|Sunday February 12 2012|
The second series of A Ditch near Cree- Leeuwarden or the gig that nearly didn't happen.
The second series of A Ditch near Cree- Leeuwarden or The gig that nearly didn't happen.
The weather gods are fickle...it had been freezing for weeks and there was enough ice to go round the Northern provinces, but not quite enough for the Elfstedentocht (say: elf stayden tocht; you know, that famous dry Dutch throat sound. Do try and say this word, it's important. You may need it when filling out one of the ridiculous tests they make for hard working people who want to live here)
To organise this...oh alright I'll let you off....ice-skating tour round eleven Frisian cities
(see, it's the only word in Dutch that has no shorter alternative in English!);you need a minimum of 15 cm of natural ice everywhere. Because it's not just the skaters that would be on the ice, but also an estimated 1 million tourists who will voluntarily stand on the side of the canals freezing their noses off, watching and cheering on some brave nutters freezing their nuts off, among other limbs.
It's a most amazing skating tour of 220 kms that requires an enormous amount of strength, courage and determination and it's filled with great dollops of good clean old Dutch folklore and sausages. Yes, big, steamy sausages....with mustard...and pea soup...don't ask...
The last time the tour was on, was in 1997. So when the hovering media discovered that no matter how much they badgered the organising society, they could simply not make it freeze any harder, the whole of the country was in a bit of a sulk. Even more so than the Frisians themselves, who tend to be a very stern, serious, non-media-hype kind of people. Even tough the army was drafted to clear the ice of snow and to look for alternative routes it was to no avail. The ice was simply not thick enough...
Why this explanation about the...er...skating tour? Well we have started our own tour, though not entirely on skates, of the second series of A Ditch near Cree and we were to play in the Frisian capital Leeuwarden, which is "difficult-to-pronouce-skating tour" central.
Had the skating tour been organised it would have been scheduled on that very same day! That would have definitely meant calling off any and all other activities scheduled. And when it didn't happen, there was an unofficial tour for the die hards anyway. So we were a bit worried everybody might be either too tired from skating, too full of sausage and pea soup, or too drunk from Frisian traditional winter liquor to come to our show, or that they might be attending the other two shows that were on in the same theatre.
But the people of the birth province of Fling proved to be ever so gracious and the seats were nearly all filled! Admittedly, I think some people still had their skates on which might account for the lack of wild dancing. Even some people of whom I'm sure, had seen and heard us at least a gazillion times were on the front row giving us truly rousing support. We even sold quite a lot of albums and the theatre staff was wonderful and hilariously mad, but we like 'em that way.
Speaking of mad, I must remember not to play ice-hockey with the local kids before a gig...ouch...
Someone suggested we play the next winter tour on skates. Er...when hell freezes over...at least 15 centimetres thick that is...