Day 3: Shangl Hangl

April 12, 2013

Day three found us in the magnificently named Shangl Hangl.

Arriving, we weren’t sure if we had the right place. There were a few blokes sat on a low sofa engaged in some kind of community guitar workshop. By the stairs a man made inexpert crepes, the detritus from several aborted attempts flung around him.

Downstairs was more like it. A tiny Berlin cellar bar with a red strip light and a rudimentary PA. Another warm welcome, the offer of free drinks. Us and two Berlin-based Londoners, Robbie and Elsa. My heart sank a little – it was a long way to come for two people. Especially two people whose flat I had used to record the album – they knew every note.

I needn’t have worried. The place filled up with people and smoke and around 11pm we got stuck into it.

Cara connected immediately, slap/twang guitar the perfect counterpoint to her gritty warbled vocals. Genuine, heartfelt applause. I struggled a little, maybe conscious of friends in the audience, moving in and out of that performing sweet spot that had come easily the night before. Something to ponder on the train the next day, an immediate chance to try again the following night.

Elsa had left early to relieve the babysitter. So Robbie and I made the most of a rare night together and headed for a late-night meal of Weissbeer and peanuts before swopping tunes on his new hi-fi. Then bed on another sofa, scatter cushions for a pillow, a brewing cold fizzing in my sinuses, enjoying the proximity of friends.

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