In the cafe he showed me the pictures he had taken on his walk here, of a dog skateboarding in the park. “You should animate those into a thumb-book!” I said. Amy Winehouse was singing. “Or maybe a – gif.”
We watched a couple walking past in their somehow sweet and somehow matching outfits. He had on a blend of waterfront worker and Clash renegade, a scarlet beanie; she was doused in a long, woollen coat with skirts, like she had stepped out of the moors to take the city air. I was struggling to put all of this into words and he said, “Their cute sort of karate look.”
I pressed his hand. “Karate-karaoke-paparazzi.”
We walked back past the housefront biliously painted with darker green highlights which says at arm height worst green ever. He had a conversation with the guy whose dog is wrapped in a torn army blanket, on the metal access ramp to the ATM foyer at the bank. This man is American and clearly made his life here years ago, but his German is poor. As is he. His devilish rock and roll grin greets bank customers and he swoops the door open, when they leave and when they enter, so courteously and with an infectious warmth.
In the park, drug dealers and old ice: the frozen water kind. A girl cycles past, singing. The sun has been brief. “You should gig there,” he says, pointing over to a bar sunk underground with golden windows. “They host acoustic stuff.”
“I’d love to,” I say, looking in at the knee-height windows shyly, as we pass. “If I ever start gigging again.”