On Wednesday evening at Pints&union, around 4:45 p.m., I settled into a booth with my friend Burkhard. We then spent the better part of five hours indulging in the lost art of conversation.
Times like these are welcomed restoratives amid the bedlam of Planet Amok.
Burkhard is a native of Berlin and he grew up in the divided Cold War city. Truly a renaissance man, following university training in Glass, Ceramic and Porcelain Engineering he became a restaurateur and hotelier in Germany, lived and worked in Canada, and later went into the import-export and tourism businesses here in America.
When we first met in the early 1990s, he owned the East End Café (Min’s) in Louisville, having married a Southern belle and invaded the Commonwealth. The building has changed hands several times since, and you know it today as the home of Sergio’s World Beers.
The telling aspect of our conversation on Wednesday was an effortless passing of time, during which mobile devices were forgotten and clocks relegated to the periphery. We both had a beer or three, but the session wasn’t about drinking even if beer was a minor topic. There was history and geography, food and drink, Russians and Amish, Buechel and Hudson Bay, classical music and public transportation … and so much more.
It was a serious chat, punctuated with ample laughter, and invigorating. It’s what I love most about pub culture.
Tuesday night with Bob Mould at Headliners also was a conversation, albeit one conducted at a deafening volume with an electric guitar. We accompanied the Gillenwaters and listened as Mould shredded and sang with a level of energy and enthusiasm of a performer half his age (he’ll be 59 in a month). Lyrics, tunes, grit and power; the whole package.
I’ve never been the planet’s most efficient organizer when it comes to writing time. Consequently, there’ll be no ON THE AVENUES this week, with my excuse being Burkhard and Bob, who occupied two whole evenings with much needed stimulation.
Much, much needed.