Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Wednesday, September 26th, 2007:
Top Toilet Tips Update -
Bishops Arms ladies' toilet

What I think:

As some of you may remember, I wrote a review of the toilets at the Bishops Arms here in Helsingborg.

I mentioned how it's perfectly normal for guys to use the girls' toilet when it's busy there (honest). If there's a queue and a toilet's free, it's instinctive for guys to go there. You can't fight (Swedish) nature, OK?

But I've recently discovered a few other things as well.

For example, when there's a queue containing both guys and girls, the guys will always let girls go into the girls' toilet.

Very considerate, eh?.

The point being...?

Oh yeah.

So I was at Bishops Arms the other night and I needed to wee, so got into the queue for the toilets. It was an only-guys-in-the-queue thing.

When it was my turn, the first vacant toilet was the ladies'.

Because there were no ladies present, I went in and did my thang. Sorry, I just love the word "thang"; couldn't resist.

Ourangutan (OK, maybe the first two syllables). Can you tell that I'm a bit drunk? Syllable is a good word as well, but I won't touch it because it's in brackets in the previous sentence.

Yep, drunk.

The füquîng point being???
Yes! OK! The point!

While I was in the ladies' wee thing, I noticed a bin (US/CAN: trash can) next to me. But this wasn't an ordinary bin; it was a closed one and had some kind of sensor above it. With a little waving hand.

It was mysterious.

It looked a bit like this:

This bin seemed to invite me to wave my hand above it. So I did.

The lid of the bin opened and closed gracefully, methodically, and almost clinically. I felt as though I was in a hospital.

A graceful hospital.

But this bin's lid seemed to have teeth or something, and it freaked me out bigtime (like that time I saw
a stripping sheep woman).

When opened, it looked like this:

You know, I was a bit drunk, but I managed to snap some shots of this monstrosity when it reared its ugly head. No problem. But what about the old folks, or the immigrants? What would they think?

Not enough thought is given to what could happen to the old immigrant folks, or the monstrous drunks, if they go to Helsingborg pubs. They need to know more about these things, and it's time that the Swedish government did something about it. That's what I think.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Tuesday, September 18th, 2007:
Away from Helsingborg to see
a weird gig in Lund

What I think:

Probably well over a year ago, I was visiting London for work, and my mate dragged me out to Camden to see a Japanese synth-punk band called Polysics.

There I was, having escaped from Sweden to a really cool little music venue above a pub in the UK waiting for a bizarrre Japanese band to come on, when all of a sudden, the supporting band come onto the stage and the singer/guitarist proclaims, "We're Quit Your Dayjob and we're from Malmö, Sweden!"


But it turned out that they were pretty good, in some odd way.

However, I couldn't resist confronting "Jonass", as he calls himself, at the merchandise stand later. The conversation went a bit like this:

Mark Base: You bastard.
Jonass: What?
Mark Base: I'm living in Helsingborg now, and I come back here for a break from all things Swedish, and here's this bloody band from Malmö. Bastards.
Jonass: Oh, you're living in Helsingborg? Do you know Landskrona?
Mark Base: Yeah?
Jonass: Well that's where we're actually from. We just say we're from Malmö because no one's heard of Landskrona.
Mark Base: I hear there's lots of crime in Landskrona.
Jonass: Yeah, that's because of us.

So, I bought a CD ("Sweden, We Got A Problem"), and left it at that.

Months later, I found out that they were playing in Copenhagen, opening for Gogol Bordello (whom my girlfriend had seen opening for Danko Jones), and decided to go online and book tickets.

But they were sold out.

So I sent the band an email. I reminded Jonass of our conversation in London, and cleverly implied that he tricked me into buying their CD, as I knew he was from Landskrona, and that there's lots of crime there, so I felt afraid that if I didn't buy the CD he would commit crimes against me.

Like mugging, or violence, or drinking on a Monday or Tuesday evening (seen by many as a crime in Sweden), or not paying my TV licence. Or something. Against me. Oh, nevermind.

I told him that he would hear from my attorneys if he didn't put me and my girlfriend on the guest list as recompense.

It worked. He gave me his mobile (US/CAN: cell phone) number, and told me to sms him on the day just to make confirm. It worked out.

Not only did we get in to a really cool sold-out gig, but we were on the guest list and got in for free. Brilliant.

My email must have been well-convincing, eh Readers?

Getting to the point, already...?
OK, so this past Sunday evening there was another gig in Lund, which is somewhere between Helsingborg and Malmö (past Landskrona, thank the Messiah's bloody toenails). My girlfriend had booked tickets and picked them up at a local gambling shop-place-thing (although she's not really the kind of girl who normally goes to those places - honest).

When we got to the venue, it started getting a bit weird. At the door, some bloke with a clipboard practically jumped on us asking if we were on the guest list. Er, no. He looked rather surprised at that. Glancing at his clipboard, it looked like it was about four pages long. With the text at a number 8-sized font.

We walked past him to the guy on the till and handed him the tickets. He took them and just stared at them for ages, reading them carefully, and not quite knowing what he was supposed to do with them. My girlfriend helped him out by tearing off the stubs and handing them over.

So it would appear that we were the only ones who had bought tickets.

When we got in, there was some sort of dinner thing finishing off. Apparently, there'd just been some kind of film festival there, and this was the tail end of that event.

What was odd about this scenario was that, dressed as we were, with me in my "You say tomato, I say fuck you" t-shirt on, and my girlfriend looking suitably luscious, we felt as though we were crashing a posh party, when in fact, were were probably the only ones who had actually bought tickets. (Cue Twilight Zone music.)

We went outside the bar to have a smoke amogst all the well-dressed riff-raff and noticed a little poster with the line-up and times for the bands performing. At that point it was about 9:45 p.m. (Svenska 21:45). Quit Your Dayjob wouldn't be on until 11:15 (Svenskar: work it out, for Christ's sake). We were a bit early.

But it turned out that there were other bands on beforehand.

One was a cool Danish "punkabilly" band, from the Danish part of Denmark, and the other was an amazing band called Sunshine Rabbits, the self-proclaimed "Founders of Furpop". They were strange-but-good. Here are a couple of photos (US/CAN: pictures):
My girlfriend actually knows this girl from the band. Her name is Lotta Wenglén, and she does her own stuff as well. It's pretty cool, and you should check it out. And she's really nice; she stopped to say hello to my girlfriend in the bar.
This one's pretty charismatic. I don't know her, but she seems like the kind of girl who would love to take tea with your mum (US/CAN: mom), and chuck it in her face. In a sweet and friendly way.

Their music can only be described as fun. It's kind of a tongue-in-cheek disco, rock 'n' roll, goth-punk sugar-coated loveliness. Makes you feel all sunny and warm and bubbly and caressingly violent. Nice mix.

Quit Your Dayjob were next. But there was an extra surprise for us. Before the band came one, the song "You Can Leave Your Hat On" began, and out came this:
Told you it was a weird night, didn't I?

Yes, there was a woman, dressed as a sheep, dressed in a red trenchcoat, about to perform a striptease for us. Due to the lack of expertise in this area (honest), I couldn't quite work out whether she was from New Zealand or Wales. But she was hot.

I was going to make some joke about mint sauce, but I think I'll leave it.
This little lamb took off her trenchcoat and her dress, and was left with nothing bit a skimpy bikini.

Which she proceeded to remove as well.
I think it was the glasses that really did it for me. I'm not ashamed to say that my trousers fit all funny for a few moments there.

While the audience was still gasping for breath, Quit Your Dayjob took to the stage.

One thing that's great about this band is that their songs don't generally last for more than two minutes, much like the early Beatles' hits.

Yep, straight to the point, then bugger off. I like it.

Looking at them at first, they seem like just another high-energy punkish trio, bringing joy and happiness to an otherwise deprived world:

But wait, what's this?

Within the space of about five minutes (or about seventeen songs), Marcass has stripped down to his boxer shorts.

But what he lacks in clothing, he makes up for playing funky keyboards and pointing at people.

As for the drummer, Drumass, he plays drums. And he does it well. He also helps to contribute towards what Marcass lacks in clothing. Which is a lot.

Overall, a great gig, but it was a weird evening. Wouldn't you say?

I had sms'd Jonass before we left for the show, informing him that my cat was dancing to their song "Pissing On A Panda" (even though it was just my girlfriend jiggling her legs around), and he replied by saying, "Then we've succeeded!"

There simply aren't enough pandas to piss on in Sweden, and it's time that the Swedish government did something about it. That's what I think.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Wednesday, September 12th, 2007:
The Super Bag Lady of Helsingborg

What I think:

There's this amazing bag lady in Helsingborg. But I don't mean "amazing" in a "Wow, what a babe" kind of way, as one usually does with most bag ladies.

No. Although this one is truly a looker - a veritable hunk o' burnin' love - she's much more than just your average ancient hotty that all normal blokes (US/CAN: guys) like to talk about, and drool over, down the pub, when their girlfriends aren't listening (right, guys?).

This one carries all of her stuff without the use of a shopping trolley (US/CAN: cart). And she's got a lot.

Although quite shy (though I suspect that that's just an act to ward off us admiring young whipper-snappers. In our forties), she did agree to pose for me while she was in action:

But wait, there's more. Tongues back in your mouths, guys.

I hear you asking, "But how on earthenware Victorian pottery products does she carry all those bags by herself, poor dear." (I wish that voice would go away.)

This is how, in ten magificent steps, this incredible specimen of womankind spends her days with her impressive array of plastic carrier bags:

1. Magically appear, from out of the blue, with twenty fully-packed bags, on Södergatan.
2. Lovingly arrange them all in a pretty and easily-manageable row (as pictured above).
3. Gracefully pick up ten at a time; five in each hand.
4. Walk about five metres (US/CAN: about six yards, or so) along the pavement (US/CAN: sidewalk).
5. Neatly, and with the utmost dignity and finesse, lay the bags on the pavement, as close to the wall as possible without squishing the spiders, homeless people, or nasty drunk foreigners on heroin.
6. Walk briskly-but-sensibly back to the remaining ten bags.
7. Pick them up with as much grace, if not more, as the first lot (ref: Step 3).
8. Waddle with wondrous wit and wistfulness to your previously placed packages.
9. Repeat Steps 2 - 8 until reaching the southern end of Södergatan.
10 Either cross the road, with ten bags at a time, and continue with precious must-haves and keepsakes towards the north, or disappear just as magically as the appearance in Step 1, without any trace left behind that any young CSI worth his salt, and in his forties, can find.

But who is this Super Bag Lady of Helsingborg? Where does she keep her seven cats (she carries this enticing scent which is either cats eating fruity cupcakes for lunch or Britney Spear's Fantasy Fragrance)? Does she collect stamps? Does she watch Bolibompa on Swedish telly (US/CAN: TV)?

I find it disgraceful that this poor forlorn, vulnerable little old-age Über-Babe should have to watch out for these horrible spiders, homeless people and nasty drunk foreigners on heroin whenever she puts her first lot of bags down, and it's time that the Swedish government did something about it. That's what I think.