Saturday, May 2, 2009

May 1st in Berlin

Yesterday I got up at 3pm to start my day, went for a soy chai (no milk for me while I have this damn cold) and a lasagna (cheese is still on the list of things I shouldn't eat but will anyway.) Then I went out into the streets of Berlin where tens of thousands of people were out. It was like a festival, with vendors, and music, and people everywhere. We were trying to meet up with a group but all got confused and tired out by the masses and had to go off into quieter places in smaller pairs or trios. I did see a large group of anarchists with black face cloths march past gathering empty bottles (presumably for molotov cocktails.)

Police vans lined the streets and police men and women stood at the ready to defend all the corporate chains lest they should have their windows smashed out. 

I went to dinner with a new friend and had a hard time finding a restaurant that would serve food. We were walking back through the crowd when I suddenly realized that we were in a square where everyone was waiting: protesters sat in the street, police lined the blocks with full riot gear, photographers and news crews hovered on perches above the crowd, and everyone just....waited. We were already in the thick of it by the time we caught on and just hoped that we would make it through before the first rock was thrown. 

Police were blocking all the exits - insanely, there was no way out. We were trying to leave this intense square and at each blockade they would point to the next and tell us to go that way - literally back and forth. Finally, we talked our way through a blockade.

I had a nice non-camera-photography moment when I saw a man lean over to tenderly kiss the top of a woman's head in the middle of the madness. (CLICK) went the brain camera.

We finally found a very lovely cafe where a man a la Tom Waits played some nice acoustic songs and we got food.

At 2am we walked home, it was quiet - mobile jails rolled by full of sullen faces, the streets were covered in a gravel of broken glass.


This idea of one day a year where police and protesters get in fights is very interesting. One day a year we will throw flaming bottles and break bank windows.

I was interested to see what all this fuss was about but in the end felt disinclined to participate - even as a spectator. This is not the circus for me today.


Just now I was interrupted while watching skateboarding videos on youtube by the sound of the front door buzzer:

"Hello," said the man in English with a German accent, "We are looking for English speakers to do an interview of what the future holds, or the meaning of life."

Oh is that all?......?

"Everyone is sleeping here." I told him, which was not strictly true (obv) but I'm still in what passes for pajamas this morning and not in the mood for company. I do feel as though I have missed out a little.

But I still have my chances to be interviewed since I was also asked to be in a documentary about Freedom/Work regarding my thoughts on music piracy.

If you would like to download high quality versions of all my music for FREE you can do so here:


Sunset in Berlin: this bridge was once walled off as it marked the boundary between East and West Berlin


  1. I love protests but hate riots. It sounds like you adventure continues to be exciting.

    If I ever manage to catch that break and become published. I think I will like the travel to meet people and sign books the best.

    Have a great time but when you come home make sure you book a show in the bay area during the summer.

    My wife and I are school teachers and we can't always get to shows because we live a few hours away. The summer is prime concert time for us. We are having Vermillion Lies withdrawls

  2. The images you paint in this blog are very powerful, especially of the mobile prisons and the man kissing the woman. The whole ordeal does sound like a one of a kind experience, but I don't think it would be my circus either. It's still kind of amazing to think of all those people planning and the police expecting a riot every year on the same day. Very different.

  3. Oh. my. god. You were in Berlin and I were not. And now you're probably gone. shit.
    (I'm from Germany and wanted to see you live since I first discovered you, that's what's wrong with me.)

    Actually I'm just stopping by to say that this 31 songs project is....... absolutely fantastic. Shamefully I hadn't checked your myspace for a long time and only found out about it today.

    And now I've hopelessly fallen in love with "Riding in the rain" and feel like getting the lyrics tattooed. God, it's late and my mind is a little ... dead. I should head for the bed.

    Just had to get that out. <3

  4. Thanks for your reply! But now it hurts even more because I don't see a way to get to Berlin in the following days.... Chronically broke. Damn.

    I can only hope to magically win a private jet or that you come back soon.

    Good luck for the show <3