours on just playing, set listing and clearing my head to finish off a couple of tunes. Just what I was needing.


The bridge or the ferry? The ferry or the bridge? Bridge wins out and we're buzzing over to the venue bang on time. Ulf's new wireless set up is a skoosh and we're up and sound checked in record time, time enough for a munch, a pint and a wee chinwag with Maggie who runs the place. Slowly but surely the audience fills up and there's a nice wee knot of folks are out to hear some tunes, even a fellow Scot Kieran from the borders just finished his shift hauls upstairs to catch the show. Room and gear sounds great, pull out a couple of oldies for fun, a happy birthday chorus for Mel (seriously is there a protocol for facial expression when you're being sung too?) and the wee knot even asks for an encore by the end. Lovely night indeed, good craic with the natives too and a cheeky Oban whisky eventually smoothes the path homeward and to the attic sleeping room...still plenty of eyes there, but not too shabby.