GREETINGS FROM NORWAY
Scandic report #1 from snowy Oslo, Norway. It snowed all night last night and all day today, and it is still snowing this evening. I’ve just returned from a brisk walk in the early darkness of evening, through the traffic and snowy streets and sidewalks. I didn’t slip once in the mush of snow. That is because an old Detroiter like me can never forget the lessons of winter from all that time growing up and learning how to play in the stuff. Of the many times I went airborne in the winter wonderland, it was because of icy conditions, never snow. Snow gives you just enough traction so that you can make a move without losing it. So, anyway, I’ve been outside and got a blast of Oslo if for only several blocks. If it were a little nicer I would venture farther. These days I play it safe. Honestly, I’m not sure what I have anymore in terms of endurance. I’d like to say I’m able to do most anything I care to do without worrying about the outcome, but I’m most comfortable being on the safe side. So I didn’t fall down, big deal.
I get the feeling Oslo (and I’ve been here before) is a place with a lot of clout. Steeped in Nordic tradition and history, one of the purer modern cities of ancient tradition, without being over run with commercialization. It feels strong, with a good mix of old with modern. I never saw it like that before. These days I am much less distracted with bullshit than I ever was. I feel so much clearer. I can’t help but think the lack of obsession with drinking is the major factor here. My priorities are directed to real needs and not imaginary ones. I am less overwhelmed by delusion and the constant internal nagging “when can I start drinking?”. I hate to belabor a point, but I can’t pretend it isn’t important.
I was watching the past two gigs as fans would talk to me and always they were transparent by the amount of alcohol they had consumed. The beer people were on slow rolling binges of retardation, while those who used hard stuff with whatever were just plain incapacitated. I felt somewhat omnipotent and helpless as I observed the pathetic performances. I was worse not so long ago. If there is one thing I can pass on to anyone undergoing this confusion it’s this: Take this seriously. A minor problem can become an out of control manifesto for self-destruction with not too much effort if you let it get the best of you. I think drinking as a highly regarded noble tradition is nothing more than procrastination by the ounce. It ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. On the other hand, plain ordinary people with real lives and feelings and hopes and dreams are less appreciated, but ever so much more important.
Tomorrow we head further north to Tromso, where we must fly in; you cannot drive there. I understand it’s -18c. I wonder if Santa Claus is coming to the show. Ho, ho, ho.
Mike Da’ Vike