3 October 2007


The next afternoon the three of us took the train to Kristiansand to play a gig at Kick Scene. I wasn’t too hopeful about the turnout, it was a Sunday night and who knew if anyone would be there, but surprisingly the room was full of people who were there to listen. So afterwards we celebrated a little at the bar, Håvard offering to buy me a drink. This is always a risky proposition in Norway, where a glass of tap water cost more than a week’s wages in most of the countries in western Europe, but Hårvard being the gentleman he is, insisted. Spying a bottle of Makers Mark I requested a shot, a small memory of home in a glass, and Håvard placed the request along with a beer for himself. It turns out that that short glass of bourbon cost more than an entire bottle of the stuff back home. Suffice it to say, we didn’t order a second shot.

The trip then continued with a flight to Stockholm, just a travel day and a night off to enjoy a room at the Vandalas hotel- good god almighty, I’ve seen photographs of prison cells that seemed more spectacular. Ingebrigt and I shared a room, and as long as we didn’t breath simultaneously we could fit in the space at the same time, otherwise Ingebrigt we’d crush each other. For an extra fifty bucks we got a window included- a small rectangle above our heads at the top of a concrete wall, just large enough to remind you that there was a world outside that you couldn’t see, its memory triggered by a couple rays of dim light cast along the wall unless the constant grey, Swedish rain would snuff it out. But hey, if you wanted a snack you could buy a plastic cup packed with freeze dried bacon sticks for six dollars at the front desk. In order to avoid spending any time whatsoever at the Vandalas, we decided to meet up with Magnus Broo and Fredrik Ljungkvist as a way to save our minds. This worked perfectly, and the evening concluded with Magnus singing spontaneously created songs with his lyrics in English at the KGB Bar before we were forced to leave at closing time.

Music continued the following evening, the 18th, in Väserås at Culturen. Good music played to one of the larger audiences I’ve seen at that venue outside of the festival Lennart Nilsson organizes with Mats Gustafsson every other year. The show was early and Lennart offered us dinner at his place following the concert, something of a Västerås tradition. Included in this tradition is the “wine tasting,” a kind of blindfold test for wine connoisseurs. Each guest is given three glasses, numbered 1, 2, and 3. Similarly, there are three decanters likewise numbered. The idea is to guess the country, grape, maker, etc., by its taste alone. Wine is not my specialty. This was made evident at a previous dinner when Lennart asked what kind of wine we thought glass number 1 contained, and I said, “Red.” I was lucky that I was ever invited back to his house. This time I thought that I’d make more of an effort to participate. After considering the contents, Lennart asked us if we had any ideas about the country and when I suggested France he nearly choked- it turns out that all the wines that night were from Italy. I kept my mouth shut regarding the wine for the rest of the night and kept my communication to an emphatic nod of my head anytime anyone said anything that sounded significant.

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