Friday, February 10, 2006

In the Arctic Circle with the N.R.A.

I am in Tromso, Norway, which lies within the Arctic Circle. A beautiful town by the sea, surrounded by mountains. Snow everywhere. And I mean everywhere. It's a wonder that people can live up here. The sheer beauty of the place must offset any lingering thoughts people must hold of leaving this place. I met a young man last night who said he was an 'apprentice chef' and he told me that his family lived in the 'long dark alley' in the north of Norway. Even more remote than Tromso! What did his family do up there I questioned the young pup? His father was a farmer. He had 12 cows and a few sheep! He would milk his cows at 9am and be finished by 10.30am. Fantastic I thought. More time to practice on the snooker table or at the darts board the whole day long. But no....his father took on more work outside of his farm activities. Building houses, construction work, and the like. Crikey o'reilly....these people are slaves to the labour system. they should be out enjoying the nature and bear watching and not putting up another shopping mall. He then began a rambling account of how his father drove a big American 4 wheek drive gas guzzler and his mother rode a fat ass Easy Rider motorbike. Surely a dangerous pursuit in all this snow? Yup...his mother had totalled the motorbike a week before slipping and sliding in the white stuff. How the days fly by up here.

so...I am here hanging out with the N.R.A. That's the Norwegian Rock Association as I call them. I am here with 'Serena-Maneesh' who are playing at 'byLarm'...the Norwegian pop and rock gathering. Like CMJ or SXSW, but in a prettier setting. Lots of bad haircuts, surly attitudes, industry filth, crap bands, laminates worn like medallions, and power meetings a go-go. Hey....but i did meet Don Letts today. legendary DJ at the Roxy in the poonk days, film maker and member of B.A.D. who really were BAD!

In seems that anyone in this country can get space in the newspapers even if they sneeze. As a country with a small population, they hold onto any form of celebrity quite dearly. So any pop bands that make inroads into the industry, very quickly get column inches (or pages) dedicated to them. So for bands like 'Serena-Maneesh', column inches appear quite regularly. Its a bit disconcerting to play a show one evening, and then get a review printed with photos the next morning. It feels like many people are watching over your shoulders the whole time. You have to be able to distance yourself from the reviews otherwise you get sucked into a vortex of paranoia if the reviews are bad. I have seen this happen to another Norwegian artist I toured with once, where his day was made or broken by the reviews / interviews he would see of himself. He would carry grudges for days / weeks and work himself into a tizzy, thinking the world was against him. Very sad.

I'm off...gotta run the board in a couple of hours. Better go and work out and do some exercises before the show!!! Mine's a Guinness.........


At 1:35 PM, Blogger Monique said...

So darling, you're a blogger now as well ;-) join the club! Like reading it and stay in touch for a bit this way. Hope to see TBM in Vera pretty soon!


PS Shouldn't TBM be on myspace (appearantly thé place to be for musicians and other creeps!)


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