And then, another driving day. Up to the Danish border, where a policeman waved us in; up north through Jutland, the Danish mainland, then a turn east. First, across a short free bridge onto the island of Funen, home of little white churches scattered around near the freeway that look like a cross between California Missions and Wild West Movie Sets; then across a long $40 bridge to Zealand, home of Copenhagen. Our timing was such that we could pick up Doug and Hind at the airport. Hind had just flown there from Paris, and Doug had gone to greet her. We headed across the long $60 Øresund bridge to Malmö, Sweden, and after my answers to the Swedish passport agent seemed too complicated, we pulled over and handed them to another friendly agent to sort out in the office. A few minutes later we were on our way. We dropped Hind and Doug off at their hotel, then headed to our own.
We stayed at MJ’s hotel, on Masterjohansgaten. It is by far the most fabulous hotel I have ever stayed in (we never stayed in the Madonna Inn, only used their bathrooms.) The fabulosity started with, and peaked at, the chair with dozens of stuffed flamingo necks sticking out in every direction; it coordinated well with the flamingo carpeting. There were sexy pictures everywhere, in the rooms and hallways. (To save on costs, all the same pictures were on every floor. I suppose they thought no one would notice. They could have at least varied the ones on the stairway.) Parking cost extra, but their drivers saved you the worry about hitting a pillar.
As we arrived at the hotel, I noticed that, of all things in this tiny old town area, there was an Avid office one block away! I stopped in and met the customer service staff there, and decided that I would spend the next day working.
We had a few hours before the concert, and caught a snack. Swedish tapas, basically. And aquavit. Justin and Meagan joined us but were pretty severely jetlagged, having just arrived from California. The concert, Doldisar Frontar, was in a nice venue two blocks from our hotel; it featured Christoffer Lundquist and Helena Josefsson and their friends. He was a bassist in the 90’s pop band Brainpool, and since then a producer at his own recording studio, where he produced albums for both Justin and Doug. There were probably 25 performers who played over the course of the evening. Christoffer and Helena performed on almost every song, as did a San Francisco origin rhythm section, a string quartet, a keyboard player, and a guitarist. Others were featured for a song or two, including a country music singer. Much of the commentary was in Swedish, but quite a bit was in English. Almost all of the songs were in English. We were there to see Doug play “Agents of Change”, from his album. The sound was great, and though most of the songs were somewhat poppy, they were all very listenable. The other remaining members of Brainpool played in the second half, and they closed with two of their songs which seemed to excite the audience more than anything else. The show was very long, two 90-minute sets with a 30-minute break.
After the show, we stopped at MAX, a popular Swedish fast-food hamburger chain, on the way back to the hotel.
Breakfast at the hotel was delicious, including merguez breakfast sausage, herring, lots of different breads and mueslis. I went to work, and Ray walked around town. Around 3pm I went back to the hotel to get ready to see the show again in Kristianstad, an even tinier city an hour’s drive away. The restaurant pickings there were a bit slim: we found a pan-Asian place where we had Thai soup, Vietnamese soup, and Japanese tempura chicken with teriyaki vegetables. We got better seats this time: we were able to see the entire stage, without tall people sitting in front of us. The show was largely identical, though perhaps a bit shorter and almost no English commentary. We drove back, and just before 2am Doug and Justin and Meagan joined us for a goodbye drink at our hotel. Mine was an aquavit which tasted like Cynar or something similar. We didn’t try the dill-infused one.
Our friend David from Copenhagen had joined us for the first show, and on Saturday we stopped in Copenhagen and saw him. He had just upgraded from an apartment to a free-standing house, just next to a reasonably quiet electric subway line. Hind had recommended a pastry place in Malmö, and the pastries we brought were a hit with David’s kids and their friends. With any home purchase comes home improvement projects: his included removing the oil-based paint applied just before the house was sold, cleaning up insect messes left during the time of the former resident, building a garden, exchanging the insulation, and picking up fireworks shells on the lawn left from a recent celebration.
We said goodbye and headed to Aarhus.