Wednesday, May 24th
My sleep is always so light the night before I go on travels.
Luckily, travelling by plane doesn’t cost much energy, only patience. It’s a procedure that never really changes and which I’m able to do in even in the most knackered state.
I arrive at London Heathrow and get on the tube towards the city center. The sun is shining and everybody’s smiling. London. So many stories.
I get off the tube in Camden and leave the station. It’s crowded and there are a couple of weirdos, probably on drugs, shouting at each other. „I kill ya mate, I’ll fucking kill ya.“, staggering my lack-of-sleep-induced paranoia.
Oh London, you make me feel very anxious sometimes.
I get to my hostel, get changed and head over to the Roundhouse, to see Angel Olsen’s gig.
I admire her a lot. Her music makes me feel warmth even on the most darkened days.
But tonight I don’t really feel anything.
Maybe it’s my tiredness, or the venue that is slightly too big for my liking, or the crowd which consists mostly of older guys.
When I leave I feel the warm night welcoming me in London, there are so many people on Camden High street, all ready for excitement, but I crave nothing but sleep.
Thursday, May 25th
The people I share my hostel room with get up at 7 o‘ clock and don’t bother with keeping quiet.
I fell asleep very late, so I’m far from well-rested, but get up anyway.
A beautiful, amazingly hot morning awaits me outside and makes me feel grateful for the unasked wake-up- call.
I wander around Camden until I get too hot and retreat back to my hostel to pack my stuff.
Two hours later I board the National Express bound to Liverpool. The drive out of London feels like a sightseeing tour. Passing by a couple of tourist attractions while watching people enjoying the weather in the parks.
After 4 hours I get really, really tired and impatient. The bus is delayed and it will take another 3 hours until we’ll finally reach Liverpool. The only thing that lightens my mood are the two women next to me. They smile at me a lot and speak a very strong Scouse with each other. Oh how I missed that sound.
Shortly before I give up the hope that this bus is ever going to arrive in Liverpool, I see the yellow Mersey Rail bus stops popping up everywhere. This means we must be close.
And really, “City of Liverpool” it soon says on the street signs.
My heart dances and shines like the eyes of children do on Christmas day.
We pass by Sefton Park and the Festival gardens and suddenly the Docks appear in front of the side windows. The Mersey River, the seagulls, the brick buildings and the colourful sunset spread out in front of me,like a theater play that starts as soon as I enter the room.
My tiredness has gone.
Liverpool is so achingly beautiful and somehow evokes nostalgic memories in me, memories from a time when I was not even born yet.
It’s a true, true love I have for this city.
After I checked into my hostel I walk around the city, this magical sunset is going on forever and the seagulls accompany me on the way back.
Friday, May 26th
Tender sunbeams that flicker through the blinds wake me up the next morning. I get up slowly and head to the bathroom. The window is open and the smell of salty air crawls through the crack along with the crows of seagulls. What a lovely, lovely morning.
I head out onto the streets, it’s still early and the shops are closed. I get some coffee and walk down to the Docks to read a litte.
A comforting calmness lies over the port, gentle breezes of wind rustle through the pages of my book and a feeling of peace unfolds inside of me.
I read for a while and look up from my book from time to time to listen to the workers at the Docks.
This here now is probably one of the most wonderful moments I’ve ever had in my life. So peaceful, so perfect and no thoughts wasted on past & future.
An hour later I get up and walk back to the city center, everybody is smiling and there is life in every corner far and wide.
I buy a new dress and sit outside my hostel for a while. An old man who is wearing a cashmere suite despite the very hot temperature outside, sits down next to me and starts talking. He’s telling stories from the past, his past and the past of this town and I listen to his sweet accent and his firm voice.
I go up to my room, get changed and get ready for Manchester. Dot to Dot Festival is happening there today and although I need to be back in Liverpool by the evening to see John Cale here, I decided to go for a few hours. The afternoon slots are great, the ticket price was ridiculously low and a friend of mine is going to be there, so lots of reason to go.
On the way to the station I pass Mathew Street and decide to pop by the Cavern Club. I descend down the stairs and the smell of beer and rock ’n‘ roll that is engraved into the walls and is so typical for England makes me excited for the numerous gigs that lie in front of me.
A guy is playing Beatles songs on his guitar on the stage of the Cavern and everybody is singing along. I decide to wait until the guy plays a song that I don’t like or don’t know, but soon I figure that this could take forever. The Beatles truly are one of my favourite bands.
Later in Manchester I meet up with Ella. It’s so good to see her again.
I go to the Ruby Lounge with her and her friends and watch Larkins and Neon Waltz. The latter are very good as always.
I manage to be back in Liverpool in time and wonder why I haven’t been as excited for John Cale the past few days as I was for the other bands I was going to see this week. But now I AM excited. The show is so, so great!
Especially the songs that John Cale performs with Fat White Family. I seem to be the only one in the crowd excited for them though. “Venus in Furs” makes everyone sing along. I watch a seagull flying up and down to the hypnotic sound of it. This song gets me every time.
Saturday, May 27th
It’s a very hot morning and I spend it with record shopping and a Libanese lunch on Bold street. I’ve won tickets for Liverpool Sound City, so I head there early in the afternoon to see an In Conversation session with John Cale that is being held there.
He says some very mean things about Nico and makes fun of Edie Sedgwick’s eating disorders. Insightful.
Later on I watch Carl Barat & the Jackals who are, sadly, not very good and then spend the next couple of hours waiting for YAK‘s set.
They are a really amazing live band, but their set is badly affected by heavy showers of rain that go down on the band and the crowd during the show. „Electrocution, electrocution… Pretty depressing way to go“, Ollie, the singer, mumbles into the mic. It really would be.
No one gets electrocuted though, not even the boys who do a pretty memorable stage invasion during the last song. Two of them climb the stage and one grabs the mic and finishes the song. Even the band is impressed at how well he does it.
Walking to my hotel room I curse at my life because I have to walk through wind & rain and feel sick already. In the street where the hotel is I then spot a homeless person, smiling despite being soaked to the bone. He watches his surroundings with alert eyes. I walk up to him and give him all the change I can find in my pockets. It’s not that much, but he still looks at me with baffled gratitude and it makes me the self-pity I felt before seem really silly. Moments like this make you appreciate what you have. One day I’ll save you all, homeless people of Liverpool!
Sunday, May 28th
I really do feel quite sick the next day, but also excited for Karma Fest later that day. It pains me to leave Liverpool. I turn around one last time before I walk through the door at Lime Street station. It’s a „goodbye“ I have said many a times before, but it still hurts. Until next year…
I arrive in Leeds and feel like instantly boarding a train back to Liverpool. The architecture, the people, the spirits here in Leeds are no match for the ones in Liverpool. I enjoyed the train ride to here though, the green hills of Yorkshire are quite beautiful. I get to my hotel, take a shower and then a taxi to Eiger Studios where the Karma Fest is being held. When I arrive there, everything seems pretty nice, people are sitting outside with drinks and food, like a BBQ. I wander around between the two stages and watch Desert Mountain Tribe. After the set I talk to them and hang out with them and Colin, a guy from Switzerland who I met at the merch desk. After a while Matt, the singer from Telegram, comes over and says „Hi.“ I behave all fan girl and tell Matt how much I love his band and how much I look forward to their set. He seems genuinely flattered.
„Is it okay if we’re gonna play some new songs?“
Later I watch the amazing Triptides.
When Telegram enter the stage after them I’m already quite drunk. I dance and have the time of my life despite the sound being really, really bad (you can’t even hear Matt’s singing on a couple of songs).
Especially „Follow“ suffers from the sound issues.
„Bet you were looking forward to that song, ha?“
But I’m happy anyway that I finally got to see them live and their new songs are really good, a little harder, I like that.
Later I sit outside with Desert Mountain Tribe and Colin and see Jordan, Telegram’s drummer, walking around with some girls. I ask Jordan to write something in my notebook, the girls who are with him start talking to me. „You’re with us now“, they say and take me backstage.
What follows are long hours of debauchery and excess. I don’t miss my party years.
Monday, May 29th
I sleep for a mere 4 hours and wake up feeling like a zombie. I wanted to go to Sheffield today, but I can barely move, so I scrap those plans and spend the day record shopping in Leeds instead.
Tuesday, May 30th
Today I make it to Sheffield, but don’t get to see much. I still feel exhausted and weary and not in the mood for long walks.
The people here are very nice.
I go to the local museum and then have some cake & coffee.
Back in Leeds I go to see Cherry Glazerr at the Brudenell Social Club.
The walk there is very magical. It had just rained and now the hills of Leeds are glowing. A gloomy, bright sunset.
The band who is supporting Cherry Glazerr – Dream Nails – are pretty cool and so are
Cherry Glazerr who really grow on me during their set.
I walk home on the wet road that shimmers in the light of the street lamps . Beautifully sombre.
Wednesday, May 31th
I spend the day making a trip to York. It’s so lovely there.
A wonderful summer day awaits me when I leave the station and I decide to have lunch at a little Italian restaurant, La Tazzina.
The owner is very cute and loves the fact that I am from Austria.
He tells me stories about the Grimaldis, he’s in love with history, just like me.
Back in Leeds I get ready for the Growlers gig tonight. After I’ve left my hotel I wander around and can’t find the venue, Google maps is no help.
I bump into Brooks Nielsen on the way and he explains me the way to the venue.
The perks of being lost ❤
I meet up with Ella and Katie and we have drinks in the park in front of the venue.
The gig itself is so great! The setlist, the band, the crowd, everything is so much better than it was at the London gig a couple of months ago.
A truly wonderful show. I’m soaked in sweat afterwards (which is always a good sign).
We hang out with the band later and drink. It’s midnight and there are no signs of night life. Depressing.
Thursday, June 1st
In the morning I pack my suitcase and meet up with Ella and Katie for breakfast.
Seeing The Growlers together and then having breakfast at Wetherspoon’s the next morning already became tradition.
We take the train to Manchester together and I get really, really sentimental. I love these people, I love music, I love England – it’s hard to leave.
It’s a long day of travelling – first to London then to Vienna – and I come home shortly after midnight.
I flick through my notebook, listen to the records I bought and have some Cadbury chocolate.
Traveling makes my heart dance like nothing else can.