December 19, 2011

An End Of Year Letter From Toby Martin

As to be expected at this point in the game, we asked some of our artists to tell us what floated their boats in 2011. Youth Group‘s Toby Martin spent a big part of the year in Germany, so he sent us this lovely letter breakin’ down his highlights. That’s him over there enjoying ‘Käse Frühstücks’. Read below + all will be revealed…

Dear Ivy League,

Oh, how time flies! I can’t believe it’s time for my end-of-year round-robin already. And what a year it’s been!

I have spent the last half of 2011 in Germany, so my annual missive has a Teutonic theme this year.

First up: breakfast. I have been enjoying the local ‘cheese breakfasts’ (or ‘Käse Frühstücks’) which consist of many types of cheese, folded or rolled, distributed on a plate accompanied by boiled eggs and olives. The cafe called Major across the road from our flat in Berlin did a good one (although it may not look like it from this photo where it appears as if I am going to be sick. Photos can be deceiving. Trust me, I liked them – although maybe not quite as much as my trusted Mexican breakfast from Cafe 485, Crown St, Surry Hills).

Gigs: Two of my favourite shows this year have been my old pal and Youth Group drummer Danny Allen’s new band The Drums. They are rather excellent, and its always intensely enjoyable to see Danny on-stage from the audience (the closest I may come to an out-of-body experience). Coincidentally, both the shows The Drums played in Germany took place in buildings built by the Nazis, which actually isn’t that easy to do as there aren’t many left: the first was a festival inside the hangars of Berlin’s massive, now disused, Templehof Airport; the second was in a WWII above-ground bunker in Hamburg.

Sport: In the shadow of the aforementioned bunker in Hamburg lies the homeground of St Pauli FC. I have been accepted into their supporters club via my friend Micha. Although a second-division team, St Pauli have a large and somewhat cultish following by virtue of their identity as the alternative, punk rock, anti-fascist team and their appealing skull and crossbones insignia. Wanting to be in with this gang, I joined in wholeheartedly in the goal celebrations. After this display of newfound devotion, Micha turned to me and said ‘yeah, but if we supported another team you would just be cheering for them.’ Harsh but true.

Books: I have been sampling the light and frothy delights of German literature recently. Highlights have included WG Sebald’s ‘Austerlitz’ (which chronicles a man’s journey to uncover his memory of escaping the Holocaust, and is very sad in a beautiful kind of way) and Thomas Mann’s ‘Doctor Faustus’ (which describes the life of a fictional 20th century composer who sells his soul to the devil and consequently descends into madness, and is horrific in an arch and sarcastic kind of way).

Merry Weichnacts!


Toby Martin’s debut solo album will be released on Ivy League Records in 2012.

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