Thursday, December 22, 2011

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

Dear friends,

I wish all of you wonderful Christmas days with your family & friends. I hope you can enjoy some days out of the daily routine, relax a bit and celebrate.

A few days after Christmas a new year starts and I wish you all the very best for the adventures that will wait for you in 2012. May it be a happy, healthy and successful year full of love and light.

I personally will be mostly offline for the next week and the plan is:

No (almost - sadly 100% no is not possible) to work
No to running around like a maniac
No to multitasking

Yes to sleep

Yes to good food
Yes to family time especially with my niece who I will hug and kiss until she says "Nooohooo moooore!"

Next year I will be back with new stories, thoughts, ideas, travel tales and more here on this blog, because my plan for the new year is:


Be safe, be happy - see you in 2012.



Monday, December 19, 2011

Resolution & Inspiration

People who do not use social media have lots of prejudices about it. You hear stuff like "You sit alone in front of your computer - it's lonely." Or "When you are home with your notebook you cannot find any inspiration." 
As a social media addicted person I can proof it all wrong. Of course you need to go to meet people out there. Also a good portion of fresh air and enjoying the beauty of mother nature is good, healthy and inspiring, but social media is very powerful as well. 

I met not only fantastic people that way, made new friendships and recovered old ones, the internet and especially the social media platforms have been also a great source of inspiration
One reason for the inspirational power is that is so easy to share your thoughts and ideas but also your great findings - like this one (I even forgot who shared it first), which is one my all time favorites:

Not only the name is awesome, but also the selection of quotes, pieces of art, movie quotes and much more you can find here.

And it was the place where I found my perfect resolution and inspiration for 2012: 

That's the plan. 

Friday, December 2, 2011

Tack så mycket, Friska Viljor

Friska Viljor, Augsburg - 11/2011
This is Swedish and means "Thank you, Friska Viljor" and before you ask … I do not speak Swedish and I know not much more than in this one phrase.
Okay – but where to start with this one?  I have two alternate beginnings of this posting:

Version 1 starts with my BFF Anita – the one who also feeds my keychain. We are friends for almost 9 years already, traveled approximately a million miles and went through quite some ups and downs of life together.

Anita's Swedish is much better than mine and she loves Swedish rock music.  When I found out that Friska Viljor – one of her favorite bands – would play on a November Saturday in Augsburg, I knew that it would be a great teaser to make her drive down to Munich and visit me (we live about 600 km apart).  That’s quite some trip and she would be jetlagged just coming back from New York, but honestly … we already did crazier stuff. I invited her over for the concert and I knew my chance to get a "Yes" would be around 95+% - and I was right :o)
And so after having a great Mexican dinner we made it to the "Kantine" in Augsburg at November 12 2011 for the show, entered the club and ...

Version 2 is much more egocentric I am afraid, because it's mainly about me although this concert was great night out with one my best and closest friends.

The story is: I miss music (and I am not talking about running around with earphones and just listen). I am getting older and I am kind of fine with it. I do not want to miss one bit of my experience, I do not want to go back, but I have to admit I miss parts of my old life. I for example badly miss going out and dancing.  It is not that I feel too old to go to a club and dance (although I might be). My problem is that I miss MY club and MY music (which does not just equal "oldies but goldies" - I am not THAT old) and I can't go back because the place closed its doors years ago and I never found anything like it again. 
It got so bad lately that I consider to organize a dance night on my own (meaning: a party at good location with my people and my music). You will hear more about it here at the blog because I will – at least – post the growing playlist and give you a better idea what MY music means soon. 
When we decided to go to the Friska Viljor show the timing could not have been better, because there is only one thing that is better than dancing through a night with the right music and that is a damn good live concert with real guitars and great songs.
And so after having a great Mexican dinner we made it to the "Kantine" in Augsburg at November 12 2011 for the show, entered the club and ...

... sometimes you come to a new place the for the first time and you know it’s just RIGHT.  The "Kantine" looked great painted in red and black, had the right size (not too small and not too big), even smelled right (the weird mix of lots of parties,  the beer pump ready to use and the slight sweetness of stage fog)  and had a surprisingly big and well equipped stage. I stepped into the room and knew we would have a great night – the type of night I missed for too long.

Friska Viljor

Friska Viljor - Useless, Augsburg - 11/2011

... are basically best friends and partners in crime Daniel Johansson and Joakim Sveningsson, but on the road they travel with a lot more friends to make more noise (Markus Bergkvist aka William the Contractor – drums, Thobias Eidevald – bass, Emil Nilsson – organ / keyboard). 
All band biographies will tell you how Daniel and Joakim were left by their girlfriends, drank too much, recorded a record – mostly drunk – and started their music career in a slightly dizzy state of mind. This is a nice and for sure at least in some parts true story, but seriously … it was about six years ago. 
A lot of things happened in between: broken hearts healed, kids were born, lots and lots of shows were played and new songs were written - some of them certainly too complex to be performed drunken and for our show the guys were (my impression) perfectly sober. 

o it was a different thing that took while reading about Friska Viljor for this blog post much more my attention than the urban legends about the early days of the band. The expression was "Friska Viljor is a Swedish Indie Rock band".  There you go … Independent / Indie Rock – a critically endangered type of music that survives only at small festivals like at our home base ground of the Halderner Open Air, vanilla-stage-fog smelling clubs that are rare like diamonds and deeply committed but financially limited record labels – and my sister’s living room.  Not kidding … when the genre sign "INDEPENDENT" was removed from our favorite record shop, because music nowadays is just called Rock - Pop and if you are a wild kid "Hard & Heavy" or "Alternative" my sister took the huge sign home and pinned at her own wall.  So you guessed it already:  We have a heart for threatened species - we love Indie Rock

Before the show I had listened to some songs of Friska Viljor and liked them. This does not sound really enthusiastic, but I can tell you that it happens not too often lately that I hear a new band and really like it (except the Cold War Kids who stole my heart and run away with it). 

I could list now about a dozen of cliché phrases to describe the sound of Friska Viljor and why I like it, but I prefer to break it down to a relatively simple formula: They play the music they like and do it in a way they like and that actually creates a pretty unique, very lovable Friska sound and from slow and heartbreaking to fast & funny all kind of tunes can be found on their records and set lists

set list is the keyword here, because we do not talk records here, we talk a concert. We talk a band that is touring for about a year now from club to club and festival to festival and … THESE GUYS STILL PLAY THEIR HEART OUT! 
And if you are a fan or not – you cannot escape this special Friska Viljor magic that is driven by the love and respect of the band members for each other and their absolutely obvious love for what they are doing:  MAKING MUSIC! 

And that was exactly what I was missing pretty badly for quite some time:  the feeling of just getting carried away by the fun and intensity of really enjoying
music - on stage and in the audience. Good, handmade, honest, emotional music.  What a night, what a GOOD NIGHT!

To my friend Anita, who is in Stockholm this weekend:   

Just in case you run into one of the guys, tell them "Tack så mycket" from me -  Thank you for the music

All pictures by Anita Ivanković

Thank you for the music!  Friska Viljor, Augsburg - 11/2011

Some tunes to listen to ...

My book in November - The Apology


I am really sorry, but there will be no book review in November.

I am reading a wonderful book about the European adventures of a Nobel Prize winning American writer (no, I am not reading Steinbeck again), but I did not make it more than ten pages into the book.

My reading time is usually to and from work in the train, but at the moment I am so exhausted that I need this time for napping in the morning and blowing out my tired brain with music in the evening. I tried reading in the after work train but I am just staring at letters and it has nothing to do with really reading.

I'll be back next month when I had some airport time (my favorite reading place) and a couple of vacation days to catch up. 

Thanks for your patience.