Chicken stomach in Munich
Years ago I worked in London as the sweet-smelling* gofer for the chief alchemist of the French Perfumery Company. The job was going nowhere and I was available for other employment.
Luckily, a friend of mine, bass player Jim Rodford, offered me the job as road manager for soul outfit Lucas and Mike Cotton Sound (MCS). (Jim it was who had introduced me to Paul McCartney in the loo of the Bag o’ Nails. Those were the days my friend.**)
During my time with the MCS, the band had a residency for a few weeks at a club known as the PN Hit House in Munich. Named after the owner Peter Naumann it was situated in Leopoldstrasse, in the bohemian area of Schwabing.
A residency is easy work for a roadie, because once you’ve set up the gear all you have to do is turn up every night to make sure the sounds and lights are working. Then, in this case, you sit back drinking litres of lager and learning a little German from the local schönes madchens.
E.G. “Tell me, meine liebe, how do you say ‘Where is the railway station?’ or ‘Where can I buy herbal cigarettes?’ in the Bavarian dialect?”
Munich had lots of lovely, fattening, rustic food, and beer to dream about. At little stalls in the main drag we ate bratwurst, bockwurst and weisswurst – liberally pasted with senf – tasty German mustard. A highlight of the street tucker was Hohe Küche currywurst.
Near our apartment was a restaurant called the Wienerwald. None of us could read the menu but based on luck and price we discovered a delicacy called “Hahnchen Magen”, which suited most tastes.
It was a meat dish of some description with a tasty sauce and came with kartoffelchips. As I recall, we drank glasses of a slightly sweet riesling to accompany.
Eventually somebody asked one of the band’s constant circle of translators “Was ist die Hahnchen Magen?” “I sink you vood call ziss ze gertz of ein cheeken.” Was the amused reply.
Next time we ate at the Wienerwald everybody chose something else from the menu.
**McCartney later hired the Mike Cotton Sound to back Mary Hopkin when he produced her first LP Post Card. Quite an experience for me, working at Abbey Road studios. [That’s enough name dropping. Ed.]