Gefle Metal Festival 2018

IMG_20180713_232903_1w.jpg

Rolling out of bed Thursday morning, I wasn’t at all prepared for the summer that would ensue. Sure, it’s been summer in Sweden for like twelve weeks by now, which isn’t normal I might add, but when you enter an old gasometer for a music gig that revolves mainly around hell on earth, the sensation of actually BEING in hell was at least setting the mood.

When stepping through the entrance to the gasometer, it was like being covered by a blanket of a moist, dense condensation of human flesh and sunsweaty skin, with subtle hints of beer, camping and electronic equipment ready to malfunction at any second in the pressing heat.

The emergency exits stood open at all times, if anyone inside would decide that enough is enough and throw themselves out through the door to meet a slightly different kind of heat, with less hints of skin and more hints of dead grass, melting pavement and old mud tiles slowly wishing they could seize to exist in the setting sun. Fortunately, two stages were outside and merely one in the depths of hell inside.

IMG_20180713_201217w.jpg
IMG_20180714_200904_1w.jpg

Don't let the clouds excite you. They released like two drops of rain the entire weekend.

A few days before the festival started, we concluded that the amounts of alcohol consumed would go through the roof with the promised perfect hanging outdoors-weather and that it would turn into one so called Off Our Faces Metal Festival, metal optional if you manage to actually locate the stage where your favourite band plays. But! Instead, I experienced a pretty sober festival, with my theory being that the frying sun took the edge off the usual metalhead stamina, seeing as there was no actual place to hang out in the shade.

I mean, metalheads ARE my peeps, my peoples, but hell, they’re drunk on outings. Very drunk. And I would lie to you guys if I denied waking up Friday morning after the pre-party, experiencing a roller coaster when turning sides in my bed after a night heavily laden with tequila, beer, cider and hey, why not a little vodka to go with that? In my defense, I had only slept two hours the night between Wednesday and Thursday and instead of a nap on Thursday I got dragged out to the fringe parts of town and forced into a stream. Well, by forced I mean “I’m dying from heat exposure and that brown piece of water looks good to me even though it’s upriver from a beach that is too dirty to swim at”.

IMG_20180712_232219w.jpg

Ahem.

Anyways, on Thursday night this year, there was a warm up with the promised last gig of a cult classic band for my generation of metal- and non-metal fans, The Kristet Utseende. Their music is pretty much about genitals and a little bit about religion, drugs, alcohol and other racy subjects in a punk fashion. Yeah, I don’t get it either but whatever.

Then on Friday and Saturday the real festival commenced, lining up band after band of the metal persuasion. This year, I only had three bands I wanted to actually see, and then a couple of others that I could enjoy at a distance while feeding on onion rings or rolling around on the only little patch of dying grass that exists on the area of the festival.

IMG_20180714_193251w.jpg

I'm always in for a piece of At the Gates, one of the best bands out there! The thumping bass triggered my hangover though, so half the gig I watched from a distance. Hrm...

IMG_20180713_211912w.jpg

Angry Finns, yes! 

IMG_20180714_184634w.jpg

And then of course my peeps in Apocalypse Orchestra with their doomy doomyness and flagellant and everything (not in view)! 

IMG_20180714_235527w.jpg

All in all, it was a lovely festival with lots of people, new and old friends and acquaintances, lots of beer, lots of hangovers (2½ in three days) and lots of loud music and an unflinching torment from the ball of fire in the sky. It was really nice, is what I am trying to say! A couple of years ago it rained so much that I couldn’t even take out my phone to take a commemorative picture of the bands playing, fearing it would drown and die, so I prefer this kind of weather if I have to choose..

gmf18-off.jpg

After this entire post about the festival itself being only about weather, I should add that I do realize that there are a lot of places in the world that easily outheat themselves in comparison to Sweden, but sporting temperatures of around 31C/almost 90F for weeks isn’t normal. Us pleb citizens have no means to shelter ourselves at home with fancy stuff like AC. I mean, Swedes spend like 10½ months of every year trying our best to keep the damn heat IN, not OUT. And in my defense, even the tattooer visiting my boss, a native to India, questioned what the fuck is going on with the temperatures here. “I mean, I’m used to it but this doesn’t feel like 31 degrees at all! At least 35-36!”.

Gefle Metal Festival 2018, I almost can’t believe it’s already passed.

My sister's wedding

Last week, I made my ten hour way south to participate in my sister's wedding. They finally decided to get it done after twelve years together. It was an intense weekend and I brought one of my best friends for my plus one because I have a complicated love life, haha. The weather was lovely (you never know with the Swedish summer) and it was such a loving atmosphere. 

The ceremony took place in a castle ruin out in a lake, and then the festivities took place in my sister's and her now husband's garden, complete with a bar and personnel, and a very popular man professionally handling the BBQ. The polaroid camera was sent around and everyone wrote their well-wishes, speeches were held and food was happily eaten. All in all, a very nice experience!

IMG_20180630_104514w.jpg

Before the wedding we went sightseeing a little and crashed another wedding. Maybe you can't see it, but all the men in suits were staring at us when I took the picture.

kronobergw.jpg

Kronoberg's castle was the site for the wedding. Having been used and built on since at least the 14th century, it has been in ruin since the 17th century. And of course, like all old places in the southern half of Sweden, the Danish torched it at one time. 

IMG_20180630_150300w.jpg

The guests arrived, with the lovely little café in the background. 

IMG_20180630_182319w.jpg

Food and drink! 

IMG_20180630_200657w.jpg
IMG_20180630_205829w.jpg

Mingling in the setting sun.

IMG_20180630_202918_1w.jpg

We've always teased my sisters spouse because he's obsessive with the lawn, but dang, it's the most perfect patch of grass I've ever seen! 

IMG_20180630_232845w.jpg

Outdoors dancefloor with lights and a DJ! 

DSCN9238w.jpg

On the way home we stopped for a bit of air at another ruin, Brahehus, a 17th century dwelling wonderfully placed upon the cliff side, overlooking the lake Vättern. I dropped my phone and got my first dents ever in a mobile screen, but I guess it's fine because it was ON the ruin. If I'm gonna drop my phone on anything, it's a ruin, right? 

DSCN9267w.jpg

All this makes me want to move south because I just love this part of Sweden. 

Midsummer of 2018

midsw.jpg

So, I can with great joy proclaim my survival of Midsummer’s Eve in God’s year 2018!

I mean, one guy did almost die but that’s expected when shoving 16 people together in a house in the countryside, having brought twice as many bottles of schnapps than there are people. The weather was as usual too, aka surprisingly cold considering the days before and after Midsummer’s, as if just planning to dance around the pole manages to invoke the rain gods, leaving all the little frog hoppers jump through the drizzle in order to make their children happy with its traditional midsummeryness.

It was a joyful experience, banqueting on great food and schnapps, mingling and talking to old and new acquaintances about everything from the simple things to bigger questions in life well into the night.

IMG_20180623_013930w.jpg

The darkest that the early summer night gets in the center-ish of Sweden. Magic every year.

I’m so grateful to have made a bunch of new friends these last few years since I moved home, it’s such a silver lining in addition to all the things I have to be happy about.

The magic of Midsummer's Eve.

This coming Friday, it is Midsummer’s Eve. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the concept of a Swedish Midsummer’s Eve, I can tell you that it’s the national day for getting eaten alive by mosquitos, “involuntarily” drinking schnapps flavored with elderflowers (even though our fathers does not smell of the berries), BBQing whatever we can get our hands on from the trashed half empty shelves of anything BBQable in the stores and being outside in dresses and shorts even though it’s just a few degrees above freezing come sunset.

CRW_5701w.jpg

Imagine a country full of self-controlled people that lives in the darkness and cold of the north for eight months every year. Then imagine there being quite a lot of the heathen ways left, in spite of Christianity’s tries to subdue them. Most of our holidays are Christian (somewhat) in origin and we, as a pure and godly collection of folks, of course use the days off of work to get pissed in public. But Midsummer’s is a little bit different.

IMG_2678w.jpg

Firstly, it’s our only holiday of any weight during the summer months. So not only do we get off of our faces in public, we also get to accept our heathen spirits that still roam these lands and give ourselves the opportunity to flee out into the countryside and have sex outside because it’s tradition to do so (some people are denying this, I don’t know why?). All the while freezing to death and being eaten alive by mosquitos, of course. That act of survival is a vital ingredient in any early-to-late night outdoor activity in Sweden. Why one should have sex outside on the night that the sun nearly doesn’t set at all and gives you the absolute minimum of darkness to protect your privacy I don’t know, but hey, it’s tradition after all!

CRW_5833w.jpg

As dark as the night gets. It's kind of magic really.

As you can tell, it’s obviously the finest holiday of them all and of course, everything I’m telling you is true (except for the sex part, but one can wish, right!). Also, everything you've heard about people jumping around a pole like little frogs are true. Only parents though, and their kids. The rest of us stands around in the background, happy that we don't have to.

Now, I don’t have a set tradition apart from the aforementioned BBQ and schnapps, I just jump on whatever location being offered that the drinking and BBQing (how about some halloumi rolled in chili flakes, ugh so good!) can take place with nice folks. This year I’m shipping myself off to a country side dwelling about an hour away from town with a bunch of people ranging from friends to strangers, to eat and drink a lot during 26 hours.

CRW_5601ws.jpg

What could possibly go wrong?

A little trip to Dalarna

Home again; I’m sitting by the computer in my little apartment. I’ve just returned from a six day trip with my two best friends. We got the chance to rent a cabin in the lovely Dalarna, close by where we as teens had a cabin through an association at school. Packing a week’s stuff worth of stuff, we ventured inlands to the hills and valleys and the accompanying wonderful views. It’s all been calm and quiet, and so, so great. We’ve talked about life, gone thrift shopping, cozied up in front of the fire, gone to a knife outlet (Mora, hähä) stared at the wonderful nature, laughed, cooked, watched Brits compete in baking and interior design and gone to bed early.

Not at all like when we used to visit this place when we were in high school, that is. Back then it was more like anything microwaveable, using the floor as a refrigerator for our beer because it was so cold, collecting water in the public water/toilet house because there was no running water in the cabin and having a hot cup of coffee on the front porch with its glorious views, trying to fight off the hangovers.

Fifteen years later it was lovely to get to see the same views again, with my two best ones in life. It all has meant and does mean so much to me; having the history and that we’ve gotten the opportunity to do these kinds of things together. Invaluable.

IMG_2888w.jpg
DSCN1731w.jpg

How it looked during our time. My love.

IMG_2879w.jpg

The cottage has changed a lot, and I'm guessing that there's not much left of the original. But everything changes. 

IMG_2905w.jpg

Dalarna is one of Sweden's most beautiful regions, that's for sure.

IMG_2914w.jpg

It's like time froze 120 years ago, and I LOVE IT.

IMG_2924w.jpg
IMG_2928w.jpg

Eheh.. Funny.

IMG_2959w.jpg

Storstupet, "The big fall". A little canyon with it's train bridge built in 1902 and a logger's chute in order for the logs to get down stream unharmed.. Not far from here is a place called Helvetesfallen, "The Hell Falls", that is wonderful also, but walking through 2 kilometers of knee deep snow didn't really tickle our fancy, so we missed out on that one. Next time! 

It's been truly lovely, and I'm ever so greatful to have these people and memories in my life. I'm one lucky gal, after all.

The musical festival came to town

Festivalen är över. Till skillnad från den tur vi hade i helgen, så regnade det hela söndagen. Jag gissar på att det gråa svala svalkade mången bakfull besökare i kampen att hitta tillbaka till den trista vardagen efter två dagar i musikens värld. Köerna till barerna var tidvis alldeles för långa, kanske för att man blev kokt levande i publikhavet under den frätande solen. 

Ack så trevligt det var. Tänk ynnesten att få ha detta på gångavstånd, regnfritt, myggfritt och med ork! Förra året var jag slut som artist och orkade liksom inte med riktigt. I år rullade det bara på och var trevligt, och ett gäng med band fick man äran att se på nära håll. 

Historiskt tveksamma gänget Amon Amarth med sin järnåldershjälm och så hornen på det... Jag gick och införskaffade mig cider innan dom slet fram den uppblåsbara draken, den fick jag se på håll.

Åh, Bloodbath. Älskade.

(lägg till gällt skrikande från undertecknad här)

Vi värmde upp lite smått i torsdags med öl, ledigt fredag såklart! Vänner, nya bekantskaper, musiken, vädret, en perfekt helg! Nu är det bara resten av sommaren kvar. 

I SURVIVED FIVE NIGHTS IN A TENT

Yes. There were doubts. Not only I questioned my ability to survive, I don’t doubt for a second that my more questionable friends (meaning, all of them) put their wagers in on how long it would take before I snapped, and in a pure fit of camping-rage stomped off to catch the train the hell out of there after throwing all my belongings into the nearby river. Not for a second I felt confident that I would survive five days and five nights in a fucking tent.

You know the movies where city people gets shuffled out in nature and have to adapt, and while doing so being bitchy morons? Yeah, I sort of felt like that when in the middle of us trying to find a spot to set camp in the muggy, mosquitoey pine tree forest, it started raining. A lot. When it started raining a little bit too much, we retreated to the car. Where it started hailing. A lot.

“So. Now that we’ve seen Näsåker, we can return home right?” may have slipped past my forced smile while I surrendered to the thought of five days in this hell. I would now spend five days and five nights in a tent, as the first camping experience since that one time when I was eight and it was TERRIBLE.

22 years later, it was said and done. When the rain and hail cleared a bit we returned and set camp, raised the tarps to shelter us from the impending flood rains both from above and below, and pimped the place out with rugs, blankets and a little folding table that the novice city dweller (me) had brought even though I was questioned because a table? Really? Is this glamping?

But! I managed to keep calm, settled, social and sociable during all the five days, through non-existent sleep, ice water showers, bongo drums pounding their way into my brain around the clock, huge gatherings of people and non-stop hanging out. With just two withdrawals into the tent during the day time to collect myself a little, it was fine. Almost no mosquitos, no bugs really (In Sweden? During summer?? Wat), wonderful live music and the morning coffee does actually taste better after having lived through the hell of freezing to the brink of death every night.

Because no one used said glamping table later on.. 

Midday slumber on a blanket

I watched other people cook

Pretty cosy!

IMG_1072w.jpg

We stared at different types of water

And of course the rock carvings stemming from the bronze age and stone age

Being who I am, I of course dragged people to the museum and bought myself a souvernir

We drank coffee and bathed in the river, played mountain goats in the cliffs.

So, when we squeezed into the car with all the packing, ready to go home, what was my final opinion?

I believe the most surprising thing was the lack of mosquitos, we had more wasps than mosquitos! Better yet, even more surprising was that this city dweller brought the wrong sleeping bag because I HAD TWO OF THEM? Teeth chattering along with the wasp trying to find its way out of the screen room, I couldn’t even close it because it was so tight. My roomie and I swapped and it got a little better, but I still froze so much that I couldn’t stay asleep when I finally dozed off. A couple of bands were amazing and the spring rolls were AMAZING ahem ate them for three days straight.

So, the Urkult festival and hanging around the camp, 5/5 would definitely do again. Sleeping in a tent: 0/5, PEOPLE DO THIS WILLINGLY?