October 31st, 2007


Sing a Song of Sweden

Video Games Live came again to London. Things were different this time, with new soundtracks, new ideas, and people who could actually play Frogger. At about the same time, ‘Play!’ stopped off in Oslo to pay tribute to the European side of the video game music world. I spent this time in Eutin, spending as much time as possible with Holly before she departed back to Weimar.

Facebook glistens with new photos. Some of the Schleswig-Holstein assistants I felt closest to departed together on a tour of South Germany two weeks ago, covering Heidelburg, Stuttgart, Konstanz, Neuschwanstein, Salzburg and Munich. I’d have loved to have gone with them, and it seems they had a really wonderful time. Nevertheless, I do not regret my time spent with Holly, and it’s not as if we didn’t go somewhere ourselves, even if it was only four hours away (Germany’s most Northerly town, appropriately called ‘Westerland’, on the island of Sylt).

It’s perhaps a combination of the above that led me to bite the bullet. I don’t have infinite resources, and cutting a gap of two days from my timetable is risky, but, hey, ‘no day but today’, right? Besides, I’m getting tired of always saying ‘I wish I’d gone to this’ or so on, because I feel like actually living my life now (oh, those updates from a few weeks back did me a lot of good!). It’s somewhat madcap, but, hey, it’s better than the regret. What am I talking about?

Twenty years ago, a desperate Japanese software developer was heading for financial ruin. They could only make one last game, a final game, and they chose to do one of the fantasy style games popular at the time. This ‘Final Fantasy’ went on to become very successful, and is now very well known, not least amongst video game music enthusiasts, who know the formidable talents of Nobou Uematsu, the games’ composer up to half of Final Fantasy X. To mark this anniversary, a series of concerts entitled ‘Distant Worlds’ will take place, with Mr Uematsu himself in attendance. The settings for these concerts are familiar to those who know of the previous FF music concerts: Stockholm and Chicago. Now, Illinois is a little far for me to go, but Scandinavia has never been so close…

So I booked tickets near the stage for the December 4th performance, as well as plane fares between Lubeck and Skavsta (100km from Stockholm with a bus link) and back again, as well as two nights in a hostel which is actually a red boat. It wasn’t cheap, but given how easy it is for me to get to Lubeck, and that the flight is with Ryanair, and that I’ll be in a shared room at the hostel, and things become a little more manageable. I’ve not actually negotiated my leave with the school yet, but that could take a little while, and tickets for the concert seemed to be going fast now that people have taken notice of it. I’ll fly over to Sweden on the Monday evening after school, spend Monday night and Tuesday in Stockholm, go to the concert in the evening, and then have most of the day to get back to Skavsta for my flight back to Lubeck in the evening…two days off school, but I only have two lessons on the Tuesday, and three on the Wednesday, so I can hopefully reschedule without getting into too much difficulty.

The way I see it, this sort of opportunity isn’t going to come very often. Video Games Live and ‘Play!’ are both ongoing, but this is a one-off. Of course, it helps with it being Final Fantasy, as chances are very high I’ll know every track played, rather than the two-thirds from the more general concerts. Quite aside from the music, I’ve never been to Sweden, but always wanted to go, and with the ferry companies from Kiel being evil, this seems like the best way to do it. I’m guessing Stockholm will be quite pretty in early December.

Not that that totally quenches my travel thirst. I’m going to spend a weekend in Berlin sometime in November, as well as visit my Great Aunt in Stendal. I’ve also agreed to head down to Central Germany to visit the Christmas markets in Erfurt and Nuremburg with Holly, which will be in early December (but not right away, unless I want to be spending hours on a train the day after I get back from Sweden). I’m planning on going somewhere this weekend too, albeit it not too far…either Flensburg or Schwerin ought to fit the bill, unless I feel like buying things, in which case Lubeck has some good cheap clothes places, and Kiel has a fantastic geek shop which sells as many video game soundtracks as your average British mail order company. It also has some beautiful clothes, but oh so expensive. That’s not stopping me ordering a long coat from a Gothic mail order magazine though…

…wait, I still have money after this? Oh yes, the rent. Ah well, I’ll just have to live sparingly next year. No regrets. This is the time to travel, and I really do need some new clothes pretty desperately!

And to end with, I’d like to praise the non-stickness of non-stick pans. The frying pan that came with the apartment was sticky, and whenever I made fried potatoes or fried noodles, the pan would gain a crust which would take a long time to wash up. I got tired of this, and bought a new one (for 12 euros) from the department store here, and it’s making things a lot easier for me. I still have lots of washing up to do, though, and once again, I find ‘One Winged Angel’ to provide fabulous accompaniment to such a chore. It’s as if I’m summoning Knights of the Round at that chocolate stain…
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