Over the last few weeks, I've started to come to terms with the great blog conundrum: The more you do that is worthy of writing in said blog, the less likely you are to find the time to sit down and write. So trust me, over the last few weeks, I've been doing loads of exciting things. The trouble is that most of these exciting things have been followed by train journeys where I've sat down thinking "This would make a great blogpost!" and then immediately after, "But first, I'll just have a quick snooze," or worse "I'll just check my Twitter" ... Bloody Social Media...
Most readers of this blog are now letting their minds run wild with a list of all the exciting things that I may have been up to - Paragliding in the Hindu Kush, wrestling alligators, writing letters to the Tax Office to explain why my VAT declaration was two days late and to please not make me pay a fine of 625 kronor. Oh yes! It's all go!
But no, it's none of the above! (Apart from the Tax office story, which also involved a number of phone calls and systematically going through my bookkeeping with a fine tooth comb). The truth is, I've been on the road! To Sweden's very own Knife Town! .. Or as it's known in Swedish - Knivsta!
Most people have only ever seen Knivsta through the window of a train - Not so much because they are too afraid to get off, but more to do with the fact that most trains don't stop there - At least not the ones that go anywhere you might like to go. So to most people the image of Knivsta is just a high speed blur. This is probably also the reason they had to shorten the name, not from Knivstaden as most people assume, but from its original name Knivochgaffelstaden. (Knife and fork Town)
I went to Knife Town to do a a gig at my friend James' stand up club at The Railway Station Pub. James is an old friend and for a couple of years we had a comedy night together in Stockholm called The Tuesday Chinwag with another guy called Ben. We eventually called it a day, when despite our best efforts, we just couldn't get past the hurdle of nobody in Sweden knowing what 'Chinwag' meant, and no matter what we did we were accusingly asked what we had against Chinese people.
James has been running this club for a little while and the adjective that he uses most often to describe it is 'lovely' - An adjective he also uses to describe his children, his pet dog, and the town of Knivsta, all of which require a stretch of the imagination, so my expectations were to take the word 'lovely ' and prepare myself for something entirely different. However, in the case of this club night and the pub it took place is, 'lovely' was entirely the right word.
The room was small - About 40 people crammed into the room, which makes for a brilliant atmosphere (but a financial disaster) for stand up comedy. There was that proper small town feeling where everyone more or less knew each other and it was easy to pick up on one or two local references and run with them. Knivsta is close enough to Stockholm and Uppsala for the audience to feel metropolitan, but far enough away for there to be the cocktail of jealousy, contempt, the paradox of small town inferiority of wealth and status and superiority of lifestyle and lower cost of living. Perhaps that's a confused analysis, but either way the audience were well up for it and there was a Friday night school's out buzz. And standing on an old table, next to a window that rattled every time an express train passed through, I stormed it.
The next day, James and his wife, Rachel took me for a walk on the frozen lake near their house. Perfectly safe, they said. Nothing to worry about they said as they handed me a life jacket, a whistle and some ice picks for pulling yourself out when the ice breaks... Just in case.
I've never been so scared in all my life and frankly, I've only just recovered enough to write this blog post (That and the whole VAT/Tax office thing)
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