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'Die Sonne scheint mit Glitzerstrahl'

july 19, 2010.

The following anew bright and sunny day, Friday July 2nd, Maurice JJ and I stepped out of the Kunstencentrum in the Willemstraat to go hunting for an early morning Heerlen breakfast. With a little help here and there along the way and a bit of good fortune we did manage to track down a bakery just opposite the cemetery in the Akerstraat, where we sat down on a bench to bite our buns.

aan tafel

We had a morning espresso on the terrace of a café where I counted our blessings in view of the Sint Pancratius church. pancratius
How quiet and how peaceful this Heerlen was on an early Friday morning!
Then I remembered the wacky tunes, the roaring beats and the striding electric feedback noise with which last night's (h)ear had ended, and my mind's eye projected onto the empty square that lay out before us images of bittersweet duckling Lorna, topless but fiercely dressed in but a black leather stringy thingy, who struggled to stuff all of her well-rounded body into what was left of a plastic dustbin after she had sawn off its bottom with an electric saw, while thin white diving duke Erwin stood stoically up against the wall, where - with considerable effort - he succeeded in putting all of his head and blond locks into a condom. He then blew it up, with his face flattened inside the thing, until, in the end... well, he looked an awful lot like the tower of the Sint Pancratius church that I sat here looking at... I couldn't help smiling.

"Holy Thursday!", I thought, "A revelation!" ... It were these lines from Blake's Songs of Innocence that suddenly sprang to my mind; twenty words that seemed to neatly summarize, not only S.N.O.T. and Vulvax, but an awful lot, nay, maybe almost all of today's 'noise' music:

"The hum of multitudes was there, but multitudes of lambs,
Thousands of little boys and girls raising their innocent hands."

Jot it down and make sure to remember, for I will say this only once. There was but little time to pause and reflect on the profound paradoxes that stifle contemporary fringe expressions, as we had to go fringe express ourselves. First we needed to un-install our Carcassonne table, that was still standing in the Kunstencentrum the way we had left it there the other night.

heerlen tafel

Maurice JJ and I finished our espresso's and strolled back to the Willemstraat.

It was already past eleven when we had all packed and stuffed into Maurice's car again. But that was okay. With some 550 kilometers of, mostly German, highway ahead there was no need to hurry.

There would be ample time to reach Schiphorst.


The ways and days to come looked promising indeed. We had both enjoyed the A Table! trio of the night before, with Kaspar König as our guest, and were looking forward to exploiting the possibilities of the baritone sax / guitar combination during our Avantgarde performance on Sunday. Originally we intended to perform in Schiphorst as a foursome and moreover wanted to use the occasion to shoot on-the-go what most certainly would have been an amazing road movie. But already some weeks ago it became clear that in view of Mme. Z.'s somewhat shaky health, it would not be a good idea to have her undergo the relative hardship and discomfort of a longish trip crammed between instruments on the backseat of a small car (which, budgetwise, was the only possible way to go). The nice series of Dutch haiku's that I had prepared for her to sing therefore will have to wait for a next occasion. Again: no need to hurry. It was actually much more of a misfortune that also £PcM was suffering from a setback health-wise. The heat, the dust ... These European summers are not easy. We would surely miss the energy and stream of his fanciful inspirations. Moreover, £PcM would have been our stylist as well as the director of the shooting of ookoi-A Table!'s adventures on the road... All this might have been, but it was not to be. In the end, there were just Maurice JJ and myself heading that Friday afternoon for the Schiphorst Avantgarde Festival. It was instead of Mme. Z and £PcM that we took the Carcassonne table with us as a last minute stand-in.


Second thoughts about the weather: it was not so much with glittering rays that the sun was shining, its heat was beating down upon us like a sledgehammer.

'Weisse Streifen, gruener Rand'

Finding one's way by car to a city the size of Hamburg of course is pretty straightforward. We just followed the signs on the highway, hopping from one town to the next one. Maurice played us a CD with the recordings that some time ago he made with the Belgian guitar/drum duo Zoft. And every now and then we stopped, to stretch our legs and taste some local food.

high way wurst

Bref. The first part of our journey had been pretty uneventful and it promised to remain so for the next part, yet to come. But we relaxed. We would just sit through it, with nothing but a minor traffic jam here or there. And while the clock ticked on, our mileage increased as expected.

'Jetzt schalten wir ja das Radio an'

Around the time that in faraway South Africa the Dutch soccer team was about to line up for its quarter final world championship match against Brazil, I began scanning the radio to see whether I could find a station that covered the game. We were at a distance of a little over a 100 kilometers from Hamburg. If events would run their due course, we surely would arrive in Schiphorst largely before the end of the match. Also, if things would continue their course as expected, the Dutch would loose their quarter final: I hit upon a German radio station that brought regular news flashes from South Africa and soon learned that not even 10 minutes into the game Robinho had opened the score for Brazil.

But then Maurice JJ noticed an unusual rattling sound that mingled with the continuous swooshing buzz of the speeding car. Whence all of this suddenly changed.
"Merde!", he said.
I glanced at him sideways, puzzled.
"Excuse?", I asked.
"Merde!", he said again. "Don't you hear that sound?"
I concentrated. Well, there was maybe something... But wasn't that just the sound of a car passing at high speed over blocks of German Autobahn concrete?
"No, merde!", Maurice cried. "It's my bottom that's coming loose. We've got to stop before it's coming off completely. Then it'll cost me hundreds of euros, merde! I had problems with it before, but I thought it would hold. Zut!"
Now I too heard what Maurice heard: a rattling kind of flapping.

We pulled up at the next rest area to check what was going on.

loose plastic

Underneath the car there is a large black plastic lid that serves as a protective cover for all sorts of things. At the automobile's front side the thing is held by the black plastic shield that extends the bumper, to which it is attached with a couple of screws. All of these were gone, indeed, and once no longer held in place by screws, the moving car's vibrations made the lid slip out of place: we saw it bungling there, flapping, blowing in the wind. That was the sound we heard.

So what to do? We tried whether one or other of the screws from our Carcassonne table would fit. But none of them were the right size.
Maurice JJ then decided to just push the thing into place and see whether it would want to stay put.

Well ... it did not. We continued for a mile or two, until there was that sound again. Stopped. Pushed the plastic back into place. Did another mile. Flapping sound. Stopped. Pushed plastic back. Another mile. Flapping... Now wasn't there something, anything we could think of with which to put the parts together again? ... Ah, I'm sure now there are some of you viewers smiling already... For how about some tape, hein? Of course! Tape only! Nothing that a decent bit of sticky tape can't fix, at least for a while ...

'Die Fahrbahn ist ein graues Band'

Gaffer tape! That's what we needed. Gaffer to stick the two plastics together... If only £PcM would have been along for the ride. He surely would have had a roll of gaffer in his suitcase. But I did not, and neither did Maurice. It was thus that, after a series of these short hops and stops to push back the car's bottom into place, we exited the highway in search of a place to buy gaffer. This surely was an excellent idea and the way to go. Except that we now were off the main road and out there without a map, as it was only upon entering German soil that Maurice JJ had realized that his GPS came with a whole lot of European road maps, except, that is, a German one...

All this to say that all of a sudden fate put us on a quite different track. And while we found ourselves blindly cruising for gaffer somewhere in the north German countryside, the Dutch soccer team scored twice against Brazil: the Dutch had won their quarter final even before we hit upon the Bauhaus where we bought the gaffer to stick Maurice's car together again.

'Vor uns liegt ein weites Tal'

So this then explains the near miraculous victory on July 2nd, 2010, of the Dutch team against Brazil. Meanwhile, of course, neither Schiphorst nor Hamburg had gotten any nearer...

next: And Then I Joined The Avantgarde (i)

tags: Heerlen, Schiphorst, Avantgarde festival, A Table!

# .381.

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