Gothenburg is one of those cities, you know the ones. De-facto cultural capitals where art roams the streets and ruthless hipsters regularly out-hip your wildest and most complicated hipster dreams.
Me and Le Baarone and Alexandra Cecile Bouche were at this sleazy/tastefull hole called Jazzhusset waiting to play a musical concert for the cream of Gothenburg youth.
Some skinny punk fuck-up called Jonk "Jonas" Haglund had booked us to play there, but he had called to say he was stricken with herpes or some such thing and couldn't make it.
Yes officer, that´s him in the middle there. Slap the cuffs on.
It was buuutttttt......ffuuuuuuccck .....freeeeezing outside, so after soundcheck we just hung around the bar lookng awkward and failing to be recognised. Are you getting a picture?
I was tired and irritable, and had stuffed myself into a dark corner of the bar, hoping against hope for some peace. I was lost in a reverie when I felt something slam into me, a human body of some sorts.
A sweaty, gin-soaked voice rasped in my ear.
"You better be good, fucker, because I told my fucking freinds to come here. Can you handle that kind of responsibility? Can you take the fucking pressure?!?"
Sweet Jesus, it was the awful Daniel Strandman, a dangerous drunk, sex-offender and celebrated Scandanavian fashion personality.
I instantly felt The Fear, but I tried desperately to conceal it. One whiff of panic and who knows what he'd do.
I decided to try and buy time by flattering this dangerous creep.
"Looking super-flexible there D.S." I gurgled "What's on the agenda of a swinging guy like you on a night like this?"
He gave me a blank look and tossed the rest of his drink down the front of my shirt. "I'm here, waiting to see your silly act, baldy".
"Nifty." I said, ignoring the Beefeaters and Schweppes soaking into my chest-hair. "Maybe we can take some girls out for pizza afterwards, and make them pay."
A "good night out" for Daniel is an ugly and complicated thing.
But the Strandman was only half listening. He started tugging at the sleeve of my shirt and staring at something on the other side of the room.
I looked down his sightline, but it ended in an empty patch of wall so I couldn't tell what was bugging him. Maybe nothing.
But the look on his face was troubling and he leaned in, like a man with a secret to tell.
"Your buddy Aaron has got it coming to him!" He hissed. "It's time for that guy to pay the fucking piper!"
He elbowed me hard in the ribs for emphasis, then grabbed somebody's drink off the bar and threw it down his throat. No-one protested.
But his tone had a truly mean edge to it and I was genuinely shocked and afraid.
"What the fuck are you talking about?" I wheezed, "The Baaron can't have enemies here."
I mean Jesus. Look at that evil fucker. Who would want a piece of that??
Strandman just laughed at me and gave my cheek a friendly slap.
"He's got a talent for it, doesn't he?" He slurred. "There's schools of micro-shrimp in the North Sea that want to put the hurt on that fucker. There's particles of ice in Saturn's rings that hate his guts! This is Sweden, shithead. You guys are totally out of your depth."
His words had the ring of awful truth, but I just finished my beer and said nothing. Daniel smiled warmly and grabbed another drink off the bar.
"I'm going to go keep an eye on that poor skinny bastard. You go take a big shit, grandpa. You look like you need one."
He let out an evil, throaty chuckle and lurched over to where the Baaron was chatting to a local nerd of some kind. He jabbed his forefinger into the small of The Baarons back and Von Cuddles squawked like a chicken and spilled his soda-water all-over a bored looking proffesional couple who cursed him and shoved him away. Then Strandman thrust his gin-reeking mug into Von Cuddles ear and said something that instantly made The Baarons face turn grey. Then they both walked quickly out of the bar.
I never did find out what thorny doom was hanging over the Baaron that night, but I quickly decided not to worry. Anything that Von Cuddles can't handle is way beyond my capabilities, so why fret about it?
Both he and Strandman seemed loose and smug when I found them guzzling cooking sherry and telling ugly sex stories back in the kitchen. They were hanging around with a jittery Japanese guy who kept patting his pockets and mumbling and kicking things.
This was Strandman's hired-gun photographer, who had been flown in at short notice from Helsinki to take a few snaps of the Baaron and I in some Julian Red "casual" wears. He seemed angry and nervous for some reason, and during the shoot he kept shouting at us and smacking us with a long flat piece of wood. We complained to Strandman, but Daniel just kept necking that disgusting sherry and laughing at us and groping a leggy blonde model-type who had wandered in from the bar to check up on him.
It all went pretty well, and we scored some fine JR clobber for our time and trouble.
The atmosphere in the club was tense and there were lots of ugly scenes in the crowd that night.
Denis from Fucking Wherewolf Asso had gone into some sort of boozy judo trance and was fighting off many imaginary attackers. Sara Shakarchi had lost patience with a group of preppy tourists and laid several bodies out on the greasy carpet. Right in front of me two under-age shoegazer types where pushing and elbowing each-other visciously for almost the whole gig while their drunk girl-friends rolled their eyes and giggled and every so often Strandman would lurch hideously out of the front-row and yell something really rotten and insulting at us.
The Baaron falls asleep, Mark Knopfler style....again.
Shred and tweak and shred and tweak some moooorrrreeeee.
As gigs go it was strange, violent and troubling, but we plied our trade regardless, bagged as much booze as we could and made it to bed alive that night.
Just another day at
the office, really.
Slow morning on the floor at Chez Jonk.
The rest day was pretty laid back. Some slothery at Chez Jonk and a few hours tooling around the city pretty much took care of it. But once the sun went down The Baaron, The Bouche and myself were sucked into an all-night test of strength and skill against The Jonk, The Julia and Sara "Motherfuckin" Shakarchi.
It was brutal and it started with bowling.
Jonk expresses triumph and contempt for social norms.
Reinforcing what we´ve all known all along, the scoreboard decalres that The Baaron is a nameless error.
A furious Lady Alexandra picks a fight with Julia over her controversial technique, while Shakarchi chuckles into her tonic water.
We managed to fit in a photoshoot for Shakarchi and the Baaron´s hot new darkwave act, Hoarfrost (touring January 2012. Contact fabrizio@supercoolbookingagency)
I wasn´t allowed to play fussball, because everyone said I smell.
Poor Cuddles doesn´t get to drink much on tour, being the designated driver and all, so rest days are a real bonus for the little scamp.
Creepy, boozy, homo-ironic Nazism really takes the edge off. Doesn´t it???
Anyway, you get the picture. Another 48 hours down the G-hole and we´re still none the wiser about what makes these weird northerners tick. Burn their idols and convert them all to christianity at the point of the sword, I say. That should straighten them out.