It was back in 1993 when I met an Irish girl in the saxon town of Mittweida, where I went to Uni. She was one of the first exchange students that came to Mittweida at the time in order to spend a few semesters on a german Uni. Her name was Frances. She came with another irish girl from Sligo Regional Technical College. I remember, when we met the 1st time, it was in a band room and I didn't actually quite take notice of her, because a) I was in a relationship at the time and b) the other Irish Girl, who was with her looked initially more attractive than her. However, that 1st encounter should change my life in many aspects. My life started basically.
That year one of the student bands at this Uni was a bit in shambles because their lead guitarist was leaving the place and they had no one really replacing him. So they found this other exchange student named Gary from Birmingham/England, who was a pretty good guitarist and a damn good trumpet player too. The band made a few gigs at the local student club and the conventional band setup together with the trumpet was just very impressive. However, Gary had to leave too after he finished his exchange year and there was again a gap for the guitarist. At the time I was just starting to learn how to play the guitar and Gary actually helped it along quite a bit. Despite my early beginner status, he proposed me to fill in for him in the band. At the beginning, I really was afraid of not being able to match the expectations and almost declined. Today, I am glad that I didn't decline, because otherwise I would certainly have missed the greatest year of my life.
Frances was together with a guy named Michael at the time. He was the keyboarder of the band. He probably was the reason why Frances was there at the first place. However, it appeared that Frances somehow got a crush on me, but I didn't notice at all at the beginning. Things took shape slowly and we somehow got closer and felt that we wanted to spend the time together. I really fell madly in love with this girl. This love made me leave my girlfriend, who didn't take it easy and it also put us in an akward situation in the band, because she left Michael for me. I don't quite know how we dealt with the situation, I only know that I was not actively trying to avoid Michael, and tried to let him know that I meant no harm, but kind of without words. Retrospectively, I have to say that today, I admire how Michael dealt with this situation, because Frances leaving him was not easy for him. He would never complain to me or blame me, but still he was kind of fighting for her, until she made it explicitly clear, where she wanted to be. But Michael's friends would complain to me and tell me that it is not alright to just take his girlfriend. I didn't know what else to answer at the time other than that it just happened and that I am sorry.
It took quite a while before things settled, but there was always this subtle, unresolved tension, which kept residing in me for the rest of the time, which we played together in the band. Frances and I had a good time this year. We would spend as much time together as we could, but kind of without limiting each other. That was something new to me and I had to get used to handling that and sometimes I was in a state between being heart-broken and in heaven, when she was spending too much time with some other dude, or when she jumped into my arms after we hadn't seen eachother over the weekend. Looking back I can only say that this was the year, where I felt alive the most. I started to spend the weekends in the student dorm not going home in order to be together with her. On an old CD-Player, we would listen to music that we liked at the time. It was the time, when Clapton came out with his first MTV-Unplugged Session, which was one of the best. I bought the Guitar-Tab-Book of this Unplugged session and started to learn these Clapton Songs on guitar. Most of my time I spent doing this and it was great. Niamh, the other irish girl was becoming the lead singer of the band and she made some proposals for playing some Irish Songs from Thin Lizzy, the Franks & the Walters, the Saw Doctors or Gary Moore and some of them we played. But in the quiet and calm moments in our room at the dormitory Frances often would put a CD into the player, that was completely different from the other usual music.