On the night of the 30th May, 1945, the Allied powers launched their first 1000 bomber raid on a german city, essentially pommelling the city of Cologne to a pulp. Still, standing, however, was the citys very tall & very ancient cathedral . This stood like a beacon of hope to the citizens, who returned to their rubble wilderness & began to rebuild their lives & homes. Roll on 70 years & the place is a pleasant palace of straight roads, avenues & parks, teeming with cyclists & dissected by modern trams. Traffuc seems to be higher up on the police radar, for cannabis is freely smoken in the streest (we are 150 k from amsterdam) but you get a 25 euro fine if you cross the road when the little man is red!
My journey here has been funny as fuck, like reading the first few paragraphs of a bohemian autobiography. After watching cliff pack his life into boxes (one an hour interspersed with lines of ketamine) his mate drove us down to dover where his heavily pregant german girlfriend Nichola was waiting with her father. It was emotional to hear him say, in broken & obviosuly rehearsed english – WELCOME TO OUR LIFE. Not long after this i was sharing a poetic moment with cliff, the sun settling & england receding into the gloom, cliff was finally free of his eleven year alcatraz! A three hour drive later, through france, belgium & holland, we arrived in germany at a village near Kriffeld, where nicolas mum was waiting with champagne & pizza. They took to Cliff really well, especially Nicholas dad who, after four daughters & three grand-daughters (& another on the way) announced rather loudly I HAVE A SON. He also called me an island monkey for being British, which amused me no end.
The next morning Nicola drove us on to Cologne & the flat, where her housemate had kindly donated me his room while he was away. This led to our first potters around Cologne, including a trip to the cathedral & a feast of schnitzel ´basically battered meat like what we British do with our cod. Time was also spent relaxing in a park where I watched with interest some young uns chuck pieces of wood at their opponents pieces of wood, with a king perched in the middle awairting the victorious KLUNK.
Yesterday, after a spag bol at one of nicolas friends houses, we found ourselves at the summer jam, europes biggest reggae festival upon an island in lake, ony a few miles from colognes city centre. Its mad as fuck, with campers pitching their tents all around the lakeside, & the air one of of cool carribesanstyle easiness. At this point I realized that the gods had chosen well giving cliff niocola, for she is definitelzy as wide as me & him, for she made two tickest stretch between seven people. After easing off the passes with soap & water, & restructguring the metal clasp with pluers, a system began where two folk would go on, trhen one would return with a pass & then take the next person on. The whole process took a few hours, helped somewhat by the 5 pound bottle of gin i was drinking – all the booze in europe is at least half price remember – & the chat I was chewing, a speedy herbal stick that one keeps in oines cheek. Now i dont normally do Reggae, but once inside I really the occasion, with epic performances on massive stages & 30,000 all in thesun-kissed zone —- its so very different an experience from a rock orientated festival in a rain-soaked scottish field.
With nichola being pregnant, we came back at 1am – but it was cool, riding the city streets with the tunes blaring & the warm summer breeze revitalizing spirits. It was great to see Cliff buzzing in his new life, with a beautiful woman by his side, & an angel in her belly
HERES SOME REGGAE FROM THE FESTIVY:::