It had been nearly two months since I'd slept in my own bedding, hung my clothes up, and my books had proudly stood on shelves. Although I have had to plan every single hour of these sunless days in order to achieve it, I now have my name on a letterbox, along with other nice things that can't necessarily be counted materially.
At the beginning of this month, I went to see Mineral. They are one of the forerunners of American 90s emo. Most of the bands from this scene are from the Midwest, but Mineral are from Texas. Some of their lyrics are said to have Christian undertones, but mostly they just encapsulate angsty unrequited infatuation and so on.
Bi Nuu is located directly under Schlesisches Tor station. I was worried I would somehow not be able to find it and end up missing the gig; indeed, I did have to walk a little around the bridge. The venue was surprisingly large and pretty well-ventilated.
I got there in time for Cheltenham openers Solemn Sun. I don't know how else to describe them except cute - they just looked so happy to be there, and it was infectious! You can listen to their EP on their website and also download it for free.
If you can believe it, it was my first gig even after all these months in Berlin. In fact, it was my first gig since coming back from Canada, so that's almost a year. This is mainly because I never had enough money before, or at least not enough that I wanted to spend on an hour standing around and trying to enjoy songs you only half-know.
There is a weird sense of unease that you get specifically from going to an event on your own, especially a gig - there's only so much you can do to distract yourself until the bands come on, seeing as you're in the dark and standing. In the past, when I've gone to see bands on my own (mostly in relatively rural areas), I've always been amazed by how many other fans are living in the area and where they all must be hiding on a day-to-day basis. It gives me a bittersweet feeling of aloneness and togetherness.
Anyway, Mineral were great. The sound was perfect. They opened with the first two songs from The Power of Failing and it couldn't have been better (all my emo-singing-along juice was used up in that sequence, I think). The rest of the set was interspersed with songs from that album and EndSerenading. Towards the end, they announced they would play a song for only the second time in twenty years - it was '80-75', which is one of my favourites by them.
Clearly, people had travelled far for this. For example, I was standing near some other English people, and when I was queueing up to get my coat back there were a bunch of people talking Spanish. It was kind of interesting to see all the different generations and types of people that Mineral's music had reached.
Oh, and Happy Valentine's, whatever that may mean to you: whether you're cherishing your life partner, going on a second or third date, simply looking for a shag, celebrating the irreplaceable love you share with friends, or taking time out to nurture the most important relationship of all (that with yourself).