Friday, November 30, 2007


Meillä on lunta ja mulla on pimeys sydämessä...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


A month before the shortest day of the year, the sun rises above Jvyäskylä at 9:03. It sets at 15:06. If the sky is not covered with something that seems like clouds and one does not even see the sun. No wonder I have started to think about light today.

ere up North one can sense a bit more special attitude towards light. Some time ago I have noticed how good the design of light is usually in Nordic performances; well, even when it comes to Nordic metal gigs. Then, I have been observing the nightscape of Jyväskylä. Whenever I happen to walk from Agora to the centre in the evening, I notice the usage of light on the shores of Jyväsjärvi. The bridge, some buildings. The same in the city centre. I cannot really say; it is just something I kind of feel. Dealing with light seems more sophisticated here.

So I was thinking about the light today - when something happened. In the evening, I was told northern lights had been seen above the city just some minutes ago. I went out, it was cold, there was some fresh snow... and I saw a stripe of glow. In this part of Finland, Aurora Borealis can be seen, yet the light is dim, not that colorful as within the Arctic Circle. But still. The glow was light blue. In a way, it really felt as the sun would rise at the wrong part of the sky with a blue dawn.

In Finnish, northern lights are called revontulet; the word comes from repo, fox, and tuli, fire. Due to the legend, there are fire foxes living in Lapland; these fire foxes send sparkles with their tails up to the sky - that glows. As it glowed today and as it is perhaps
still glowing now, brighter far up North.

Not being introduced to all the faces of Finland and northern nature yet, the blue dawn on the sky was quite a fascinating moment. Perhaps too dim and nothing special for the locals, but quite special for me. However, if that were not revontulet what we saw, do not brake our illusions; let us foreigners dream about the beauty and the lights of the North.

P.S.: I went out without my camera. Paljon kiitoksia to my classmate and my classmate's flatmate for the picture of today's revontulet.

Saturday, November 24, 2007


Kuuta vasten voi nähdä suden ulvovan... (Viikate - Pohjoista Viljaa)

The week before the one just passed was very good. There was like some magic in the air; I do not feel like explaining it into details, it is even hard to explain. Just great week it was. However, this week, things have changed. Yesterday it was really a strange day; nothing did not work out as I would like, and I
also had some bitter moments of reminiscence. So it happens, every now and then. That tense atmosphere.

Today in the violet colours of the darkening afternoon I looked into the sky. I saw the moon. Full moon. Now I understand yesterday's inner confusion, yesterday's increased sensitivity. And I am howling as a wolf...

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


This week has started with an article about cultural identities and a discussion about it. Today in the Finnish class, I have had my power point presentation. The presentation was in Finnish, I am so proud about it, and I have talked about Finnishness in Finnish metal music. Then, I have found these assumptions. Perhaps you have already heard about them. However, I took the subject very seriously, trying to find out how much Finnish culture has affected my cultural identity so far.


1. You see Sininen lenkki sausage as an integral part of being Finnish.
As I am vegetarian, I do not care about this thingie at all.
2. You don´t eat Sininen lenkki sausage while you´re in Finland but when you go abroad, you miss it.
As I am vegetarian, I do not care about this thingie at all.
3. When you go on holiday abroad, you bring rye bread and salmiakki with you.
Well yes, in January last year I had bought some salmiakki supplies in Finland, then I took them to Slovenia and then from Slovenia to Spain in July. Also, I have always had a lot of fun watching my friends spiting these ''candies'' out as soon as possible.
4. If you don´t, you start missing them at some point during the holiday.
5. You know what Marimekko is.
Of course.
6. You have Marimekko at home.
I have a Marimekko bag.
7. You feel proud when you see Marimekko abroad, in a movie, etc..
Yes, I did pay attention to Marimekko in Ljubljana. It just reminded me of Finland.
8. Nokia is better than Ericsson.
For some reasons I have always preferred Nokia.

9. You´re drunk on 30 April (First of May).
Might happen.
10. You have a hangover on 1 May.
No, because I do not drink that much and drink in Finland seems too expensive to get wasted. But one thing about my drinking is true. I have actually started to drink after my first visit to Finland. And the first thing I drank was Salmiakki Koskenkorva, also known as salmari.
11. You´re drunk on Midsummer eve.
Might happen.
12. You have a hangover on Midsummer day.
To Hell with modesty, yes, it might happen.
13. Fazer is the best chocolate in the world.
It is good for sure.
14. You just love jokes about the Swedish.
Perhaps I like more those jokes about the people from Turku.
15. The most important thing is to beat the Swedes, not win the whole competition.
I find this funny, so why not.
16. It's normal to be naked in the sauna
Yes, totally normal. And I like it.
17. You remember that Arvi Lind was once voted the sexiest man in Finland.
No I don't.
18. You don't wear shoes inside your home.
Neither did so back home. Socks just rule.
19. You always avoid sitting next to a stranger on public transport
Yes. Unless he is cute...
20. You're drunk on New Year's Eve.
That has already happened, at least slightly.
21. You have a hangover on New Year's Day.
Might happen. Eh.
22. Watching the ball at the presidential castle on TV is an integral part of celebrating the Independence Day
I guess I will found this out on the 6th of December.
23. Milk is milk only when it is Valio!
I can't say, I buy it because it is there. But I also like Valio's yogurts.
24. Silence is fun.
Yes. I have always been quiet person. And, by the way, Finns are not silent at all. At least those I know or I have used to know are or have been very talkative.
25. You rummage through your plastic bag collection to see which ones you should keep to take to the store and which can be sacrificed to garbage.
I actually do so...
26. Hugging is reserved for sexual foreplay.
Not really. Also the Finns I have met do not seem so cold and distant.
27. When a stranger on the street smiles at you: a. you assume he's drunk
b. he is insane

c. he's an American

I usually do not look at people that much. Unless he is really cute.
28. You associate pea soup with Thursdays
Yes, and with pancake.
29. You know that "religious holiday" means, "let's get pissed."
No. Why?

30. You know that more than three channels means cable
I do not own a telly.
31. You get all Swedish jokes
I might, but I don't care that much.
32. When you're hungry you can peel a boiled potato like lightning
I guess it is possible to get already peeled potato in our Citymarket, so why bother with peeling at all?
33. You accept that 80 degrees C in a sauna is chilly, but 20 degrees C outside is freaking hot. Also, you accept -30 outside as a reasonable temperature, but anything under 22 indoors is unreasonable...
I do not know how many degrees is in our sauna. Usually, it feels hot and I like it. Considering the weather, I have also noticed that it feels quite warm if it is like 2 above zero... just today, for instance.
34. You give the air hostess your undivided attention when she demonstrates how to fasten, tighten and unbuckle your seatbelt. You eye the person sitting next to you suspiciously when they don't do the same.
I do not care about that - but I understand the point well.
35. You don't waste alcohol. When you spill your drink on the desk, you actually contemplate slurping it up anyway.
I might do that with other drink/food. However, if something happens to rot, then it either goes to the bio waste - or local squirrels get their meal.

Friday, November 16, 2007


Peter Tägtgren Pain

Just got home after the gig. PAIN from Sweden. Tagged as industrial metal, however, Pain is a project of Peter Tägtgren, who is also Hypocrisy frontman. Pain rocks, and they rocked tonight in Lutakko as well. The set list seemed quite different then at our Metalcamp 2007. There was Same Old Song at the beginning, but the rest were, if I quote Pain, some songs they have never played live before. Alright, of course among those were also some songs I have already heard them playing live. And of course they did play the obligatory Shut Your Mouth. Yet there is one song I would like to hear and I did not get it again - Computer God. Nevermind that, I liked the gig. It lasted for an hour and a half, then they had to go because they had to catch the f*****g ferry; at least Peter said so. Hälsning från Jyväskylä!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Evening. Time after sauna. Quiet time. I feel as one is supposed to feel after a good sauna. Well, I have also not written anything for some days. May this post be just a brief and more or less random collection of past personal events.

The studies I am attending have turned a bit more demanding. This is an MA progr
amme afterall, girlie, what the Hell are you thinking about... Perhaps I should be reading some articles at the moment, rather than writing this blog of mine. But since I am dealing with Digital Culture, I can even consider this Internet relaxation as a part of my studies. Sure, I need to maintain my blog stats to use them in my future research.

Winter is creeping into this land. We have had some mild snow. Then, the snow has decided to become rain again. Jolly indeed. This week, things seem to be more promising. It has started to freeze a bit and some lonesome snowflakes can be seen, floating in the cold air.

Nordic winter begins. Somehow.

My exploration of very Finnish gigs has also continued. Just within a week I have seen two of among those Finnish bands that have been very significant for me. Nice coincidence. The first band w
as, of course, Viikate. The second gig happened last Saturday. Artsy punk Au Pair. Young local band; nevertheless they seem quite famous all around the country. I was more into Au Pair's music last winter and spring, but still I was very happy to see them live so soon. Punk, and much more. Strong sounds, dynamic riffs. Great vocal, great interpretation. Their lyrics is only in Finnish, critical and filled with clever irony. Not to mention how ironic felt their live act.

Punk frontman dressed as a bunny rabbit, eating his carrot and singing about New Europe? The rest of the punk band dressed into other forest animals, such as, for instance, the fox and the bear? Well, why not...

The words of Au Pair are among my first translations from Finnish. Check out how I tackled one of their pieces and translated it into English here.

Au Pair gig happened in Bar 68

At the beginning of this year, I was given a live recording from the very same band. It was taken in the very same place. Now I have seen Au Pair live, I have visited Bar 68 and I am not in contact with the one who has given me the music no longer. Yet there is more. During this weekend, one particular day has happened. Last year on that particular day, I went to sauna. This year, I spent it in Finland. Yes, I have had my birthday. It started
last weekend at midnight with that great Au Pair gig. It finished with a nice little party. Life writes all sorts of stories, change is the only constant in the world, that is all what I can say...

So much about my latest events. Good and hot sauna I wish, if you plan to visit one!

Sunday, November 04, 2007


Ervo, Arvo, Kaarle ja Simeoni Viikate

Rakkaat ihmiset... there is a band I have wanted to tell about some time ago. For some reasons I have not managed to tackle the theme until these days. I think seeing them live on stage is more than a good opportunity to write a few lines. The band is VIIKATE.

The Finnish friendship I have had brought some good music into my life; very Finnish music, to be precise. Now I continue the exploration on my own - and as I am in Finland, this mean
s going to as many very Finnish gigs as possible. To Viikate I have been introduced at the beginning of this year. I remember how I listened to them in spring, but I did not pay that much attention to the music. Then, some strange magic has happened. For the last few months Viikate has been my favorite band by all means. Perhaps life in Finland has increased my affection towards their music; I cannot really say. This love has just emerged all of a sudden.

The band's name in English would be Scythe. Four members with recognizable artsy names; they also share the surname Viikate. Online sources tag their sounds mainly as metal, wire metal, rock and folk rock. If I lean on my own disc
overies and humble knowledge about music genres, I could also say their music reflects 1950s rock style, quit rockabilly-like. The influence of Finnish schlagers is strongly present, too; the important name here would be Reino Helismaa since Viikate's style has been described as Helismaa-metal. Viikate are oldfashioned, but in a very good way.

For me, Viikate is much more than just one very Finnish metal band. It is hard to say how metal they actually are. Their music reaches far beyond metal - and sometimes even beyond words. Do not ask me which is my favorite Viikate song; there is lots of them. I like their melodics, the riffs seem so unique and, most of all, so beautiful.
Genuine style indeed. As I always put a lot of stress on good lyrics, Viikate does not let me down here either. They feature real poetry - only in Finnish. The language of their words feels oldish; it is not easy Finnish for sure. Just imagine gloomy words within merry riffs and lively, sometimes rockabilly-like sounds. Melancholy and darkness, but on the other hand also very special joy, even irony. As a foreigner living in Finland and being in strong contact with Finnish culture I could say Viikate capture a great deal of pure Finnishness. Also, if I compare the overall atmospheres, Viikate could be Aki Kaurismäki in music.

Kaarle Viikate Lutakossa, toinen päivä marraskuuta

Friday November the 2nd was the day to see Viikate live for the first time. The band has just published their new album Marraskuun lauluja II - November Songs. Since this is the month of my birthday I am happy there is a band that prefers November so much they have published actually two albums dedicated to it. Anyway, I am sure Viikate have been playing in Lutakko many times, but still the place was full of people. The audience seemed a bit older, like my age and more; I have also seen
two ladies in classical trousers and high heels, wearing Viikate shirts.

Kaarle ja Ervo Viikate Lutakon lattialla

The gig itself was just great. At least I felt it so; a few months ago I had fallen deeply into this music, and the oportunity to see the bend live came so soon. Frontman Kaarle Viikate knows well how to address the audience - very in style. Almost in book Finnish, kirjakieli, and again with a bit oldfashioned expressions. The band has lots of presence on stage, the
performance is proper. Their live sounds do not differ much from the recordings; the melodic parts created jolly atmosphere. I guess I was among a very few foreigners, if there were any, that could sing-a-long with the rest of the Finnish audience. Nice event by all means - and yes, I am already looking forward to see Viikate live again.

Kaipuun taivaalla loistaa kuu
Hallamaillakin aurinko nousee

Tuomion t
ähdet kimaltaa
Tuomion t
ähdet kimaltaa, ne toisille kimaltaa
Viikate - Hallamaat - Marraskuun lauluja II

P.S.: I might post Viikate music video in the days to come, but until then check out their sounds here.

Thursday, November 01, 2007


Here they are, November Songs. I hear them in the cold wind, great pines are whispering to me their secrets. I see them written on the rustle of the rotting leaves, I read them from bare branches. And I remember again and again how things change within the flow of time...

For me, the month has started with a jolly Halloween party.