Knickerbocker Glory

RIGHT ABOUT NOW; The Funk Soul Brother. Check it out now; The Funk Soul Brother. Right about now

Imagine if you will, a gorgeous but chubby raven haired white girl driving home hopped up on a toasted coconut latte, dancing behind the wheel… So graceful is she as she rocks her shoulders back and forth and wiggles her hips – still seated and with both hands on the wheel of course. She IS a mother after all; there has to be some sense of decorum and safety. Well, perhaps not decorum so much… but safety always!

Right about now, ’bout now, ’bout now, ’bout now

Surely the coffee and music on it’s own didn’t put her in such a bouncy mood? It must have contributed to her mood when her children were promptly ready for school this morning… But today is a day for laundry, not dancing silly woman! Yet as the music changes she is still bopping along towards home.

Vanilla Strawberry Knickerbocker glory. Vanilla Strawberry Knickerbocker glory. Vanilla Strawberry Knickerbocker glory. Vanilla Strawberry Knickerbocker glory…

‘Oooo, Ice cream…’ she thinks – only increasing her sense of hyperactivity. Man, she is gonna be SO productive today! Laundry and a blog post (or two) AT LEAST!

She pulls into the driveway, intending to promptly get out and get to her planned productivity. But wait… Now that’s she’s parked she can dance WITHOUT her hands on the wheel! ‘Just one more song won’t hurt nuthin’,’ she decides…

Put me in the hospital for nerves and then they had to commit me. You told them all I was crazy… They cut off my legs now I’m an amputee – God Damn you!

Yup, Today is gonna be a good day 🙂

*Artists: Fat Boy Slim, Fujiya & Miyagi, Harvey Danger

Absolut Kurant

This memory is fuzzy – as the title and featured image may suggest – but I don’t think that’s really the reason this memory sits far back in my mind… The details of which refuse to come forward fully.

I’ve had flashes of memory regarding this night a few times over the past few years, periodically I sit and try to recall exactly what happened, exactly who I was with, etc and it ultimately leaves me frustrated that for some reason, out of all of the things I can recall – this one doesn’t make the cut. All or Nuthin’ Baby, that’s what it should be!

I’ve decided to write down my fractured memory so I don’t forget what I have actually recalled… Maybe one day it’ll be clearer, though I doubt it.

One night, in Sweden. I made my way down town with some friends. I seem to remember Dan going with, or more likely meeting me at the location – but I’m not really sure that is not a figment of my imagination. I don’t recall him in the club itself. I seem to just recall him walking outside in the dimly lit street with me. Perhaps our ultimate destinations were not the same place, but we traveled some of the way together. Perhaps when we got there we both became preoccupied with other friends and activities that we did not remain near by each other… I think that is the most likely scenario…. But I must also remember that perhaps I am placing him there in my mind because I feel like he should have been there… Likely would have been there, or I am recalling two different nights in the same part of town… I don’t know…

I do recall being there with some of my IB friends. I do recall Anneke and possibly Helena on the train with me.

It was some kind of youth party; some kind of event… somewhat of a Rave… Though it wasn’t called that by anyone I knew. The memory; however, feels Rave-ish if that makes sense. Loud music, warehouse like surroundings, smoky interior and colorful/strobe  lights.

I got my hands on a bottle of Absolut Kurant. I don’t think it was mine. I think it was one of the boys’ – Nolan’s perhaps? One of the boys from his crew anyway.

I took a few big swigs, thinking it tasted delicious. Vodka is my liquor of choice; and the Black Currant flavour was something in general I enjoyed back then.

The vodka rushed to my head within a few minutes and I remember dancing – twirling with my eyes closed. Opening them as I became a little dizzy, looking down at my feet – clad in Orange Old Skool Vans, with my dusty green corduroy skater pants draped over the laces.

I’m not positive why we left – I seem to remember lights coming on. I remember thinking how different the place looked in the light.

Afterwards I ended up on a bus with a couple of friends and a young blond guy that appeared like a skin head, though I have no further evidence he was… It was his clothing really that made me think of that.

I don’t know why – was he a friend of someone’s? Or did we simply meet him at the party or on the bus? I have a sneaking suspicion we just met him on the bus and thought he was nice… (My god, what was wrong with us??!) But a small group of us followed him to a house party somewhere out of the city proper. On the way, I remember having a conversation with him about anarchy  – he educated me (and presumably my mates) about the “true meaning” of anarchy, and why he was a proponent of it. Every time I think of this bus ride, “Anarchy in The UK” starts playing in my head. I honestly can’t recall if it was the song that prompted the conversation – or if my mind is retroactively making that connection.

I’ve kept thinking it was his house we went to, but now I’m not sure that makes sense. There were other people there when we arrived. I think, though, it was one of his best mate’s houses or a relative’s house. But now that I think about it, he was staying there. That’s it… It was his good mate’s house he was crashing at.

Anyway, he was very familiar with the surroundings – gave us a tour before too many people showed up, and showed us where to stash our bags – the top of the front hall closet – so that anyone else that showed up wouldn’t be able to steal our phones or whatever.

That’s about where the memory ends. Stuffing my bag in the top of the closet. I had a vague sensation of not feeling like I fit in at that party – but let’s be honest, I felt like that a lot – and I don’t think we stayed for very long. It wasn’t because of the activities occurring or anything like that. I just recall feeling out of place, I remember him translating some bits of conversation to me that I hadn’t quite caught… and not feeling like I was attractive enough for these boys/men.

Presumably I left with Anneke and Helena and headed home, sometime in the wee hours of the morning…. and fuck was it cold.

When Maja “Saved my life”

2001maja

I dunno how many of you actually look at comment streams under these blog posts, but in case you are curious about what Maja wrote underneath “So Cool, eller?” I have decided to explain a portion of that night here.

Stating that Maja “Saved my life” may be a bit dramatic of me to say (hey, I always was that theatre kid)- but at this point I had lost my virginity already, so she wasn’t entirely saving that. However; on February 16, 2001 at the Monkey Bar in Fridhemsplan, Stockholm, Maja effectively saved me from being raped. This is not a dramatic over statement.

After having a big family party at Maja’s house, Maja and I went out to celebrate our mutual turning 18 birthdays – mine had been just over a week prior. We decided to go to The Monkey Bar, partially because it was in an area of town that we knew (just down the street from our school) and partially because we did not yet really know too many other such establishments.

The Monkey Bar had a stereotypical bar area when you first walked in and a dance/club atmosphere in the back room. Regardless of the events that happened this particular night, I continued to frequent this establishment with her and other friends… I just never went back to dance again.

On this night, we decided to do our dancing first as we had already had a few drinks at Maja’s house. We made our way to the back of the room where it wasn’t overly crowded. Relatively quickly we located dance partners and separated. The young man that approached me to dance was stocky and muscular, a blond who was slightly shorter than me (not unusual for me at this point – I am 5’9.) He was relatively attractive.

He said something to me, of which I couldn’t hear over the loud music. “Va?” I asked him. He said something again and I leaned in a little closer, indicating to my ear and told him I could not hear him. “Va?! Jag kan inte höra dig!”

He came up as close as he could and put his mouth up to my ear and told me “Du är fina.” (You are fine (pretty)). I blushed and said “Tack så mycket” in thanks. We danced for a few minutes and then I realized he was slowly backing me to the wall. He got up as close to me as he could and I started to feel uncomfortable so I said “Erm… Maja… Maja! ….MAJA!” I don’t think she ever actually heard me, she just happened to look around at me casually at just the right time and saw the look of panic on my face.

She swept over with an apparent plan to ensure this man knew I was taken or something… I dunno really what was going through her mind… but she came straight for me and said “Gumman! Där är du!” and planted a kiss full on my mouth as she wrapped her arms around me. Then she gave him a look of disdain that clearly said “Who the fuck is this guy?”

He backed off and put his hands up in surrender, said something about “seeing how it is” and then put his hands in his pockets and stalked off.

Maja and I started laughing and then she ensured I was okay before going back to her flirting. I assured her I would be fine – because I was naive and thought he naturally wouldn’t come back. I really should have moved and situated myself elsewhere, but I didn’t.

Only a few moments later, after Maja was distracted by her dance partner again, he came back. He came back with a friend. They looked determined. I don’t know if this is hindsight that makes me think this or if I actually had the thought run through my head at the time, but they seemed to have a sinister look on their faces. I also noticed that his eyes looked somewhat glazed and I realized I hadn’t noticed the smell of alcohol on him earlier.

They made a beeline for me and backed me straight into the dark corner I happened to be near. “MAJA!” I yelled, but she couldn’t hear me. The blond grabbed me around the waist and as I struggled the other laid his hands on me in an attempt to help his friend out. “MAJA!” I continued to call out. After what seemed like an eternity – but obviously wasn’t more than a minute or two given they hadn’t gotten what they wanted yet – Maja turned and saw what was happening just as I made one final attempt to shriek her name.

She ran over, taking them by surprise as she pushed them aside, grabbed my arm, and said “OhMyGod,Rae! We’re late! My mum is gonna kill me!” as she yanked me forward and we started to run. We ran all the way to the front of the bar where it was more crowded and a little quieter. She hugged me and asked me if I was okay. I thanked her for helping me and she sat me down and told me she would get us a drink – her treat.

You know, now that I write this all out – more fully than what I put in the book about it – I realize that I am so grateful to have Maja in my life and I feel bad how I treated her sometimes when we were in high school. I was jealous of her, she was gorgeous and I felt so inadequate next to her sometimes. I’m just so glad I’ve grown up since then – and I am so glad we have remained best friends to this day. I don’t know what I would have done if she hadn’t been there. Now just look at me, crying like a baby over here…

Jag älskar dig, hjärtanskär.

Happy Memory #5 – Dancing in the Rain

 

His name was Andre and we were 19. I’d known him for awhile, we dated for three or four weeks when we were 16. After I moved away, we lost contact… only getting back in touch shortly before I moved back stateside after graduation. We decided to give it another go.

Andre was, for lack of a better word, a hippie. He had long hair, long enough to reach his lower back and of which he often kept in a braid or ponytail. He soon started keeping his hair in a hair wrap when I made him one in the style of what was sold at renaissance fairs. He was one that was interested in Buddhism and even used crystal antiperspirants. Andre was the only hippie like boy I had ever fallen for – which may seem unusual considering I was one that was so artistic and bohemian back then.

Andre was a gentleman and would become righteously indignant when somebody did or said something against his sensibilities – like once when some men wolf whistled at me while we were out one evening. We didn’t always get along, but our disagreements or misunderstandings were never very serious. Andre was a British man, though he had lived in Greece when he was younger, and had been in the US for a fair few years at this point as well. He spoke Greek and his mother would sometimes make heavenly Greek food.

I lived about a five hour drive away from him, so we long distanced it up and would visit each other for a week or so at a time. One June day I had driven up, I had visited only for the day as I was in the middle of a weekend visiting another old friend there in Frederick, MD. We walked all over town, doing whatever we were doing, eventually ending up at a park. We were sitting on a swing set, talking and laughing when suddenly it started raining. We ran for the “clam shell” which was an outdoor stage that was covered by a shell shaped roof. We made it to the shelter before getting too wet and pretty much immediately before the utter and complete downpour started. We stared out at the sheets of water that were coming from the sky. One of us said something wondering about how long it would last.

I had a sudden impulse. How many chances would I have to dance in the rain? I grabbed Andre’s hand and pulled him as I ran for the water.

“Rae! What are you doing!?”

“Dancing in the rain! What does it look like?” I said, letting out a laugh.

“You’re nuts!” He exclaimed, but he couldn’t hide his wide smile nor suppress his own laugh.

I lifted my arms and twirled, my face basking in the rain drops. We jumped around like children, we embraced. We kissed. A thought crossed my mind that I might just fall in love with this boy.

I knew if my life had a soundtrack, Jakob Hellman would be singing at this point:

“Kom med och lägg dej här i gräset under mej och

Come and lie in the grass under me and

blöt ner kläderna                                                                            

soak your clothes

Det är väl vackert väder ovanför molnen                                        

There is beautiful weather over the clouds

men regn där vi står                                                                       

But rain is where we stand

Åh, de finns ingen vackrare än du                                                 

Oh, there is no one more beautiful than you

i din vanliga tröja och i ditt våta hår”                                               

in your ordinary sweater and your wet hair

We were thoroughly soaked. By this time there was no reason to avoid walking in the rain, so after a good several minutes of these shenanigans, we started the walk home. When we got there, his mum was aghast that he would let me get so wet on the walk back. He put my clothes in the dryer as I put on one of his mum’s peasant skirts. He wrung out his hair and put on one of his Thai sarongs and then we climbed into bed and curled up together.