Monday, December 8th, 2008:
Music and mayhem in Helsingborg
What I think:
Well, it happened again today. Somebody came up to me, asked if I was Mark Base, and mentioned that she reads this blog. While this most often happens at PL13, this time it was at a bus stop in the south of the city. I had just finished rehearsing with a Christmas Choir (my former workplace has a few people who sing some songs at Christmas and Midsummer, and I agreed to continue playing guitar for them), and I was waiting for a bus to go home.
Meeting this girl made me realise that I haven't written anything for a while, so I thought I'd take this opportunity to bring you up to speed with things over here in the south of Sweden. Oh, by the way, "Hello girl from the bus stop!" (I do remember your name, but I'm not sure of how to spell it). Plus I'm not sure if you'd want to see it published here, even if I happened to get the spelling right.
Work-wise, I'm still mainly getting jobs from the company I used to work for, but I've had a couple of other things as well; most recently some voice-over work, which is fun. I'm actually going to Malmö tomorrow to do a bit more of that.
OK, that's work out of the way.
The end of October and the first couple of weeks of November were an exceptional time for music in Helsingborg. I'm hoping that this turns out to be some kind of trend; perhaps some decent bands won't always necessarily skip Helsingborg when going to do other gigs in the bigger cities elsewhere in Sweden, like Stockholm and Gothenburg. One can always dream.
CSI: Helsingborg in Höganäs
But first, a bit about my band, CSI: Helsingborg. We had a gig at a place called Trappa Upp (Upstairs) in a town called Höganäs, which is about a 20-minute drive north of Helsingborg. Trappa Upp is an odd place right in the middle of some sort of industrial estate. And, as the name suggests, it's up a flight of stairs. But once inside, it's actually quite a nice venue.
"Good evening. We're with the crime lab."
It turned out to be a really good gig, even though there were only about 20 people there (including bar staff). A bit odd for the Friday after pay day, but nevermind. It was great to see my burger-stabbing friend there with his girlfriend. They'd recently moved to Höganäs, and thought they'd come and check out the show. So, M. (the girlfriend) was the official photographer for the evening.
The Pink Floyd Project at The Tivoli
The following evening my girlfriend and I went to The Tivoli to see a Danish tribute band called The Pink Floyd Project.I can definitely say that this was the best show I'd seen during my time in Helsingborg, so far. The music, the visuals, everything was just... wow. I almost felt stoned watching/listening to them. Check them out; they got some stuff on YouTube. After the show, we went into the adjoining bar within Tivoli, the Vinyl Bar. It turned out that my bass player from CSI: Helsingborg (CSI: Per) was there with his lovely wife and a mate. So we had a few more beers.
After the show...
Then this guy suddenly appeared wearing a tiny Borat-style thong swimsuit, and with his hair in bunches.
Apparently he was wearing it for a bet, but he was quite embarrassed for a while. But then he got used to the attention and decided to shake his exposed booty.No, it wasn't pretty.
I don't remember much more about that evening, and the photos remaining on the camera didn't give me much of a clue, but I don't think it was anything more exciting than this. Because this really looks pretty exciting, doesn't it?
A birthday party
The following week, I was invited to a party to celebrate the birthday of the drummer of my other band, Suckerbucket. I went with The Yank and another friend.
It wasn't exactly a surprise party, per se, as Mr Drummer's wife had made about 14,682 hors d'oeuvres, and had bought 687 bottles of bubbly. But we gave him a bit of a surprise when he opened his front door to find about 50 people singing Happy Birthday to him.
And there was another surprise in store for him anyway. Some of the guests had organised a little band to play Stevie Wonder's Happy Birthday. They even got some funky costumes together, and got Mr Birthday Drummer Guy to join in and bang a snare drum as well.
Quite an impressive performance. And visually, it almost rivalled The Pink Floyd Project.
But not quite.
Afterwards (i.e. after we'd polished off the 687 bottles of bubbly), The Yank, the other friend, and I went to Pub Punkten for a couple more beers. Then I went home, eventually.
The following week, my girlfriend and I went to see another band at The Tivoli. This one was called Detektivbyrån (which translates to The Detective Bureau). They only play instrumental stuff, but it's pretty cool. It's sort of electronica mixed with vibes and accordion. It was impressive to see someone who could make an accordion actually look cool.The drummer had a funny bit as well... He was talking about how he had been taking sax lessons, so we thought that he'd be wowing us with his newly acquired saxophone skills... But sax is also Swedish for scissors, so we were treated to him using a pair of scissors as a percussion instrument.Believe it or not, he was pretty good with those things... And it was kinda cute when he came out from behind his drums to play them; there was a little tiny microphone attached to them. Bless.
All in all, a very enjoyable show. Apparently I'd have enjoyed it even more if I'd have understood the banter between songs.
For no reason whatsoever, here's a photo of Lucy Fur, with her leg in the air, like she just don't care:
OK, now I started to feel as though we were getting spoilt here in Helsingborg. The night after Detektivbyrån, the UK band The Futureheads played at the Tivoli.
To be honest, I hadn't heard much about them before. I moved to Helsingborg in 2002, and I think they really took off at some point after that. I don't listen to radio here, and have had very little contact with the music scene anywhere, really, besides doing stuff with my own little local cover bands, and anything people would randomly recommend.
It was an English guy from my old workplace who mentioned that The Futureheads were coming, and that they'd be worth checking out. He'd seen them a couple of times already, and said that they're worth checking out. So I watched a couple of things on YouTube, bought some of their stuff on iTunes, and yeah, liked them.
So why not?The show was an absolute blast. These guys were here to play some great tunes, to party, and just generally have a bloody good time. MIssion accomplished.They enjoyed chatting to the crowd and talking absolute bollocks to/about each other. The bass player's tambourine bit was magic, and the lead singer's urgent exit for another bottle was sheer class. (OK, I may have a slightly different definition of class to some others'.)
Check these guys out; they do a brilliant version of Kate Bush's Hounds Of Love.
Have a look/listen to the video below:
CSI: Helsingborg at Pub Punkten
On November 28th, CSI: Helsingborg played at Pub Punkten, which is a little bar in the south of Helsingborg.
One thing I was pretty excited about was that I had ordered some proper crime scene tape; you know, the kind that they use to cordon off crime scenes? Well, I had some custom-made and sent over from some place in the UK.
So anyway, this CSI: Helsingborg crime scene tape arrived about a week before our gig, so I got to wrap it all over the place. I've got four rolls of 250 metres each; I could cordon off a whole kilometre if I wanted to. Haha! Brilliant!
Here's the door to Pub Punkten:
This was a great gig. There was quite a large crowd, and everyone seemed to enjoy it (with the exception of one drunken old lady with red hair (sponsored by l'Oréal) who claimed that it was too loud. I bought her a white wine; that shut her up for a while anyway).
There's this new-ish English guy in town whom I've started hanging out with a bit (another I met through this blog). I gave him my camera to take some shots, but the battery was pretty much dead, so he didn't manage to get many. Plus he left about fifteen minutes before we finished, as he felt that he was starting to get very drunk. Ah well. Anyway, great gig, great fun.
Our next confirmed gig is at Telegrafen pub on February 27th, but we may play in Höganäs or at Punkten again before then. We shall see.
Another blogger in Helsingborg
By the way, before I forget... A while ago, I mentioned another Helsingblog reader who was thinking about moving here from Manchester. Well it turns out that he is indeed moving here. Coincidentally, I mentioned him in my post about Helsingborg-based bloggers; it turns out the he's started a blog as well. Be sure to check out Kieron's An Englishman in the Borg, where he gives us a weekly update of what he's learning about moving to Helsingborg.
I think that when CSI: Helsingborg play, any old ladies with fake red hair and seriously crap attitudes should be banned or, better still, imprisoned - at least for the duration of the performance. It's time that the Swedish government did something about it.
That's what I think.