“… and Mother Earth is Mother Earth”

Joan Hamburg 1

The sky fell down the moment she walked on stage. Throughout the concert, tears mingled with rain drops as my feet sank deeper and deeper into the mud that was forming. A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall took on a whole new meaning. She started off with Freight Train though, an opening that was “all about the guitar”, simple, modest, sweet and beautiful. And it was lovely to see K and the other M again (who didn’t get the chance to offer her services as violinist to Joan, unfortunately).

My host lives in a studio in some wee island of artists, and I slept on a loft bed hand-made of tree branches. I went to twIMG_4688o cafés where you pay what you think your drink is worth, which is a lovely way to make coffee for people. There’s a rather aggressive and violent left scene in the area as well though, and we once walked past heavily protected policemen who were running out of howling cars to meet a group of hooded figures fighting for a squat. It’s just another example for a way of concentrating on what’s wrong to bring about change, rather than spraying smileys all over town (something a German street artist’s done in Hamburg). I wonder what a week of exclusively good news in the papers and tele would do to us, just as perhaps you thought about what more encouragement and recognition could effect on a ship.

Before I left the island, we were invited onto a research boat, the Aldebaran, where we met a handful of rather desperate, unemployed biology graduates, and a skipper who’s done quite some interesting travelling and thinking on that boat. He told us about a journey where a scientist on board accidentally discovered that one of the algae they’d collected was an effective remedy against the HIV virus. He didn’t find a job in Germany and now works somewhere in the Middle East or so, because who wants any medicine that would cost peanuts (besides the millions who could be cured, that is)? He also compared the global economy to the uncontrolled, exponential growth in any biological system. Our economy has cancer.

My request for “Simple Song of Freedom” was taken up by the band at a big yearly celebration of the national park on the other hand, which I perceive as a great success.

Dicker Schmatzer von T, as she’s leaving this summer’s Joan Germany as well


One thought on ““… and Mother Earth is Mother Earth”

  1. Dearest friends,
    after a long time of no travel-update I am sending an update of what I have been up to in the last month.
    After a perfectly amazing rainy Joan concert in Germany where I saw some Scotland-friends, my post-university journey brought me to the very South of England at the beginning of August. This is a region I had never been to before. I was based in Bristol with a friend over 10 days, but since we had landed gigs on two festivals we travelled to the Dorset south coast on one weekend, and to Oxfordshire on the next. In Dorset, on the last morning of the festival, I had decided to go for a walk, because I knew the sea was not very far, and somehow the sea always speaks to me and attracts me, and since there seemed to be only cow fields between me and the sea, and I also have a deep affection for cows, I set out to cross these green fields to say hi to the great big ocean.
    Except that I didnt.
    Because sometimes, and I find this especially the case in what I have seen of Britain so far, the most beautifullest regions of a country have fallen prey to military activities. And so every little path that would lead towards the direction of the sea was closed with a warning that this was a military practice area (I cant remember the exact wording of the signs) and it was extremely dangerous to walk beyond this point. I followed the road going parallel to the sea for a good 15 minutes until I found one tiny little path that was not marked by such a sign. Crossing a field full of lovely beautiful sheep and turning around a foresty hill I could finally see the sea touch the horizon in the distance. But what I could also see was yet another labyrinth of paths closed off, and old tanks rotting half way up the beautiful hills, and targets numbered 1 to 5 on each of the hills around me. Once I had reached the beach it turned out that a) there was no sand but concrete, and b) the beach could not be reached, because of “unexploded ordnance” just next to where the beach should have been. That, I figured, must have been remnants from world war II – also known as UXO/UXB, of which a lot can be found in the London and Portsmouth areas.
    I climbed the only hill that was open to the public and became very sad, at the same time being in absolute awe of the beautiful landscape, the green grass covering the white cliffs being hugged by a sparkling blue sea. I think the beauty of the area increased the sadness about the practical loss of this area for common use today. At the same time, I realise that this is a very limited viewpoint I have, and nothing comparable to the real misery and suffering that that war must have brought to people at the time and after.
    In the distance I saw a small sailing ship, and I wished I could be out on the sea that day.

    Apart from that, my visit to England had a lot of pleasant aspects as well, for example that on festival number two I saw Bjoerk perform, which was absolutely breathtaking, and so normal at the same time, and also danced to Caravan Palace and the glorious music of Bombino (never heard of this guy before but it is worth a listen!).

    I think I will come back to England at some stage in the future…


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