In the last month I’ve been travelling a lot. First I went to Germany for Oktoberfest (and boy, am I still hungover… don’t know how they do it every year!) and then went off to France, and then London.
I’ve gotta say, there’s nothing quite like travelling after a few years of being at home. The new sights and sounds and smells are just so invigorating. Germany’s bread and beer are just amazing. France’s wines and cheese – out of this world. And in London you just can’t beat a traditional pub lunch.
I had a great time.
But one thing that really stood out to me in each place was that there is a thriving underground music scene.
In Berlin, they’re celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Wall coming down. What an incredible moment in their history. And it shows, this momentous occasion, in how the people carry themselves. The energy of that city is palpable. The people are tough as nails, defiant and ready to challenge you on everything… but once you’re a familiar face, they become really hospitable, and take you in as one of their own.
Their music has that same raging energy… with the undertone of a shared experience, a common enemy and a cause to live for. It’s invigorating.
In France, there is still a surprising amount of racial tension. Africans and Middle Eastern people struggle to be accepted by the French community, and the dissatisfaction from both sides is obvious to see.
And again, it comes out in their music.
There’s so much anger in the rap music being played, and such frantic desperation in the rock and traditional genres.
People are letting all the uncertainty, fear and rejection wash out of them through their music, and it’s fascinating.
London, once the capital of the world, has really become subdued in recent years. While it’s still thriving – it always will be – the music scene has become much more inclusive than it once was.
Where in years past you would never get into secret venues if you didn’t have a mohawk and multiple facial piercings, nowadays everyone’s welcome.
And while I was a bit nostalgic for the anti-establishment raging of the 70s and 80s, it was great to see young people getting in and experiencing something different to their usual musical fare.
It was an eye-opening trip, and I’m encouraged that the future of music is not as bleak as I’d been worrying.