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For most of the month of October, Arts Desk contributor Justin Moyer and his band, D.C. modern rock quartet Edie Sedgwick, are touring Europe. Here is his latest dispatch.
Singer C. walks the streets of Stuggart asking people who don’t speak English for “jumper cables,” an expression I’m not sure translates. Bassist K. and Drummer J. sit in the back of the sidelined van watching a Czech bootleg of Drive starring Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan. I finish my biography of John Quincy Adams. He dies in the end.
After two hours, a representative of what seems to be the German version of AAA helps us push-start our car. We drive two hours to Wurzburg, unable to turn off the engine out of fear that the car will not start again. We arrive late, missing our soundcheck, but in time for our set at midnight. We turn the van off. It does not start again.
The venue—-“Immerhin”—-is in the sub-basement of a post-office in the middle of Wurzburg. We load our gear down three flights of stairs into the dreary, graffiti-oed depths of this freezing, brutalist building. I think too long and too hard about the Fuhrerbunker (please excuse Wikipedia link). I listen to the brutalist opening band—-Sissters, from Berlin, who we will play with for the next three nights—-and eat too much brutalist vegan spaghetti bolognese. After the show, I sell about 50 euros worth of merchandise. One guy steals a T-shirt. This is the greatest compliment I have received in more than two years.
After the show, at 2 a.m., our van must be push-started again. We enlist the opening band and a number of other Germans in this task. Singer C. falls asleep in the car while we are push-starting it and refuses to get out. The van starts anyway.
We arrive at the flat of Host M., who lives on the fifth floor of a walk-up and has arranged for the five of us to sleep on twin mattresses crowded into his bedroom. After some interrogation, he reveals that there is another room in the flat that has just been vacated by a former roommate. Driver D. and I immediately claim this room, though it has no mattresses. Here, at 3 a.m., I start a new book—-a biography of former Israeli prime minister David Ben-Gurion by current Israeli prime minister Shimon Peres. I fall asleep soon after Peres quotes a 1908 letter from Ben-Gurion, who has just made his aliyah (please excuse Wikipedia link) to the Holy Land, addressed to his father in Poland
“How easy and pleasant plowing is!” Ben-Gurion writes. “This land that you tread on, this land that reveals itself in all its rich shades and magic charm…isn’t this experience itself a dream?“