Tuesday, January 12, 2016


Who turned the heat off in here? I’d fallen asleep instantly, it was warm and cosy then and although fully clothed, I’m now fucking freezing! I have no idea what the time is, it’s still dark out but then it will probably still be dark when we leave for the station too. Based upon absolutely nothing at all I decide it’s five am. I take a look at Johan, all cosy in his sleeping bag, fast asleep. Looks magic. I try to get back to sleep but it’s impossible. I lie there panicking, wondering what the fuck I’m going to do about this current cack situation. I’m so fucking tired and I lie there silently commanding myself to sleep, to no avail.

I head to the bathroom in search of a large towel to use as a blanket. I have to make do with two smaller towels. I head back to the bed, past Andy and Jon who are fast asleep. They too look cosy. Wankers. I lay back down beside Johan and try to position the two white towels on me so that they cover my whole body, one on my torso, the other on my legs. For a second I think I’ve cracked it, I’m covered. Just. But then the slightest flinch in my being and the towels slide. Not that they’re offering that much protection anyway, they’re pretty thin. I spend the next two hours trying to sleep like this, wondering why the fuck I put myself in these situations, every time I nod off for an instant, I then turn and awake from the cold and have to reposition the towels. It’s not until Oystein enters the kitchen around seven and starts to prepare breakfast and everyone slowly awakes that I have the bright idea of taking my bomber jacket and placing that over my torso as extra cover that I feel slightly warmer. By then it’s too late. I’ve had an absolutely cack night’s sleep.

To my surprise the first thing Johan and Andy say is how cold it was last night. Johan says that even though he had the sleeping bag he was still freezing and Andy, fucking Andy, says that he was so cold in his sleeping bag that he had taken a blanket he’d found in the living room and had placed that on top of him too. He laughs joyfully when he hears I’ve slept under a pair of towels.

Oystein puts on a really nice breakfast spread and the coffee is piping hot. We sit around gradually warming up and waking up and we take turns in the shower, except Jon. The sun is barely breaking through the cloud cover when we leave and it’s a cold and brisky morning. Oystein has been a bit stressed about getting us to the train station on time, although it’s only a short walk he says. We walk with the gear, feels heavy this morning, the short walk a little longer than preferred. It’s a relief to get to the station and know that we’ll be sat on the train now for the next seven and a half hours. That should leave me plenty of time to study for my presentation on Naturalism next week, plenty of time to have a nap and still some left over for viewing the glorious sights of the Norwegian Dovre Mountain range. There’s no sign of Jason this morning.

The train is in and waiting and we jump straight on board, thanking Oystein for last night and all the hospitality. It’s a shame they’re not coming with us for the gig in Oslo. The train slowly pulls out of Trondheim and starts the steady climb. The train is pretty full, a mixture of young and old, most of them though looking like they’re embarking on a skiing trip. Despite the early hour a lot of them seem to be drinking too. There are four younger girls opposite us, a right happy young bunch, passing a bottle of bubbly about. There is something about this train that doesn’t add up… I’m sure I heard the conductor announce that there was no restaurant carriage, although my Norwegian is far from up to the task of discerning that information. Every other time I’ve taken this trip the trains have been top class, and they usually have a large diner carriage with special viewing seats, the lot. I’ve been banging on about it to the guys for a while, hoping that would make up for the long trip. It soon becomes clear though that this train is made up of individual carriages, sets of two. There is no fucking restaurant carriage, only a coffee machine that requires coins for purchase since the card reader on it is broken. Andy texts Jason and receives a reply saying that he’s on one of the other parts of the train and that there is a bar there. I sincerely hope he’s taking the piss. Luckily for us Oystein’s kindness had seen to that we had some sarnies to take with us. I wish I’d bought something other from the store on the way to the station than nose spray though. Jon pulls out yet another stick thin, long Peperami sausage from the pocket of his suede Arthur Daley style coat and starts munching. Chuffed.

There’s not much for me to do than get crack on with studying. Nietzsche and social darwinism a little heavy for the sleep head I’ve got on, but I’m pretty impressed with myself that I manage to put down about four hours work on it. Studying on tour, who would ever have thought it? About halfway through the trip, on top of the range, most of the passengers alight, leaving a few empty bottles behind. Most of them actually seem to be trekking, not skiing. Jon inquires with the conductor about how long we’ll be stopped here and when told five minutes he hops off for a fag. He of course doesn’t think to tell us that he’s gone to the bog afterwards and causes slight panic amongst us when the whistle blows for departure and he’s nowhere to be seen. Not answering his phone either. The thought of leaving him in the middle of the plateau amuses me a little I must admit. We tell the train staff to wait up whilst we look for him and he eventually turns up wondering what the fuss is about. The train journey continues.. Johan said he’d met Jason whilst looking for Jon and he’s invited us back to his place for a bit once we’ve loaded the gear in at the venue. Will be nice to stretch the old legs a bit after this journey. At least we were able to sort out the coffee situation by changing in some merch money with the conductor.

One thing I have to say about this country, we noticed it last night when we got to the airport, is that everybody is so insanely friendly. The guards at the airport were really chatty and almost overly helpful with us when we went through security last night, they seemed genuinely chuffed to welcome us to their country. Quite the contrast to England or the US. It’s the same with this conductor fella today, he looks well fucking chuffed.

We’re informed, again with a very friendly voice, that three quarters of the way to Oslo we have to get off the train and take a bus for an hour, before getting another train for the last part of the journey. They’re doing maintenance work I guess. There is little fuss though, the bus is waiting outside the station of some little town, and we’re on that for around fifty minutes. Finally get to catch up with Jason too. We’re then dropped off onto a commuter train that takes us into Oslo central. Everything doesn’t go quite so smoothly though. Anne, who is booking the gig tonight at Blitz, phones me and tells me that the guy who was supposed to be picking us up from the station in his car can no longer do so since he’s drunk. Apparently it’s the drummer from Barn av Rengbågen, the main band tonight. They had said no to the gig in Trondheim last night as well, said they were worried about getting too fucked up there and being shot for tonight. Guess that hasn’t quite worked out.

This is a bit of a big deal tonight. It’s a gig marking the thirtieth anniversary of Barn av Rengbågen’s first ever show at Blitz, the legendary punk squat that has existed in Oslo for decades. Rengbågen are a much respected band in the Norwegian hardcore scene and don’t play that often so it should be fun. Plus the show is going to be in the smaller café bar, so should be packed. We take a cab to the venue from the station anyway, Anne tells us she’ll sort the money for it later. We’re met in the doorway around the back of the venue by a very friendly guy called Per. Either he’s Swedish or my Norwegian is picking up. We drop the gear and have a quick look about. Per shows us up to the band room above on the next floor where there are is a dormitory for the bands. I feel really guilty telling him that we’d made plans to stay at our friend’s place. They’d been expecting us to stay. Per assures me that the dormitory is really nice and clean. I feel like we’re a right bunch of rock star cunts now. I thank him kindly and explain that there’s been a bit of a mix up, that we’d arranged to stay at Jason’s since he’s a good friend that we don’t get to see that often. I knew the offer of accommodation was on, but didn’t realise that it was set in stone, more that it was there if we wanted it. He says it’s cool though.

We head back downstairs where we meet Anne. I’ve been mailing her a bit this last week and it’s been really easy. And it does indeed turn out that she’s really cool. I tell her also about the fuck up with the sleeping arrangement, and mention that we’re staying with a friend. “Ah yeah, Toby?” Fuck, of course! My old friend Toby from Kettering is coming tonight! He lives here now. Cool that Anne knows him. I explain that it’s someone else though and she’s cool too, tells us that she’s already sorted breakfast for us for the morning but that she can give us it to take with us tonight for the journey tomorrow. Again, feel like a right cunt.

Not as much as a cunt as when I make my next acquaintance. We walk back into the gig room and a young punk with a sleeveless denim jacket and a moustache approaches me and asks a question. Something about a train I think… “Yeah, we took the train, but then we had to get on a bus for an hour, and then back on a train again”, I explain. He looks at me confused and then moves on to Johan behind me. Turns out he’s the sound guy and had asked if we were two guitarists. The Swedish words for train (tåg) and two (två) sound pretty similar, especially if said in an Oslo dialect. Feeling like a complete turd, I decide it’s time for that walk to Jason’s place.

It really is inviting with the fresh air after being on the train all day. It’s a bit of a walk mind, a good twenty five minutes. Guess we’ll be taking a cab with the gear after the gig tonight. It’s nice walking and catching up with Jason though. We pass a couple of venues where he does some work along the way, and a few other places of interest he points out. Just by his place we make a stop at a convenience store to pick up a couple of things for breakfast, we wait outside while Jason and Jon go in. Jon comes out holding about Peparami sausages.

Sitting at Jason’s, drinking a can of beer and chatting is exactly what this day needed. Sometimes it’s nice to get away from the venue and take yourself to a quieter place for a while. Andy seems very happy to be here, saying he’s very glad we’re staying here tonight, in a warm, tidy, modern flat. The beer goes down particularly easily and it’s very tempting to stay for another, I can tell the other guys are thinking the same. We peel ourselves away though, knowing we should get back to the venue in time to sort stuff out before they open. The walk back doesn’t seem to take half the time it did in the opposite direction. Isn’t that always the way?

When we get back to the venue we’re told dinner is in the kitchen and beers are in the bar. We head over and find that there is an awesome looking eggplant parmesan waiting for us. And it is truly fucking splendid. I lap it up as we sit at a long table in the bigger gig room where the bar and merch tables are. We end up sat next to some old punk guy, I say old, he’s probably in his forties, a few years older than me. He looks pretty sauced though. He was actually in one of the bands last night, I remember they sounded like Amebix, were totally okay from what I heard. This guy has been sat on the train drinking all day anyway. He’s banging on about the equipment we’ll be playing on tonight, saying this and that are fucking good bits of gear. In fact, he says “Fucking good” in relation to a great number of things during the ten minutes or so we’re stuck with him. Nice enough guy though, just a bit boats for my sober head. Jon and Jason do their best with him and I head off upstairs with Andy and Johan to see what’s going on.

The first band on the bill are up there, a chirpy bunch of young guys. One of them says they played with Victims in Oslo before and even though Andy is engaged in the conversation I can tell he’s feigning recognition. He obviously hasn’t got a fucking clue who the guy is. Not so strange, it was a while ago. In fact, I was at that gig, although playing in Speedhorn and not Victims. That was the tour where me and Kev decided we were leaving Speedhorn actually. Anyway, these guys are friendly enough and we sit and chat for a while. I notice this one kid sat with them, really young looking, I’d clocked him when we came in. He’d asked if we were Victims and when we said yes, he got really nervous looking and just sat there looking really awkward, like he was star struck or something. I felt kinda bad for the little guy. I wanted to engage him in conversation but couldn’t think of anything to say. Strange for me, that.

The guys in Regnbågen, keeping in line with the Norwegian standard, also really friendly. The guitarist looks a bit like Poffen from Totalitär and has a constant grin on his face. Johan was talking to him for a while about equipment and stuff. Me and Andy are up talking to the young guys for a while before we head down to grab a beer and hang out in the venue. The four of us and Jason sit around talking about this and that, enjoying a couple of cans.

After a while my mate Toby arrives. It’s great to see him. We figure it’s probably been ten years since we last met. Fucking crazy. Toby was this young kid from Kettering when I first met him, part of the scene with Jay and Dave Speedhorn and their old band Scurge. Toby was always playing in hardcore bands and an energetic part of the scene, one of those who seemed to know everyone. He was out touring Europe by the time he was sixteen, a real driver. He also played in the infamous Richard T. King and the Minstrels, which was my best mate Snitch’s Elvis tribute act, kind of. Snitch played Richard T. King, the bastard love child of Elvis. Dave Speedhorn and Cliff, the Scurge singer who Dave also played with were known as Dickie Dave Diamond and Clifford T. Justice respectively, Gordon Speedhorn was on drums and went under the pseudonym G.G. Le Thatch and his brother Sandy was the manager Ted Bobby Bovis. Toby or Tubs as we knew him then was Toe Tapping Tubs, he played trombone. They were quite the sight, all dressed up in ridiculous wigs and seventies garb. The Minstrels have been revived a few times over the years, a kind of collective if you will, with members flitting in and out. I’ve been there myself on one occasion, Gordon Speedhorn’s wedding, under the name Johnny Tofu.

Toby arrives just as the first band are finishing, so I only manage to catch a little bit of them. The dark room which probably could hold around two hundred is fairly well filled out, although it’s not packed by a long shot. Anne had said to me that there was another gig on tonight which a lot of people were hyped about. Can’t remember what they were called but they had a name like Avenger, or Enforcer or something daft. Some hard rock parody I’m guessing. Anne says that the gigs overlap so there will be a lot of people here by the end since Blitz always goes late but whether they’ll be here in time for Victims is another matter. To be fair, it looks ok as it is, I’m at the back and can’t be arsed squeezing through the crowd anyway. And gig clashes are something you’re going to get in pretty much any fair sized city.

Whilst we’re linechecking the room is pretty empty, with most people heading back to the big room where the hangout seems to be. It’s cool though that when the bands play they turn the lights on in there and the music off, forcing most people back into to see the bands. That doesn’t always happen. By the time we get started the room has maybe eighty people in it, maybe a few more, it’s hard to tell in the dark. Tubs and his mate, and Jason are stood comfortably up front anyway, just on the arc of the semicircle left in front of the stage for no one. The gig is okay. The sound is a lot better on stage tonight, and we play better, there are no hiccups or technical problems. But for some reason I don’t really feel it as much tonight. Sometimes it’s just like that. I find myself just ploughing through the set as opposed to raging through it. I still put as much energy as I can muster into it but it’s harder work tonight. One of those gigs that are simply, okay. Jason says afterwards that the sound was a lot better out front tonight and that’s cool, but for me, as I’ve always found, the energy within me and what happens out front aren’t always dependent of each other.

Afterwards, once packed down and sorted out I head back to the big room for a beer and to catch up with Tubs properly. I really wanted to check out Barn av Regnbågen but find myself skipping them for the most part to enjoy a natter with my old mate. The lights come on and the now considerably bigger crowd pack into to see the classic band leaving the big room peaceful, Tubs and I look at each other and decide we’d rather stay here than head into the loud, sweaty room. Although I do go in and catch a little bit of the band, who sound really on it. Really well played US style hardcore. Good to see the older generation still doing it. I aspire to follow their path.

Catching up with Tubs is a real joy though. We talk emigration, learning a second language, kids, Tubs too recently become a father. In fact, much of Tubs’ story mirror my own. He’s now working in a bar, was running one before he became a dad, still playing with his band Age of Taurus who are based in England. He says he’s pretty basic with the language but when some young pissed punk girl approaches him looking for money for beer or something he jumps right into it and I’m impressed with his pronunciation. He says he really wants to go back to university here but doesn’t feel comfortable enough with the lingo yet, I try to give him plenty of encouragement to do so. He laughs about how he has a degree in music management from the UK and about the little it’s done for him.

Soon enough we get talking about music. He tells me about a US tour they did a while back, just before he became a dad, that was booked by the infamous Andy Rice and was a complete disaster. I laugh at that. We’ve had that experience with Mr. Rice. Then we get talking about touring when they were younger, with his first hardcore bands. Tubs tells me that he’d met some Dutch guy a while back that shared a common friend with him. Whilst Tubs was trying to place where he knew his face from, Dutch informs Tubs that they’d met years back when they were through on tour, that he’d put them up for the night.

As it turns out, Dutch is this straight edge guy who’d been good enough to give them somewhere to sleep for the night. Tubs’ brother Leo was out with them on this particular tour. Tubs and Leo were a bit of a package at the time, right pair of cheeky lads. Tubs ends up getting wankered after the gig and wakes up in the middle of the night in dire need of a piss, not knowing where the fuck he is. He’s found by another member of the band stood pissing up one of the walls in the flat. Amongst the tumult of what follows Leo finds the whole thing so hilarious that he’s in an insane fit of laughter, crawling round on all fours. The laughter takes a hold of him to the point that he vomits all over the wooden floor. When Dutch points this out to Tubs years later, Tubs being the affable fellow he is apologies profusely and asks him if it was ok. “Not really”, Dutch says, “the vomit ran all between the floorboards and they had to be pulled up so we could sanitise the flat”. You couldn’t imagine two nice guys causing so much damage. Booze is the fucking devil.

I laugh my ass off at this story and a few others over the next hour or so. When the night is up it feels like we’ve had nowhere near enough time to catch up, and tell each other we’ll have to make sure it doesn’t go another ten years. Tubs insists on buying a shirt, even though we say his money is not required and then we get the gear and get ready to leave. Jason has sorted a cab and Anne has brought us the stuff for breakfast in the morning and sorted us out with the money to cover our costs. She’s been running around working all night but the occasions we’ve had to talk to her she’s proved herself to be a really nice person, just like everyone else we’ve met in this country. Would like to do another show with her in the future since she seems really concerned with making sure the bands feel welcome. That doesn’t always happen either.

We get back to Jason’s and he gets the veggie hot dogs on. A late night snack hits the fucking spot. We have a couple more beers whilst listening to music but as the clock gets later I find myself struggling to keep my eyes open. After last night I’d really welcome a bit of comfort and Jason tells me I can share his bed, being that his girlfriend is away. I’m gone within minutes, lights out. I had been going on earlier about how it would be nice to head out in the morning and go for a walk, going on about my plans repeatedly, as I tend to do on occasion. When I repeat the walking plan for the umpteenth time, Johan looks at me and enquires, “Go out for a walk in the morning? Instead of sleeping?” Good point.

I wake around ten and feel very rested. We’re flying around two so we have time to enjoy breakfast without having to stress. Jason joins us for the ride to Central Station, to see us right. You can tell Jason is an experienced tour hand. He’d be great to have out on the road with us in the future, something we all agree on as we wave to him when the train pulls out.

Looking forward to getting home now. It’s felt like a lot of travelling for just two shows, a lot of effort. Quite an intense weekend really. I’m sat on the plane next to Jon thinking about this and how nice it will be to get home for around four pm so I can enjoy a night with the family before the new week starts when the pilot comes on the speaker system and warns us that it’s going to be a rough flight, that we’ll be flying in extreme winds and that unfortunately there will be no refreshments service since the cabin staff will have to remain seated for the journey. “The good news is that it’s a very short flight today, thanks to the very strong tail wind, only forty minutes” he adds. Jon looks at me and says he wishes he’d taken his pill.

Due to the fact the pilot has just scared the piss out of me, I spend the majority of the flight looking at out the window, just waiting for the bumps to start. In actual fact, it really isn’t that bad. Next to nothing until we start to descend through the clouds above Arlanda. And even there it’s bumpy but I’ve experienced far worse. When we land safe and sound, Johan parps up from behind us, “I reckon they were just out of coffee”.

Thursday, January 7, 2016


I was sat at school this morning, trying my utmost to concentrate on my maths book but all the while distracted by the sight of the trees flailing about in the wind. It was as gloomy as a Lars Noren play outside, the sky as dark as fucking Mordor. I’ve never really been a nervous flyer but I’m not that comfortable being thrown around at thirty five thousand feet. I’m certainly not too chuffed at the prospect of flying in a front of wind they’ve christened Helga. Storm Helga. I do my best to plough on through the second grade equations on the page in front of me but I’m constantly keeping a check on Arlanda’s website, seeing if the flights are being cancelled. I wouldn’t be too upset if the flight got canned, even if I have been looking forward to the show in Trondheim tonight. No word yet though.

Eirik from Mörkt Kapitel texted me first thing this morning, saying that our connecting flight from Oslo had been cancelled and rebooked for an hour later. Nothing to do with the storm apparently, something else, although no explanation was given. This means that whatever the case we’ll be arriving in Trondheim pretty late tonight.

I leave school around lunch, a couple of mates wishing me luck on the way out whilst smirking at the sky above and the rain pissing down from it. Johan and Jon are at the practice room picking up the gear and meeting Andy and I at Liljeholmen, just down the road from my school. I get there first and find shelter in a doorway. When the guys text to say they’re stuck in traffic I head into the second hand store to get warm. Find a Chomsky book there for eight kronors. Chuffed with that at least. Andy comes in not long after me, I can tell he’s thinking the same thing as me. Don’t fancy this fucking trip today. “It’s a short flight at least”, I say searching for some grain of positivity. “Yeah but even if it’s only an hour, I can’t be doing with an hour of hell!” True that. I think we’re all in the same boat. We’re parents to small kids and that if nothing else makes you understand your own mortality.

We’re out at the airport a couple of hours ahead of flight time. It’s at least comforting to see planes lifting every other minute, up into the grey. Seems like there’s a problem with the booking though. Eirik ordered extra luggage for us and although I have the receipt, the old lady at check in is saying it’s not showing up in the system. I had a feeling we’d get some shit like this. She checks the receipt though and makes a call and it gets sorted. Thing is, it’s been my contact on these two shows and when it’s on me I really don’t want any bumps in the road.

We grab the usual Max Burger before boarding, a new tradition since they opened up at Arlanda. I always think of Luc and his boycotting of them after the Moderaterna scandal. For a while he was pretty on it, and gave us grief if we were tempted by their veggie burger. It’s a good fucking veggie burger. And then one time Kev was over for practice and was wanting to go by Max for lunch, Luc started telling him about how the CEO was a right wing nut job who’d sent out a letter to his staff warning of the downsides of voting for the Social Democrats and how we should boycott them. Kev replied in typical fashion, “I couldn’t give a fuck if Hitler was frying the burgers, I fucking want one!” Luc’s boycott is now over anyway, although credit to him, he lasted a while. It was a pretty fucked up thing if the truth be told. Fucking Moderaterna...

We board the plane and I text Jen as usual. When out travelling we always text each other to say when we’re boarding and again when we land. This time of instant information brings with it a deal of stress and worry and I find myself looking at the clock and waiting for the text when Jen is out and about flying with work or whatever. Funny to think that before the era of the mobile phone and the internet things were considerably different. Jen’s mum lived in Japan for a year at the end of the Sixties, it took her a few weeks to get there and then when she did there was no thought of letting her parents know she’d arrived safe and sound. In the end her parents got in touch with her through the Swedish Embassy, three months later, just to make sure she was ok. How times have changed.

We lift off, the pilot having made no mention of the weather conditions on route before hand. It’s dark as we bang and bump through the clouds on the way up to cruising altitude, Johan throwing me a nervous look coupled with an equally nervous laugh, “I can’t be doing with this”. We’re on the very last row of seats as well, where you hear all the weird engine noises, just to add to the tension. Thankfully once we’re through the clouds the turbulence diminishes and the rest of the short journey to Oslo is smooth. We land at Gardemoen and have a couple of hours to kill before we get the connecting flight to Trondheim. We head to the nearest bar.

A lot of people back home in England, actually, I take that back, a lot of people in my dad’s crew or members of his generation, scoff whenever he’s off to Sweden to visit me. “Phwah! Sweden? Eight pound a pint there init?” It’s literally every time. None of these people have been to Sweden of course, although the reputation the country has for being expensive runs far beyond my dad’s gang. And to a certain extent, it’s justified, Sweden is an expensive country, especially if you’re a tourist. But the fact that the international currency of the pint is always the first thing to be scoffed into the conversation cracks me up. I digress. Now Norway? Norway is expensive! Especially if you’re a tourist, like us. Even for us Swedes Norway is expensive. This place would make some heads explode back in Corby. We each order a pint, and they come in at a tenner a pop. Ninety nine fucking kronors! Given, this is an airport bar, but fuck me… We only have the one. We have another on the plane, a nice can of Mikkeller. One of the upsides of flying with SAS is that they serve Mikkeller.

We land at Trondheim after a very smooth forty minute flight and Fredrik from Mörkt Kapitel is waiting for us. It’s good to see him again, the last time was when DB was here last year. He’s since become a dad, like the rest of us, bar Jon. The gear comes out pretty quick and we head off to his car. The first thing that hits you is the crisp, clean air. We’ve been having a shitty winter back home so far, four or five degrees plus and grey and pissy rain. Here it’s a few degrees below and a lot drier, like winter should be. The second thing I notice as we walk to the car is that Jon is munching on a Peperami style sausage, it hits me that this must be about the fourth or fifth I’ve seen him devour today. It must be his new thing. He always has a thing.

We drive into Trondheim, too dark to enjoy the views on the way into the beautiful city. We arrive at the venue around eight thirty, a half hour or so before doors are due to open. The place has changed a little since we were last here in 2009. The gig room is a little smaller for one thing, which is nice, UFFA, the punk house, burned down not too long after we played back then, and it took them a while to rebuild the place. Oystein tells me that since then the scene has moved on a little and they’re trying to rebuild it. Hence we’re here. The guys in Mörkt Kapitel obtained a grant from the government to put on a weekend show at the house so they booked this little festival with us headlining tonight and Martyrdöd tomorrow. Oystein, who is my friend and the person I’ve been in main contact with for these shows tells me that he’s hoping this will wake a bit of life back into the Trondheim punk scene. It’s good to see the MK guys anyway, they seem very concerned with us enjoying our time here. Good lads.

They show us up to the band hang out rooms, behind the stage, out through a back door, up some wooden stairs and into the floor above. There are plenty of beers to tuck into and for the most part we sit around, catching up a little, and drinking a couple of cans. The beer is nice enough but I still feel myself forcing them down as opposed to simply enjoying them. Sometimes it’s like that. I thought I’d be gagging for a beer by the time I got here tonight but it’s not really flowing. I feel like I’ll need a shot of something before we play in a bit, just to get the blood flowing. Johan concurs. He like me, enjoys a bit of a dram before gig time.

There are a few punks milling around about the various rooms up here on the second floor, one guy has this big Victims tattoo on his arm. He’s one of the guys behind the booking of the shows, and seems chuffed we’re here. Nice guy. We head downstairs as soon as we’re told food is ready, all of us pretty hungry by this point. We head to the kitchen and help ourselves to some great vegan food, roasted potatoes and veg, and a lentil stew with soy meat. Tastes fucking great. We head to the cafe/bar area where our friend Jason is waiting for us. He lives in Oslo but has made the trip up on the train to hang out tonight. He’s taking the same train as us back tomorrow and we’re staying at his after the gig tomorrow. It’s fun to see him here, fun he made the trip up. He tells us the train broke down in the mountains for two hours and all of the passengers emptied the bar of booze whilst they waited. So he only just got here himself.

Whilst eating Atle turns up, the singer in MK. Always great to see him. The big friendly bear. Not long afterwards it’s time for MK to play and I run up and grab a beer to sip on whilst watching them. It’s still not going down all that smoothly but it’s nice just to have something in your hand whilst you watch the band. The sound is a little squiff, I can only really hear Fredrik’s guitar and Oystein’s bass but it’s fun watching them anyway. They have a lot more epic riffs going on in their sound these days, with screamo style blast parts played by Oyvind too. I really like it. But then again I like that stuff, and both Oyvind and Oystein played in the screamo band Dominic who were great. I feel in the mood to play by the time they’re done.

There are four bands on the bill, but I only manage to catch MK. I don’t manage to catch any booze before we play but I feel warm enough as we set up. In fact, before we even start the stage lights have put a sweat on me. I’ve had a shitty cold for the last few days, I’m hoping this gig will sweat most of that out. It takes a while to get going, usually the case when you’re lending almost all of the gear. When we finally do, we’re only halfway through the first song, Death Do Us Part, when Andy stops playing and the song falls apart. I look over and see that pissed off look on his face. Seems like his kick pedal has fallen apart. It takes a little while to get going again but when we do I can still feel the pissy energy coming from Andy. He’s fidgeting with the kick pedal between the first few blocks of songs and I can tell he’s not happy. I try to just get on with it and have a pretty good time of it nonetheless. There aren’t a huge amount of people here, maybe fifty or sixty, but the room is small and dark and it looks okay anyway. The sound from Fredrik’s amp is huge and it’s pretty much all I can hear as we play. It’s definitely one of those gigs you have to fight through a little, but I can feel that the crowd in here are enjoying it anyway.

Funny thing is, just as last time we played Trondheim with Victims, someone launches a can of beer at me during the gig. The first time here the fucker caught me right in the pan, this time I merely feel the can whizzing by my ear. Fuck knows what that’s about. Must be the punk thing to do up here in this part of the world. The punks are shouting for more as we finish This Is The End, but I don’t even have to look at Andy to know that we won’t be playing any extras. I take a peek in his direction anyway and as I suspected he’s stood there shaking his head. Looks well pissed off. I’m happy enough with that anyway, it’s hot as fuck on the stage and my face feels like it has a thousand burning hot needles stuck in it, like someone is pouring acid into every pore. It must be the head cold I’ve been suffering with, I’ve been blowing my nose constantly for the last and my face felt red raw before we even played. It’s quite a strange sensation. Eirik comes up to me straight after the gig and tells me it was awesome, but I can only thank him and then run out of the back door to get some freezing cold air on my face. It takes a while to calm down.

It’s good having Jason with us. Even if everyone else tells you the gig was great, he’s straight up and tells us the sound wasn’t that great. No bullshitting there. Not that that takes anything away from the rest of the guys enjoyment of the gig, or indeed their genuinity. The MK guys all seem totally chuffed which makes me happy. I don’t want them to feel let down by us. All in all though, a long way from the best gig we ever played but perfectly fine. Maybe not for Andy I guess but for the rest of us.

We’re sat up in the hangout room and I’m really hoping that someone has some booze. I have an incredible urge to drink booze. Andy laughs at my constant repeating of my inquiries, and subsequent delight when Oystein tells me he has some aquavit, albeit back at his place. Good thing we’re sleeping there then. We hang out and drink a couple more beers, Jon pulls out yet another sausage from his pocket and we all have a good chat. Most of the MK guys are parents too so the conversation revolves around that and music. Total middle aged punks. A couple of younger girls appear after a while and one of them sits next to me. The two of them are a little flirty, just drunk and a little cocky, as you are at that age. They’re nice enough though. The thing is, as they sit there babbling away the only thing I’m tuned into is the sound of my own thoughts and how old these two young girls are making me feel.

Just as it feels like the party up here is starting to kick off and there are more and more people swarming around we decide it’s time to get going back to Oysteins. It is one thirty am as it is and I’ve been up since six thirty. The old cunt in me is longing for a bit of quiet at Oysteins place and a little nightcap before bed. We head downstairs to pick up the gear and the merch, who we’d left with the venue to sell for us at their request. Not that they were taking a fee for it, they just wanted to help out. Very nice. I suggest we give the two young punks a free shirt each and the rest of the guys agree that would be a nice gesture, so I take the box back to the little room off the thin hallway between the bar and the gig room where they had merch and distros set up. The guy selling the shirts is a young street punk and he’s totally delighted when I ask him if he wants a shirt, genuinely made up. He gives me a hug and I pat him on the back whilst in his embrace, not noticing the rows of sharp studs on the back of his jacket before it’s too late. Proper fucking hurts my hand. There is this young girl beside him who then asks, “What about me? I really want a shirt too”. I tell her that of course she can have a shirt and then she asks, “What band is it anyway?” Cheeky little get.

We catch a cab back to Oystein’s place in the city, telling Jason we’ll see him in the morning. Jason is staying at a hotel right by the station. Oystein has this really nice, old flat, all wooden surfaces and floors. Looks like one of the houses at Skansen. He’s made some fresh bread, it’s roasting hot as we attempt to put butter on them. We sit around the coffee table on the floor and chat for a while, the beer in my hand the best tasting of the night. The aquavit is fucking spot on as well. I of course did not bring a sleeping bag, like Oystein had told me too. I made the decision not to because all I had at home was one of those big bulky fuckers that would have taken up the whole bag, and the zip was broke on it anyway. I don’t say anything to Oystein though, it’s pretty toasty in here anyway. By three am we decide to hit the hay and I crash out next to Johan on the double mattress that Oystein’s girlfriend had laid out for us earlier. Jon takes the sofa and Andy a camper bed or something. This will do me just fine, I think to myself. The only thing slightly bothering me as I fall off to sleep is the fact that we have to get up around seven thirty to catch the train to Oslo in the morning.