Astonishingly we are all still alive. Cold feet though....
From the wilds of Belgium into Germany and heaps of table football in Koln. Thence to Munster where we have a gig with Rogue Wave, who once kindly lent us all their gear for a gig in the US. Good to see those guys again, and revelry ensues before we part in the morning, having jump-started our van with theirs. Betsy the tour van is now making a bewildering variety of low gutteral sounds, struggling up hills, and often failing to start. We shan't speak of it.
The following night's gig is in an old cinema in Austria, nothing but mountains for miles around, and we're not sure what to expect.
Blimey. What a night..
We play for over two hours and end up having a sludge metal jam with the 'slightly-the-worse-for-wear' promoter in an adjacent building, wearing absurdly large hats. Ebensee rocks. A definite highlight.
On to Munich and a party given by German music magazine Musik Express, where we can be spotted doing Bossanova versions of some of our new songs, and, in true Bavarian style, attempting to eat our own body weight in boiled meat.
The less said about Garo's nocturnal attempts to check into every hotel in Munich the better, and we head to a gig in the Czech Republic, where the table football is nailed to the ceiling above the stage and Hamish downloads some pictures of Gary Mabbutt.
The word 'solids' has died a death every night since it's promising start in Switzerland, and a band meeting is called to discuss the possibility of replacing it with a different word, or perhaps omitting it altogether from the set. After 44 hours of intense debate, however, an alternative word can not be found and we vow to stick with it for the time being.
We arrive in Vienna early, and a happy afternoon is spent ice-skating in a beautifully lit square in the city, before playing at the B72 Club.
This one's a riot, what with G's 'Incredible Hulk' impression, the dancing pensioner repeatedly calling for 'Twist Again' (we eventually oblige), and a rider which charmingly includes 'self-made' muffins.
'Solids' is initially met with disdain but rallies itself admirably and, on second showing receives rapturous applause.
Some of the band are led from the stage in tears..
Another day, another Autobahn but Betsy the tour van is in less than tip-top shape and now sounds like a slowed down recording of a hippo going berserk in an ironmongers.
We decide to seek professional help near Linz, but the prognosis is not good. It will cost a bomb to repair and we bite the bullet at dusk and decide to abandon Betsy in Austria. Two of the band are despatched on a train to do the night's show acoustically, and the remainder go drinking in St Valentin, where the barman does a nice line in tinned pears.
Right. Now how the hell do we get to Stuttgart...?