links for 2006-09-27

September 27th, 2006 | Uncategorized

Oh, Kaisa

September 27th, 2006 | people I know

Manu Larcenet‘s love offering to the waitress with the scary eyes at a Helsinki restaurant on Saturday night. I have the original in one of my shirt pockets, I think.

Da Plane, Da Plane

September 25th, 2006 | mobilesignals

Sitting in a Helsinki bar, killing a couple of hours before heading out to the airport and home. I am really looking forward to shifting back two hours: being plus-seven out of ET and plus-ten out of PT in particular are a real bitch.
Despite my knee playing up in the transitional weather, I got to see something of the area. Some parts of the Helsinki suburbs look disturbingly post-Soviet in their industrial rust, and the prevalence of dun knitwear and beige buildings go some way to explaining the suicide rate. Artistically, it’s a lively town, though (in my brief glimpse) appearing to contain more than its fair share of bitterly pseudy boys in bad spectacles, short-sleeved shirts and ties. The kid who played at Dubrovnik with a guitar and pedal drum Sat night looked like Dennis Franz fucked The Arcade Fire.
The two kids who turned up at the festival dressed as anime characters looked very lonely. I recognised one as Revolutionary Girl Utena, couldn’t place the other one. The attendance was all fanboys and goth girls, the latter outnumbered the former by about ten to one, which isn’t bad. The whole thing was superbly organised, and from my perspective ran incredibly smoothly. They got a record attendance of some six to seven thousand people. I think they’ll have to change venues next year — not unusual for the Helsinki Comics Festival, as in the past one of their previous venues has actually burned to the ground.
Just sitting here watching Helsinki go by, for another hour and a half.

Saturday Night Sunday Morning

September 24th, 2006 | mobilesignals

Sometime past midnight. Back in the hotel room. Leg started complaining, and it’s been a long day, topped off by upsetting a fan artist who was too mumbly to be understood and I suspect too drunk to understand me.
The convention location is long and narrow, and very much in the hand-crafted, small press inflected tradition of the other Scandinavian festivals I’ve done. Despite the bottleneck of getting bodies into the site, everything seemed very smooth, very organised, no hiccups.
The stage is actually in the dealer’s room, which is wired for sound, so people were listening to me both in the fifty or so seats on the stage and in the main room as they walked around. And also in the circle above the stage. Very interesting way of doing it, and I was kept talking by questions from the audience for far longer than expected.
After an excellent, leisurely and somewhat riotous meal, I attended the festival party at a club called Dubrovnik, where my leg started killing me, I ran out of cigarettes, and I was descended upon by said artist (who was pretty good, in a Teddy Kristiansen/Ted McKeever/Ben Templesmith style, but he couldn’t understand that I was telling him his pages were good) and his buddy, who managed to kick me in the leg three times in the act of sitting down and begging cigarettes. “Why are you alone?” he said. “I don’t know anyone here, it’s been a long day, and I really just wanted to sit on my own, have a drink and listen to the bands,” I said. So he sat down, pointed at his friend’s folder of art and said “Look at it!” Doubtless there’s going to be a Finnish LiveJournal entry about how I’m a prick tomorrow.
I did a shot with a local rock star called Jyrki, of the 69 Eyes, before leaving. I should have gone back, really, but the place was packed and my knee was screaming. Hoping I’ll see him tomorrow for drinks, as he’s a good guy.
Tomorrow I have to give the festival’s closing speech. I have no idea what I’m going to say. I don’t even have an old talk with me to fake it with. Sacrifice a goat, or a bottle or something, for me.