Monday, November 28, 2011

English, Polish and The Great Norwegian


Second football match of the week, quite good catching up with my initial plan! I went with David and Felix to Craven Cottage to watch an Europa League match between Fulham and Wisla Krakow. The reasons why I was even more excited of this than the Champions League match were:

1. Really small stadium, it was amazing to actually be able to see the players.
2. When I started to support Liverpool, this was the first title I saw them win.

Third and the biggest reason: I finally get to see players who've played for Liverpool. And they weren't just any other players; they were playing for the Liverpool squad, which was 10 years ago. Danny Murphy, and The Great Norwegian John Arne Riise.

I was afraid to not see them, since for some reason something always happens that prevents me from seeing the players I want to. Last year Holland-Finland, I was so close in seeing legendary Sami Hyypiä and also Dirk Kuyt. But how lucky that Hyypiä got his first ever red card in the previous national game and Kuyt got injured some days earlier. Next time I traveled all the way to Germany just to notice that Hyypiä wasn't even on the bench. Then he ended his career after that season. Sigh.

So no wonder I felt like there was some kind of jinx going on. But during that evening my luck changed, as Murphy and Riise were playing. Of course non-Pool fans remember Riise from some own goals, but watch the video below to see one of the many reasons why he's loved by Pool fans.

It felt like being a Bieber fan; everytime he touched the ball, I went on screaming 'John!'

The game ended 4-1, and was really entertaining, especially when we were sitting with the Polish fans. I heard some bad words like 'kurwa' which was every second second. And now I only realized that 2nd and 's' are written the same way. Also I noticed that The Cottage was one of the oldest stadiums, as it felt it would collapse any !second! with people jumping all the time.

Here are some pictures and videos of the game:

One dream came true now. And another big dream will come true on Tuesday, as I'll see Liverpool play for the first time ever.

Friday, November 25, 2011


During your teens you start to really develop your music taste of what it was when you were a kid. For example I really liked Spice Girls, Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears. When I was 14 that changed to Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins and Muse.

I'd say the critical turning point was the start of the Interpol phase. Because of that I was able to listen to 'difficult music', and dive deeper into the alternative scene.

About six years later I find myself being really into electro rock/pop, and people say that at some point you almost stop being into new music and stick to the old favorites. I don't know when that will happen, but I can say that nowadays there's so many new acts around that it's hard to keep up, and sometimes you get tired of anything new.

Part of my job is to be checking out over a hundred of music blogs and through that I've heard new music. The main reason, why I've checked out acts such as Zola Jesus (pure love), Lana del Rey and Neon Indian, is the massive hype. Of course I have to know what the fuss is all about.

A month ago an exception happened. I came across with a feature of this band called Friends. First of all I wasn't sure if it even was a band's name or something else. But what really grabbed my attention was the picture in it:

My first thoughts were; what is this overly retro thing going on..they look disturbingly odd in this, but still in a good way, wonder what kind of music they play..the girl on the right looks like a young Vanessa Williams..

It was written that Friends are the hottest band coming from Brooklyn at the moment, and that they might be the future of alternative music. Wow. It takes a lot to state something like that, considering how today's music is just a mimic of something else. Still I wasn't quite yet convinced to listen to a song of theirs.

Until I saw the the still image of their video I'm His Girl. In my opinion it's as interesting as their group photo. I'd actually want to know if that image was chosen by the band or YouTube. You might think what the hell am I talking about, but the colors and how some of the band members are placed in it was enough for me to have a look. Will you too? ->

You know that moment, when the first 30 seconds of the song tells you that you've perhaps found your new music crush? This was it. I've been waiting for so many years to hear something fresh and a band that could be added to the list of  'acts that played a big role in my music taste evolution'. I actually thought that there wasn't any hope for that anymore, but I guess I have to have an Obama face on now.

And I know I'm not the only one who says that the base line is sick and that the video is just way too cool. You'd have to be sitting next to me, so I could explain every single cool part of it. Anyone willing for that, let me know.

The rest of the day passed by with having the song and video on repeat. Earlier this autumn I stated that Anna Calvi's Suzanne and I is the best video I've seen. I almost took my words back, but then I realized that it isn't fair to compare these two videos, since they're way too different from each other.

Q: So are Friends Brooklyn's hottest band at the moment?
A: No. They're hipster world's hottest band (which will probably change soon into just world's hottest band, since Friends are too hyped for hipsters now).

Q: Are Friends the future of alternative music?
A: I'd rather say they're the alternative for the alternative. Cheers to that.

Q: Can you say screw Dr. Phil, because I'm His Girl's lyrics can be used as a foundation for any healthy relationship?
A: Yes.

Friends' second London, UK gig. (Click the link to get yourself a ticket, the first one sold out already, so be quick. Like me, leaving work early to get to the box office, since I still don't have a credit card).

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Champions!


Ce sont les meilleure equipes
Es sind sie allerbesten mannschaften
The main event
Die meister
Die besten
Les grande equips
The champions!
Une grande reunion
Eine grosse sportliche veranstaltung
The main event
Ils sont les meilleurs
Sie sind die besten
These are the champions
Die Meister
Die Besten
Les grandes equipes
The champions!

I didn't realize until now that the UEFA Champions League theme song not only has lyrics, but they're also in 3 different languages!

Every football fan should get shivers when they hear this song. I remember pretending that I've won the Champions League by lifting up my sister's biggest wrestling trophy and singing that song. But then the song was only;

'tii tii The Champions!' repeat 3x

Next time I can try singing the whole song. These are the moments when you feel that many years of learning German and French didn't go to waste.

The year in Holland was all about gigs, so I thought my stay in England would be all about football. In fact I imagined myself not really being into music as much as I would be into football. What a stupid thought, especially when I came here to do my internship at a music company. This just proves that people do get wiser as they grow old.

It took me two months to see my first football match here, you might think that it isn't a long time, but it is when you try for so long to get yourself a ticket. It's surprisingly hard, when you don't have a club membership. But thanks to my friend David and to his friend, who both have Arsenal memberships that we were able to book a couple of tickets then. For that moment I had to pretend to be a Hungarian called Robert.

jenkinson the finnish player

The game wasn't just any game. It was a Champions League game. One of my dreams came true, when I heard that theme song live really loud through massive speakers. I had a feeling that I'd need to stand up, when they'd start to play it, just like during a national anthem. And in the end it was really normal for people to stand up, all of us did; for the national anthem of all football fans, no matter from which country. Apparently it's also really normal for people to get teary eyes when they hear it. Especially for the first time.

The game between the English and French ended 0-0, and there weren't many opportunities, but I'm glad to have seen Arsene Wenger, who I consider to be one of the best managers. Also saw former Liverpool player Benayoun, though he was on the bench. Then players like Arshavin, Rosicky and of course van Persie. Some fans say; 'God is a Dutch man' That's how much the new Arsenal captain is loved.

For me the best Champions League moment will forever be The Miracle in Istanbul. My team winning the competition for the 5th time after the most dramatic game ever. And I'm not saying this only because it was my team, but it truly was the match of all time. Whoever disagrees, PFF you. That's when another dream came true; finally I got to see Liverpool lifting the trophy in the TV match intro.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Crystal Fighters

Last spring my friend kept telling me to check out this one band, she saw at a festival. Time and time again she reminded me to give them a chance. And time and time again I felt uncomfortable hearing the name of the band; Crystal Fighters.

Yes, Crystal Castles. Um I meant Fighters.

Why the hell do I hear of a band, whose name is half the same as the band which I've just learn to consider sacred?! But why the hell do I consider myself to be open to new music, but resent a band just by its name?

You little hipster hater hypocrite, change that thinking of yours quickly now.

Luckily cleaning my room always takes many hours, so there was time to have a few albums playing in the background. Now and then it might happen that one album gets on repeat. The now and then moment was then.

Seriously I don't think there's another band in the world, which can combine all the genres I love into one. Well ok, it's not right to say it that way, since I listen to all kinds of bands from Abba to Slipknot. But what I meant is that when listening to Crystal Fighter's debut album Star of Love, I heard everything from drum n' base to pop and electro to rock. I'm not going to use the word indie now, just to avoid the 'indie is not a genre' people's mumble.

They even make their vibe of Spanish music and instruments, which I'm not a huge fan of, sound delicious with everything else. But let's have a look now at the short version of my Crystal Fighters/Star of Love listening debut:

1. Hm I didn't expect them to play this type of music.
2. Oh maan this is one of those songs you can not only sing by yourself, but also with a huge crowd!
3. WTF was this the album or did I have a random playlist on?

Then comes the Wikipedia part put into my own words:

Crystal Fighters are a British electronic band with Spanish influences. One of the band members found an unfinished opera script from her reclusive grandfather's house. That's where the band got its name and were heavily inspired by the wild and deranged spirit of the writings.

Themes in the album include 'the unfathomable mystery of the universe, the turbulent journey towards being at peace with death, the triumph of love, and the omnipotence of the sun'. Star Of Love is actually a backronym for SOL, the Spanish word for 'sun'.

When you've researched enough of the band, you look for gigs anywhere near you. If you're lucky enough to find one, you ask your friend to buy you a ticket, since you still don't have a credit card.

Then you do the latter of number 2 of my listening debut thoughts listed earlier.

It's maybe easier to understand those thoughts by checking out these videos.

Half a year later you find yourself writing about them and still wondering how was the name Crystal Fighters able to disturb you so much that you almost missed out on a gem. And how the band member on the right in the picture reminds you of a Harry Potter villain.

Gnarlloween Critical Mass


It started in 1992 and now it's celebrated every last Friday of the month in over 300 cities around the world. Hundreds of cyclists gather together to take over the roads, and so do those with boards, skates, anything without a motor. New Yorker described it as 'monthly political-protest rides', but Critical Mass participants have insisted it to be a 'celebration' and social gathering, not an organized demonstration.

Either so, hearing how Critical Mass lasted from 6pm until midnight the previous month, I thought it to be more like taking part in Survivor. I was quite scared of how I'd manage, especially with my grippy wheels. But my goal was to make it til the end.

As it was during Halloween weekend, people had to dress up. Some did follow up the Star Wars theme suggested by someone.

Skating for 4 hours around London was amazing. It felt like being part of a huge family; cyclists were helping out the skaters, when there was bad pavement or if they just wanted to chat. And I'll always remember that moment at a crossing at King's Cross, where people just lifted their bikes and boards up in memory of a cyclist who died on that spot.

For us to have a safe ride, cars were stopped from driving on.

There were so many people filming us with their phones, especially on Oxford Street. At that point we were halfway through the route, and my legs were feeling quite tired already. Sometimes I could hardly stay up; one moment I had difficulties getting on my board that one guy laughed 'look she's so drunk'.

Well, let's have a look at my different moments during that day.

Pre- Critical Mass

Critical Mass

are we done already? no, only half. (shit)high five!

Post- Critical Mass

someone asked me what happened to my head. he was serious.

You can imagine how exhausted we were after kicking for so many hours. And how my left thigh and right calf hurt. Also, I was pretty scared to get out of bed the next morning, and when I finally got up, I noticed that my right ankle was in a pretty bad shape too. I was a zombie that whole day. Got to say that it wasn't like Survivor, it was more like Saw.

Nevertheless I had fun. Or 'fun fun fun fun' like Rebecca Black would say it. I also reached my goal, I didn't give up. Though my common sense was telling me to, but I hardly listen to it anyways. Even now it's telling me to rather take the bike for next week's Mass.

Naa, I got a board to kill.

pictures and video by l.lundberg