- Essays: On The Road (And A Little Off)


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Editor's Note: why this shlub waited a full year
to write this is anybody's guess, but if I don't
publish it I won't hear the end of it the whole
month of August. What you're about to read
are the Doc's recollections of the last part of
the Tour de France 2004.

After leaving the Morvan area in heavy
rain, it took us the better part of
the day to hit the wilds of Bretagne in
time. We were supposed to do a
soundcheck somewhere around 5 in the
afternoon, so the whole scene was a bit
stressed over there when we finally arrived
around 6, just in time to see a
bunch of eskimos getting started with their
show. It was cool to see them
dancing all dressed up in the France early
evening heat. Great show!

For those among you who haven't been to
the Plozevet Mondial Folk Festival,
it's taking place all over the Plozevet
area (some 50 km out of Quimper) in
the far west point of Bretagne. They have
dances by groups from all over the
world and some of the finest music too.
They even got us!

Just before soundchecking i had an
encounter a wolf kind of polar dog with
the blueest eyes i ever saw. Talking bout
icy blue. The soundtechnician who
apparantly owned it was totally suprised of
this dog coming up to me,
licking hands, being funny, as he stated:
the dog never did that to any stranger.
SO i guess, my aura is okay.
Dogs oughta know!

We did our first gig of the 5 to go in 3
days from a stagetruck on a
parkinglot in front of the tourist office,
it was nice! I'm still a bit
sorry for letting the organizer Pierrot
Bosser down for not sleeping at the
festival, but we insisted on sleeping in
the big house in PenMarc'h of our
Mary-Lou compadres.

One of the other shows was a concert by the
roadside for a walk taken by some 500 people.
We were supposed to perform during and
after their lunchbreak. Now, there's
a little story to tell hear.

When we first cam to this little harbour
called Pors Poulhan a little out of
Plozevet nocody seemed to be knowing
anything and there was Pierrot Bosser,
nowhere! We asked around, all round and it
was during this round that i
booked our concert at this very bar called
Les Cotiers for this year.
Friendly people, but no assurance about any
show anywhere. Finally this
Pierrot shows up, and yes
he is the nicest man, about 60-something
years old, totally grey almost
white hair, anyway ...
if we had been a little confused or annoyed
it just melted when we saw him.
Finally! Now where?
Where do we play? 'MMMMM he says, let's
find out!' I mean .... let's find
out? What do you mean, you organized this?
Turns out he wants us to play at
a bend in the road, facing the street and
the grass on the other side where
there's already people sittin'n'waitin' for
what's coming.

The scene was: my car in the bend of the
road parked on our left, to avoid
oncoming trafiic from knocking us over. Us
two playing facing the street and
the grass on the other side. It was the
most bizar concert i ever played,
but it turned out be one of the cosiest as
well. Everybody had fun. Big fun!

Somewhere during these next days we got to
see Le Daniels again, the best
nightbar in the area,
go check it out. It is in Ploneur-Lanvern.
Tell Marco and Barbara we sent
you. IT'll be worth it.
I was back there early this year with my
lovely girlfriend Christiena
visiting Mary-Lou and again had a great time.

By that time Felicie had already gotten
back to the house alone without
Jean-Luc. To our gret suprise he was in a
hospital in Vannes. We went on a
visit, leaving Felicie for the afternoon in
the hospital and explored the
inner city of Vannes. Cool place! We picked
her up from the hospital and
drove the 2 hour road back to PenMarc'h and
had to be getting ready for our
final appearance at the MOndial Folk. The
main concert in the big hall. I'll
never forget that one, because of the fact
that i succeeded to break my
thick E-string on this simple
country-basswalk from E to G at the start
of Bottom Dollar, the tune Panama wrote in the
70s with Billy Joe Shaver.
Luckily it happened during the soundcheck.
But man, did this dude look
suprised of me stopping playing! What a face!

The Final Show was a succes, we hung around
a little, and went back to the
big house in PenMarc'h
Early next morning we drove of for Nevers,
all he way back across France to
get the truck that Mary-Lou rented back on
time. It rained all to way to
Angers, that's a 500km drive in heavy rain!
500km! Of rainshowers! It was between Tours
and Nevers that the skies turned to
blue again. We were in Nevers at exactly
17.15 (pffffffff) got rid of the truck, drove
another 30 km for another wonderful meal at
Le Tomahawk and a lovely
re-encounter with Serge, his wife and
daughters and some of the Tomahawk's

We had already decided some days befor to
break off the tour. My dad had to
go to hospital a 5-way bypass operation,
Jean-Luc being in the hospital in
Vannes and Panama just wanting to go home
since his family could use Paw
around while moving to another home just
out of Nashville, TN.

Somewhere in the early evening we headed
out for Paris, dropped Felicie at
her sister's place and got of the
Peripherique only 5 seconds too late!

We got off at Pointe Vincennes heading for
the Boulevard Voltaire and
Michael's apartment, when this little
traffic light (the last in the row)
didn't go on green again! All of a sudden
there were policecars, motorcycles
with cops, bikers, and ............. yes
..... about 3000 looneys on their
skates. One of these famous Paris nightskating
races and we were stuck! It lasted
for about an hour befor we were allowed to
proceed...... If we had only been
off of the Peripherique 5 seconds earlier!

NExt morning i dropped the Guitar Bum off
at Charles de Gaulle airport and went home.
My own!

Looking forward to doing it all over again
this summer. We will start on
friday in Staphorst at De Japperij,
there'll be friends joining: Xander
Driessen on keyboards (who i know from
work) and two members of my regular
band Bootleg Cees van Hardeveld (bass) and
good Dickie Dick! THE one and
only Dick Zoeteweij on guitar and
harmonicas. THE guitar player from
Zwolle-music scene since the 70s. We are
looking forward to it! I'll pick up
the P-man at Riny's on Thursday 11th.
We'll sleep at Chris' place. See you!

I have to quit now, because the kids want
me to join them in watching a Jackie Chan movie!
They're with daddy for 10 days. Tomorrow
the leave. It was fun!

Like my old friend from Tampa Florida
always says:

Love and Peace!
And let's end this dreadful war!


The Doc, tuesday august 9, 2005