Conductor crushes and clubs from the outside

The five pounds we needed to pay as students for a classical concert were a wonderful offer. It was no wonder we tried to use this chance as often as we could. This time, they played Tchaikovsky and an almost unbearable Henze cello piece for us. We had ourselves some moshing bassists and old blokes banging the timbals, and after a waltzy Strauss evergreen, the principal timpanist, reigning lord of drums and thunder, was officially and with all honours sent into well-deserved retirement after bloody 41 years in the Philharmony to share the rest of his days in calm with his “long-suffering wife”. The auditorium exploded into applause, and I wanted to a) hug the old man and b) take over his instrument. For the glowing final of a brutal apocalyptic Stravinsky, he, for one last time, walloped his friends to the rhythm of the hyperborean conductor making love to his conductor´s stick, and I was just one step away from stage diving. Continue reading


A Big Plate of Sideorders – Underground poetry

Bar Fresa was situated in tiny Colquitt Street, some 100 metres away from blitzed and bombed St. Luke´s. Agnes and I followed the flyer call for the rhyme´n´roll party Liverpool´s poetry-scene had organized. Dub reggae beats from the Senator Sound System bounced off the low fairy-light lit ceiling down upon us and made our feet swing in time, while two ragga-MCs toasted on di riddim, and a small crowd of artistic young people with their heads tilted and their arms crossed before their hearts or their hands feeling the warm wood of the tables in front of them were listening for wisdom, tea candles in glass ashtrays vaguely lighting up their faces. Continue reading

A Big Plate of Sideorders – Bad hair days, Chinese New Years and lots of music

“And when Tammy and I left the club, and Miguel shaw us together, ush, çe ashked, imagine what çe ashked! Çe ashked: Are you going for f-fucking now?” Giorgis still looked as if just confronted with the question. His mouth gaped. “I mean, can you believe that?!” And he touched his heart for the enormous impudence of such an enquiry. Continue reading

A big plate of sideoders – of squirrels and international understanding

In the following days Liverpool and Co decided to go all England on us. When the Birkenhead expedition team travelled to Chester and made its way around the town hall, Giorgis and Agnes going at each other as usual, the heaven´s urinating on our heads seemed quite hostile. Continue reading

A big plate of sideorders – hot cellars and late nights

It was Thursday. The Merseys, the local Beatles cover band of choice, hewed their instruments for our pleasure. There were so many students, you actually felt the dusty smell of books mix with the sweat and stale ale. Other sets of the Erasmus programme and its offshoots and siblings surged into the cellar to make it a vivid hotchpotch of accents. Continue reading

A big plate of sideorders – first trips and why we are where we are

We were all uniformed in blue jeans and dark jackets as we stood in front of the gigantic anchor before the Maritime museum. Giorgis found it an interesting symbol both of staying strictly at one place no matter what the crazy world around you threw at you and of conquering new lands. Agnes said he talked too much. Continue reading

A big plate of Sideorders. Chapter 3 (snippet)

On the day after the Cavern, Jonathan took me to a performance of Swan Lake in the Empire Theatre. Contrast program. I could have done without the dancing – remember, Paul, all I know is that it is the most precise physical translation of classical music, said Jonathan as if learnt by rote, and I accepted that the dancers´ ability to give their morose smiles while actually hurting bad was pretty impressive. Continue reading