34th day, Antwerp, Belgium, Monday, 18th of november 1996, travel back home day
The Skasplash tour 1996 is over. Over for me. The rest of the crew is leaving for London. I won’t be part of the team. Nobody really understand that. I know that money is part of the understanding.
The vans are leaving in the morning. Nathan says goodbye. I remember, that he said, I was important for the succeeding of the tour and that I made the tour nicer. All the goodbyes are from the heart and full of hugs.
I just go back into the hotel to pick up Rolando Alphonso from his room. In the elevator he gives me 25 goulden (about 20 $) into my hand. I guess he wants to show me, that he enjoyed my companion. I feel myself like a servant, but I can’t say no to that gentle gesture. This man is too nice. I love him so much. I show him my painting from Aosta. He looks at it very carefully and say, that I am an artist.
I write into my diary: “I write my future now, but it’s still the presence from the past.”
Will Clark says to me, the past doesn’t exist the way we’re thinking, it just stands for its own.
The tour is over for me, I will travel back home with a lot of memories. First of all I go to buy me the train ticket to Lucerne, Switzerland. And I ask for the connections. I have to change the train in Bruxelles and Bâle, not to bad, but with all the heavy luggage not that easy.
But before I go shopping, that CD I heard in Eindhoven.
5.15 pm Bruxelles North. I’m waiting on the track for the Edelweiss InterCityTrain, but it doesn’t come. There is nobody to ask. After a long while I take all my heavy bags and enter the station hall. I hear the information, that this train only scheduled on Saturdays and Sundays. But it’s Monday. The next train to Switzerland leaves at 7.21 pm. Arrival in Bâle at 1.40 am.
I take the 25 gulden from Rolando Alphsonso to buy me a telefon card to call Switzerland, that I will be later.
It’s 7 pm and I’m standing at the gate. Everything hurts, because of my heavy bags with the records and discs and so on, and I had to walk quite far with all that. Only because the information in Antwerp station was stupid. To give me on Monday a connection, that only works on weekends. I would like to go back to Antwerp to tell this guy, what I think about this information.
10.39 pm the french border. I haven’t slept, but I feel a bit relaxed. The train is a great meditation and I’m all alone in this six-chair-cabin. I’m hanging in the past few weeks in my mind.
11.50 pm it’s snowing, the land is white. My headache is heavy and I don’t feel comfortable anymore. Will I get sick now? It’s like a very heavy bag felt from my shoulders. No, I don’t want to fall down into depression. It’s not easy to go back into the daily business. Back into 9-to-5-job. No. Just don’t think about it.
1.48 am another incredible story is just floating through. At the Swiss border two french officers guessing I have drugs with me. And believe me, my things I have with me, looks like drugs. I mean, all those herbs to prepare different teas, you call it drug. But those officers, they want to find Hashish oder Ganja. Oh I still have a little peas of Ganja that peas Herbert Spliffington in Hamburg gave me. Truly the officers find it and take it away. “Pour la poubelle” (for the garbage) they say. I told them a lot of the tour I was part of, but they are happy, because they found something (it was really very little, only as big as half a nail from the little finger!). They can’t find any rolling paper, nor cigarettes, nor alcohol, nor anything to smoke. But then I tell them, that I have sage (salvia) and that this herb also can be smoked. Finally they also take away the hemp bar (cereal bar with hemp, no drugs at all!). But lucky me, I don’t have to pay anything. But what a strange final.
2.12 am I find out, that there is a train from Bâle to Milano, that will pass Lucerne, but without a stop in Lucerne. I can jump out of that train just before it leaves Bâle. I change the train. There is the 4.49 am from Bâle to Lucerne, that is already waiting and is open. But it fills with people going to work. I’m very very tired. The train leaves and is full of fresh people. And everybody is speaking Swiss german. It feels very surreal. My thoughts were in English for the last month, I haven’t heard Swiss german for a while.
6.11 am I’m close to Lucerne. When I’m back I won’t have a flat to live and a whole lot of work. I want to write a book about this tour. That’s my plan. After 10 years the book is finished, but its in German and there is no distributor who wants my book. I take me another 10 years to find this blog to publish it straight.
To finish The Skasplash tour diary 20 years after, this poem from the diary:
When everyone says I am a fool
I tell you it’s just because I’m cool there is no other school but the natural pool
So when the people say I’m fool
they mean it’s not cool what they teach us in school to work for the pool
Is anyone out deh to say he’s a fool
that would be very cool we put him back to school to teach him about the real pool
Now you know you’re a fool
to believe you’re cool while you spent your life in school just to be one of the people’s pool
I don’t care to be a fool
I know I’m cool I have my own school I swim in my own pool
Meanwhile it’s 7.10 am and I can tell, that I’m tired from the deep inside to the outside. From the bones to the brain. The last part of my travel, from Lucerne by bus to Root. In Root my parents had a house where I was living, in Root everything started with the Roots Connection.
After the tour, there was a studio session with The Skatalites and Laurel Aitken. But Vin told me, that the recording is quite useless. It took a few years to find an engineer that made the sound useful. I don’t have that album. I wasn’t there, and I knew, why that session didn’t work. But that’s another story.
Today, 20 years ago there is this very nice invitation to a fantastic club in the beautiful city of Thun. It is the last preparing event before the Skasplash tour starts. I know the club already, because 6 years ago (in 1990) I was there with my bicycle to meet Laurel Aitken and asked him to show up in Lucerne for The Roots Connection.
In the cellar of this very nice place, there is a disco. While upstairs the german Ska band “No Sports” is playing, I’m almost alone downstairs. But after the show, the place is more than full. Later that evening, the band is coming downstairs to skank. Then I take the chance and playing live with my flute over a dub tune from King Size Dub Vol. 1 and that was a great idea. The band members of “No Sports” are coming to my DJ-desk and show me their thumbs up. It is one of my best DJ-shows ever.
Unfortunately I do have no photographs of this event, only this flyer is left. I call myself for this event “Selector Ras Clad Plays Reggae & Ska Around Jah World”.
The cool thing about this event is, that I’m invited to stay in a Hotel nearby the club. I truly feel very comfortable. The audience is greater than great, many people asking me, where I have all those records from… Yes, Thun, I truly miss you. Today it’s 20 years I wasn’t there, what a pity. And Café Mokka is still strong. Find out more about MC Anliker and his Café Mokka here.
There is a little story about my after-show in 1990. After the Laurel Aitken show, I went back home with my bicycle. Take a look at my route and feel free to do so also. Another little detail is, that I started my tour in Thun at 1 AM. And after arriving in Lucerne I went working the next day in the records shop.
This is the route I take by bicycle. I can’t remember, what time I arrived in Lucerne, but I remember, it was a Saturday and I was in the record store at 10 AM until 4 PM and some of the customers where also at the Laurel Aitken show down in Thun at Café Mokka.
Peacestreet is a band from Lucerne, Switzerland (1990-1995) Peacestreet is also the address of our flat (in fact it was René’s) in Lucerne (1989-1996)
What have Peacestreet to do with Skasplash?
Without Peacestreet I would never be a part of the Skasplash. Our band is called “Peacestreet” 1990-1995 (take a look at rootsconnection.ch) (Simon [drums], René [bass], Nonsi [guitar] and I [flute, trombone] are still together as part of Der Transformer). There is one release of Peacestreet on the Benno Riedmann compilation “Skampler 2” and we play shows all around Switzerland.
But the source of our band’s name is the flat René rent from 1989-1996. Located at Friedenstrasse 5 (Friedenstrasse means street of peace). In this flat, we host many of our friends and also all the bands I invited for The Roots Connection events (The Selecter, Laurel Aitken, The Trojans, Bim Skala Bim, Messer Banzani and many others).
This flat “Peacestreet” is also our bands rehearsal place for more than two years. Located inside the touristic center of Lucerne docked on the historic Bourbaki Panorama close to the lions monument. And we lived on the fifth floor as the only living party in this building, because all other floors are used for business only. It is also the host for The Roots Connection from 1994-1996.
Painting on the wall
Various painters produced unique paintings on the walls.
20 years ago vs. today
And why this post is released today? Because today 20 years ago, we’re celebrating the end of our beloved home. It is some years earlier, when the Attorney for Lucerne city hold his memorable speech about his last wish. He wants to realize a new Bourbaki Panorama. In fact, it is only our house at Friedenstrasse 5, that he wants to destroy. His speech is backed by the KontraSbass Ensemble, with René on bass. He is so close to tell the man, that he’s speaking about his home.
The last event
On september 14 in 1996 we have our very last party in our home at Friedenstrasse 5.
More about our house and our guests is documented on this page here. More about the last event in our house is documented on this page here.
That last event is full of music. At that time there is “The Shame and Skandal family” our bands name. This group is playing in the living room. Beside of that concert, there is my music I c-lect all the day and all the night (I remember René and I went to the Restaurant Rebstock at about 10 o’clock in the morning to finish that party).
I wasn’t really part of this band, but in the background, there is Nonsi and René from Der Transformer.
Today it is the library
The house today is a museum. But the part of it, where we were living is cut away. In the last days of our house, we had some posters outside the balcony.
The house today looks like this, there is no fifth floor anymore:
And here are some pictures with a special background to the Skasplash or The Roots Connection or Peacestreet.
I meet Juliette the year before (1995) in Montpellier with The Skatalites. She comes to Lucerne and lives a few days at Peacestreet. In Paris I meet her again as guest of the Skasplash. Here are some of here paintings she did in our guestbook.
Laurel Aitken came to Lucerne two times for The Roots Connection. In 1990 I went to Thun with my bicycle to meet Vin, his manager for the first time. I asked Vin to bring Laurel Aitken to Lucerne. He called me back a few weeks later to offer me The Selecter for their first show in Lucerne. Pauline Black was surprised to play at Sedel with real living cows outside the venue and in a real ex-women’s prison. Laurel Aitken came the year after for the first time, and in 1995 for the second time.
Gaz Mayall was also a guest of The Roots Connection in 1995. This was the first time I met Gaz Mayall personally. I met him later again on the Skasplash tour and in 2000 with Der Transformer at Gaz’s Rockin’ Blues in London (find more on the website).
Also in 1995 I invited Skarface from Paris. On the Skasplash tour I meet Fred from Skarface again.
The first time I met Jeff Lucas was with Maroon Town 1993 in Lucerne. In 1994 he came to Berne with House Of Rhythm. The following year we met again in Lucerne.
20 years ago, I went for the first time to the Paleo Festival in Nyon, Switzerland. I was invited by The Skatalites. I remember, the show was inna tent. After the show, we went to a Hotel in Nyon, where some polish people blocked our Hotel rooms. It was in the middle of the night, and these heavy men had to leave their rooms. I was aware of a big fight with them. Can’t remember how, but finally everything was fine.
It was a great event, because there was a nice meeting with The Skatalites and Third World. All together on a big large table eating in the backstage area. After that, the Skatalites went on touring Europe.
While Third World performed later that night, I was on stage. Bunny Rugs came to ask me for a cigarette, before he went back on stage.
personal memories all around The Skatalites in Europe from 1992