Wednesday 8th January // Living Room Concert #4 @ Jenny’s Apartment, Karlsruhe-West
This morning my plans are delayed by a much-needed lie-in and it isn’t until late morning that I leave Lennart and Stefan’s flat in Esslingen and head to the station. It’s a BEAUTIFUL DAY and surprisingly warm. When I finally meet Gudrun several hours later in Karlsruhe we go to her local café for a drink where we manage to sit outside without coats. Spring is in the air.
That evening we sit together again but this time in the spacious period apartment lived in by Jenny and her housemates, who are hosting their first ever Wohnzimmerkonzert, in the older, west end of Karlsruhe. The kitchen has momentarily become a homemade pizza production line, and 5 or 6 of us sit round the small kitchen table and chat as we eat pizza after pizza. Very tasty.
Dressed once more in my red skirt, I swing into action at about 8.30pm. The living room feels really cosy with a mix of the housemates’ friends and complete strangers who found the show online. As I play William and His Ghost on Jenny’s piano, the instrument lets out a random high pitched motif everytime I play a low B, a spooky interference most appropriate for the song. My voice has nearly gone by the end of the set but I still enjoy the performance and manage a good 40 minutes of chatting and mingling before heading to the tram.
Thursday 9th January // Living Room Concert #5 @ Gudrun & Stefan’s, Karlsruhe-Waldstadt
I’ve been looking forward to today. Tonight I play in Gudrun and her husband Stefan’s living room which means NO TRAVELLING and NO GUITAR CARRYING!!! Late morning I pop into Karlsruhe town and have an excellent wander and gift buying session before spending the remaining hours before the concert pottering about – piano, a bike ride attempt, reading.
By the time evening arrives, so too does the first rain of the tour and I’m slightly concerned that people will choose to stay indoors. But I needn’t have worried, the room soon starts to fill. The audience are appreciative, polite, friendly and chilled. I perform one long set instead of the usual two, and it makes a refreshing change, as does finally abandoning my red skirt in favour of a new dress.
After the show, photographs and CD signings, a small group of us sit and chat. We talk about Christmas in Serbia, the coalition government, the Karlsruhe music scene and then suddenly familiar names: Richard Walters and Adam Barnes. A couple in the audience tell me how much they enjoyed seeing both acts on tour a few years ago, and that they went on to support Adam in his Kickstarter album campaign. Suddenly the world feels small and future adventures tantalisingly close.
Friday 10th January // Karlsruhe -> Adorf via Bayreuth // Car
But first a long journey: Stefan drives, Gudrun is DJ. Over the next few hours I’m introduced to, amongst others, Dear Reader, Haruko and Chantal Acda. A different kind of music awaits us when we stop for coffee & cake in Bayreuth – opera. This is the home of Wagner, and as we sightsee I’m transported back to A-level music lessons with Miss Paynecook and Tristan and Isolde.
Saturday 11th January // Living Room Concert #6 @ Michael and Kat’s, Adorf.
We arrived yesterday evening to a wonderful greeting from our hosts Michael & Kat and a much needed feast. Later, whilst Gudrun and Stefan caught up with their old friends, I revelled in the luxury of an early night and a long sleep.
Today, we’re back in the car visiting the nearby town of Annaberg-Buchholz, famous for its handcrafted wooden Christmas decorations, and by the time we return guests are already arriving for tonight’s party. As it’s a special occasion, they’ve all brought food and the house is filled to the brim with amazing looking dishes. Sipping throat soothing tea out of an Amanda Palmer & Neil Gaiman mug (part of her album pledge package), I get ready. On stage I go – MY LAST SHOW.
I have a brilliant time and love the audience; it’s a pleasure to perform for them. But the end creeps up, and suddenly IT’S OVER. It feels rather weird. As I sit trying to chill out with a glass of wine, sadness, adrenalin and relief crash together, and all I can think about it organising the next tour.
Sunday 12th January // Adorf -> Karlsruhe via Weimar // Car
My final day in Germany is spent travelling with Gudrun and Stefan back to Karlsruhe, from where I take the TGV to Paris at 7.30 tomorrow morning. On the way we stop for lunch in their hometown – WEIMAR. I’ve always wanted to visit here – as a child I felt like it was ‘my town’ as the name was so similar to my quite unusual surname. Back on the road and we find ourselves driving into the sunset for miles and miles – stunning and inspiring. A poetic end to a fun and memorable tour.
HUGE thank you to all my house concert hosts and the wonderful audiences you each gathered: Jenny and her housemates, Gudrun & Stefan, Michael & Kat & family, and from earlier in the week – Karin, Claudia & Paul, Chrissie, Lennart, Stefan.
An even bigger thank you to Gudrun who not only organised and coordinated the entire tour, but welcomed me into her family and treated me like royalty – what a star!
Read Gudrun’s reviews of all the concerts she attended here:
Read Michael’s review of the Adorf show here:
Many thanks to Gudrun & Michael for the photos.