Gutes Foto? (Almost…)
Cologne Day 3:
I awoke on the third day of the Cologne visit ready to hit the Dome Church with my new Panasonic Lumix GF-2 w/20mm Lens (the recommendation of my good pal, JpD), and luckily for me - press was delayed an hour and a half.
I’m the kind that doesn’t like to do anything until I know exactly how to do it right. When playing Final Fantasy games as a kid, I would play with the strategy guide to ensure I did it all right; when eating something traditional from any ethnicity, I like to make sure I am putting the proper condiments in the right areas - and using the right utensils. So basically… being a person with no knowledge of photography (except for the fact that all photographers are as elitist with gear as guitarists) and a person who wants to do it all correctly - I was a little terrified of looking like a noob-tourist.
Fortunately, JpD emailed me a great diagram of basically what I need to do to set the GF2; some basic settings; and reassuring words. I strapped up and headed out.
Another funny quirk about me: I have a really bad sense of direction. Paolo has impeccable direction. Paolo was not here. I took the wrong way - and took a very long time to travel a very short distance. I snapped some bad test shots, tried some things… and eventually found the Dome. Half comfortingly/embarrassingly, I was in the company of herds of tourists happily snapping cheesy-smile-photos in front of the Dome - so I would be adequately covered up in the flock.
It took 100’s of shots and tests - but I started to get the whole thing down a touch (in the future I’ll get better and maybe post actual photos without the verbose-blabbings that is this blog).
Today was a busy press day including: video, audio, guitar lessons, interpretative performances of new songs on instruments we couldn’t play, and other fun bits. The final bit of press for the day was a TV show that normally wants bands doing “manly” things. I pushed very hard for the “manly” stuff to be a food show of traditional eats.
I’ve mentioned before that Bourdain is a writing hero of mine; he also has a show I watch religiously and take notes on where to go in the world - so, being able to shoot a food episode was a mini-dream-come-true of mine.
We hit Em Golde Kappes (I asked the TV personality girl what that meant in German… she simply said “The Gold… Bullshits!”), a traditional Koln-style German restaurant.
TV-shot restaurant excursions are quite different than the normal… there are lots of lights. Lights that make everything pretty office-park-yellow; some staged eating; and multiple takes (not unlike recording an album, ofcourse). Being a Koln-style establishment - we knew it meant mini-beers till we dropped.
Früh Kölsch was the beer of the house - light, a touch of hops, and very German tasting. Great beer. Apparently, Koln-German is a very different dialect of German, and the house specialties were all in Koln-German. We had: Himmel Un Ad (which translates to Heaven and Earth), a fantastic crisply-grilled blood sausage with fried onions, mashed potatoes, and an apple puree - This was the best dish of the night for sure.
The next mastodonian-hunk-of-meat was the Hammche Met Suure Kappes Un Puree - a massive ham leg, sauerkraut, and whipped potatoes. A staple-classic of a Koln dish, the Hammche was a primordial beast - but a delectable one at that: all the variations of a ham-leg were in this thing - the gelatinous-fat tucked by the bone, the harder-grilled surface, the tender in-betweens.
Sufficiently over-stuffed, we had shots of the traditional after-dinner drink (name ?? too many Fruh’s by that point) and were on our way. TV food shooting is fun, but certainly different than what I’m used to - I think that outdoor-food-shooting would be a fun idea as well; it’d break up that ultra-bright-light glow on our shiny-faces.
We hit a Mexican bar called Gonzalez and Gonzalez (a Mexican bar…. in Germany?) where I had Sion Kolsch. We all were regrouping with the RR De staff and Kai and Metal Hammer Germany and all our buddies again - all reminiscing about the day.
The next spot was Low Budget for some Pilsner Urquell and House Tequila Gold (straight from a barrel, served with cinnamon and orange). I really dig good tequila, and the cinnamon/orange-shot-version was a great change of taste for me. Now… by this point, my sleepiness of the long day started to wear off, and in came cocky-getting-buzzed Matt. I blurted out “If you find me a karaoke bar that has any Roy Orbison… I’ll tear that shit up.” Naturally, The RR De girlsexcitedly found one and arranged the trip. Oops… spaghett.
(Another juxtaposition for ya) We made our cross-city foot-voyage to Jameson Distillery Pub, an Irish Karaoke bar in Cologne. We made the switch to Jaegermeister shots, b.s.‘ed some more, and enjoyed the company of the varying talent singing their hearts out.
There was a table of very stylish, south east Asian boys who kept alternating songs: absolutely nailing everything; some fratty-looking kid who went up and sang some Stonesour pretty roughly; multiple embarrassed looking patrons patting their thigh, standing awkwardly doing their solo-performances, peppering the night’s soundtrack (along with many Journey songs).
My name was in the list, but there were 100’s of people here… many in line before me. Corey and I were cashed - at last, all the 2-4 hour-nights-of-sleep were starting to catch up to us in an awful way: We wanted out. We tried to pull a smooth exit - but everyone was super bummed I’d be laming-out on my Orbison promise. Larissa squared it away - they pushed me to the top of the queue, and it was your truly (in his finest Elvis range) smoothly speaking in the mic “This next one is for all you German ladies out there…"
Me belting out "Pretty Woman” closed a great tour of Germany - and not to blow my own horn here… it went really really well.
A confused, drunk-stumble back to the hotel followed. Some sleep. Early lobby call. Flight to Glasgow… where the food and fun stopped for a few days in a crash of reality.