Monday, 13 September 2010

Mid-afternoon train in the sun to Den Haag, anvils and mare's tails in the sky. Took a packed red tram through the streets, past the stations and modern skyscrapers, through the administrative district and then old town, past squares and alleys, people crammed into chairs outside caf├ęs, taking in the Sunday.

Arrived into the concert venue's district, dead-end canals, enormous mansions and a heavy police presence. Walked down a leafy road past more large detached houses and before we knew it we had arrived; a co-operative villa, abandoned for twenty years previously, victim of some misguided extension work and in need of repair. Ten people now living there, a collection of artists and painters and more and we ate fresh potato salads and grilled vegetables with them outside as the temperature dropped.

The venue was in the basement, a psychedelic damp cellar room (one of about fifty in the entire house). Stephen opened standing with Annabel, sat for the remainder, progressively drawing the crowd in, winding words through melodies. I played an entirely unplanned set, around thirty-five minutes, moving through high tones to low, building walls of static and gradually dismantling them, not always with success but there was some progression and the set reached its conclusion with enough coincidence and movement to feel complete.

Afterwards is more of a blur, a few beers later, three sets live on the radio, cacophonous noise, some chatter, room sounds, feedback and drones – the usual fare. Then to outside, a starlit night, quiet conversation and a slow, late retirement to rooms full of vintage amplifiers and upright pianos for sleep and an early morning rise to bright autumn sunlight.

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