Had a seriously and uncharacteristically grumpy start to the day today. We’d arrived late last night in Lillehammer, Norway, after this 12 hour journey through, what I can only describe as tundra - like conditions. Arrived at the hotel, crew and everyone in pretty good spirits despite it all. Me, Bob and Pete had a nightcap - 1 beer each. Simon just looked on queasily after one too many Jägermeisters being forced on him the night before. “Simon - Listen up. These are professional drinkers up here. Enter their world at your peril.” This morning in the folksy Norwegian wood style breakfast room, the breakfast buffet was slated to finish at 9.30. We did the usual routine and got there at 9.15am.
Now sometimes you get a nice lady who asks whether you’ve got everything you need “because I’ll be clearing away now”. Not this morning: A young person of the female persuasion merely started to remove stuff while Bob and I were in mid serve. I was suffering from a nasty cold and feeling rough. We protested (me very aggressively, I must admit, muttering stuff about which union she belonged to and worse) but she stood her ground. Apparently it was all about her and not the 9 paying guests for two days in her half empty tourist hotel. Whatever happened to service?
This culture takes a little getting used to up here anyway. For the most part the Norwegians seem quite affable in a troll - like sense, but they have this disconcerting way of invading your personal comfort zone/ body space, as in being ‘in yer face’. This usually arises in tandem with vast quantities of alko. I’m probably being unjust since I’m sure not ALL Norwegians drink like fish. And the economy is something else. They are awash in oil money it seems. I worked out that the ticket price to see WA in a really basic little club up here translates to about $65 (USA) or 40 Euros! No wonder our relatively cheaply priced DVDs were being snapped up like there was no tomorrow.
Well, it’s back to bed for me. With a couple of hours shut eye I may be able to feel like doing a gig later. Before that I have to do a serious repack. One bag for the USA and France (one day in between) and then a separate bag of stuff for the upcoming UK tour which follows on, after the actual USA tour. There’s no sense in taking guitars and clothes on planes anymore I’ve decided. Just too many different weight restrictions and rules and regulations. Getting work permits for the USA is no walk in the park either, these days. Seems they don’t want to make it easy for Euro folk to go there to work legally, I guess. If you are Guatamalan or Mexican and turn up at my local train station looking for yard work, then you’ll have no problemo with doing the illegal thing. Anyway we did finally get approval for the very expensive work permits, thankfully so we can visit our patient USA fans and earn back some of those rapidly shrinking $$$.
We are flying to Helsinki tomorrow for dinner in Finland with the Manninens’ and the crew drives back to Blighty and various points en route to drop off our German guys, Kai and Holger. Then we’ll meet up in Helsinki with our old compadre and former band member, Ben Granfelt, who will join us at the club, On the Rocks. He’ll be showing me his newly aquired ’58 Strat so that should be interesting. Also, he’ll be very kindly supplying the equipment for our show. I’ll finally be using an Engl amp, which I managed to avoid for years heh, heh!
P.S. I just read this on our forum from Georgiegirl; “Apparently it is National Beer Day in Norway today, a celebration of the end of Beer prohibition that lasted 75 years came to an end on his day in 1989, so I can see the tour has been very well planned – enjoy the day guys!!”
Oh boy, we’re in for it tonight! ~ A.P.