It’s 4pm and I find myself wandering around somebody’s back garden somewhere on the Dutch/German border. I’ve seen the landmark local windmill and water tower, so this seems like as good a place as any to be. A face stares at me from the window. Fearing I’ve become a part of the German version of ‘Deliverance’, I walk away and think of ways to punish Bernhard and Markus.
30 minutes into my stay in Kevelaer and I’ve been confronted by 7 churches, 50 nuns and 1 swastika pasted onto a kindergarten wall. This place definitely feels like one where a lone Englishman could meet an easy death.
Luckily, despite having more images of Mary per square mile than anywhere outside of Rome and Walsingham, the town also possesses a surfeit of fine Eis Cafes and pretty sites of antiquity. The universal language of car stereo techno competes with the constant ringing of church bells and the occasional muzak blast of Kenny G’s greatest hits coming from one of the cafes.
The Kevelaer bookshops only have two English titles in stock, Robin Cook’s ‘Balderdash 6’ and ‘The Lord Of The Rings’. Both good adverts for illiteracy and never one to say nein to Ja!, I make my way to the solitary supermarket in town and stock up on products by my favourite no-name brand.
Earlier in the day, the Centrozoon photo session meant that I missed my plane back to England and somehow ended up here (a town that probably provided the inspiration for M Night Shamalangadingdong’s ‘The Village’).
It’s a fitting end to a strange week which began meeting Hugh Hopper in Canterbury and in between involved recording some Centrozoon material (including an intriguing new version of ‘Bigger Space’) and playing table football with the surprisingly polite Guano Apes’ guitarist Henning in a night club in the heart of Hanover (the ominously named, Spandau).
Feeling like Dr Frankenstein, I sit and wait for the locals to chase me and my cups of tea out of town, while thinking of ways to punish Bernhard and Markus.
Elbow – Cast Of Thousands