Nikolaj non-alcoholic lager

beer_43151Nikolaj alkoholiton olut, I read. Although I was only six or seven, I knew there was something slightly odd with a piano teacher who brought a can of beer with him to a lesson. Alcoholic or non-alcoholic. He was my third teacher in as many years and however grateful I am to have been able to get proper, old-fashioned, municipal musical education from an early age, I won’t deny that the hours I spent in that room often felt impossibly long. The strict, sinister tone of the building was probably mostly coming from inside my head, but I wasn’t a consistently gloomy child, so my downcast perception of the whole affair surely had its external reasons. One was probably the lack of a common language. I was Swedish and understood no Finnish. The teachers, mostly Finnish, spoke to me in a joyless, heavily accented Swedish, stripped of all nuance and softening words.

Most of the teachers I recognized as friendly, though. I wasn’t so sure of the man with the beer can, though. He had pearls of sweat on his forehead before we had even began. His nervous manners also expressed annoyance, like he was on the run from a petty crime. Yes, he must have shoplifted a chocolate bar and a beer can before each lesson.

One day, he was gone. ”Gone back to Kuopio”, the new stranger told me. Later I heard he had smashed the piano lid shut on the hands of a student, or was it a slap on the wrist? It was only hearsay, but there was something unhinged about that man.

Working in Cafés


Another glass of white wine, chardo-nnaayy.

In the past few days, I’ve earned some hard-earned cash by doing various freelance work. Man, hustling for work on the internet is only for the brave. And the pale. I’ve seen so much horror, so many worthless SEO text assignments, work-out app translations, online casino advertising schemes. Filthy money.

I thought I’d go to a café to feel more freelancy-free and bohemic with my work. Now I am here, literally trapped in a corner by a group of generic mid-level business people. Sometimes when I’m surrounded by artists and aesthetes, I find myself talking appreciatively about business people, admiring their skills in the noble art of making money, a discipline in which me and my friends rarely shine. I often dream of lucrative business schemes, smiling in my sleep. But now, being swamped by them, I realize just how angry I get when I hear someone who is absolutely serious with business jargon. No, wait, it’s not just the jargon. It’s something else. Their after-work chat is simply unbearable. One of them explains the difference between SEO, SEA and SEM. She beams with pride. Anyone with that knowledge should be ashamed of himself.

- You should become an in-house consultant, another says.

- What is the most expensive beauty creme brand? the only man in the group asks.

- Those are called pinchos.

- I really like our new premises and our new co-workers. Things are really happening.

- When I moved to Lidingö, I thought it’d be paradise, but really, it’s a suburb.

- No, Lidingö is nice!

- Yes, but there are high rises.

- But don’t forget, you can be on Stureplan in 15 minutes.

God, it’s a parody.

Apartments, which one to buy.

- A mortgage loan, that’s not a problem for you, is it?

Pension funds. I want to steal a pincho. I’m done here.

Old Artefacts #2: Studio sign from 2006


Going through some old boxes, I found this sign that we had put on the door to the room where we recorded a lot of our first record The Province Complains in the summer of 2006, in an old wooden house in the centre of Turku where I lived for a few months. /Ville

Complaining – it’s worth it

479px-Persea_americana_fruit_2Today, I’ve earned 500 kr + two avocados just by complaining. The reason for the first complaint was a loud, clattering noise coming in the rental car I used when I moved to Stockholm. The noise was only triggered when you drove at speeds above 110 km/h, but it was enough to make listening to the radio impossible and me furious. The guys at the rental office hadn’t managed to reproduce the noise on the motorway, but they still gave me a healthy refund, assuming that I spoke nothing but the truth.

The other complaint sprung from my lunch salad bought at a grocery store. The avocado pieces in it, admittedly picked by myself from the salad bar, had an unpleasant taste, maybe stemming from the  fact that they were frozen. I instantly marched back to the grocery store. “They come as frozen”, the shop assistant said. I thought that it was a weak excuse, so I persisted. “Well, if it is avocados you want, you can go get some from the fruit and vegetable department.” I clenched my fist in a victory reflex and walked towards the avocados, knowing that I had done a good day’s work.

Any Idiot Can Do It

electroluxI am absolutely sure that Electrolux had constructed the washing machine so that after a certain number of pulls, the door handle would break. Strangely, this number was reached the first time used the machine. I ordered a spare part for an undisclosed amount of kronor, thinking that I could at least avoid bringing a technician into the apartment, since I’ve heard that just getting them to show up costs ten times the undisclosed amount of kronor. [read more]