I have to say that being able to enjoy Tor's bodily heat in such an uncontroversial manner is really satisfying.
-Are (more on that later)
a valuable lesson last year, we got up very early this morning. At twenty to six, we had already made the coffee. Mary and Tor, both of whom, may I add, were not
there last year, thought I was crazy for insisting on dragging them out of bed before six. I knew I was right, though. I was not sitting on a wasp's nest this year. Hell, no.
When we arrived at the park, their hesitation did seem justified. There were two other people there. Apart from the people trying to give me coffee. I explained I had brought my own. They asked whether there was anything good in it. I said it contained coffee. We went off to find our seats.
That is right. They hate me for dragging them out of bed (Mary) and/or laugh at me for dragging them out of bed (Tor). At least there was coffee. And a warm, warm scarf big enough to clothe a small village.
We were there early, as I said. Are was not. Still, good people that we are, we kept a seat for him (we did not keep a seat for Silje, as we had it on good authority that she had no intention of getting out of bed before half past six). Even Are was there before the great mass of people that arrived around half past six, though. It seems that that is the magic time. People aim for half an hour before it all kicks off.
I decided to test the waters before the show.
Are: This is fantastic!
Tor: It is exciting.
Incidentally, this is where the opening quote from Are showed up. We had scrunched up tightly to give people more room, allowing the added bonus of more warmth. The sun had not quite reached us yet. Those of us drinking hot coffee were fine, but poor Mary (who, through really bad planning, was also sitting furthest from the sun, shaded by the rest of us) was cold. As you could see above. Asked for more observations, Mary observed (possibly with a tinge of sarcasm because I didn't take her body temperature seriously enough),There is a teeming mass of humanity waiting to greet the day here. It is awe-inspiring.
And then it kicked off.
Let me start with a caveat. I am no great fan of Arve Henriksen. This is not due any shortcomings on his side, I am sure. I just don't care much at all for trumpets. And so I haven't listened to him at all before. I am sure he is very good at what he does.
It was quite impressive. He had a cast of three other musicians (Jon Balke on the piano, Svante Henryson on the cello, and Terje Isungset on basically anything you could hit with something) and a dancer (Therese Skauge).
Mornings are not easy
when you don't drink coffee.
I will probably sound very picky if I confess that I am not a great fan of improvised dancing, either; but this time I was quite captivated for a while. She had rather impressive control over her body, and I must say I was a little surprised she did not topple or snap at one time or another.
I mentioned the impressive assortment of stuff that Isungset played. Among them were tiny bells, a big bell, sticks that hit each other when you shook them, and two stones that he rubbed against one another. It may sound a little odd, but I assure you the effect was really very good. I forgot to add that he also blew on a short hose, and later on a horn (not a metal instrument, but the type certain animals sport).
Unfortunately, Henriksen broke the spell with a poetry reading. People should be very, very careful with that sort of thing. My cynicism-production exploded, and it certainly did not help Mary wake up. We discussed it later:
Camilla:The poetry was the low point.
Are: I enjoyed that.
Tor:It's funny, 'cause he read the same words jokingly to test the microphone earlier, and then I thought it sounded like supposedly deep poetry that he made up on the spot.
Tor's observation pretty much sums up my stance on the matter. It got much better when he started making random noises in the microphone. The first song (is that the right word?) lasted 35 minutes. It was highly experimental, and did seem rather more designed to lull people back to sleep than to wake them up.
The second was better. This is where the horn showed up, and there was a rather amusing nonsense-conversation of weird noises between Henriksen and Isungset. It was certainly no language I could recognise, and I soon concluded it must be some sort of Stryn-type troll dialect. The only recogniseable words were "Break of Day", "I just woke up", "early" and "i veldi trøtt". I concluded that Arve Henriksen is much more entertaining when he doesn't use his trumpet.
His shining moment came as he directed the audience in a piece of calisthenics that actually did feel good (and I am, again, not generally a fan of that sort of thing -- neither calisthenics nor audience participation).
Of course, I dutifully polled the crowd after the concert as well:
Silje:I liked it. It's not really my kind of music, but it sort of grew on me.
Mary:I liked the cello. I wish more people played the cello.
Silje: They are really gifted musicians, I am sure. But it is not really my kind of music.
Mary:I like the creative use of unusual materials for instruments. Like the horn and the rocks and the sticks and stuff. Only, don't include the "and stuff".
Silje:What? I've already given you a quote! A stupid quote! Just put down, I liked it a lot. And I'm tired. I'd like to sleep.
Silje: I held hands with two strangers!
During the concert I was almost killed by a wasp. It landed on my hand. I was resuscitated by two strangers.
Are:This is what jazz is all about!
Mary:I really enjoy being made to look less stupid by the people around me.
Tor:I got cookies!
Are:In comparison with last year when I was all alone without any friends, this is a lot better.
(Thank you, Are.)
Are then sang about the wondrous scarfiness of the scarf, to a tune that is probably better left unmentioned for the sanity of all involved. The rest of us suggested that maybe he should keep the tunes inside his head.
Are will get the final quote as well, I think:It is a good thing when you can be serious about your music, and be serious about making good music, and still be playful.
I will let that stand as the moral of the three concerts I've been to this festival. They all did that remarkably well.