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Published: April 4th 2010
15th June ‘09:
What a difference in the weather. If you scroll back four months - Crikey, have we really been on tour that long? - you'll see that the first indoor gig for AC/DC was in Oslo. And, boy, was it chilly - the pictures show a foot of snow. Now, in mid-June, we have almost continuous daylight, and it's marginally warmer. This opening picture is actually driving in Denmark, but this is about as dark as it gets up here at this time of year.
We've headed north for three nights to get to Oslo from Paris. And, quite frankly, I'm knackered. In fact, Namibian and I have had a crossed word. He mumbled into the radio, interjecting snippets of trivia such as where Little Dick has parked, and how many kilometres we have yet to drive. My audio book was being interrupted, and, tired, I snapped. He snapped back, and I fell silent, chastened. He didn't threaten to withhold flasks of tea but that was a potential risk.
So I apologised. You see, he really is a good egg. In fact, with his flaccid frame, he shares many similarities with an egg. No, I
don’t mean that it takes him four minutes to get hard, or, indeed, that the only chick ever to sit on his face was his mum. No, no, no. I mean that he is soft in the middle. This avuncular, sunny-side-up character will remain my friend to the end.
Right then, having brought you circuitously to the city of Oslo, I’m going to gloss over it entirely. I’m still a little prickly from the trip up, and in no mood for gathering blog material. Let’s gallop ahead to Finland and jump on a ferry instead.
16th June ‘09:
German Holgar is wearing socks and sandals again (with shorts). 'It is German stylish,' he says. The socks are dark socks, which he has equated to being more British. 'I am even drinking tea now,' he boasts. Ah, a veritable step in the right direction. Sidling up to me on the ferry to Finland, he has some pressing - nay, momentous - information to impart.
In Finland - though sadly I don't think this applies to Helsinki - women approach men. And in a deliciously direct manner, too. There are more women than men up here, perhaps explaining
this unusual phenomenon. Holgar, though happily married, is smiling as he recounts this social anomaly. And I notice that he’s dribbling slightly, too. 'I think it is better in the north, but I was in Kuopio,' he says, 'and I was chatting to this girl. After half an hour she asked if I wanted to f**k with her.' Of course he turned her down, but for single men - ooh, that's me - Finland may have just edged up the priority list for holidays.
We come to Finland by sea, from a little Swedish port called Kappelskar. We'll edit out the tiring drive east from Oslo, I think; it's enough to say that Namibian and I drove through yet another romantic sunrise, which just isn't the same as sharing a bottle of red as night falls. And, quite honestly, he's the wrong sex for these endeavours. Anyway, from there we’ve boarded MS Finnfellow for the eight-hour slap across the Baltic.
Vouchers for a free drink are issued, and dinner and breakfast are included. How are we supposed to get two huge meals and eight-and-a-half hours sleep in, then? Hardly recuperative, is it? Still, unlike the boat from Stockholm,
at least there is no disco onboard in which to drink ourselves stupid.
Hello, hello. What's this picture of a black truck getting OFF the boat? Ah, Metallica are coming the other way - from Helsinki to Oslo. Our colleagues (another twenty or so trucks) spin round and come and say hello; Transam Trucking have a lot of trucks crossing the Baltic today. And so does the ferry company. As we embark, we are so closely parked - hemmed in like sardines - that I fear Namibian will be marooned, unable to get out of either door. There is no way he could exit through a truck window as a last resort, either. His door opens a little, and he JUST squeezes through the gap.
The next obstacle is getting upstairs from Deck 3. Yes, I really was pressing where my finger is...for an embarrassingly long time. Eventually, waltzing round the decks with a pint, I'm accused of being a “double hard b**tard”. Laughable, I know - I couldn't pull the skin of a rice pudding. It's this dratted haircut, and I suppose that strutting past reception with lager isn’t aiding matters. Oh, and apologies for the obscene
language, by the way. I’ve inserted asterisks to ameliorate your reading.
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