The last few weeks have been nothing but late nights and early mornings. Sadly, nothing too rock and roll, more just humdrum paternal commitments like getting the kids dressed and out of the house for nursery, followed by late stuff in the evenings. This week it’s been evening classes and networking meetings.
I’m not sure what I did right, but after the last networking meeting on Wednesday, I managed to get invited out for lunch by a local politician for saying that Swedes lacked a ‘fuck it!’ attitude when it came to entrepreneurship. Should I meet them for lunch? Fuck it, why not?
Yesterday I had a couple of short club related meetings in Norrköping. I decided that as I had a gig in Katrineholm that evening, it wasn’t worth driving south before driving north again. So I wandered the streets of Norrköping looking for the perfect café to sit, read, drink a hot chocolate and then gently nod off for half an hour in the warm embrace of a comfy sofa. The bad news is that such a café doesn’t seem to exist in Norrköping. Or at least I wasn’t able to find it. So, I made my way red-eyed to the motorway service station on the E4 where I had planned to meet Palle, parked up, reclined the seat and sank into a deep sleep for an hour as the traffic rattled by. Oh the glamour of life on the road.
Palle turned up and we hit the dark wet road to Katrineholm. We talked the whole way, putting the world to rights and planning the future of comedy in Linköping, blinded intermittently by the extent of our dreams and the headlights of long distance lorries.
I’ve never been to Katrineholm before, or anywhere like it in Sweden. It is small enough to make Linköping seem cosmopolitan, but large enough to have its own Åhléns. It even has a Harrys, which is where our gig took place. We were there in really good time and the place was already half full. As eight o’clock approached the place was heaving, the audience having turned up in force for the show. The only small problem was that only Palle and I were there from the line up that should have been 6 comedians. t turned out that the gang from Stockholm were stuck in traffic outside Södertälje.
We started the show on time with me taking the reins as the warm up man – I did five minutes of getting the audience in the mood for applause etc, then a local guy called Henrik Kjellman hopped up and did 5 minutes. Next up, Palle, who managed to split the audience in two – Those who recognised him for the visionary comic genius that he is, and those who saw him as a foul-mouthed, provocative, ex-alcoholic teacher. I think it was the references to drug use (which is a big taboo in Sweden) that really split the crowd.
Just before Palle finished, the comedians from Stockholm turned up. Behrad Rouzbeh was the compere and he went up onstage, tried to explain why they were late and to get a handle on the audience, but he was a bit too flustered for the audience to warm to him. He introduced me and I was able to use some of the references that I had established at the beginning. I don’t mean to be immodest, but I played a really very good gig.
After the break, Behrad got into his stride. He is a very charismatic performer and when he gets going has a great energy onstage. He is of Persian origin and in the break we were laughing about the things that I get away with as an English foreigner that he couldn’t dream of getting away with as a ‘Blatte’ comedian. Sad but true, but relatively, I get away with murder in my broken Swedish saying things that he daren’t even try in his faultless Swedish as he is the ‘wrong sort of icke svensk’.
The second act was Sara Andersson, who is on Circus Kiev on P3, and Tobias Jacobsson. Tobias is getting better and better and last night had the audience in the palm of his hand.
Then finally the headliner, comic mind extraordinaire, Henrik Elmer who had the audience in fits of laughter … as always.
All in all a good night. I met some fascinating people including Sweden’s top subtitling duo who translate and subtitle everything from The Simpsons to Info films for Microsoft.
Hopefully, I’ll get to play Katrineholm again, but next time, having had a little more sleep.
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