Wednesday, August 1st, 2007:
Helsingborg's Festival and
a Yank's crayfish party
Every year, I think it's during the last Thursday-to-Friday of July, this fine little city hosts a festival, with loads of different music, interesting food stalls (your chance to try a moose kebab), and stalls selling loads of crappy stuff no one needs but just might be drunk enough to buy (your chance to purchase a t-shirt saying "HELSINGBORG FÖR FAN" - translated (roughly) to "HELSINGBORG, DAMMIT"). Wonderful.
Some kidding aside, there's actually a very good atmosphere in the city during these three days (days known as "summer" here). People come from miles around to check it out. I think there were even some from as far away as Ramlösa in the south, and Tågaborg in the north.
The variety of music is pretty impressive, although many of the tents dotted around the city have cover bands: Sixties stuff, general "right on" (yawn) stuff, and some old Swedish faves, including the dreaded "Dansband" genre (this actually deserves a separate blog entry all its own. Remind me.)
Other than that, there are a few oldies (for the Old Age Party animals), and one or two OK shows.
In short, although the atmosphere is nice, the music during the festival is not my pint of lager.
However, my girlfriend has a colleague who moonlights as a drag artist. He's in a drag "troupe" (for want of a better word - would a "gaggle of drag artists" be more appropriate?) called Champagne Safari.
We went to see their six o'clock show on Friday evening.
They're quite fun. And at least two of them look a bit too much like babes. Here's a random photo that turned out OK from the distance we were standing:
The show was quite good, but the beer looked like this:
After the show (and another beer), we decided to go out for another beer (and another beer).
We went to PL13 first.
But it wasn't open yet, so we went to The Bishops Arms instead.
Here's me at Bishops with a nice pint of expensive imported beer:
After that, we went back to PL13 and had a couple more beers there.
My girlfriend, already tipsy at this point, proposed that it was her turn to get drunk, as she'd dragged my "sorry ass home enough times" to deserve at least one good night of debauched abandon.
Because I was drunk, I agreed. This would be fun.
As it turned out, I was in "looking out for someone else" mode, so I actually did alright. Phew.
On Saturday, my mate the Yank was hosting a crayfish party (US: crawfish party), as his dad was visiting from Yankland (US/CAN: the U.S.).
I brought the potato salad. No really, I'm serious, I did.
Once a year, during late-July to mid-August, many Swedes have these parties. That's because this is when they're incredibly plentiful, and there's a massive national cull of the little buggers. That's the crayfish - not the Swedes (or the Yanks).
Those who don't live near lakes where crayfish breed (i.e. most of us) buy boxes of pre-prepared frozen ones, let them thaw out, stick them in big bowls, and plonk them on the table.
They're usually accompanied by bread (garlic bread's nice), Mark's Potato Salad®, and maybe some regular salad, and consumed with beer, and seemingly never-ending shots. And copious amounts of paper napkins are required for wiping off the dill water and crayfish guts. Some Swedish songs from the Midsummer are usually recycled during these festivities as well.
Here's the Yank looking quite happy and proud of the success of this memorable event:
When I went to the balcony for a cig, I managed to get a pretty cool shot of a couple of the other guests. Then I Photoshop'd it so that you'll have no idea as to whom these people are (hint: they're not from Champagne Safari): Me and the girlfriend rounded the evening off by going to an outdoor Festival gig; a band called Svenska Akademien, who are from a city called Landskrona, which is even further away than Ramlösa. It's got a reputation for having a very high crime rate as well.
Then we took a couple of little fun fair (US/CAN: amusement park) rides, and went home.
Via the Charles Dickens pub.