Friday, March 8, 2013

Nurse the Hate: Thun Switzerland

2.28  Thun Switzerland

Breakfast is served at the Regina.  The menu?  Surprise!  Cold cuts, cheese, yogurt, and rolls.  Sugar gets the idea to gather food for a private breakfast in her room.  This idea is absolute insanity,  Sugar is still having difficulty understanding the German mindset.  There is "the system".  That is it.  There is no leeway.  There is no playing it on the fly.  A set procedure has been culturally agreed to for everything and to deviate from this social contract is to risk public disdain and perhaps being openly screamed at by an old woman for your antisocial actions.  Take a bowl of yogurt upstairs?  Are you mad?  You must be aware of protocol.

We head out to Switzerland.  Christoph has, of course, planned a merch hole.  The merch hole is a space for us to drop off merchandise to avoid some horrifying Swiss taxes.  We take a few of each item and then put the rest at Robin's mother's magical gingerbread cottage.  This is a perfect merch hole.  Easy access and clandestine enough to satisfy Mr. Roth.  We head off towards to border with Christoph who is becoming more convinced with every passing kilometer that we will be strip searched and humiliated in some drafty interrogation room as obvious tax dodgers.

We pull up to the border cross and are ushered to a parking lot where we will have to fill out paperwork.  As you can imagine, when the Swiss get together with the Germans on a border crossing, you can count on plenty of paperwork.  Christoph enters the main building.  He is sent to a second building.  They send him to a third building.  He is sent upstairs at this building where they ignore him for a couple of minutes and send him back downstairs.  He goes back downstairs.  The downstairs people send him back upstairs.  Each clerk ignores him for a bit, luxuriating in their tiny power to keep this man captive.  They stare at their computer screens blankly before finally pretending to recognize a man standing 18 inches away making coughing noises.  30 minutes later we cross.

The Cafe Mokka is in Thun, a city that boasts being "At the base of the Alps".  Yep, it sure is.  It is like many of the Swiss towns I have had the pleasure to visit.  It appears to have been built by a set designer.  "Jan, we gotta make this fucking town look more quaint.  Can we throw more swans in the water and hire a couple attractive people to bicycle past every 15 minutes?"

The club itself is a crazy place.  Imagine if you went to a clubhouse created by the Flaming Lips.  Weird surrealistic art and images are everywhere, and I mean everywhere.  There is something crazy to look at on every space.  If you walked in here on an acid trip, you would never get out.  Tiny doors open up to more rooms.  Twisting stairs.  Secret passages.  Little meeting rooms.  The owner, who I think is named Pete, looks like a 17th century Earl if that 17th century Earl fronted a doom band.  He has decorated the place as a way to please himself.  "If I am here everyday, I should like it.  Humph."  Makes sense to me.

We have a great meal that is frantically served by Bert, the promoter.  He had done a show with us years earlier, in Bern maybe?  He is a really nice guy and eager to please.  He really busts his ass to make us happy.  I swear Gary must have sent him up and down the stairs for coffee 4 times.  That guy is going to have calves like a mountain goat.  Do mountain goats have big calves?  They should, right?

The club has an awesome sound system.  We aren't very loud, yet the sound is full and rich.  As we start the set Sugar blasts me with a fart that almost knocks me off my feet.  It is an awesome display of power and a testament to the after effects of sauerkraut.  This may be some of the worst gas I have ever been around.  It is incredible how bad it is.  I counter and rain down two on her as the set goes on.  Touche!

About halfway through the crowd starts to come to life.  A group of dudes stand in front of Gary.  Usually a group of guys are either going to stand in front of Gary as that is guitar wonk central.  If not Gary, then they oogle Sugar.  Luckily for these guys they want guitar histrionics.  Otherwise they would have enjoyed the pleasures of sauerkraut.  They have no idea how much Lady Luck has opened their legs for them.  We play pretty well, and get a really great reception from the faithful.  Plenty of CDs and posters are signed.

After the show I bang out Day 3 of the tour diary upstairs as the club has wifi.  I knock back a couple of Bulldog beers.  Sugar goes on a quest for some Apenzeiler (spelling?) some local liquor that she feels is some sort of cure all.  Leo has, oddly enough, found a weed connection.  Once again he claims it "came up in natural conversation".  It is odd how that never comes up in my natural conversations.  Very odd.  If I didn't know any better I would think he was scrounging around...

We walk back to the hotel and pass a brothel on the way.  I had no idea this was legal in Switzerland as it doesn't fit my perception of the stylish order of things in Switzerland.  A guy that looks like the teacher in South Park ducks out of the doorway, giving a shifty look both ways.  We stop and look at the photos and menu thoughtfully provided outside.  Perhaps he enjoyed some "exotic Latin Beauty" or maybe one of the small breasted blondes.  Maybe his tastes ran to "Erik", probably the only other man dressed as a cowboy in Thun.  It is good to know that I have the same basic wardrobe as a Swiss male prostitute.


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