Monday, 29 November 2010

Madeline

I went to the station with Madeline from Faro, who'd come for the
party. She's 59 and retired and has started couchsurfing. In January
she goes around Germany and then in March to Australia. I should try
and convince my mum to do it.

Tiled stations

I don't know if this comes out in the photo but all the stations were
decorated elegantly with blue porcelain tiles.

Gondalas

Aveiro

It looked pretty. I only saw it out the window to and from the train
station. Old painted fisherman's huts that are now expensive houses.

Amelia in Aveiro

I played at a gypsy Portuguese birthday party in Aveiro. Amelia
(waving the knife) had the anniversary of her 23rd birthday.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Portugal

I'm giving Portugal top marks. It's beautiful, varied, warm, friendly
and very cheap, and lots of people speak English which does make
things easier, largely thanks to the influx of 'Beefsteaks', the
flabby English who come here to the beach and go bright red in the sun.

Manuel

My host in Lisboa. A software developer. Wish I could have spent more time with him. I didn't see anything of the city. He went out after the concert when I went to bed. Got home at 3, then up early to a running race. He looked a bit perky afterwards.


 

5 star surfing

Big flat overlooking the city, own room, own bed, and on tge bedside
table keys, metro tokens, maps, guidebook, what a guy

Lisbon

The after-party. Bo from Denmark played the clarinet.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

On the back of the bus

The show finished late last night. Sleep at 2am. Up at 6am to get the
bus. Tough.

Nick and Pilar

We had a very couch concert in Seville last night at Nick and Pilar's
house. I know them from Amsterdam. Nick and I were flatmates way back
when. They're moving back to New Zealand in February so I'll probably
see them there

Faro

I seen the sea

I found an Indian, Emma

Emma went back to Barcelona after Seville, because we're not earning
enough from shows, and the Portuguese connections weren't covered by
her Eurorail. We both love Indian food through so she'll be annoyed to
miss out on one. The Algarve has everything. I got chicken as they
didn't have daal. My first meet in 3years. I think I haven't been
getting enough protein and I have gotten quite thin I noticed. It's a
shame, as I prefer the veggie lifestyle

The Algarve

Changing buses in Faro, portugal and I've an hour to walk around
(actually two because I didn't know Portugal is an hour behind - I
could have booked the earlier bus). It's very nice here, despite the
rain. (And cheap, €1 for tea, it will be €4 in Paris next week).
Lots of expats here. I'm sure I could have set up a string of shows
here if I was staying longer. Pissed off about that. I planned the
shows based on the eurorail pass, and had to have many shows strung
together to pay for it. I'll come with the bicycle next time and stay
as long as I like. So much to see. Everyday I get asked when I'm going
to stop travelling, but I still haven't cycled up Australia, ridden
across Thailand, had a residency in a New Zealand ski resort, busked
in Brazil, played on a cruise to South Africa, on a game show in
Japan, in a Theatre in Norway, a beach bar in Hawaii, a sex theatre in
Amsterdam (actually I did that one already). And that's just this
planet. It will take me a while. The moons of Jupiter will be hosting
couch concerts by the time I'm finished.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Wurlitzer

We played a Madrid institution. The Wurlitzer ballroom. Road house
style. There were cockroaches strolling along the bar.

We had great friends out. Juan, next to Emma, was out on his last
night before heading to Afghanistan in the morning (to be a lawyer for
the Spanish troops) so they had a large one. We got him onstage for a
special version of Gay OK.

I bailed at 1. Emma got home much later.... It's not pretty this
morning.

Sightseeing

Emma was like a pig in shit in Madrid. It is a very magestic city.
They don't have them like this in Alaska.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Emma cooked Pablo and I a deliscious meal in Madrid.

South through Spain

Head south again. A week in southern Spain and Portugal. The last
warmth this year. I'm not looking forward to going North I can tell you.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Sala Monasterio

The guys from last night came along to see us and so we got them on
stage to finish the show.

Tibadabo

The church at the top.

The top

Me and my hangover climbed the mountain above Barcelona this morning.
I dropped him halfway and felt great at the top. The view is something
else.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Aleix

My friend in Barcelona. We're staying in his apartment. He sleeps
upstairs at his girlfriends. His mother is the landlord for the
building and his friends live in the different flats so it's a great
atmosphere.

First night in Barcelona

Well that was a fun evening in Barcelona. The best I've had in a while. Drinking, singing songs and passing the guitar and everyone joining in. It's times like this I wish I had a band. At least doublebass and drums, it would be beautiful.

 

Videos

Emma has just got the newer iPhone with a video camera. Fancy shmancy.
Neither of us are tech savvy but have worked out that its easy to
record and post videos on her facebook and we'll do a song/video a day
to relieve the boredom, so if you want to see them befriend her. There
are two on there so far.

Cruising

From near Rome to Barcelona. 18 hr crossing. Economy class which is
not comfortable, but it's only one night. Spain here we come.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Tuckered out

Poor old Emma. Jetlagged and getting by in 3 hours sleep a night. I
have to look after her. She's like the illegitamite little sister that
I never really wanted. Only 22 but already played 100s of shows, and
has no home either. Only last month, jet-blue airline in the states
had an offer for unlimited flights in the states for $500 for a month,
so she bought a ticket and booked a whole US tour with only a few
weeks notice. Utterly exhausting to plan let alone do, travelling
every day, sleeping in airports, floors and chairs. Now she's come
over to join my tour for a rest. It's good to have somebody stupider
than me along. Makes me look sane. I could tell her to slow down
because her health is suffering, but she wouldn't listen.

Berlisconi

One of the worst things about Italy and Italians is that they keep
voting for Berlisconi. However bad it is in other countries it's worse
here. Lately he's been organising Boonga Boonga parties (anal sex
parties with prostitutes, he got the idea from his friend Colonel
Gadaffi). You couldn't make it up. And of course he owns the media
here and TV is worse even than America.

The audience

Italy so of course the audience eats themselves silly. It was nice
food and wine though and I got carried away, and feeling worse for it
today. Good crowd. Meetup.com to thank, I should use that site more.
Americans and frenchies as well as Italians, a good mix of people.

Giovanna

A couch concert in at Giovanna's B&B in the countryside outside Reggio
Emilia. A lovely place but lovelier in the summer. Vines, orchard,
etc. We stayed in the Villa in the grounds.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Train life

So, nice to have someone along again. She has better personal hygiene
than Steini. Only 22 but already very experienced with touring, and is
nice and relaxed about it, even though it's her first time in Europe.
When I was touring round the states I said to a lot of artists that
they should come over in Europe with me but Emma was the only one to
take me up on it.

We missed the early slow train to Reggio Emilia by a minute so we're
on the faster later train so we'll get there earlier, which is more
expensive. Emma will help me save money I expenses I think, which is
good as funds are low. She has an eye on the price and when I'm on my
own I splash out on the odd comforter, like a bed instead of the
floor. (Etc. I'm on the train so there's not much else to do than
write long blog posts.

Follow Emma's more interesting blog at (she can't remember the link
right now but it's on blogger.com)

Rome CS meetup

We played at the weekly Couchsurfing Aperitivo in Rome.

Rome was wet.

New travelling companion

Meeting her at the station I'm reminded of that scene from Up in the
air. I'll empty her bag discretely later on.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

And a new video...




Thanks to Maikel van der Laken for filming it 

The longer you travel, the less you carry

I've just finished a new album called 'The longer you travel, the less you carry'. I've been on the road for 15 months now and down to the bare essentials. It's my third album this year and they're solo-acoustic tracks because people were asking for what they hear live.

You can download it here, and it's donation-based. If you really enjoy it please give generously so I can make another one soon. If you really hate it, send me a critique and I'll send you something to make up for wasting some of your valuable life-time.

This photo was taken in Greece where everyone walks around like this. Thanks to Ro Halfhide for recording it and Stefan Verhoeff for editing.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Train time

At least I have a carriage to myself this late at night and I can
practice. I wrote 7 songs in Greece and have almost 20 new ones to
memorise (which takes the most time).

Nice conductor

Bloody bike. I cycled the remaining two hours to Bari and took the
Eurostar Italia fast train, with the bike in the bag. I was settled
and asleep when three conductors woke me up to kick me off the train.
There was a 'superior' on the train, they were nice about it and even
bought me a coffee. So i had to wait for the regional train in Foggio
and won't get in until midnight. I'm worried about the night trains to
come. If they won't let me on those either it's going to be rough. I'm
thinking of posting the bike ahead somewhere and will look at prices
tomorrow. Mixing transport modes hasn't been as smooth as I'd hoped.

View

A nice view to wake up to. Fisherman working the coves.

Marco

I didn't make it all the way to Bari in one day. 100km took me as far
as Para-somethingorother. I stayed in a nice B&B. Big new place but I
was the only guest I think. The terrace here overlooked where they had
the Red Bull Cliff Diving Championships this year. I didn't give it a
go.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Back in Italy

I got the night ferry over from Patra. I'm cycling from Brindisi up to
Bari. Backwind. Nice weather. Quiet roads. Perfect. Great to be back
on the bike.

Athenians

I had a great tour of the city thanks to Eva and her sister who I
stayed with.

On the back

Athens by moped. A real thriller

Gym park

Now that's a gym

A small corner of Athens

And everyone of them has a car

Contact improv

I went to a dance class in Athens. The teacher said stick to music

Mosaic

Mosaic in action. Takes a while

Art

A tour round Athen's fine art academy

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Cycling will never be big in Greece

It's getting worse the further south I get. Now there are stray dogs everywhere. Even in towns. Gangs of dogs. Add in the drivers and this is a cyclists vision of hell. They should start culling them. And the dogs.


I cycled all round Athens today and saw only about 15 cyclists in total. Incredible! But there are motorbikes and new motor bike shops are everywhere, because of the increase in petrol prices the Greeks are switching to them. But not bicycles. The crisis needs to get worse here I hope. They still have plenty of money and the bars and cafes are full.

Monday, 8 November 2010

The Greeks like it warm

It's colder here than Serbia, about 16 degrees, but space heaters?
Really. Come on people.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

I made it to Greece

A ride after 15 hours on the train, only to discover that the Greek
drivers are worse than the Serbian ones

Macedonia

I saw Macedonia through the window. I wanted to stop off in Belgrade
and Scorpio, but in the end I took the path of least resistance, as
there was a direct train to Thessaloniki in Greece, which cuts out the
hassle of getting on and off more trains with the bike. This way I can
cycle around Greece for a week where I'm sure it's warm. I'll come
back and do the Balkans properly next time. I liked it more than the
rest of Europe because it was new to me and the people are
enthusiastic and open. I'd also stick to one of those European cycle
routes I saw. Navigation is a pain in the arse on the bike otherwise,
and the roads were very dodgy in all ways!

Nightcap

Drinking with the conductor in the night train, i was one of the only
passengers. Its true about the serbs and their drinking. A lot of
Serbians carry around plastic lemonade bottles of homemade liquor. I
still think Finland was worse.

Roadies

After soup on the Danube Ivana and her friends helped me on the train.

Serbia

Serbia was a trip. A real interesting place. Too much to write about
here but a place where things are really changing. Crisis and
shortages and change and laughter. Ivana took me around her town and I
met all her cousins and had tea with her father here.