Goodbye 2016 – welcome 2017!

As you may have guessed it’s been a lot happening in my little piece of Earth. But beyond that it’s been a pretty shitty year! That’s no excuse for not posting anything here for months though. But there hasn’t been that much great or interesting things to post about.

But now 2016 is coming to a close and it can’t come soon enough! With Brexit, Trump and the year that musical icons died it’s hard to look at 2016 and think “yeah, that was a great year”. Sure some good things happened, especially on these 1000 square meters of Earth that we own, but I’m not that ego that I think that just because we’ve had it good that makes for a good year! Because for the world as a whole 2016 was a stinker. And I’m hoping 2017 will be better but unfortunately I think it’ll be 4 years that will stink for the world thanks to Trump but maybe, just maybe, it won’t be that bad. One can hope, right 🙂

But tonight we’re celebrating New Years with friends and will try not to care too much about the bad things and just focus on the fact that we’re all still here, pretty healthy (although I’m just recovering from another man-flu) and have jobs, roof over our heads and food on the table 🙂

Happy new years! 🙂

The Eurovision

Now you know I’m not the nationalistic type, right? I’m one of those “we are all citizens of the Earth, why can’t we all just get along”. It’s one of the reasons I wonder why countries think they can negotiate environment treaties between eachother – I mean when the Earth goes to hell it’s not going to care where your borders are!

Anyway, I digress. So it may come as a surprise to you that I was happily watching and really enjoying the Eurovision this year – and feeling totally proud of being a Swede!!!

First, let me start off by saying that yes, I do watch the Eurovision although I do avoid the Swedish “Melodifestival” like the plague. I usually don’t make an event out of Eurovision saturday but for a few years now we’ve started a tradition with a friend of Helena and her husband who comes over on the saturday of the finale for BBQ, relaxing in the spa, enjoying the show and sleeping over. This year was not too different, but there was one thing that made it more of an event than usual.

esc2016-programledare-500x250-206672fe3dAs you know Sweden’s Måns won last year which means the Eurovision was to be held here in Sweden, and in the Globe Arena. And if you’re not Swede you might not know this but Måns has been the host of alot of things on swedish TV (most noteably “Allsång på Skansen” for 3 years) so ofcourse he stepped up to the plate – and man did he deliver! He together with Petra was the best hosts of the Eurovision I have ever seen! Never before have I seen the show make so much fun of itself, its host, its contestants, hell even its audience as they did this time around! Major props to the script- and song-writers behind such hits as “Love, Love, Peace, Peace” which is trending YouTube now! The entire “Eurovision taxi” thing also showed the hosts don’t take themselves too seriously! And never before have I heard them make such a dirty joke like “grab your towels, it’s time to come together”, poking fun of their slogan “Come Together”. I absolutely loved it! You know the show is good when you feel that Justin Timberlakes guest appearence is the best time for the break for toilet and beer refill!

If you hate Eurovision for whatever reason, that’s totally up to you, but this year it was absolutely your loss!

Next year it’s off to the Ukraine. Which means it’s going to go down a few notches but now that we’ve done this new tradition for the third time it’s safe to say we can definitely keep it going.

My Issue With Tidal

Yesterday there was a big event by some of today’s biggest artist to together really kick off the music service Tidal. It’s the newest and most likely candidate to challenge Spotify’s ownership of the digital music throne. I should like it. But here’s why I don’t – and keep in mind these are MY issues, they don’t apply to everyone!

– The artists keep saying that this service will reward the actual artists way more than the evil Spotify. And that sounds noble, right? Well that certainly goes against most research I’ve read that says Spotify is most certainly paying their share – it’s just not going to the artists. Reason for that is.. well, they aren’t the ones with the contract with Spotify, the labels are. (their own report can be found here and here is a report from Time.com)

– They say it’s good for consumers. And usually I’d agree, nothing like some good competetivness to bring out the best in people and companies. But this is different. With Spotify I have ONE music service where I store my music library. And I can access that music from any cellphone brand I want, from my TV, from any of my computers, from my Playstation, my Sonos and even my TV. If you add another service which has material the other one doesn’t it forces you to either choose or have both which will cost you €20 per month. How is that good for consumers? And the amount of time it will take for Tidal to be supported by say my Samsung TV, Sony Playstation or Sonos… it’s just not good for consumers – IMO – from that technical point of view. It’s the same with the “video on demand service” – I wouldn’t mind paying €50 for one service that had it all, but I don’t wanna pay €10 for 5 difference services!

– They say their music quality is better. I don’t know about you but 90% of my music listening is done from my cellphone on the move. And with those small earplugs I dare say noone will ever notice the difference between Spotify HQ audio (and most people don’t even sync their music in HQ mode in Spotify because of storage limits) and Tidal HQ audio. I hear the difference between 128k and 192k audio in MP3’s but above that it’s simply not noticable – for me! Sure there are audiophiles out there that can spend €500 on earphones and maybe they will notice, or I might notice when turning it up in my home cinema. But it certainly won’t be a big enough quality different to hear it!

– I trust Spotify more than I trust JayZ. JayZ with wife Beyonce have enough money to not give a shit for the rest of their lifes. If the Tidal service is bad, “so what”, that don’t matter shit for them, just a failed project. If Spotify is bad they’ll hear it and change because they can’t afford not to. I got pissed when Spotify introduced their “you have to have a Facebook account” but after tweaking it I really don’t mind. And I trust that Spotify will not make an exclusive deal with say Apple that the hottest music will only be available on the iPhone app first because Spotify can’t afford to piss Android, Windows and PC users!

So I’m left thinking this isn’t just a noble thing and JayZ’s gift to the world of music industry that it’s painted out to be. It looks to me more like it’s their way of trying to increase their revenue. Which is totally fine by me, I wouldn’t wanna work for free. But just don’t make it sound so noble and say it’s for us consumers.

More Piracy Stuff

We have some more piracy stuff going on here in Sweden. Our big ISP’s are more interested in expanding internationally than care about the free speech on the internet, which has made it difficult for the Pirate Bay to find an ISP. But our political Pirate Party supplied them with internet access because .. well why not really, everyone has the right to be online if they want right?

Well not according to the anti-pirate corporation here in Sweden, you know the one that dragged on the Pirate Bay-court for years and years and are backed by an army of lawyers (fortunately none that I worked with) and every studio in Hollywood. They sent them an ultimatum to cut off the internet access to pirate bay bu feb 26th “or else we’ll sue the individuals in charge of the party”. And the pirate party isn’t a big party, doesn’t have much funds and the ones in charge of it aren’t wealthy either. So they knew they couldn’t defend themselves in a lenghty trial and “fight the good fight” even if there is no law or court order to support the anti-pirate corporations threat. So the pirate bay went to Norway and Spain and someone the anti-pirate corporation thinks of this as a win for them. And I don’t see how?

First of all – the pirate party just got atleast one new member and voter, so good going there. Secondly the pirate bay is still online. Thirdly, instead of going to court against the pirate party they’ll be going to court explaining what gives them the authority to demand this in the first place. Which I for one hope ends up like it did in Norway.

But don’t get me wrong – I’m not rooting for or even using Pirate Bay and not a big supporter of people who thinks “copyrights are the devils work” and the anarchy label that comes with it. It’s more that I’m against how the Hollywood studios are going about this and what their idea of how distribution should look like which I’ve said many times is so inconvenient and counter productive for the customer that I can’t possibly support it – something I’ve said for years since that Moby “18” CD fail a few years back!

CHESS THE MUSICAL

During my entire childhood my parents listened to “Chess”. ALOT! So much that I think me and my sister could probably “sing” (or whatever you may call it) most of the tracks from memory. But I had never heard the actual performance of it. I knew the recorded album like the wiring in my computer but never heard anything recorded live. And I’ve always looked for a DVD with a recording from that but never found one.

But thanks to Spotify I’ve now listened through the entire performance. After I got over the initial “this doesn’t sound right!” when the lyrics aren’t the ones I know it’s still pretty good. Although Björn Skifs made a better arbiter 🙂

Not sure when I’ll have the opportunity to pump it up on my speakers but looking forward to it.

Nightwish

Yeap, I did end up going to the Nightwish concert since I just can’t say no. Started off with a few beers, went over there late enough for the opening act to be done with we hoped… but it wasn’t so we took 2 more beers and so the show started. And what a show! Awesome! The band rocked for 2 hours like it was nothing and I loved it! Unfortunately the arena was the worst place I’ve ever been to a concert at (which doesn’t say much) but still a kick ass evening! Now I just hope the beeping in my right ear goes away unlike the beeping in my left ear after the Moby concert – but even if it doesn’t, totally worth it!

Feeling very, very old and worn

Yesterday we had a bachelor party for my old friend Henrik. We went to the same school for 12 years and in the same class for 6 and basically spent every weekend of my 15,16 and 17 years with him, Janne and Johan. We did a very successfully kidnapping when he thought he was going for a doctor’s appointment. We went to play some paintball (which hurt more than I remember), dinner at Fridays, then some relaxing spa and finishing off at a nightclub near his home so he could easily get home if we got _that_ loaded. It was around 12 hours of fun for everyone (I hope) while drinking loads amounts of beer. Really good stuff. The only problem was that nightclub stuff. I’ve never liked nightclubs really but at the very least I get drunk and some blackjack. We ended up at Garbo’s which is a place I used to sped alot of weekends at when I worked at MinDator back when I was 20-25. Back then it was fun. This time it was just sad. The meat market feeling was 10 times worse than I remember it. And I was just laying back and just not even bothering. Some of the guys, most of which were hitched, asked why I wasn’t up picking up some of the very nice chicks there (and some of them were hot enough to make me believe in god again), my response was 1) It’s gone to the point where I don’t even bother, too much work and 2) … would you really wanna drag a chick that dresses like that home to mother? I just can’t bother with it any more, and it’s alot of fun watching some guys try really hard and not noticing that “get me out here!” looks the girls give their friends 🙂
And then there was the music. It wasn’t too loud it was just… 80% of the music people danced to were music I used to enjoy and dance to when I was half my current age, it was just hotted up with a tempo beat. Just so completely wrong and it felt so recycled and when “Mr Vain” played it felt like all this kids should just leave and let the old schoolers rock the dance floor 🙂

But generally a VERY succesfull evening!! Pictures!!

Music

I never seize to be amazed at how music can make you feel, and how music can make you remember certain events and times and sometime an exact moment with all the details.
Some examples : Uncle Crackers “Follow Me” remind me of novemer/december 2001 when I had just gotten my drivers license and everytime I borrowed my dads car that song was playing on the radio. Spin Doctors “2 Princes” reminds me of a mini-marathon school event that I never ran cause of my asthma and as I was sitting in the control booth enjoying a warm sunny summer day that song thumping. Simple Minds “Don’t You Forget About Me” of the night I met “case closed” and she had no clue about the song and I knew (and was drunk enough to sing!) every word, Linkin Parks “Somewhere I Belong” about that perfect moment back in May… I could go on with like 100 songs that has that affect.

It’s really weird and there’s probably been a good psychological study on it that I’d love to read. It also really helps me doing my daily 30 minute on the exercise bike seem like 10 minutes when thumping Rammstein. Unfortunately my neightbour didn’t agree with me…

Why am I talking about that? Because I just downloaded a gigabyte or so of remixed 80’s and 90’s songs and it just got me so happy listening to them 🙂

"You’re undecided now, so what are you gonna do?"

Now a friend of mine wants me to go to the Nightwish concert in December here in Stockholm and I’m a bit undecided. Their latest CD is… weird. It’s a mix of so very many things I don’t know what to make of it… some of it sounds very much like the Metallica vs. San Fransisco orchestra concert and some of it like old viking music. But I haven’t gone to a concert in a long time. And I still can’t say no to women. So I guess I’m going…

I Saw The Sign

As if that “you’re losing your hair!” comment wasn’t enough to make me feel old I got one more sign that you’re getting old – “when you get the lyrics to the ‘Cheers’ theme”.

Live Earth

So did you watch the Live Earth thingy? I did. Kinda. I watched it, but not live. I left my place at 15 and just sat the recorder to record until 8 the morning after and I watched during sunday, so I could easily fast forward the boring parts. I’m so tired of rap music from MTV that I can’t stand it in these concerts. Anyway, overall I think it was a great show and they really got the message through. Personal favorites would be Wolfmother in Sydney, Linkin Park in japan, Metallica and Madonna (she may not e 20… or 30… and soon not even 40 anymore, but she can still rock like none other) in London, Joss Stone in Johannesburg, Katie Melua in Hamburg, Lenny in Rio and Alicia Keys in NY. I liked some of the small films but after seeing the same one 10 times it got boring.

The only complaint I have is actually the swedish broadcast. Especially the early broadcast when they had a guy that read everything off the internet and pretended to know music and his guests that couldn’t really decide what they were and what music they liked. The evening crew was much better though, especially Per “the long haired meteorologist”, he really got into the issues and sat some facts straight and had alot of interesting things to say. The night crew followed the morning crews tradition of reading stuff off the internet as they were broadcasting but not nearly as annoying. Next time I’m gonna demand to get the straight satellite feed so I don’t have to put up with that shit again cause I remember they screwed up the Live 8 thing too.

One question though… how much energy does it take to run 8 big concerts like this with complete “good enough for Metallica” speakers. Just out of curiosity?…

Here We Go Again #2

When I was younger, so much younger than today, there was this huge concert at Wembley and simultaneously in Philly. It was called Live Aid and it was an initiative by Bob Geldoff to raise awareness of the starvin marvins (south park joke). Then it was Live 8 two years ago that was basically about how the northern heamosphere are ignoring the southern.

And tomorrow it’s time again! But this time to raise awareness of the growing environmental issues. You know all the talk about how we’re killing this planet. Or not? It’s gonna go on for some 20 hours in 7 cities in 7 continents and it’s gonna be big.

I dunno, maybe it’s my “I remember when I was young” attitude but it’s kinda hard to beat the original one. Because it was original.

What’s so provocative?

About a month ago I read an article about some new swedish song some chick had recorded and put up on the net and it had spread like a wildfire because it was such a cool song. From what I understood at the time it was basically a song about a chick out partying and picking up a guy for a one night stand and dumping him in the morning. I’m a pretty liberal guy who appreciates women that can take initiative like that so I just thought all those people dissing it and getting upset were just too prude and conservative.

Until I heard it myself the other day. To sum up the lyrics – a girl at 4 am realises it’s time to hook up, grabs the first guy she sees, says “you’ll do”, drags him home, tells him to fuck her using all 3 holes and pound on her until she’s blue and yellow like the swedish flag and then waking up next morning and saying “who tha hell are you? Noway I’d have sex with a guy like you, no matter how drunk I was, get that fuck out here”. And as if that wasn’t irritating enough, she couldn’t sing worth a damn, there was no music at all and she wasn’t even nice too look at. Sorry, but if you make a song like that you have to be able to take the criticism. But there she was sitting in the “good morning sweden!” couch wondering “what’s so provocative about this song”?! … “I dunno bitch, maybe you should sing it to all girls who’ve been beaten yellow and blue by guys who think they wanted it! Or maybe to all the guys charged with rape because the woman was that wasted but said ‘go for it’. Or maybe to your own daughter!”…. yeah, it got me upset. People who do stuff only to provoke people and then saying “what’s so provocative?” annoys me.

It’s A Beautiful Day

Woke up at 9.30, got my ass out on my balcony and got an hour of hot sun, got on the train into stockholm, sat down on Norrmalmstorg with shades on, a cool lemon ice tea in my hand and playing Moby’s “Lift Me Up” and that’s when it hit me… this is life 🙂

And yesterday I was introduced to Facebook.com, a grown up version of Lunarstorm, for people to set up a network of friends, family, send message, share pictures and keep everyone updated what’s going on. Basically what I’m doing here but here it’s just me. Go over there and register and send a friends request to Kristoffer Ström!

All Good Things Really Do Come To An End

Got a bad reminder that all good things really do come to an end yesterday. I’ve been a Moby fan for years and when I saw there was a new DVD out with one of his concerts from his latest tour (“Hotel”) I bought it and yesterday I had a chance to see it. It was… good. Which is rather disappointing. Usually his live shows had alot of energy and the spirit of “people jumping up and down and dancing till 5 am” (quote from the man himself during his “Glastonbury” performance). This one didn’t. I don’t know if it was the audience or that it was a smaller arena that did it. But it probably was that he’d changed pretty much the entire band, only one from the “good old ‘Play’-days” was the drummer, Scotty. No “G-Strings” (the girls playing violins and stuff), no “RJ The DJ”, no Paulo running around thumping his drums, no Greta on bass or Diane doing vocals. It wasn’t as good as it used to be at all.

But what tha hell – it’s friday, it’s the first day of summer (according to me) and it’s “Star Trek” and Formula 1 weekend! As the song goes – “things are going great and they’re only getting better”.

Rammstein

You know one of the best things about me is my open mindedness, my way of not pre-judging anything and if I do not being a stubborn asshole refusing to admit I was wrong. I’ve never been a big fan of metal. I go as far as Metallica and Nightwish but that’s it. Well the other week I was out having more than a few beers with a few friends and ended up at Anchor, which is a bar mostly for head bangers. Which I’m certainly not. But on their TV screens they were playing the DVD of some Rammstein concert and it was a mighty impressive show. Didn’t hear that much since we were there to be social, not to listen to Rammstein. But being the open-minded person I am I ordered the DVD and yesterday I decided to annoy my neighbours by putting it on. And man do those guys rock! Say what you will about the music (and since I can’t understand the lyrics I can’t say much about that) but the show was totally kick-ass! And the fact it was mixed in DTS made it sound that much better. Favorite number would be “Los” when they start off with an acoustic guitar and slowly build up to the balls-out climax.

I was born too late – into a world that doesn’t care

Oh god I’ve got another song stuck in my head now. “I wish I was a punkrocker“. Pretty ok song, damn good and funny lyrics, especially since I’m one of those “I remember when I was a kid”-people.
(link fixed)

Katie who?

As I was walking to work last friday I walked by a place with alot of posters and stuff on the wall and I noted a poster about some Katie Melua visiting Stockholm this weekend. She looked beautiful on the poster so I thought I’d download a song or two at work. Wow! Awesome stuff! I’ve never been much of a blues fan – as a matter of fact, until that night in Helsinki at Storyville I’d never even bothered listening to it. But this was just WOW! Just listen to Shy Boy, that was enough for me to go out and buy the album! Love it when that happens, things like this just comes along and leaves your mind blown away! And I’d also like to point out that had it not been for these things that the record industry is trying to stop I would never have bought her album, think about that!

Do your part!

Today Metro did something really nice! Metro is a free newspaper that doesn’t have to create stories by twisting facts, they make their money off advertisements. ANYWAY, they had picture with the Crazy Frog and text that said “SMS to this number and pay $4 for an annoying ringtune and support a millionaire”, and right next to it a picture of an orphan pakistani child with the text “or SMS to this number and donate the money”. I think that really hit home cause it was so in your face. And if I wasn’t donating money to Unicef, Amnesty, Greenpeace and the Red Cross as well as donating blood – I’d feel guilty.

What do they know?

And when the top music execs in LA got to make their top 10 list, this is what you get. Out of all those, Alicia Keys is the only one I like. Beyonce was ok but getting a bit dull by now. And I’m sorry, I just can’t like someone that changes his name to “Andre 3000”, it’s just not cool… So I guess this leaves me stuck on VH1 looking at “top 100 of the 80’s”-lists. They did a “Top 100 Women” list and for once I was able to nail the top 10. I got the order a bit wrong (never would’ve thought they’d put Aretha Franklin as high as #2!) but Madonna being # 1 was abit too easy. Makes more sense than putting Robbie as # 1 on their “100 men” list! That still feels so wrong.