Went out to a bar with a new friend who is musical, Tuesday nights is quiet night in Berlin so we walked and walked, trampling snow that had reached that pearly soiled colour that is not grey nor is it brown… so beautiful, it’s my new favourite colour, most of the restaurants were closed and only Kneipes and bars left trading and we walked into bar after bar to be beaten back by the solid wall of smoke. The one we loved I had been past many times, a sign in the window says Street Musicians Welcome and after we had fetched our beers to the bar’s corner couch and made friends with the shy, elderly bar dog who curled up under my friend’s musical hand two fellows walked in, festooned with instruments though – when I focused again – they were carrying only one party apiece. Dude with a beaten-up double bass, dude with a steel-strung guitar. They had a beer then they sat at the corner of the bar on stools and set up this most wonderful racquet, a quiet riot of music like water that runs underground. The bass player was fearless and gentle and had this fuck-it air, I don’t mean he don’t care, I mean he would do whatever it takes to get the sound. Would slap, would percuss, would pluctern, would bowie. The guitar player almost honed himself to one note. We were entranced. The dog fell asleep. The girl who had served the beers came to perch on the end of the couch and lit a cigarette and curled her legs. Walking home the streets were the streets of the quietest sleeping city in all the world.
When they finally brought their first song to a close, it was wordless and almost twenty minutes long, compelling, the guy playing bass held his hand out and announced clearly, “My friend So-and-So is playing guitar with me this evening.” The guitar player shook dreadlocks off his face and held his hand open, like a limp version of one of those guns that says, >bang<. “My friend Charles is playing bass this evening.” But before that the two of them clasped their curled fingers together for a tight moment and then each picked up his beer and they clinked.