May 18

I know this post is very late, May has gone and June has begun. But this is a life event far too important not to pen/keyboard down. This has taken about fifteen drafts and eight structural changes before it even had a form. In the end, I disregarded all the rules and wrote this my way. The more emotional, the fewer words I possess even though I have a whole world of things to say inside me. In the spirit of better late than never…

Many might know and some might have guessed already but I like travelling. Especially spontaneously to places I’ve not been before. It’s the very thing to keep you young. It doesn’t have to be a big flash city it can be anywhere. I’ve always felt a bit sad and weird about missing out on Lund. I have been to all of the other old University cities in Sweden. So when I had a reason to go, it kept calling me, I made a real good life decision and went there.

Park in Lund
Every city has its park.

What am I on about? Okay, if you have read my blog before you know I’m big on music, because I don’t need a reason. It’s like writing; it’s a part of me. So of course I went to see a band. No that’s not it at all. I went to see THE band! And I got some snack-delicious treat as added bonus. I’m not talking about band members. Filthy minds! There might be bananas though.

Enough quirkiness! If you read my previous post The Nine, you might remember the “Bands I’d like to see that I haven’t seen yet” list and already know why I went to Lund. First off I had a lovely time getting acquainted with the city.

Lund cathedral
This is the cathedral in Lund. I can’t resist church architecture.
Hemgården the venue for the gig
This is Hemgården.

Then I headed to Hemgården to see Avalinity and Banana Chips do a charity gig to raise money to help with reconstruction due to the recent earthquakes in Japan. Yes Avalinity, finally!! And it was as cosy as it sounds.

First off we were treated to some Banana Chips; they’re an international Shonen Knife-tribute band. I never pass down a chance to hear punk of any kind (except maybe Ska). It’s my roots and it will always have a special place in my heart. Punk never dies and it never truly go out of fashion, nor is it a style you can completely go off. And I liked it very much! How can you not like to hear songs like Cycling is fun, Riding on the Rocket and Banana Chips. Impossible!

The band Banana Chips
Banana Chips. Hard to type when all you hear is Banana Tits, thank you AREKU for that.

AVALINITY

You know that feeling when you finally do something you wanted to for far too long and you can’t really grasp that you have, but you’re happy as a hopping bunny inside. It was something like that, except better.

The band Avalinity
Avalinity
Vocals: SaSa
Drums: Fredrik
Bass: K
Guitar: AREKU

It seems that the before gig conditions wasn’t optimal for some band members, SaSa struggled with pollen read her story on her excellent blog and AREKU talks about his preparations in his post. Incidentally they both are more than read-worthy bloggers! I can’t say I noticed much of their struggles which goes to show what real pros they are. And most importantly they have each other. This band breaths teamwork, fun and togetherness. True bliss to see and hear, I did enjoy SaSa’s humour immensely. That makes the experience even more personal.

SaSa and K on stage.
SaSa and K

It’s almost too painful putting words to this day. As much as I don’t wish to diminish anyone, because all of you matter greatly. It would be untrue of me to say this didn’t matter even more to me because of this one precious person.

Some already know I have followed the gentleman, guitarist, photographer and über creator and fixer upper AREKU for quite some time. So long I can’t find when it all started nor imagine my life without his pictures, wisdom and humour to lighten the days. It’s certainly more than two years, is it even three (?), which says very little because it feels like he’s been there my whole life. But we had never met face to face until this magical day.

picture of AREKU guitarist of Avalinity
AREKU  and his B.C Rich “Mockingbird”

Have you ever looked into the eyes of someone and felt like you instantly knew them? It is a most peculiar and amazing feeling. What a heartfelt welcome to a stranger! I can be a bit awkward especially the first time I see someone, even worse if I admire them greatly. It feels like how I always imagine it to be in the presence of a God. You stumble for words, feel like you can’t move, but that bunny sure hops violently inside.

AREKU playing his BC Rich mockingbird
AREKU, heart and attitude.

There hence the lateness of this post, I stand wordless before this precious moment. It took my breath and as I struggle for air, I’ll skip to saying watching AREKU play made me all warm inside. I have seen him play in videos before, not at all the same thing. He plays from the heart and on that beauty of guitar of his. I can hear how he has evolved, which makes me feel oddly proud and humble to have been part of this experience. To be fair, every part of Avalinity give their hearts to what they do and they have all evolved. It’s such a joy to see them shine on that stage.

Avalinity on stage at Hemgården
Avalinity enchanting their audience.
Stelist of Avalinity at hemgården inside a frame
My wall has finally gotten some flair.

Luckiest girl in the world as I am, I got a set list (and a pick)! Thank you AREKU Sweetheart. ❤ It’s now making my white wall so much prettier. A daily reminder of the day I finally met you. And I for one can’t wait for you all to hear the new song Dream Castle.

There seems to be a story in just about everything involving this band, the songs are no exception. I could go on in a forever flow about it. Perhaps that should be saved for a later post. I will mention this one for me special song SIC, because that song still rocks my heart to its very core. I feel very bad about not writing about it at Christmas last when SaSa and AREKU did a very moving acoustic version of this song. This is an extremely late thank you from the depth of my heart. And know that whenever I have felt truly bad I did watch it and it became my cure.

I’ll end this post like that evening on a high and say a hearty thank you to Avalinity and Banana Chips and Hemgården for this great event, it was emotional. I left Lund with a bag of banan chips and bittersweet longing for more. A tell-tale sign of happiness.

May there be many more days like this

night sky.
Goodbye Lund… I want to see your pretty silhouette again

Feeling ever so curious about Avalinity? Then hop to Facebook, Instagram or Twitter

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The Nine

I haven’t blogged in a long time so let’s restart it with talking about me. Narcissus would be proud! I thought it might be fun to make some kind of lists of things I like. I nicked this idea off social media, the never ending resource of silly yet fun ideas. I’ll list nine things and say something about it. Let’s start by making musical lists. Here goes!

Albums that have formed me in some way

picture of the nine covers

 

1.      Katatonia – Tonight’s decision (1999)

It’s no secret that Katatonia is one of my favourite bands of all time. To choose one record like this is total agony. However, it has to be this record. It is simple yet artful both in songs, lyrics and cover design. It’s doom and darkness but at the same time raw and brutal as it deals with life. It tells the tale of painful moments that comes from difficult decisions. This for me is Renkse and Nyström at their finest. However Katatonia’s latest live recording named Sanctitude (2015) was equally blissful to listen to, even though none of the Tonight’s Decision songs made the setlist. Tonight’s Decision is one of those albums I use for writing, especially if something needs that edgy and slightly angry rawness.

Fav. song: Had to (leave)

2.      Moonspell – Darkness and Hope (2001)

The title says it all, really. It is my version of perfect gothic feel. It’s murky, bestial anger, vampiric and horror darkness with a pinch of that all-consuming romantic hope. This is the album that got me into Moonspell and I haven’t grown out of them as of yet. The literary influences are always visible in their music. They’re the reason I got back into vampires. I like many of their album concepts, but this is the first real taste of that dark and hopeful gothic that I’ve since become so passionate about.

Fav. song: Darkness and Hope

3.      Suede – Coming Up (1996)

This is probably the easiest album to choose. Yes there are many good Suede albums no question, but there’s only one Coming Up. This is by far the most played record in my collection. Not because it’s the best ever, but because in all of this there are memories and a sense of finally belonging. Hard to put into words how this changed my teenage self. You had to be there. I have loved this album since the very first time I played it. And Suede is one of those bands that have connected me with other people. The album is terribly English and maybe a bit wonderfully trashy. I know every single song and sing them with the intensity of love. This album changed me from not wanting anything in life to becoming someone who actually talked. And I can hardly think of a more deserving band. I have only met them once but that one time meant so much to me. It was in a time of my life when change and confusion was getting too much and the honour of talking music for a while with the extremely charming Mat Osman and Richard Oakes made my life seem less hellish and pointless. It also made me want to learn English again. Simply because they did not make fun of my English, they didn’t even seem to notice there was something wrong with it to begin with. So little, makes such a huge difference, to be seen by someone you’ve looked up to is a pure pleasure and it still keeps the heart warm. Many years since, but I remain extremely grateful for that.

Fav. song: Beautiful Ones

4.      Rammstein – Sehnsucht (1997)

Released on my birthday in 1997. I bought it on a whim because one of my friends liked them and I liked the cover to be honest. This was the beginning of a more industrial period in my musical life. It used to drive my parents insane, but my younger brothers liked it a lot. I mean you really should sing Du Hast in kindergarten, it’s a done thing. Right? The heaviness and sheer filth of this album still gives me the chills.

Fav. song: Engel

5.      Thåström – Kärlek är för dom (2009)

Hard to pick one album with this Swedish artist, his voice has followed me all my life, from his punk/pop band Imperiet and onwards. This album is very neat, simple and clean which makes the lyrics pop out even more, and that really is Thåström’s strong point. He is one of few who write really good Swedish lyrics. This is perhaps more poetry to the tones of music than music with lyrics. That might be why this poetry lover likes it so much.

Fav. song: Kort biografi med litet testamente

6.      Salem – Strings Attached (2005)

Israeli doom/death metal, can it get more interesting? Yes, you can mix it up with classical instruments and have strings attached. Yes, this is a unique style of album. I found Salem back when My Space was a fun place to find new bands. (And I did find so many!) The rather different view of Jewish lore is a good remedy against the otherwise predominant Christian thinking and duality. They are a major reason to why I wish to learn both Yiddish and Hebrew. The anger and remorse that is present in most of their songs seem to echo closely to my own heart. I hope they will carry on and inspire more metal to come from this region of the world. A much needed flip in perspective because like it or not, Israelis regardless of religion, no they are not all Jews, are people too.

Fav. song: Ha’ayara Bo’eret (העיירה בוערת)

7.      Sarah Jezebel Deva – A Sign of Sublime (2010)

At least one lady has to make it to this list on her own. A poorly made joke since there’s no need for any equality quota, as an old Cradle of Filth fan The Deva’s place here is given. This album is brutal yet gentle, a perfect combination for her rich voice. She’s a wicked lady in her own right. She is very much a great inspiration not just because of her somewhat strong and sharp opinions on things, but also because she doesn’t dress things up. You need not be sweet and nice, you can just be brilliant at what you do and that is fine. And she brings that strength into her music.

Fav. song: New Born Failure

8.      Apocalyptica – Shadowmaker (2015)

This is almost a perfect album in my view. And it’s Finnish! Swedish-Finnish descendant as I am this feels close to heart. I did not think they could get much better, but they keep proving me wrong. The songs on this album blew me away, from music arrangements to lyrics, it is a dream. It is so beautiful and serious, a combination that Finns seem to balance very well. This is one of those albums that makes me dream about writing great stories. They bring nature into their music and that is something I very much appreciate.

Fav. song: Hole in My Soul

9. BatAAr – Memoria (2014)

… I simply cannot write about this, sorry, the wound is still open. This represents the expansion in my musical world towards the east once more. It changed me and my view and reminded me of musical paths of the past that I had discarded for some time.

Fav. song: MIST

Bands I’d like to see that I haven’t seen yet

  1. Avalinity
  2. My Dying Bride
  3. Reparture
  4. Salem
  5. Buck-Tick
  6. Luna Sea
  7. Rammstein
  8. Goo Goo Dolls
  9. Dir en Grey

This will have to do for now. Maybe I’ll come back and do some more lists.

Always love and be safe!

 

Yowza!! It’s been too long

It’s been a long time…

Okay, according to the date on this thing I  haven’t written a  free subject blog since last summer! That’s simply distressing. Guess that means the little time I’ve had for random writing has been spent on my Ball Joint Doll stories. That’s not half scary then.  If anyone is interested you can find them on my other blog Isaac’s Dollhouse.

Picture of other blog called Isaaac's Dollhourse
You’re welcome to drop by the pink Dollhouse if that takes your fancy.

What am I up to then?

Not much waiting for new term to begin as I’m going to write another essay this time at what  in Sweden is called D-level. Which usually would make me feel very excited. Right now though I’m unusually perplexed as I have no idea and subject for it. Therefore I’m in searching mood which makes me a tiny bit unsettled. Time keeps running off so I thought let’s write something and maybe I get an idea that I can follow.

Picture of Patrik BatAAr from RISKBREAKER promotion.
My pirate heart skips a beat when it sees this picture of super talented Patrik. Picture belongs to BatAAr.

Apart from that anxiety I’m also looking forward to a trip to Gothenburg, going to check out the town and watch one of my new-found musical loves the art metal band  BatAAr in their hometown.  Looking forward to this very much! Been a while since I found such a musical lover. Why do I like them so much then? Well, they keep me guessing on what is coming next and use so many influences in their music. Guess it’s down to their very talented songwriter Patrik. Okay, so I might also have a slight crush on the vocals of Seb, I like the sort of raw kindness that lives inside his voice, both as clear and growl-like. This is when I realise I do not know the right musical terms for this sort of thing. Anyways, are you curious why don’t you check them out. BatAAr’s Facebook  Twitter  Instagram

 

A very colourful picture of Gothenburg band BatAAr.
This picture of BatAAr was taken by me with my HTC ONE at Göta Källare 16/2-2014.

 

Added to this I’m still working on my doll stories of course and taking loads of photos but I thought it better to keep all that in the other blog, instead of boring people to death with my silliness.

Summer reading

Actually this summer I’ve been bad as hell at reading. I think maybe it’s to do with the fact that I have hardly done anything else but read and write this passed academic term, us literary scholars tend to do that. Actually, you get kind of full up in the end. So when I have free time I tend to try and do other creative things. That aside I have been reading some Haruki Murakami Efter mörkrets inbrott (eng. After Dark) in Swedish this time. Not sure which translations I like the best. The Swedish ones are alright it seems but so are the English ones. I usually stay well clear of Swedish translations because they’re not very good, especially not from the Queens English. When it comes to translation from  French and Japanese they’re alright, even good at times. It’s just a lack of effort put into understanding the difference in English I think. And yes of course there are exceptions, as in any walk of life. I’ll probably write something about Murakami again later when I have finished it.

Riga

My BJD doll Isaac with Stockholm archipelago in the background.
My ball joint doll Isaac, is watching Stockholm archipelago.

I also managed to get myself a bit of vacation. I actually decided I needed a bit of a change and took the boat to Riga. Glad I did, for it was a treat. You might not think it but I’m rather curious about eastern Europe. I’ve just never done anything about it. As a bit of a vodka enthusiast this enthusiasm does not shock me. Besides it was a perfect place to test the ‘bring your Ball Joint Doll on vacation’ idea. It was great and I got some fun pictures of my Dream of Doll vampire that I need to post on the Dollhouse sight. I just hate edit work so much. Need to bribe myself first.

Picture of the Vanšu Bridge in Riga.
I fell in love with Vanšu Bridge for some reason.

So what is my first impression of the city? Well, I only went into old town so I guess I can’t say anything about the whole place but it made a great impression on me. I do like their bridges (they’ve got five of them) and as far as I went people were calm and friendly which I liked. Of course there’s a bit of rust and some buildings do speak of occupation and war. Still riverside cities seem to have a special place in my heart. I’d love to spend some more time there. I’m quite impressed with the level of English they speak which is very helpful. To me at least old town seemed to be an artists place, which is not a bad thing. I also like contrasts so the war and chaos/peace and tranquillity was intriguing. However there were lots of cars and they do driver like the French in my opinion which is not a compliment. But as soon as you’re off main roads the place become very still and warm. I managed to take a few photos of decaying houses that stood suddenly in the middle of modern buildings just decaying which is both beautiful and a tiny bit scary. Some looked as though they’d come down any minute now

 

Houses and ruins standing together.
This is one of the safer looking ruins but the contrast of the upmarket Mercedes parked (you see the back of it far left corner) beside ruins gives the impression of surreality in the midst of city life. 

I do have to share my own personal Riga giggle.

Picture of Swedbank building, Saules Akmens.
The Egg-Shard or Shard-Egg! Officially known as the Swedbank headquarters, the building is called Saules Akmens, which means something like Stone of the Sun.

“What is this? I have it! It’s a Egg-Shard” This of course comes from my intimate hate/love  relationship with modern London buildings. And if you’ve been there you might see it too. It actually is the Swedbank headquarters. Well to me it’s a definite Egg-Shard!

So there it is, a tiny update of the tapestry known to me as my life.

Until next time, be safe and remember humans need looking after too.