Strainful Train has remained true to the tradition of travelling across Germany once a year for a week to scrounge beer for a few tunes from our instruments. This time under particularly difficult conditions, because the pub operators did not want to make any commitments in the face of the pandemic. In addition, we were often accused in advance that it would be irresponsible to spread the virus throughout Germany with our tour. This is true and we do not want to deny the risk. On the other hand, we are also aware of the fact, that this risk is very manageable if the rules of hygiene are being followed and if the concerts are exclusively outdoor. Furthermore we had, like everyone we met, an immeasurable greed for small cultural events, for some normality, for a chance to get together and exchange some joie de vivre with live music. Something that unfortunately came much too short this summer.
We started at the beautiful pottery market in Friedrichsmoor. It’s hard to believe that you would come across such a cultural hot spot after such a trip through the outback of Mecklenburg. Artists offer their creations made of clay here, accompanied by a market band, in this case, by us. In addition, Mecklenburg’s most willing to pay audience romps around there. Our CD stocks were bought out at a stroke, which financed the tour on the very first day. And last but not least we found the name inspiration for our song “The incredible chase of Loretta and the marvellous chick’ sisters of Barneveld” on the premises. So the day was completely worth it. The next day we went with the GPS mode “most beautiful route” to a place you wouldn’t have expected after passing all those dumps. In the small village of Velsdorf we found a farm full of traditional journeymen who danced to soft electro beats into the evening. Benny immediately switched to his incomprehensible journeyman slang, which he had acquired during his time on the road. Ritualistic welcome dances were performed, complicatedly choreographed handshakes were exchanged and then we were allowed to play for the journeymen. The farm was a so-called summer construction site, a meeting place for journeymen and those who wanted to become journeymen. What the pottery market visitors showed the day before in terms of purchasing power was exceeded that evening by dance frenzy. We had to fire out our entire repertoire of dance songs. And when the dust settled and the instruments fell silent, we were able to fall asleep under the most beautiful starry sky in the caravans provided for us.
The next morning, Benny had said goodbye again in a complicated ceremony and Tim had a dance for drunk fellows taught to him, we went on to the next goal. The Dannröder Forst is a beautiful, but unfortunately threatened by economic interests, mixed forest in a drinking water protection area near Gießen. In the middle of the route of a planned freeway extension, a protest camp was set up a year ago, which was now to be visited by us. We had to carry our equipment for half an hour through the undergrowth and defend it against raccoons and crested newts to get there. When we arrived, the police had just started clearing the barricades. Bad timing. If this damn highway had finally been finished, we would have gotten there earlier. The atmosphere was correspondingly tense when we carefully echoed a few sounds into the forest on a stage between the tree houses, directly after a protest plenary session marked by gender-sensitive language. But in fact this seemed to be exactly what some activists needed. More and more of them emerged from the corners of the forest and began to dance the stress of the day out of their limbs. After the last sound had faded away and perseverance slogans had been exchanged, we moved into our blockade beds in the tree tops, you can’t get us out of here, the Danni stays!
With all the will to resist and the unshakable determination to now dedicate our lives to the guerrilla fight against the clearing of the Danni, at some point the thirst for hot coffee and the urge for hygiene became stronger and we left the forest again through the undergrowth. Again the path was hard and arduous and this time it claimed victims. We can’t say exactly when it happened, maybe during the escape from the pack of baboons or during the following jump down the waterfall, at some point it rattled suspiciously from Tim’s double bass bag. We gathered around the bag, said a short thrusting prayer and looked in shyly and anxiously, only to retreat shortly thereafter disturbed. The fingerboard had come loose from the neck. Total loss, Tim was already saying goodbye to the band.
However, Benny put his prophetic hand on his shoulder and said, “Do not be dismayed, for I have been sent down to give hope to those in need.” The rest is again one of the many miracle healing stories we already know from Benny. Together with our friend Can in Tübingen the patient was stabilized in a sweaty operation and was then, oh miracle, ready for the concert that evening. Since we have been to Tübingen before, why not play again in the bar of the circle of wagons. We were already there a year ago and were already excited about the cozy flair and the crass sound. Thank you Can, for your renewed hospitality and all the operation tools.
Stay tuned for part two!