Tuesday, December 07, 2004

I Went Out Last Night

Yeah, I know. I actually left the house at night. In Oslo. Shocking isn't it?

For those of you who don't understand my immense joy at the fact of leaving the house after 6 pm, let me explain. Basically, it just does not happen much anymore. Yeah, I know, in Austin I was ALWAYS out. But here...well it's different. First of all, it's VERY expensive to go out. A dinner out is about $50 a person. Beers (wine or mixed drinks are more) cost average of $9 to $10 each. Add to that the hassle of do we drive (which means I can't drink ANYTHING because of the ludicrously strict drink/drive laws here), or take the train or a cab? (We live on a hill in the suburbs.) A cab ride home from my friend Jennifer's the night of the Thanksgiving dinner cost $60, one way. Taking the train is the cheaper route, but then you have to bring the snow boots for walking to the train and the cute shoes for when you get where you are going, then trundle up and down the hill in the snow or, quite possibly, ice. Also, make sure you don't miss the last train back, or you are in for yet another very expensive cab ride. Making sure you make the last train back usually means missing the end of whatever show you might want to see, as it leaves before 1am. Blah de blah de blah. So, we just don't go out much.

But I braved all that and actually went out last night. I went into Oslo to my friend Julia's club, called Garage Oslo. Well, it's not HER club, but she is the "booking chief", or the one who does all the stuff pertaining to getting the bands that play there. So she invited me to come see this band last night, called The Hidden Cameras. She, as the one in charge, got me in for free and I also found that the beer there was cheaper, about $4-$5 a pint, so that was nice. They had Kilkenny and Guinness, which made my little recently-in-Ireland-heart very happy. Julia bought me a couple of pints, and so I say THANKS here, out on the world wide web, for all to see! I also met her boyfriend, Harald, who is a member of a very popular jazz band here called Jaga Jazzist.

The Hidden Cameras are one hell of a fun band. They are based in Toronto. Sort of pop-meets-REM-meets-a drunk orchestra- meets a big old mob of happy dancy people. They are a large band, about 9 people, and they had violins and stand up bass and guitar and keyboards and xylophones and drums and lots of stuff going on. It was fun watching the violin players somehow manage to dance and hop around yet still play their instruments. Ditto the retro mod xylophone player....how did she manage to pogo while hitting just the right key with the stick? That's talent! At one point in the evening the band all put on blindfolds, and proceeded to play AND dance AND sing with red scarves tied over their faces. That was impressive as hell. I had a really great time, and the show ended at 12:15, having started bang on time as well, so I made it to my train with penty of time to spare. I do like the promptness of the Scandinavians. When they say something will start at a certain time, damn if it does not start RIGHT ON TIME. As a gal who has a thing about promptness, I do find that very satisfying.

One thing I have noticed about Norwegian (or just Oslo-ian?) audiences is: They don't dance. When I saw Moby here, having also seen him in Austin, nobody danced. I was almost literally the only one. In Austin, at the SAME SHOW, there was not a person in the audience standing still. It was practically a rave. How could anybody NOT dance when the music is blasting you so hard? Yet they did not dance at the Moby show in Oslo.
So last night, at the Hidden Cameras, Julia and I were in the back of the room, gently hopping and bopping about. We are from Texas, we are allowed. Looking over the audience there were about 5 folks flailing about directly in front of the stage, but everyone else just stood there, arms crossed, like they were too cool to move. Why? What is this stoicism in the face of fun? I don't get it. Harald told me that he thinks it is only the Oslo-ites who don't dance. When his band plays in the west of Norway, those folks dance. Are Oslo-wegians just the jaded urbanites of Norway? The been-there, done-that scenesters?

DANCE , PEOPLE!!!! Move your bums! Life is too short to not dance when you feel like it!

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