Over to Norway, back down to Germany, and finally...home.
|I should have saved this maneuver for when Erik was in the car.|
We tried for months to get a show in Norway.† Bradley and I stayed there for a week a few years ago and were eager to relive the great times we had.† Jack is part Norwegian.† And what kind of Scandinavian tour doesnít include Norway?!† For the longest time no one was interested in booking us a show (can you blame them?).† We had Kaj at Wasted Sounds trying, I emailed every single band, promoter, venue, zine, collective posted on BookYourOwnFuckingLife, we had Dirk in Germany contacting his friends, we had Per tryingÖ† and all to no avail.† Iím not kidding when I say I personally sent at least 75 emails to people all over Norway trying to get anything.† And finally, 5 days ago, a couple people at Blitz, one of the longest standing punk squats in Northern Europe, emailed us back and said they would book us a show.† STOKED.
We drove into Norway the day before the concert so we could have a day to explore Oslo.† It was a long and dismally rainy drive, made longer by the fact that we were heading towards our last show.† I can't speak for the others but post-tour depression was setting in early. Impending jobs, responsibilities, idle living, etc...
Shortly past the border we hit some sort of bridge toll.† We had no Norwegian kronor and the toll guy shrugged as if to say, go ahead, go back into Sweden where you came from, I really don't care.† We were able to pay in euros but at what exchange I still donít know.† Worse still, there was no bridge.†† We even hit another bridge toll but never did we cross a bridge.† Frustrating.† When in Oslo we follow the directions which prove useless after the first turn.† We drive for 60 minutes asking gas stations, taxi drivers, and bystanders how to get to Blitz.† Everyone knows where it is but nobody can effectively tell us how to get there.† Agitating.† We finally stumble upon it and meet Einar, our host for the evening, out front.† We spend another 30 minutes looking for a parking spot and settle on what we hope is a safe place.† We hike the half mile back to Einarís and spend the evening singing a Norwegian Happy Birthday to Bradley in a small room filled with chain-smokers.
|Bradley takes a break from the internets to receive a Happy Birthday in Norwegian|
|download video - 2mb|
We wake early to check on the van which has just been given a 500k (over $70) parking ticket.† Seth and I spend another 30 minutes looking for another parking space and decide on a questionable one, only because the city has a 3-to-1 car-to-space ratio and it will surely be the best we can do.† Einar walks us through Oslo in the rain, all the while being friendly and guide-like and eternally helpful in our small quest to get ferry tickets back to Germany.† Our small quest, unfortunately, took almost the entire day and we ended up choosing driving over the ferry because of the roughly $800 price difference between ferry passes and gasoline.† I felt bad for Einar because I could tell we were getting tired and demoralized by our trek to and through Oslo.† But he remained cheerful and supportive and willing to walk miles upon miles with us in the rain.
|I must say though, Oslo did have some very 'inspirational' street art.|
|But thankfully things definitely started to pick up once we arrived back at Blitz.|
There was a parking space right in front and as we were loading in a large wagon carrying cases upon cases of beer, much to the delight of Seth and Jack.† Inside, the club was instantly comfortable Ė spray paint, kids with Mohawk, red and black flags, competent sound system, vegan kitchen, etc.† Every single person we talked to was nice and inviting.† The place was swarming with mostly teenagers all setting up for the show.† Most were in the kitchen cooking up some huge feast for everybody, the rest were getting drunk and socially flitting around like people do at parties.† The bar was in a separate building but still served minors. When asked how the place has lasted so long, especially considering the less-than-legal atmosphere, it was explained that cops were afraid to come inside since kids were known to fight back. Fight back. I saw an abundance of the popular "Gegen Nazi" anti-swaztika patches/stickers/graffiti around town and asked about it. We don't see those so much because, thankfully, it's been 10 years since I've seen a Nazi at a show in the Bay Area. In Oslo, however, Nazi's have had a habit of resurfacing. But I was told that they have been almost completely eradicated not only by the punks but also the 'regular' folks of the city. I was assured that if a Nazi were spotted anywhere in downtown Oslo they would almost definitely get hospitalized.
|This man stomps Nazi's dead! And he has a shirt to prove it!!|
|Drinking and smoking in the vegan kitchen.|
|OK, so I admit it wasn't the most original logo concept|
|Kim Cattrall, post-Police Academy but pre-Big Trouble In Little China|
As soon as we ate and people started filling in en masse our collective life force was back up to full capacity.† We couldnít have asked for a better last show.† Kids danced for every band, they yelled and screamed and talked to us after the show.† It was a great experience and it truly made us appreciate Oslo. Thanks, Blitz!!
|Backstage (upstairs) at Blitz. - Click for fullsized picture.|
|I consider serving beer to 14 year olds skirting the line of 'corrupting a minor'. But Jack wearing those shorts, with no underwear, and doing foot-on-the-monitor-Rocking all night was far more damaging to a young person's development than some alcohol.|
|Pulsweiss - Norwegian term for the way your hair looks after you've had sex.|
The following morning we woke up super early and drove through Norway and Sweden and Denmark, ferried into Germany, and drove straight through to Dirkís for our second-to-last night.† We stayed up drinking beer and playing pool and grabbing our crotches and spitting and doing other dudely things until we passed out from sheer exhaustion.† Why were we so exhausted, you ask? It could have been all the driving and not eating, or it could have been the 5 straight hours of this:
|download video - 4.4mb|
|Jack became quite the culinary artist during the month he spent in the backseat of the van.|
|More pretty crap...|
Woke up leisurely and continued south to Dortmund to meet up with Robert.† On the way Jack and Seth took a wistful walk down beer-soaked memory lane. Dreamily recalling almost every beer they purchased (and making a graph as they went) they deduced that they consumed over 300 beers on this trip. Not bad but I expected better (or worse?). Had the beer been free every night I think they could have been much more prolific.
After an infuriating hour-long zig-zagging drive through Dortmund we finally found Robertís place and paid for van and amp we rented.† After all the expenses of renting the equipment and buying gas we only paid $320 out of pocket.† Plus the plane tickets.† Honestly, thatís really good for a no-name band touring through the most expensive region in the world.† We shared a quick falafel and then we were off to Frankfurt where Robert dropped us off at the airport and then went to pick up Jennifer Finchís new band at a club across town.
|Some of us slept an hour or so on the airport lobby floor and rejoiced that it was actually more comfortable then sleeping in the van.|
|Some of us slept on the plane. Some of us didn't.|
In the last three days we traveled almost constantly through 5 countries, including the U.S., where my cat was immediately put on a diet thanks to my roommateís generous feedings while I was gone.
THANK YOU SO MUCH TO EVERYONE WHO MADE THE TOUR SO AWESOMELY RAD.
iittää te erittäin hyvin!
Tack sä mycket!
- If you wanna read more of my tour journals try these places:
- Your Mother
- What Happens Next?
- craigums, june 2005