Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Another train, this time to Utrecht, where we arrived early enough to walk in the sun and sit by the canal and drink tall beers whilst watching the boats and ducks. My second time there this year, I'm still slightly enchanted by the tiny riverside houses, arched caverns and riverways, all dominated by the huge Dom Tower, bombed away in the middle, separated from its cathedral body, the skeleton marked only in coloured brick.

The evening's venue was a tiny folk pub, Cafe Derat, wooden boards and dim light, rows of gleaming glasses and pockets of conversation, a piano and a staircase. Not my usual crowd nor location, some time spent wrangling with a PA that kept swapping channels and cutting away to roars of static only to find it was my connection that was wrong all along.

Stephen played well, voice and strings just peaking above the natural acoustic of the room, particularly fine version of Portugal (tour favourite of mine, along with Royal Canal and Song for a Coalman). Then to me, always second at the moment, suits the dynamic better it seems. Afraid of unsettling the quiet bar and tables of solemn drinkers I ushered out some wavering, tentative tapeloops and environment recordings, augmenting with the odd sine drone or delayed piano stretch.

Received a curious reception, intrigue and interest more than enthusiasm, but that's no bad thing. One kind man bought four CDs, requesting only prime numbers from the limited edition, before stacking them on the table and beginning to advise upon the chess game running next to him, turning to scraps of paper, setting out complicated rows of probability in biro. We left under something of a cloud and stole away to winding conversation, fried Dutch delicacies and an attic beset with blankets. I dreamt of nothing under the rain.

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