— THE WARS OF THE SPANISH SUCCESSION, 7 February 2004 —
Netherlands broke away from Spain more than 400 years ago but I think Spain has forgiven them. I had a few drinks with a Spaniard last night. I woke up this morning in silk pajamas tucked in as if I were in a hospital bed, all warm and toasty. There were 200 Euros on the bureau (that’s not a bad title for a song.)
It’s Saturday morning here in Amsterdam. I have three in a row coming up: Den Haag, Amsterdam and Paris (which could be either in Kentucky or France). The shows in Gronigen and Breda went all right. One’s in the north, one’s in the south on the Belgium border. A lot of long rides here in The Netherlands: You almost have to go over to their house to get them to come see you. They travel well but won’t do it. And yet, they’re the people I most love on this planet. Why? Because they love freedom and they love me, or used to anyway.
So, now I’ll let you in on a secret. I know that what I have written up to now is bad, forced and boring. You see, I do this on purpose. Ha ha!! Like the monkey I make of you. Ha!! As in Hesse’s Steppenwolf, I make the first part of this missive intentionally lacking my customary brilliance and erudition. Get ready to rumble now.
Once, my good friend Miss Bette Midler was touring The Netherlands. She had played four dates or so, and they were going to film a concert for television. Everything had gone smashingly well. They loved her in Utrecht, Rotterdam, Amsterdam and Eindhoven. [I love Bette Midler. If she came to my house and wanted to sing for me, I’d let her. The same goes for Mr. Steve Miller. A young artist whom I predict big things for. Ha ha. This part is bad too. Sometimes the balloon pops, sometimes it doesn’t.] They decided to film the show in Den Haag. Bette went out on stage within twenty seconds she knew it was going to be a long night. It was as if she had suddenly been transported to a stage in Kiel, which is in northern Germany and where the audience is often composed of herring or cod. Anyway, the audiences in Den Haag tended to be kind of reserved but last time I was there, it was fine. Bette thought someone should have told her that Den Haag would be different.
Every town in the world plays differently in some way. It’s amazing. They never laugh at Lonely At The Top in Philadelphia. There must be some reason but I don’t know what it is. Maybe it’s not funny.
Well, unlike Hesse’s Steppenwolf, this essay in journalism and ethnomusicography never did get any better. The wind is howling outside my window and I must take it to the streets.
Why isn’t Steve Miller in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?
I’ll try my hardest next time ……. Randy
Note from Cathy:
I went to the Van Gogh Museum yesterday and then I got a manicure. Randy is too modest to say this but he got a great review in Die Telegraaf on Friday. Apparently, they love him in Groningen.
–7 February 2004