Friday, May 16, 2014


It's light outside.  My alarm hasn't gone yet.  I check the room.  Everyone is fast asleep, Kev below me on a few cushions, Luk on a small sofa, Vik on a larger one opposite me.  I need a piss.  This bed is not the most comfortable... I check the time.  Six am.  Fuck it, I'll wait with the piss and sleep some more.

I awake again, now in pain from the need for a piss.  Eirik pops his head into the room, “There's bread ready in the kitchen”.  We all slowly arise like a band of undead and shuffle through.  The bread is warm and tasty although a little hard to slice.  The train leaves in an hour.

I take the most miserly of washes over the sink before we leave.  The air outside breathes new life into my lungs and I realise that despite the lack of sleep I feel ok.  Your body really can take more than your head gives it credit for sometimes...

We walk a different way back to town this time, through an open, green park where there are some students partying, obviously been up all night.  They have a sofa and a couple of arm chairs they're sat around on, still drinking.  One girl is lying a little further away from them, face down in the grass.  The rest of them ignore her.  Eirik tells us that there is some special event going on that the students are celebrating, or something or other.  I don't really take it in.  The city looks beautiful in the early morning light.  Kev remarks on how still the place is, considering it's a Saturday morning.  I guess he's used to Deptford High Street.  We get to back to Eirik's office and meet up with the rest of the Mörkt Kapittel guys who look how I feel.  And probably look... Eirik makes a round of Nespresso coffee for us which is most fucking welcome.  We board the train at eight thirty and set off on a seven hour journey across the hills and plateaus of Middle Norway.

The scenery is obviously quite stunning.  This is truly a wondrous land.  We're sat about in a very comfortable carriage with plenty of leg space, eyes glued to the windows.  I want to sleep but I don't want to miss anything either.  Kev says, “Once you've seen one snowy mountain you've seen them all” but he rarely takes his eyes from the window during the next seven hours.  We have a nice chat with the MK guys during the journey, touching on themes such as the right wing government, the history of that beautiful cathedral, turns out Oystein worked there as a tour guide when he was studying, and screamo.  The drummer, Oyvind, is a very nice guy.  He's sat next to Kev and my ears prick up when I hear them talking about bands like Swing Kids and Kaospilot.  Oyvind is the only guy who wasn't in the band when Victims played with them a few years ago.  As well as screamo he's also a big football fan so obviously we hit it off pretty well.

Viktor has set his clock for one pm, which he has earmarked as beer o' clock.  The MK guys have already been by the time we all follow Vik to the buffet carriage.  I have to say I don't honestly fancy a brew right now but I don't think I can handle another coffee and I feel slightly sick from the two feta and spinach pies I've already consumed.  I convince myself that a cold can will perk me up a bit and along with the other two I follow Vik's lead.  It turns out I do feel much better by the time I finish off the can of Ringnes.  Fucking dancer.

We get to Oslo around three and it's even warmer here than it was up north.  Actual t-shirt weather, chuffed.  Atle and Oystein sort a couple of trolleys from the station and we pile the gear on them before the two of them walk right out of the place and through the crowded streets towards the venue.  Atle says they'll return them tomorrow.  Oyvind, Luk and I inadvertently peel away from the rest of the crowd, deep in conversation and before long we've lost them.  I'm telling Oyvind about this great band from Norway called Dominic, whose records Oystein sent me a few years ago.  Turns out Oyvind is the drummer.  Small world.  Small scene..

We meet up with the rest at the venue, Barrikaden, haven taken a different route.  The venue is a squatted building on a busy street corner.  Seems at first like there is nobody around as we're stood waiting by the big iron door for a while, but then a girl opens up and we follow her into an inner courtyard and then into the building.  The gig room is down a steep, narrow staircase made of stone, in fact the whole building is made of dusty stone and graffiti, just as almost every one of these fantastic places I've been too all over Europe normally is.  The gig room is really small with a very low stage.  It's even smaller than last night.  Twenty people here tonight and I'll be chuffed.  There is a bar in the room and in the corridor that joins the two, at the bottom of the staircase is a corner to sell merch in and a urinal, just there in the open.  We head back upstairs and then up another flight again to the dormitory which is connected to the kitchen.  The girl gives us the keys to the room, it has a cardboard sign outside that says PARADISE HOTEL.    

I check the bed situation.  There are six bunks and they all look equally manky.  I realise that foolishly, I have not taken a sleeping bag or a pillow with me.  I figure my rucksack will do as a pillow, as it has done on many an occasion, and my thin rain jacket will have to suffice as a blanket.  Fuck it, it's warm outside and seems cosy enough in here.  We're told dinner will be around six or seven and then we can soundcheck after that.  Going to be a late show then.  It's only four pm so we decide to head out for a while, Oystein suggests we buy a couple of beers and head to a park with them.  Sounds like a majestic plan to me.

Oystein picks up a falafel roll on the way but being that food is coming in a couple of hours time I decide it's better to wait and use our money for beer instead.  We head to a park not far beyond the squat where there are a lot of people hanging out, barbecuing, drinking beer and enjoying the fine April weather.  We find a spot and park ourselves.  Fuck, even Kev looks half way chuffed.  We spend a couple of hours there, just lazing around, chatting, some other friends of the guys stop by and after a while Atle comes with his wife and son.  They're super nice.  His son is a cracker and immediately I think of Polly and begin to miss her.  Atle lives in Oslo these days and drives trains for a living.  He's seems pretty happy with his lot.  I always dreamed of being a train driver when I was a kid...

We head back to the venue around six thirty as the sun begins to weaken.  The smell of food is wafting through the courtyard but there is no other sign of dinner yet.  I'm beginning to get very hungry now.  The sun's rays are shunned from this courtyard and I realise it's actually a bit fucking nippy.  We pop down the gig room to check out what's going on and find that it's even nippier down there, in fact, it's fucking freezing!  No sound check just yet so we head back upstairs.  No food... We grab some beer and sit around in the cold courtyard drinking them.  This isn't quite the park...

Oyvind tells me that the squat used to be much bigger, that nowadays they only inhabit about half of the building whereas earlier they had the whole place but the cops took if off of them.  He tells me there used to be a bigger stage and on the third floor, which is now empty, they used to have a great vegan café that made these great sandwiches that cost next to nothing to buy.  Shame it's gone.  One by one these places seem to be disappearing.

We sound check around seven thirty.  It's again a quick and painless affair although instead of Eirik's head I'm going through a Peavey combo tonight.  Turns out they don't have speaker cabs here.  Fuck it, sounds good enough with my Blues Driver pedal anyway.  After soundcheck Eirik tells me that he thought my guitar sound was great and asked if he could use my pedal, I tell him he can use my leads too and all he has to do is plug his guitar in.  It's nice to keep things simple during crossover.

Sound check done, the wait for food begins to be a tough fucking slog.  Atle tells me he's starving and for the first time his friendly face starts to turn a little moody.  The dormitory is now freezing fucking cold too and I'm really starting to wonder about sleeping here as we sit around on a sofa and look into the kitchen where there are two punks, an older guy and a younger girl, sporadically looking into a huge pot and stirring every so often.  This goes on for almost another two hours.  How much stirring can the fucking thing need?  I can almost read Atle's thoughts, they're the same as mine.  Luk is talking about meeting up with his friend Maya later on tonight and trying to worm his way into crashing at her place.  He's spending the day with her tomorrow and flying back later than me and Vik.  I tell him he should work on that plan although secretly I'll be jealous as fuck if he manages to pull it off.  The MK guys are all staying elsewhere and Kev is staying at his friend, Ing Vild's, with Alec, who is heading in from London to hang out too, leaving just me and Vik in this dormitory in that case.  I've slept in far dirtier places but at least then I've had a sleeping bag and I've been steamboats to boot.  I can't really get too drunk tonight since we're up early for our flight home in the morning.  I notice a small pane of glass is open at the top of the window that looks out on to the courtyard.  A sense of relief hits me, “Tell you what Vik, we'll have to make sure we close that window before we go bed tonight”.  “Yeah well what the fuck are we gonna do about that?” he says, pointing at the much larger section directly below it that is simply a flimsy piece of cardboard box, taped to the frame of what was once a glass window.  Balls...

After much, much more stirring the food is finally ready, around nine pm.  Sure glad I didn't go for that falafel Oystein piled into five hours ago... I wouldn't say it's worth the wait but it tastes pretty good.  There is some nice spuds and salad and then some stewed veggie protein balls.  Right now I'd eat any fucking thing but the fact is I have eaten far worse and gone back for seconds, as I do on this occasion.  And as long as it took, I still very much appreciate the fact these guys have gotten off their arses to feed us.  It's very kind of them.

Fed and satisfied we head down to the venue which is now open and grab a couple of beers.  Apparently we've all got six bottles with our names on them behind the bar.  Nice one.  The doors have been open an hour and there is a good lot of people here, it's certainly going to be better attended than last night and the place is smaller.  Perfect.  Alec and Ing Vild turn up shortly after, Alec looking pretty tired having been up since four am this morning to make his journey here.  It's great to see him as always anyway.  Ing Vild seems like a really nice girl, she used to work at the café with the guys a while back but she's since moved home.  I think she's another of the dancing crew the guys always seem to employ.  Alec laughs at the whole Paradise Hotel thing to which I chuckle... Yeah... Fuck me, I'm dreading tonight.  Maybe I have to just forget about tomorrow and get pissed, otherwise I'm going to lie awake shivering all night.  How the fuck could I not think to bring a sleeping bag?  After all these years...

To my great relief, Ing tells us that we're welcome to stay at her place, even though it's pretty small she's sure we could all fit in there somehow.  Maybe just a little too enthusiastically, we take her up on her offer.  Now much more relaxed I can enjoy my beer.  The place suddenly feels a little warmer.

I notice Luk has been a bit quiet this weekend, now and again.  He's a deep thinker a lot of the time as it is but he seems to have been a little distant at times this weekend.  I notice this mainly when Vik has me pissing myself laughing at his ridiculous imitation of the Gothenburg accent.  If Vik knows he's onto a winner then like my old man, he'll ham the fuck out of a joke all night.  He had me hooked though and I was crying with laughter at one point.  Vik has that cheeky smile on his face that you can't help but crack up at.  I guess after an hour or so of this Luk is pretty bored of it.  I guess it might not be anything more than that.  Understandable I guess.  The thing is, behind the impression is a funny as fuck Nitad story that unfortunately I can't repeat for fear of leg breaking repercussions.  Shame to waste such gold but some things just have to stay on the road and out of my diary...

The first band start at eleven and play for forty five minutes.  I wouldn't say they're awful, I would diplomatically say that they're not my kind of thing.  They can certainly play their instruments although why they would want to play them for forty five minutes is beyond me!  They have a female singer that has an insanely annoying voice.  The punks seem to love it all the same, they must be pissed up already.  In fact, there is a bit of a weird atmosphere in the place.  There was this one chav looking kid walking around earlier, can't be any older than eighteen, out of his fucking box, asking people for a cig.  He'd made his way up to the dormitory a while back and we had to shepherd him out of there.  There is another crusty kid walking around asking people for money for beer and there are some other non punk types obviously off their tits on drugs mingling about the crowd just asking for trouble.  In fact this one guy gets just that when he starts getting over the top with his piss take dancing and ends up with some punks fist in his coupon.  I didn't see it, but Luk who is stood at the merch tells me he was lead out of the place with blood pissing from him.  Weird gig...

Mörkt Kapittel play around midnight.  The order for the night feels a little fucked up, considering the first lot played for three quarters of an hour, MK play for thirty minutes and then we finish things off with fifteen.  Anyway, MK play an absolute blinder!  I thought they were good last night but it's on another level tonight.  I'm stood right in front of the left PA speaker, it's loud as fuck and the small, packed crowd, bar the few stray non punk cats, love it.  In fact, this raver guy who looks like a wiry little Brit, stood beside me, seems to like it too.  Shortly into the set Oystein pulls his mic stand down to floor in front of the tiny stage and plays there, right amongst the ruckus.  I'm a little worried that he's going to get that mic stand for supper, or get knocked down into the broken beer bottle at his feet, that I'm desperately trying to clear away, but somehow he avoids it.  I have to crack up when Atle ventures into the pit.  The man mountain literally stands there, head and shoulders above everyone else and screams into his mic as people simply bounce off of him.  A quite brilliant sight.

When they're done I'm really looking forward to playing, although I am feeling the burn... It's just before one and although I'm set up, all I had to do was plug my guitar in, the other guys are taking a little while sorting stuff out.  I sit on a box behind Vik's kit and wait it out, trying not to yawn too much.  Once we're going though I find the energy, I almost always do.  If I'm honest, the whole yawning thing was probably a little bit posy... kind of... Anyway, the start of the set feels a lot better, more controlled than last night.  We're halfway through the set and the crowd seem to be really into it but something is holding me back ever so slightly.  It's the sound on stage.  If I'm stood in front of the amp it sounds great, but as soon as I move away it's like all the distortion disappears and it's hard to really get into it if everything sounds too clean.  I know it sounds monstrous through the PA but in certain areas where I find myself now and again it sounds plinky and I can hear exactly how untight I'm playing.  Still, one thing I've learned over the years is that how the crowd perceives things and how those playing perceive things aren't always the same.  Normally I don't care what everyone else feels beyond those I'm playing with, but tonight the fact the crowd seems to be having a good time overshadows any misgivings I might be having.  Even when Vik stops halfway through I Hate Your Life it doesn't bother me, it had gotten a bit chaotic and we'd lost each other, but no big deal is made out of it, we simply start it again without saying a word and blast it out properly.  It's only a thirty second song anyway and I doubt many noticed...

We're called back for an extra song tonight and this time we actually play one.  We're not really that kind of band but it was a fun excuse to play a new song from the new tape, I'm Still Drowning.  It goes down great although we play the end section way too slow!  But afterwards Kev is raving about it, saying we have to put it into the set and people were already singing along with the big hook line at the end.  He's chuffed anyway.  Normally is.  We pack down and hang out by the merch and tonight we actually sell some gear.  The drummer from the first band, who turns out to be a very nice chap, buys a shirt and a record.  He tells us he actually plays in a few different bands, hardcore and black metal amongst them.  Kind of makes more sense.  Top bloke anyway.  We have a few beers with the MK guys after the gear is sorted and they're eager to head to another bar but since we're staying at Ing Vild's and Alec is looking dead on his feet we decide to head back to hers for a night cap.  It would have been nice with a last drink with the guys but there will be other times in the future I'm sure.  As we're getting our gear from upstairs Oyvind tells me that the punks had been planning a big after-party in Paradise Hotel... Thank fuck for Ing Vild...

We walk about fifteen minutes back to Ing Vild's, up a hill through a park and snake through some cobbled lanes.  Really nice, quiet area of town.  But then just around the corner from her place, we hear some commotion going on behind us, sounds like a bit of a domestic going on, a guy and a girl, probably both pissed, screaming at each other.  I don't think much of it at first, having heard it every single weekend of my teenage years in Corby, but then Ing Vild and Alec turn back and go to check out what's happening.  The rest of us stand around in the quiet lane, waiting, the sound of screaming by now long gone.  Some young, smartly dressed bloke then approaches us, talking on his phone to the cops I guess, sounding very worried.  I hear him telling the cops on the phone that “Whatever it was, that guy was not treating the girl very well.”  He then tells the cop that there are some English guys stood here talking about it too.. Fuck knows what's going on here.  Eventually Ing and Alec come back but there isn't much light shed on the situation, they couldn't find the rowing couple.  Kev is obviously pissed because he's making ridiculous jokes, saying he saw the whole thing and he heard the guy telling the girl that he was a pilot and that tomorrow he was going to fly her into a tower.  He really is a fucking tit.  Then the zip on Kev's rucksack bursts and the contents of his bag fall out onto the pavement.  This stirs a good giggle from the rest of us.  He's sat there, gathering his gear, moaning about his bag, saying he's had it for ages and it's finally gone, and that he can't find his pants.  Alec comes to the conclusion that since they can't find the girl and now Kev can't find his kecks that tomorrow the girl will be found lying in a bush with said dirty kecks on her head.  We head back to Ing Vild's, some of us laughing, some of us tired, one of us moaning about his bag.

Ing's place is a cosy little studio apartment with an enclosed balcony, or the outside bedroom, as Kev calls it.  She has a few beers in the fridge, some crisps and dip and some chocolate.  We sit around on the balcony for a while, enjoying the late night mini feast, until one by one we drop off.  Vik and I share the sofa bed in the balcony room, it's small but it's warm.  I fall asleep with a feeling of relief.  I've done it god knows how many times before, and I'll do it again I'm sure, but tonight I'm glad that I'm not sleeping in a dormitory with a gang of pissed up punks wanting to party.

Monday, May 12, 2014


Woke up at seven am this morning.  Slept from midnight, completely undisturbed.  Normally I'm up a few times a night to tend to Polly crying in her room before I'll eventually cave in and bring her into our bed.  You get used to the non-sleeping side of being a parent though, as long as you've got plenty of coffee.  Funny thing is, whenever I do manage to get a good night's sleep I usually find I'm more tired than normal.  And as much as it was pure luxury having the bed to myself last night, I still missed Polly's little feet prodding me in the head this morning.

The girls slept at my mother in law's place last night which was really cool of Jen since I'm taking a couple of nights off as it is, and that to go to Norway, play punk rock and drink beer.  Jen knows all too well how tiring playing in a DIY band can be though and I guess she figured I was worth a good night's sleep in my own bed before a couple of nights of laying down fuck knows where.  It's great being married to someone who plays in bands too.  I don't know how it would work otherwise...

Kev flew in last night and we had a good practice for a few hours.  Went through the set a couple of times and it sounded tight.  The new songs from the upcoming tape sounded a lot better than I expected.  Can't help feeling it's a shame we don't get to practice with Kev more often though.  I feel bad for him that he gets to practice new songs like, one time, before we head off and play them live.  He does really well with the situation I have to say.

We practised until around ten and then headed back to my place with some chocolate and candy bought from the garage to accompany a couple of documentaries on the Third Reich I had recorded.  Me and Kev have been enjoying a long tradition of late tv nights since way back in the Speedhorn days.  Top of the list is anything about World War Two or UK's Most Haunted (old episodes with Derek Acorah), failing that When Animals Attack or anything with thick as shit criminals hurting themselves will do.  I made it about half way through the first of the documentaries, a one hour program about Albert Speer, before falling asleep.  Kev had nodded off before me.

It's been quite a while since I enjoyed seven hours of straight sleep and I didn't want to get out of bed this morning but our flight is at ten thirty and rush hour traffic can be a bastard so leaving anything after eight would be asking for trouble.  As it turns out, we breezed through and made it to the airport with a couple of hours to go.  We sat down to coffee and/or beer and a couple of airport priced sandwiches, although these would be cheap in comparison to where we're going.

The journey was pretty smooth, except for a little bit of unnecessary stress at Oslo airport where we had to retrieve our equipment and check it in again for the second leg to Trondheim.  We only had an hour between flights and it took a while for our stuff to show up, and when it did it appeared neither on the belt allotted for our flight or the Oversized Luggage belt at the other end of the room but another belt entirely.  No time to moan we made it quickly through customs and checked in again.  I was starting to worry for a little while there... Bad memories from Chicago O'Hare with Speedhorn seeping in.

I have to say, the Norwegian people seem to be a very friendly race.  They seem to have a lot of time for you.  The guy at the Oversized Luggage check in belt was a very jovial looking man with an impressive moustache.  If only we'd had more time for him.  If only he realised we were in a hurry.  He had a young girl working with him who from the pace of things I'm guessing was an intern and Moustache was guiding her slowly step by step through the process whilst I nervously kept an eye on the lines for the security check.  We dump our gear on the belt one by one and then they check our passports.  “Garret?”  Yes, I give a friendly smile.  He then turns to Lucas and asks him if he's Billy the Kid.  It goes totally over Lucas' head.

The queue through security isn't too bad and we're through in five minutes.  My bag gets checked twice trough though since first off I forget a half full bottle of Coke and then I have two guitar pedals in there.  Normally I hate people like me, when I see them farting around holding the line up I snigger contemptuously.  The only people I was holding up today though was myself and the rest of the band.

The flight to Trondheim is basically up and then down although I do find time for the first beer of the day and a packet of Pringles.  Even if it is Carlsberg it's still pretty satisfying.  I have to keep in the back of my mind that I do get drunk really easily these days though and have to think about what I'm doing.  It's a long way to go until show time.

When we land the sun is shining and we have a couple of hours to spare until the sound engineer will be at the venue.  We take the bus into town, again greeted by friendly people working on the bus who are only too happy to tell us when our stop is coming up and direct us to where the venue is at.  You ask a bus driver in the UK for such a service and chances are the answer you'll get will be preceded by an annoyed sigh, if you get an answer at all that is.

When we arrive we follow the directions to the club where the sound guy, a quiet, long haired chap, is rolling cables and pottering about his business.  The venue is a small cellar bar, almost dungeon like, with huge, thick walls and a low ceiling.  The stage is small and compact at the one end of the narrow room where the entrance is.  This will do nicely.  Always good to play a room where fifty people would fill it.  The sound guy seems to keep himself to himself, save for asking about a drum kit.  We're starving and since the other bands aren't here yet and neither is any drum kit, we dump our gear and head off in search of food.

I'm really in the mood for falafel but the place I had my eye on is closed so I earmark it for later, I'm sure I'll be hungry after the gig.  We check out a couple of places but nothing really tickles our fancy so we decide to get some food from a mini-market and sit in a park somewhere to eat.  It's a beautiful day after all.  I remember last time I was here, when I was tour managing the country singer Mary Gauthier, that I went and checked out the old cathedral which is situated at the top of the city centre.  It's really quite stunning and I thought the guys should see it.  I buy some bread rolls and cheese, Luk picks up some salad that at first we mock him for but later it turns out to be a good idea, and Vik picks up a six pack of Tuborg Grön.  I figure it'll cost the same as the food so we should be about even.  Well... four bread rolls and a pack of sliced cheese comes to about eight quid.  When Vik walks out of the shop to where we're all waiting for him, he looks like he's just seen a ghost.  The six cans of beer came in at about fifteen quid, one hundred and fifty Norwegian kronor.  He's fucking gutted.

Still, when we sit down to our little picnic in the grounds of the church the price has been forgotten..kind of.  It really is a glorious spring day and our spot underneath the spectacular view of the western wall of Nidaros Cathedral is a perfect setting to enjoy a couple of beers and some cheese salad rolls.  We're not sure if you're allowed to drink in public here so we keep it subtle.  I'd like to see someone attempt to take Vik's beer away from him though...

We sit there for a half hour or so and then head back to the venue via a music store to pick up some small bits.  The Paranoid guys are just parking up their car when we get back.  It's good to see them again.  It's always nice to hang out with Jocke, who besides playing in some great bands like Paranoid and Desperat, puts out our records on his label, D Takt och Råpunk.  I don't really know the other two guys but they seem like nice people.  Jocke laughs and tells us that they've sat and listened to an audio book during the entire six hour drive from their home town of Östersund.  Not everyone's a talker like myself I guess.

The Mörkt Kapittel guys are also here now.  It's great to see Atle and Oystein again.  I've kept in touch with these guys since they brought Victims here to play a few years back at the punk house, UFFA.  We had a great time then and we've been trading records and mailing on the odd occasion since then.

I'm not sure what the playing order is yet but we do the honours and sound check.  It's very quick and pain free, in fact, the sound guy asks me to turn my amp up at one point, that doesn't happen very often I can assure you.  It sounds really great on stage though, you can hear everything perfectly and it fills me with confidence for the show.  We play a couple of songs and during the second song a big clock falls off the wall and smashes on the floor.  I guess we're pretty loud.  Everybody laughs except the sound guy who looks gutted as he sweeps up the broken glass.

When the other bands are done we head off in convoy to get some food.  Atle has suggested a place over in Svartlamo, which is a kind of bohemian/anarchist part of town.  It reminds me of Kreutzberg or even Kristiania a little.  There is graffiti everywhere and by the looks of it a lot of squatted houses.  Luk had been talking about this area earlier, having being tipped off by his girlfriend about it.  We eat a place called Ramp which is a really cool, kind of thrown together sort of deal.  The food looks good.  The guy serving us is a tattooed guy with a shaven head who apparently plays in the punk band, Brutal Kuk.  You don't have to be Norwegian to figure that one out.  Atle had actually given me their record last time, so amused was I by the band name I had to have it.  He's a really nice guy anyway and it's fun to meet him.

The three bands sit down to dinner, most of us having the veggie pasta, that although is rather shy in portion, tastes great.  It's grand sitting down with all the bands and having a chat over dinner and a beer.  I had no idea what kind of a deal we're getting from these shows but I was very surprised that Atle sorted the bill out for everyone.  I tell him there's no need but he insists, saying that he'll take back expenses from any money we get in.  He tells me that they'll give us the money for our flights too, which I really hadn't expected!  Atle tells me, not for the last time tonight, that some people buy expensive cars with their money, others invest it in punk rock and having a good time with their friends.  What a fantastic attitude.

When we're done with the food we head outside to some chairs to have another beer in the sun, just as the sun is fucking off behind some clouds.  Fuck it, it's nice sitting here anyway, although Kev doesn't look too chuffed.  He'd been telling us earlier how he doesn't like hanging out in the sun drinking beer.  Strange old sod.  Still, now that the sun has momentarily hidden itself he should be a little happier.  I take myself to the bar and see what's on offer.  I had a pint of lager with dinner and fancy something with a little more taste in it now.  My eyes almost pop out of my fucking head when I notice that a pint of Pale Ale costs about fifteen quid!  A seven quid Ringnes it is tack...

As always whilst sat around talking with fellow punks, we're treated to a pair of interesting stories.  A usual theme on such tale telling occasions is old gigs, or more precisely, weird gigs one has played over the years.  It turns out that Emil and the MK guys have a common acquaintance.  Atle tells us of a show they played up in the north of Norway that was booked by this flakey guy who lives up there.  The gig was this weird little festival that took place on an army barracks, if I understood correctly.  The attendance is pretty piss and the gig not much better and at the end of the night they're just looking to get out of there.  The guy tells them that they have beds available in one of the military huts but Atle says no thanks, they just want to get home.  When he asks for some money for the gig, namely for petrol, the guy looks flabbergasted.  “Petrol money?  There isn't any.  You guys got food!”  Shit gig...

Funny thing is Emil not only knows the guy, it turns out he actually played in a band with him!  The worst gig he ever booked them, probably the worst gig Emil ever played I imagine, was at some junior school that was having a party for the end of spring term, before the Easter holiday.  Emil tells us that he's sat there, looking like he does (face tattoos, crazy mohawk etc) playing drums in this crust band behind this ridiculous perspex wall, humiliating as fuck he notes, to a bunch of small kids running about the place.  The gig is of course in the middle of the afternoon and the daylight is shining through into the school assembly hall, just to add to the atmosphere.  If that isn't bad enough, the only payment they receive for the show is a fucking Easter egg!  I fucking piss myself at that!  I've done some shit gigs down the years but that just about takes it.

Now on to the theme of funny punks we've met down the years, Atle tells us a story that frankly leaves us in a state of amazement, as well as laugh induced stomach pain.  He tells us about this bloke, a real drunk punk, who garnered national attention a few years back after he made a trip to the Philippines.  Apparently he'd been sat one day with his daughter watching tv, listening to the horrifying news of the Indian Ocean Tsunami that devastated so many countries in 2004.  They were watching a particular piece about the Philippines when his daughter innocently asks her dad why they can't help somehow?  A real doer, he tells her that they can help and before you know it he's booked a flight to the Philippines and is on his way to help the villagers rebuild houses.  Very noble indeed, in fact, quite astonishing.  But then it gets weird... I'm not sure how it happened but whilst he's there, he gets drunk one night and insults the mayor of the town he's in and gets thrown in jail!  Fuck knows what he said but I guess it was pretty bad because he ends up sitting there a while, not in prison-prison I might add but in the holding cells.  After a somewhat exaggerated detention he's released but upon leaving jail he's convinced that he's made some enemies and is shitting himself, paranoid that he's going to get done in.  He purchases a gun in case he needs to protect himself.  Thing is, he's never owned or even fired a gun before so he takes it down to a quiet area of town and practices firing it into a skip.  As he's doing this it just so happens a cop car comes driving by and he's thrown back in jail, now on even more serious charges!  By now, people back home both in the punk community and the community in general have heard of his plight and start a support group for him, their mission obviously to get him released.  One of the people involved is your man here at Ramp, Brutal Kuk.  Anyway, whilst this is going on Drunk Punk does an interview with a Norwegian newspaper, from jail, talking about his plight.  Seemingly completely unable to keep his Doc Martin's out of his mouth, he tells the journalist that the situation is under control and the fact is that the Filipino money isn't worth shit and he can easily buy his way out of prison.  It just so happens that The Filipino ambassador to Norway reads the piece in the newspaper a few days later and is incensed by the insult to his country, so he contacts the judge taking care of his case and suggests he makes the fine for his misdemeanour much, much higher.  It turns out to be an absurd amount of money that the guy has no fucking chance of paying.  Fuck knows how long he's over there, but it takes the support group back home quite a while longer to raise the extra money, and they must have wondered why they were even bothering.  By the time Atle is done, I'm literally in tears of laughter.  The waiter guy from Ramp is across the street in a skip, pounding down cardboard with his boots.  “Ahh, Brutal Kuk”...Oystein wistfully remarks.

The sun is making no sign of reappearing and the night is pulling in so we finish up our beers and head over to a squat where the Paranoid guys are sleeping, to check in with the guys there.  As we're stood outside waiting around, a couple of punks come running out of this tunnel at the end of the alley and chase each other around for a bit.  I don't really think too much about it but Lucas tells me one of them had a syringe in his hand.  The squat seems pretty cool though and the people there are friendly.  We head back to the venue via the supermarket to get some beers in for the night, again Atle pays up, very kind of him.

It's Friday and Atle tells me that most people won't come until later on, so there's no rush for anyone to start playing.  We spend the next couple of hours sat around in the bar or in the back room, playing pool, lying down, chilling out, listening to music, chatting, drinking beer... By the time Paranoid are due to start, around ten thirty, I've probably had as many beers as I should before a gig.  Actually, I've had more than I should but they're only medium strength so I'm okay.. Just about.  Vik cracks me up, he said a couple of hours ago that the beer he had in his hand then would be his last until after the show.  The fucker is standing with a beer in his hand as Paranoid begin and tells me that he's stopping drinking when there's an hour left until we play... which would be about the time he's telling me this.  Kev is more pissed than anyone though.  I notice this when he runs up side of me and takes a close up photo of my mug, before laughing and shooting off again.  In fact, it's only Luk who seems to have it completely together and noticing the vibe he suggests we take a walk around the block to get some air before we play.  Kev tells him he'll be right behind and then walks the other way.  Luk doesn't seem to find that too funny.

There still aren't that many people here but that doesn't make any difference to me enjoying the Paranoid set.  The noise they make is pretty insane, full on chaos punk.  I love it.  You play the kind of music we do, you can't let playing to a small crowd bother you...  That said, by the time they finish up the room has filled a little more, maybe thirty people, including band members and it looks ok.

The noise Mörkt Kapittel make is simply immense.  They have a huge guitar sound that drowns the entire venue and I enjoy every minute of it.  They are so fucking tight it's unreal.  And considering they don't play that often that's quite amazing.  Atle, the fucking man mountain that he is, has a solid voice and even if he has the friendliest of faces he still kicks the shit out of the gig.  By the time they're done I'm raring to go, which is a fair barometer of how much I enjoyed their set.

There are still around thirty people in the small bar by the time we're ready, which is about five minutes after MK since we're all using the same equipment.  These are my favourite kind of stage set ups, small, no monitors, no need for them.  Everything sounds solid when we kick into D?B!.  It's a little on the fast side, but not uncomfortable. Into Nausea and everything is under control, now I can relax and enjoy the set.  The stage is pretty fucking compact though and there isn't much room to move.  I feel Kev's presence in my close proximity a few times and every now and then we're banging in to one another.  After a while it starts getting on my tits so I give him a kick up the arse onto the floor space.  Thing is, you never really think about what you're doing when you're playing a show and soon enough I'm on the floor with him and then I've gubbed him in the jaw with my headstock.  Sorry buddy.  The set goes well anyway and it's a lot of fun to play.  There aren't loads of people here but then when did that ever matter?  We put a couple of new songs from the upcoming tape in the set tonight, Good Strong Hand and Hypnotic Eye.  GSH goes a little fast but sounds generally tight but then HE gets pretty fucked up.  The song is the only slower song we've written and the whole thing starts with Vik playing a 4/4 intro, that just randomly starts up through a load of feedback, the whole idea being that it sounds like the set has just come to a grinding halt and then out of the feedback we blast in to the big riff... Well, all goes to plan until said big riff is about to kick in.  When the moment arrives I stand on my lead and pull it out of my tuner pedal leaving me with no sound, it's only Luk's bass playing and I'm stood there feeling like a prize turd.  I quickly rectify the situation and plug the lead back in and join in with the song.. Only I don't because the pedal is set to go straight to tuner mode when you plug in so I've still got no fucking sound.  I guess you could say the impact of the song is kind of lost.  When I finally get it going the rest of the song continues to it's end undeterred.  At least it's a new song and nobody has knows any better.  Guess not many know the older songs either...Still, bit of a fucking brass.

We're all pretty pleased with the set anyway and there are calls for an extra song but we dither about on the side of the stage too long and eventually the PA music comes on.  Fuck it, didn't really feel like an encore moment anyway.  We pack down, cool off and then hang out by the merch, which, nobody bar the guys from MK purchases.  The beer has ran out now so we take ourselves to the bar and buy a well earned cold pint that costs a fortune.  I enjoy the fucker all the same.  I get chatting to Hendrik, the guitarist from Paranoid for a bit.  He's a really nice guy, although he seems a little on the shy side.  We're talking about the Paranoid/I LIKE BUGS tour the guys just did in the UK and he tells me it's the first time he's been abroad.  I'm not sure I hear him right but then he tells me he's only nineteen years old.  For a second I feel old but then I think of Kev, it's comforting to know that he's always ten years ahead of me, even if sometimes to look at us you'd think it was the other way's also comforting to know that the younger generation is still coming through and continuing to drive the scene.  Hendrik not only plays in bands but writes a blog called Lockyard.  Good man.

It's getting late and I'm both hungry and tired.  We're staying at Eirik's place tonight and we have to be up at seven to catch the eight thirty train to Oslo tomorrow.  We take the gear over to Eirik's office which is just across the water from the station and then head off to get some food.  Now it really is time for falafel.  Except it's not, because of course the place Eirik takes us too is all out.  I end up munching through an incredibly salty bag of fries whilst the others tuck into a veggie roll that costs about a tenner.  It tasted good though and I wish I'd bought one.

When you're tired, it's late and you have no idea where you're walking to, it feels like you're never going to arrive at your destination, no matter how often Eirik tells you it's not far now.  We seem to walk the streets of Trondheim forever and it's almost three am when we arrive at Eirik's fifteen minutes later.  He's been telling us about his bread baking machine all night and right enough he heads to the kitchen to sort some out for the morning.  The rest of us grab any spot we can in his living room, I opt for a camper bed that has a few springs popping out here and there but will do just nicely all the same.  It's three thirty by the time the lights go out.  Up in three and half hours... It's funny, I take a break from the sleepless nights at home with Polly and end up with less sleep than ever.  It's not exactly what you'd call a relaxing getaway but it's the life we choose.  And sleep isn't part of the deal I guess...