Tag Archives: soundgarden

April 20

On Saturday, Kat and I had our first anniversary. Whoa, a full year has passed since we first met… it blows my mind when I think about it because so much has happened in such short period of time that I often feel like we have been together for ages. It reminds me of what Joshua Foer wrote in Moonwalking with Einstein: “Monotony collapses time; novelty unfolds it.”

Anyway, Saturday was a fantastic day with blue skies so I cycled all the way to Sort Kaffe og Vinyl in Vesterbro to enjoy a cup of coffee in the sun and then decided to drop by Sound Station to soak up some of that joyful atmosphere they always create on Record Store Day. They really do make an effort to make everyone feel welcome. I had promised myself I wouldn’t buy anything but as soon as I started browsing through the shop’s wonderful stock of vinyls, I knew I was going to have a hard time living up to the vow of restraint I had naively taken.

Things started slowly, bagging just a couple of records: Groundhogs’ “Who Will Save The World?” (which I wanted mostly for the cover artwork) and The Band’s “The Last Waltz”, which I thought would make for a great anniversary present considering it’s one of Kat’s favourite records. I kept on looking and I kept finding stuff I liked: Spiritualized’s “Ladies and Gentlemen, We’re Floating In Space” and Radiohead’s “In Rainbows”; nothing particularly special about them, they are just records I really enjoy. At this point, I was kind of ready to leave but on my way to the counter I spotted two girls in the shop, one holding a copy of the “Singles” soundtrack and the other one with a Screaming Trees record… I knew right away there was a section of the shop I was missing. I went back to the entrance and looked around. There it was, an entire “Alternative and Heavy” selection of records I hadn’t checked when I arrived.

In hindsight, I should have walked away from it but I just couldn’t, I had to see what they had. That’s when things got a bit out of control: Soundgarden’s “Louder Than Live” white label promo, “The Day I Tried To Live” 12″ etched vinyl, and “Jesus Christ Pose” special edition 4-track etched vinyl; Iron Maiden’s “Live After Dead” (Dutch version with inner sleeves and a booklet full of my friend Ross Halfin’s photos), “The Number of the Beast” and “A Real Dead One” label promo on clear vinyl; AC/DC’s “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” and “The Razor’s Edge”; Slinth’s “Spiderland” and The Kink’s greatest hits, which I eventually got for free courtesy of the shop.

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In the end, I took home THIRTEEN records! Fucking ridiculous. I cycled home holding to full bags of vinyl hanging from my bike’s handlebar, with a big smile on my face and the wind blowing in my hair (and the bags), making my ride home slightly harder than usual. Shortly after I got home, Kat arrived with our new dining table (a red, round piece from the 60’s) and we went for a walk around Bispebjerg Kirkegård to see the cherry trees and their famous blossoms, which are probably a local trending topic on Instagram.

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I hadn’t seen them before and I have to say, the view is stunning. We got a couple of random people to take a picture of us standing under the trees, both with my phone and our Instax mini camera, and much to my surprise, the results were quite nice. We went back home, listened to some of our new records and left the house again around 5pm to go to Taller, a new restaurant in town with a menu inspired by Venezuelan gastronomy and flavours. We were a bit skeptical at first but once we finished, both Kat and I agreed it was probably one of the nicest dinners we have ever had together.

The Venezuelan influence was clearly reflected in the majority of the dishes we tried (especially the mini arepas, the guasacaca and the dessert) and the wine they paired with our 4-course menu couldn’t have been better. On top of that, the service was impeccable. We’re definitely coming back once they change the menu, we had an outstanding experience.

On Sunday, we went with Monika to Louisiana Museum to check the Richard Mosse exhibition, and to enjoy the weather. I had never been to Louisiana before and I was blown away by its beauty. It’s was so quiet and green, with a wonderful garden overlooking the sea. I don’t know why I hadn’t visited before but I will do my best to come back often, it really is an amazing place. We went through the permanent exhibitions, including the Gleaming Lights installation by Yayoi Kusama, and ended up with the Richard Mosse exhibition, which was terrific. Those photos really strike you when you see them in all their glory. Strangely beautiful considering the dark subject that inspired them.

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We ended the day at home, drinking wine and watching the EELS concert at the Royal Albert Hall, a film I had been wanting to see since I heard it was going to be released.

A great time was had by all.

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April 1

Busy times. Here are the last couple of weeks in review:

I got a new bicycle. Since I got my bike stolen last year, I had been trying to find a dutch-style bicycle with both front and rear hand breaks instead of pedal breaks, which I really hate. I tried every bike shop I could find but they never had what I was looking for until my friend Chris suggested me to try Hr. Velo, a local bikeshop in Frederiksberg that specializes in classic bicycles and special-bulids.

I knew their bikes were going to be more expensive but after a quick visit to their workshop, I realized it was going to be well worth the investment: Friendly staff, plenty of options and helpful advice, all coming together to assist me in the process of choosing the right parts for my shiny new bike, which they put together in less than 3 days. Flawless service.

I passed my first Danish test. Nearly three months after I started taking classes, I took a mandatory test at my language school, which I had to pass to move on to the next module. It only took 10 minutes and, although it was quite simple (5 minutes of conversation about my work and 5 minutes asking questions to my teacher about the characters in a picture from my Danish book), I’m still quite thrilled to have passed.

Just three months ago, I wouldn’t have been able to put together a simple sentence, now I can read a basic text and have a better understanding of what is being said around me. I’m far from being fluent and I still miss 90% of the conversations I hear, but I’m starting to recognize words that I was oblivious to before, and now have a vague idea of what people are talking about. I still have a long way to go but I’m moving forward.

I found an original 1994 copy of “Superunknown”. Last weekend, Kat and I went into a small record shop in Nørrebro, just to see what they had, and as it turns out, hidden somewhere between dozens of second-hand records, there was a 1994 US first pressing of Soundgarden’s “Superunknown” on orange vinyl, in excellent condition after almost 20 years. I texted my friend Ross to asked him if it was worth paying 72$ for it and he texted back saying that if it was an actual first pressing in coloured vinyl, it was definitely a bargain. So I just went ahead and bought it. I’m pretty happy I did.

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Kat and I mixed our books. Some people say this is the ultimate display of affection, even more powerful than marriage. Truth is, we didn’t think about it too much, we just thought organizing our books by colour would be a good idea and decided to go ahead with it. We set our turntable, opened a bottle of champagne and went through all of our books, building colourful piles around us while we listened to a bunch of records we had bought that same afternoon.

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We enjoyed it but it was harder than we expected; after sorting them out by colour, we realized we had to organize them by shades and then figure out how the letters on the spines of the books fit within that system. It also became evident that we have too many beige books (boring) and that we need more yellow and green in our collection. So far, we’re pretty happy with the result but let’s see how we like this idea when we want to locate a book and take us ages to find it.

I was reunited with my copy of Led Zeppelin II. When I moved to Copenhagen a couple of years ago, I had to leave some of my stuff behind and asked my ex-housemates to keep them safe for me until I could pick them up. Amongst those items was a Mexican edition of “Led Zeppelin II” (my favourite Led Zep record) on red vinyl that Jimmy Page got me as a present three years ago, at the Reading Record Fair, during an Easter break. I wrote about it here, in case you’re interested in the full story.

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Yesterday, my friend Latifa arrived from London to spend a few days with us and brought back my record, along with bags of chocolate eggs, hot cross buns, a chocolate bunny and long lasting Ibuprofen tablets. Isn’t she wonderful? I like her a lot and we’re very good friends, which is why I’m really looking forward to have her over. It makes me realize how much I miss my friends and how happy it makes me to see them.

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February 24

Today, on my way to work, I started reading “Do Improvise” by Robert Poynton, a book by The Do Book Co. which explores the power of improvisation, a natural human process that has creativity and innovation at its core. On the second page, there was this:

The unexpected is our constant companion. Blind alleys, unheralded turns and serendipitous connections are everyday stuff. However hard we work to avoid it, we are constantly accosted by things we didn’t plan for, from a puncture to a deflating economy. Life is a whirling torrent for which nobody has a script.

Nothing new, I know, but it just tied in nicely with yesterday’s post. It made me smile and gave me a little pat of encouragement that I certainly welcomed.

And then there was this post by Rob Cambell, a guy I have never met but for whom I feel genuine empathy and admiration. He’s brilliantly insightful and funny, and his observations always make me pause to think about stuff I have never pondered before. I wish he knew how much I appreciate reading his opinionated musings, especially the ones in which he (willingly or not) makes himself vulnerable, it’s humbling and inspiring.

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My friend Ross is in Australia touring with Soundgarden and I can’t help but feeling tremendous jealousy for all the bloody Aussies who are getting to see the band live this year. I Skyped a very jetlagged Ross last night at 4am, Australian time, and he told me Soundgarden is sounding fantastic, as you would expect. I have seen them four times in the last couple of years (including a front row show in Copenhagen and the first-class photo-pit experience last year when they opened for Black Sabbath in Berlin) and and they have been absolutely outstanding every single time.

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If you are into Soundgarden, or music in general, make sure to follow Ross on Instagram, he’s posting some really sweet shots there: https://instagram.com/rosshalfin

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September 23

I checked, my Soundgarden record is not made of yellow vinyl. Bummer.

* * * *

Today, I introduced the agency to the work of Mr. Bingo. I realized I tend to sound a little bit obsessive when I talk about him and the stuff he has done but hey, that’s fine by me, I like his work and so should you.

My friend Aaron has invited to make a five minute presentation at Podio and Friends – Lightning Talks, a fun event where a bunch of interesting people from different industries get together to share their ideas and side projects. I find these kind of affairs a bit intimidating but I will give it a go, mostly because I think it would be nice to pitch the concept for a little website I’m working on to a crowd and see what feedback it gets. Besides, it will only take a few minutes and there will be drinks and snacks afterwards so it can’t be that bad.

Speaking of websites, I recently discovered this. Check it out and get ready to spend whatever is left of your day looking at pointless yet fascinating pieces of Internet greatness.

You have been warned.

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September 22

Another weekend Kat and I have successfully smashed. On Friday, we met up for dinner at Bonjour Vietnam and then headed to the Staten Museum for Kunst to check out “Biography”, an exhibition I’m happy to say I didn’t pay to see. I probably just didn’t get it but most of what was there on display I found either very pretentious or simple pointless. But hey, what would I know? Still, it was nice to have a look around the museum and check out all the cool kids getting drunk to electronic music and pretending to be inspire but Contemporary art.

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On Saturday, I met Chris for a ping-pong match; it was the first ping-pong game in years and, as you would expect, I lost. But only for a tiny little point. Actually, I led the whole match and was ahead 7-4 but I started enjoying Chris’ tantrums a bit too much and in the en he managed to come back and won 7-8, a victory he celebrated with pumping fists and everything. It was good fun. Kat joined us afterwards and the three of us went record shopping at Sound Station, my favourite record shop in town. Kat got three records she seemed very happy about and I managed to score a sealed Badmotorfinger copy, which I think might be a 1991 yellow vinyl edition. I will find out tonight.

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After Sound Station, Kat and I walked to Palads and got tickets to see “Guardians of the Galaxy” at 3:45pm, which was good and bad: it was good because it was almost empty and felt like we had all the movie theatre to ourselves, and it was bad because apart from us, most people in the room were 12 years old or younger and wouldn’t shut up. There was also a lady next to Kat, translating every dialogue to her young kid who didn’t understand English and couldn’t read Danish fast enough to catch the subtitles either so we had to move away and find a new place to seat. Makes me wonder why parents even bother to take their children to the cinema in the first place if they are not able to fully enjoy the experience.

Despite these minor hiccups, we had a great time and thought the movie was entertaining, especially Rocket, whose character was very nicely written. The soundtrack was pretty sweet too, actually. I’m gonna look it up on Spotify, hold on.

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Right. After the movies, we grabbed a drink at Nutid and then met Sebastian and Hayla at Escobar, a rock bar that sells Trooper beer. I like to go there just for that. I came up with this little idea for a website and Sebastian offered to help out with some of the videos I need to put the whole thing together so we took the opportunity to talk about it and catch up, it had been a while since I last saw him and his girlfriend.

On Sunday, Kat and I went for coffee at Ricco’s, in Stefansgade, the street I used to live when I first moved to Copenhagen. Then we had a walk around a couple of flea market followed by cake at a little cafe in the neighbourhood and then to say hi to one of her friends, who recently have birth to adorable twins. Came back home at 5pm, totally knackered. Had a nap, caught up with my parents on Skype, watched the first episode of Game of Thrones and went back to bed around 10pm, like it should be.

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June 10

As written yesterday in the early afternoon:

I’m at the reception of the Waldorf Astoria in Berlin, waiting to meet Ross for lunch. He flew in yesterday to shoot Soundgarden and Black Sabbath at Wuhlheide, something I didn’t know about until a few hours before the show. Once he got to the venue, he rang me and asked me to meet him in front of the stage. What for? Oh, nothing. Just to assist him in the photo pit, no big deal.

He handed me an Access All Areas Black Sabbath Pass, I jumped into the pit and spent the whole Soundgarden show drooling at Ben Shepperd and just enjoying the view from such privileged spot. Last time I was in the photo pit was back in 2012, at Slash’s show in Stoke on Trent, which was being filmed for a DVD/Blu-Ray release (if you look closely, you can see me a few times during the concert – that is, assuming you know what my face looks like). Fast forward a couple of years, and there I was again, next to The Master, watching him do his magic behind the lens at a sold-out show where two of my favourite bands were bound to make sweet love to the ears of 20,000 crazy metalheads in a beautiful venue surrounded by trees on a warm, sunny Summer day. It was surreal.

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My friend Ricky happened to be in Berlin too so I brought him along for the ride, too.

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The view from the photo pit

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Soundgarden played a short set, mostly focused on Superunknown. They sounded great and put up a good show but as any hardcore fan would tell you, one hour just isn’t long enough for these guys; there were no songs from Down On The Upside and only one from Badmotorfinger, which left me desperately wanting for more, especially when I was only a meter away from the stage. However, I think most people were there to see Black Sabbath so I reckon 90% of the audience was perfectly fine with the way things were; only me, my friend Ricky and a french guy whom I had met last year in Copenhagen at a Soundgarden show and that coincidentially was at last night’s show too (behind me, oddly enough) would have loved to see a bit more…

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At this point, Ross called me up so I put my iPad down and we went for a wander around the Berlin Aquarium and Zoo, then stopped for a 6-piece bucket at KFC and returned to the Waldorf. It was kind of funny to walk into that luxurious 5-star hotel holding a bucket of fried chicken.

Steven Tyler outside the Waldorf Astoria

Steven Tyler outside the Waldorf Astoria

Ross went up to his room, got his cameras ready and left to the O2 where Aerosmith was playing that night while I took a train and a bus to get to the airport, not before running into Steven Tyler outside the hotel, signing autographs and posing for pictures. Ross actually invited me to stay for the night and offered some passes for the Aerosmith show but I had to decline, considering I had a few matters to take care of at work today. It was nice to see the old man again, it had been a year since we last hung out together.

When I got to the airport, Kat was waiting at Arrivals holding this sign:

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Wish I could tell you what all those inside jokes the lovely blonde managed to pack in such small sheet of paper mean but I think I better keep that to myself ;-)

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September 11

I had seen Soundgarden twice before the show on Monday (Hyde Park and Shepherds Bush Empire, 2012) but in both shows I was quite far from the stage so when I heard they were playing Copenhagen, I thought this could be a good opportunity to get a bit closer. The possibilities to do so got greatly improved once I lost my job a couple of weeks ago as that meant I had absolutely nothing to do during the day and could just go sit there really early and wait until the doors opened. Which is exactly what I did, sad as it sounds.

By the time I arrived, around 4pm, there were already about 12 people outside, including a Dutch lady in her 60’s and her daughter (granddaughter?), a guy from France and a bunch of Danes surrounded by bottles of beers, snacks and cheap junk food. I sat next to the Dutch lady and asked them if they had seen the band before and they said they had seen them a few times, including a recent show in Stockholm, which had been great and very loud. The French dude, a very quiet man, mentioned he had come to Copenhagen especially for the show and was planning to Amsterdam to see them today, too. I soon discovered I was surrounded by very dedicated fans, which is kind of cool.

Shortly after, a tall and thin girl with very pale skin, all dressed in black, arrived and joined the line. For about 10 minutes, she stood there, checking her phone without saying a word. She was wearing a really nice Soundgarden t-shirt, though, so I took that as an opportunity to start an exchange. WHAT A FUCKING MISTAKE. Turns out this girl, who’s name I didn’t even ask, was the biggest Guns N’ Roses fan I’ve ever met in my life and would go on and on and on telling me how great Axl was, how much she loved him and how amazing the new band sounded. You see, I don’t mind talking about music, I actually enjoy it, but this wasn’t a nice music fan to music fan conversation, this was a full-on unsolicited GNR evangelization.

For two and a half hours, I endured nonsense stuff like this:

“People complain because Axl makes them wait four, five, maybe six hours before the show and I just don’t get it. I mean, I went to see him once and I was lucky, I only waited for two hours, but in any case, I don’t think Axl wakes up in the morning and asks himself: “how can I shit on my fans, today?” – I think he gets onstage late because all his personal dramas, he’s a very complex character, you know? Too many things going on and people don’t understand it. I actually feel sorry for him.”

What? A millionaire self-centered twat makes you wait for 5 hours, gets paid a fortune for it, and YOU feel sorry for the guy? What the fuck are you talking about?! I mean, come on. I couldn’t help it and told her I thought Axl was a complete arsehole which, of course, sent her on a never-ending rant about how he was always misunderstood, about how the media always manipulated his words and about how much of a victim he actually was.  She went on to explain me that her friend Alex, who had met Axl several times, told her Axl was always a really nice and funny guy who was a pleasure to have around; a charming and thoughtful individual who never compromised his beliefs and has always been overwhelmed by his talent, or some bullshit along those lines. I don’t know, I couldn’t give a single fuck about it. At some point, I was so fed up by all her obsessive jabber that I stood up, took my bag and sat somewhere else while she was still rambling.

Shortly after the doors opened, we got our tickets validated and we all ran to the barrier in front of the stage. In the process, I lost the people I was with but managed to secure a place in the first row, between the spots where Kim and Chris usually stand on stage. Killer location, I tell you. I’m standing there, looking at the stage, thinking I now had to wait 2 hours for the support band to go on, and suddenly Miss “Axl, please fuck me in the arse” shows up next to me. I tried to stay silent, looking into the distance and avoiding any eye contact, which worked for about 10 minutes but then the inevitable happened: “The stage is quite small, don’t you think? GNR had a bigger stage when they played Denmark.” Bloody hell, I should have asked her if she actually had any guns with her, that would have put me out of my misery. She talked about Axl for another 20 minutes and then she dramatically changed the subject and told me she loved killer whales and that they were her favourite animals ever. I thought to myself: “Well, I don’t give a shit about that either but at least we’re not talking about Axl anymore.” She explained how much she loved killer whales and how much she hated aquariums because they put the whales in tiny pools and then their fins bend over and that was a sad thing to behold. At this point, she was on the verge of crying, I kid you not.

I stood there, telling her everything was going to be OK and that there was hope for killer whales. She looked me in the eyes and after a few seconds of silence, she said:  “You know, I discovered Michael Jackson through “Free Willy”. I loved Michael Jackson, I can’t believe he’s dead. He was the greatest musician on earth. I’m so angry at that doctor… I mean, why did he do that? I know Michael asked for it but come on, he’s a doctor! And did you know that he’s going to be released from jail next month, without even completing half of his sentence? It’s ridiculous. How can somebody get more time in jail for downloading music than for killing someone? It’s hearbreaking.” Now, she might have had a point on that last bit but fuck it, I was tired of it. Then, when I thought everything was over, she said: “Did I tell you that I got into GNR because of Michael Jackson? You know, because Slash played with him.” Give me a fucking break, already! That was it. I turned around, sat down and ignore her for the rest of the evening.

Mr. Kim Thyil

Mr. Kim Thyil

Two and a half hours later, after the supporting act (a band call Graveyard, which wasn’t that bad), Soundgarden finally hit the stage and every trace of GNR-induced annoyance disappeared in a second. I was hoping to get “Searching With My Good Eye Closed” as the opening track but they chose to start with “Flower”, which is not really one of my favourite tracks. However, in general, the setlist was fantastic: “Pretty Noose”, “Rhinosaur” (!!!), “Burden In My Hand”, “Blow The Upside World”, “Blind Dogs” (first time live in Europe) and “Beyond The Wheel”, which was mind-fucking-blowing. Just watch this:

Amazing, isn’t it? Those last chords kept ringing in my ears for 12 hours; I woke up the next day and I could still hear a minor beep in the background. It was also pretty cool to be so close to Kin Thayil and having a great view of Matt Cameron, who’s probably one of the most underrated drummers out there. It was real pleasure to see him beating the living crap out of those drums. The GNR loonie had asked me if I wanted to wait for the band outside the venue but by the end of the show, the last thing I wanted was to stand in the rain with an obsessive fan waiting for a band that might not even show up so once the show was over, I just took off and went to grab a bite at a Turkish place that is just around the corner from where I live.

The next morning I was looking for my wallet and couldn’t find it. I looked everywhere in my bedroom and there was no trace of it but then I remember I had put it in my bag, during the show, so I looked for the bag and couldn’t find it either. I mean, my room can be a little mess every now and then but not to the point in which a bright green bag can’t be found. After 10 minutes looking around like a maniac, it hit me: I must have left the bag at the kebab shop last night. Fuck, fuck, fuck. My ID, CPR card, debit cards, everything was there. I took my bike and rode there right away. The shop was closed but there was a guy inside, doing the cleaning, so I knocked on the glass door and asked him to open. He didn’t want to. I motioned him to come to the door, you know, pretending to be talking (even though I wasn’t producing a single sound) and using my hands to point at the door knob. He eventually agreed and I explained him I had left a bag there last night and was wondering if they had it. He hesitated for a bit, asked me what my name was and then asked me again what exactly was it that I was looking for. I explained him again and he looked blankly at me. Fuck me. I explained him the situation again, very slowly, and just when he was about to enquire again about the motive of my visit, I saw my green bag squeezed under some boxes in a table behind the counter (pretty good sight, I know).

I told him that was my bag so he asked my name and compared it to the one on my ID. It took him a couple of seconds to realize it was actually me the guy on the picture of my Venezuelan ID, which I don’t know if it’s a good or a bad thing. He gave me back my bag and asked me to check my wallet to make sure everything was there. It was all in there. I thank him and just when I was about to leave he tells me: “You know, when people find things like this, people buy presents. What are you going to get me?” What? Why should I buy him anything? He didn’t even find the fucking bag, he just happened to be there when I went to see if they had it. He continued: “Come on, buy me something. I just gave you your bag, that’s very important. What are you going to buy me?” I stood there, not really sure of what to do. Should I run away? Should I tell him to fuck off? What if he was a cleaner by day and a Turkish Mafia  drug lord by night? I didn’t want to find out so I just shrugged my shoulders and told him I didn’t have much money to spend on rewards. He replied: “You can buy me card. Phone card. Lyca card. There, in the shop. But only if you want to, ok? Now go.” He first tells me that only if I want to and then he tells me to go buy it, great. I crossed the street, got the fucking phone card and went back to the shop. “Thank you. Are you happy? I will only take the card if you’re happy.” Who cares if I’m happy or not, I already bought the goddamn card. Just take it and shut the fuck up.

I walked out of the shop, got on my bike, and rode away…

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Today I took Hannah (a girl from Australia) and Alice (a girl from Sheffield) to Sort Kaffe Og Vinyl. I met Hannah a while ago through Couchsurfing and last night I met her friend Alice, who she brought along to the weekly meeting. I told them about this amazing coffeeshop near my place so we decided to meet up today for a coffee and they loved the place. We all agreed we should do this again.

After I parted ways with Hannah and Alice, I went to the Immigration Office and applied for my new work permit, which means I’m ready start working at Advance, an independent Danish agency best know for their work for LEGO, a client they have been working with since 1976. I’m really looking forward to get started.

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September 9

So, I’ve been offered a job this morning and Soundgarden is playing Copenhagen tonight. Booyah!

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Man, it feels great to be walking normally again. Since I got off the crutches I’ve been rediscovering the pleasure of travelling on foot, a luxury I had taken for granted, and now that I’m slowly going back to shape, every flight of steps that I successfully climb within seconds, every little jump out of the bus, every shower that I take without having to sit on the edge of the bathtub first to then rotate my body carefully into the receptacle to finally stand on one leg while I wash myself, every tap dance around the kitchen… every single step that I give without the aid of a stick becomes a tremendous victory I celebrate in all my Rocky-like glory.

Besides making great progress in the physical department, I’ve also been moving forward in different paths of life: I’m officially graduated, got a freelance gig at KK Outlet last week (fantastic place with lovely people inside), I’ll be home next Sunday, Jimmy bought and signed a copy of “Celebration Day” for me (really nice of him) and Ross took me to see Soundgarden play at Shepherd’s Bush Empire a month ago. It just seems like everything is finally coming together and although it’s still too early to sing my praises, the immediate future looks much brighter and exciting now than it did a couple of months ago, and I can only cross my fingers and pray for everything to go as planned. If so, this goddamn tough year might actually end on a high note. We’ll find out soon enough, I guess.

Now, why isn’t WordPress displaying the title of this post? I have no idea…

Footsteps

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Sweet Euphoria

A couple of nights ago I heard that according to the BBC, we’re basically not having any summer in London this year. How fuckin’ miserable is that? I knew nothing good was going to come out of that light winter we had, it has totally backfired now. The other day I had to get my coat to go out on Summer Solstice and in that moment, I sort of understood why people living in other places find it so easy to bitch about London… lame weather, crappy food, high prices, bad teeth, women who can’t walk in high heels… you know, there are hundreds of reasons to give this city a hard time but when you find yourself seated in an Edwardian theater like the London Palladium (the largest of some 60 major halls that sprang up in those years), in front of Chris Cornell, his 7 guitars and a record player, all of a sudden every single day of rain and bad food is absolutely worth it.

Last monday, Christopher put up one of  the greatest shows I’ve seen in a long time… and I almost missed it. I had read that all +2,200 seats were sold out and I couldn’t find any tickets on Gumtree, so by monday at midday, the gig was a no-go for me. Then I just decided to ask at the venue if there were any places left and surprisingly, there were a few. One card swipe later, I was in.

I purposely skipped the opening act and arrived just 15 minutes before the main set. Thousands of Soundgarden fans were already in their seats by the time I got in and the moment I stepped into that theater, I knew something special was about to take place. At  8:45pm, the lights went off and the man himself walked calmly onto the stage, his presence inmediately sparking a loud ovation. A friendly Cornell greeted the audience and started the show with “Scar On The Sky”, one of my all-time favourites. From that point on, things just got better and better.

The setlist was impressive, there was everything you could ever ask for… Soundgarden, Audioslave, Temple of the Dog, Mother Love Bone, The Beatles, Michael Jackson, Led Zeppelin, and of course, loads of tracks from his solo albums. It was flawless. At some point, Cornell said he was a bit tired of playing guitar and was going to take a break by singing over a piano track he had pressed on a vinyl record. He walked to the turntable that was sitting on one side of the stage, placed the needle on the black spinning circle he was talking about and proceeded to deliver the most beautiful version of “When I’m Down”, one of the songs from Euphoria Morning. It almost brought me to tears.

Then, just before the encore, he played a wicked version of “Blow Up The Upside World” that left everyone on their feet, drowned in utter joy. It was fantastic and unfortunately for you this video doesn’t make it any justice…

Setlist aside, there were 2 things that really impressed me about Cornell: a) the quality of his voice (I always thought he was very very good on records but I used to believe he didn’t really deliver live – I was so fuckin’ wrong) and  b) his sense of humour. The guy is actually very funny and I think he could easily have a parallel career as a stand-up comedian, in a Henry Rollins kind of way. One bit I found highly amusing arrived when he said “people call me Sir sometimes too, and I didn’t pay shit”, referring to Paul McCartney being knighted Sir by the Queen of England because he paid loads of taxes. If you were there, you know what I’m talking about and you know it was very funny. For the rest of you who didn’t even smile when reading what I just said, forget about it and move on, you’ll never understand.

Actually, you know what? Let’s leave it like that for now. A massive, shiny, warm, yellow thingy has suddenly appeared in the sky and although I’m not very sure what it is, it  certainly makes London look beautiful from my window.

I’m gonna have a look, I’ll be right back.

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