Oh yeah, the music

It is late March of 2015.
The weather here in Europe is confused, bordering on psychotic.
They tell me every year it's never been this way, but then the next year comes along and confounds everyone yet again.

I first came out to Germany in May of 2003.  I stayed on til the March of the following year. I remember that cos I played a gig in an Irish Pub on St Patricks day of 2004 in Stuttgart in the "theatre district" and I didn't play a single Irish song.

The Irish expats were livid. The manager of the Irish pub was also livid. Even though, as I explained early on in the night, I had warned him the previous night that even though I would be happy to play on St Patrick's Day I did not know a single Irish song.

At that point the previous evening he had been desperate because every Irish musician in the world already had a gig for St Paddy's Day.  He'd contacted most of them. All busy, thanks.
Me being Australian, well, I was the next best thing. So he hired me to come in, on St Paddy's, knowing full well that I didn't know any Irish songs. Not a reel, not a jig, not a drinking song, not a bawdy ballad, not a song about sailing boats, or the Titanic, or fair maidens, not a song about famine or old O'Reilly's goat, not a Chieftains song, not a Val Doonican song, and nothing by Van Morrison, U2, The Corrs, Chris de Burgh, Ronan Keating, Gilbert O'Sullivan or Christy Moore or any of his nephews. I felt I could've faked it through that Sinead O'Connor song but I couldn't be bothered. As I recalled the song had been sparsely accompanied and could be sung a Capella in a pinch. But my will wasn't in it, see.

So I laboured on through. It was a night of many memories, but that is for another time. But playing St Paddy's in 2004 reminds me that I had remained in Germany through most of March. That winter had been a monster, so they said. It snowed quite a bit, more than anyone had seen for 20 years. This had followed a summer that had been unusually warm, hot even. Yes, the hottest in 20 years. Everything that happened during my stay in Germany in 2003-2004 was the worst it had been in 20 years. The summer, the winter, oil prices, unemployment, cigarette prices, labour outsourcing to the east, Football, shiftlessness.  I felt lucky to have survived it all.

We returned to Australia in March and April of 2004, rented a place near the beach, then bought a little place on a quarter acre block in a little out-of-the-way village with electricity and plumbing and telephone lines but no supermarket, corner store or even an ice-cream stand. It was infested with mosquitos and cane toads and ants of the four main colours - green, black, brown and red.

We heard nothing of the weather in Europe the next four years. The German side of the family followed all our exciting weather-related news because they watched it unfold on television. It sometimes seemed like there was a German TV station devoted entirely to Australian weather and it's effects. We got worried phone calls about cyclones that were 1000 km to the north, and bushfires that were raging out of control 1200 kilometers to the south. They even worried about the earth tremors in New Zealand.

"Not so much as a quiver here," we would assure them.


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