Antonio's blog

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Antonio's blog Blogs

Looks like a foreigner… let´s stop him at the Finnish border again!

A few days ago, I woke up early after an exhausting week of hard work in Vantaa to catch the Eckero Line ferry at 8:00 that would bring me back to Estonia. During the last years, I have travelled by ferry dozens of times between Estonia and Finland, due to studies, works and personal relations. So I handled my ticket to the checker at the ferry terminal… and here we go again! A (I must say that at least she was polite) security woman leads me to one side to proceed to a “random” security check of my luggage. After passing my back bag three times through the scanner, she makes me open it to discover that the biggest threat there is my bottle opener that I carry together with my keys.

I am still wondering what they really wanted to find from a foreigner crossing the border early in the morning from Finland to Estonia. If I would like to smuggle something, certainly I would have more chances to other way around from Estonia. But the point is that for me, this is not an isolated case. In the recent years, this is the third time that has happened to me, and always on the Finnish side of the border. I have never had any problem with security forces in Estonia so far. But added to this fact I narrate, a couple of years ago, while coming to Finland by Viking Line being an exchange student in the Baltic neighbor, the policemen also stopped me twice to check my luggage with no apparent reason. The funniest thing is that when they stopped me, I was just trying not to crash in the corridor with the hordes of drunken people around. It must be that if you are not blonde and you are sober, you must be a dangerous terrorist. And it was even more curious that as far as I switched the conversational language to Finnish to explain that I have lived for a few years in Finland, they let me go without even opening my bag.

Finnish custom police

I am sure that the Finnish security forces carry on with an excellent job, but as a foreigner, I must confess that I never feel at ease near them in Finland. While in Spain I consider them like usually helpful, and in Estonia I just ignore their presence, every time they are close to me in Finland, I feel like if I would be their target and the red light of danger switches on in my head. And I think that my feeling is shared by a sector of Finland´s foreign population. If you get involved in a problem with Finnish people and police appears, be sure that in most of the cases you are going to take the worst of it.

I don´t know, maybe next time I cross the border and arrive to the Finnish ferry terminals, I must dye my hair blonde, drink 2 bottles of vodka, try to provoke a fight, swear in Finnish and carry a trolley with 4 boxes of 24 packs of beers. It is obvious that having black hair, brown eyes and reading peacefully a book during the trip is considered a clear threat to the national security by the Finnish forces…

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My first Rabarock in Estonia

I was last week end at the biggest rock festival of Estonia, Rabarock, for the very first time. After having experienced many festivals in Finland, I was curious and refreshed to visit one here in Estonia. Maybe the band list was not so impressive as usually can be in the biggest Finnish bands, but there were interesting artists visiting, like the English The Wildhearts or the American Anthrax.


There were better and worse things than in Finnish festivals. Opposite to for example Provinssirock, people cannot enter with any alcoholic drink, and even for me, being a journalist, I still had to wait for the queue like anybody else. The freedom of movement was quite limited, although we had access to the VIP bar at the backstage (meaning cleaner toilets and… more expensive coffee than outside…). But the food and drinks had quite a decent price in the different kiosks spattered around the festival area, and I also liked that it was not so crowded and people could more quite freely around or reach the first rows in the concerts without having to kill anybody. Same than in Finland, the audience was maybe a little bit cold and shy, but although of course people spent all the night talking and screaming in the camping area, I did not see such a general abuse of alcohol by most of the audience like usually happens in Finland (of course with exceptions of people totally wasted and singing at 10:00 on Saturday morning).

I had the chance to meet interesting people at the backstage and also research for a future article I am writing as freelancer about Estonian music scene. I talked to “Uncle Bella”, a legendary musician and DJ, one of the first punk rockers in Estonia, and also could chat and take some pictures together with the beautiful Piret and Lenna of Vanilla Ninja (I totally had to improvise the questions for them) or have fun trying to understand the mix of Estonian and English language during the interview with Estonian depressive rock band Kosmikud.


The best thing was to interview  Ginger, the singer of The Wildhearts. He turned to be a super friendly and cool guy, and if it would have not been for the rigid organization that did not let me stay longer, we could have been talking and drinking beer for hours after the interview. A great musician and very cool talkative guy!

The rain hit the festival strongly during the second day, Saturday, and I was lacking energy, hours of sleep and a better raincoat to stay until the end. So we decided to leave the festival before Anthax concert. A pity, it would have been nice to see them and maybe interview them, but still, the feeling was quite positive in general. With a couple more of big international bands, and little improvements in the organization, this festival could be one of the nicest ones to enjoy in North Europe. Let’s see if I can come back next year to experience it again!

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2 years ago…

It seems to have been yesterday, but it was already 2 years ago when we closed the printed edition of FREE! Magazine. Did you remember it? Did any of you spotted it in the streets of Helsinki? It is funny how so much effort and illusion can be faded away so quickly. Luckily, the online magazine is here for you, and although I cannot update it as often as I would like, I hope it still gives the chance to many of you to read some nice content about Finland and other north European countries.


I was quite pissed off at the time we closed the newspaper. I suppose that it is very difficult when you invest all your money and energy in a project that does not pay off. Well, actually I learnt a lot from the experience, but maybe at that time I was so stressed trying to put things together that even did not have much time to stop and enjoy the moment. I also realized how difficult is for foreigners to make business in Finland. Finnish are used to dealing with always the same people, and believe me, they are not so eager to open the doors to new ideas and collaborations. At the time we were running the printed newspaper, our main competitor had been already 3 years in the market, and many Finns I talked to (and who could speak pretty good English) had no idea of their existence, even when they could find copies a few meters away from them.

The question remains: is there a place for English publications in Finland? Maybe…if they are run by Finnish big corporations that can afford losses at the beginning. Same than me, most of the other foreign journalist I know just struggle to survive with their pages, magazines and blogs, having economical losses but keeping the illusion while having to get other jobs to survive. It is a side of Finland that most of the Finnish do not see, or they do not want to see. We could even extrapolate the situation to the general situation of foreigners in Finland. They are there, but for most of the Finns, they are just groups of people who live in the suburbs and have no impact on their lives. It is a sad situation, but well, step by step it is changing. Maybe the change is not fast enough for my generation to see.


So our newspaper was closed, but life goes on. Actually I am happy to see how many of our collaborators now work with the competitor, and the level of cultural news there has improved drastically. So I suppose we did something good, even if that just means that the competitor survived and copied our editorial line to improve their contents ;)

To those of you who have followed our articles through these years, many thanks! And to all the many others who closed the doors to our ideas or did not even have the time or energy to answer our emails, well guys, I hope that now with this economical crisis you do not feel in the same situation, getting rejected emails. Meanwhile a bunch of foreign journalists will continue keeping the faith and writing stories about Finland for those who want to read them.

Antonio's blog Blogs

Too much of University, too little of a decent future

Now that at my office work I am surrounded mostly by younger mates, and I can see how they get stressed with the studies and the exams, I look back at my period as University student (not so far time ago, I graduated from my second MD last year after a long and tortuous thesis writing process, where I was lacking motivation).


In the end, like many others, I can say that mostly my University titles are just something to add to the CV, and not much more. I am graduated in Journalism at Complutense Univesity in Madrid, and with a second MD in Communications at Tampere University in Finland. So I can say that I have had my share of exams, and also of bad professors. But without digging deeper about the topic of the quality of professors at University (that could be better), I would like more to reflect in these lines about how worthy is what we study.I have no doubt that many people around the world really enjoy most of their subjects, but it is true that along the years I saw that the majority of my student fellows were just thinking to finish their studies for the sake of having a title to bring some bright to their CVs.; and not because they did not like what they chose to study, but because they lacked motivation year after year. Is it worthy to waste so many hours of the best years of our lives for having just a piece of paper on the wall, while forgetting most of the things we studied short time after we read the books?

The idea to write a few lines about this came to my mind after realizing that one of my favourite writers, the American Neil Strauss (author of The Game or The Dirt among other interesting books) has just published a new work called Emergency, where he travels around gaining experience and knowledge to survive to extreme situations in the real world.All right, I do not want to reach such an extreme opinion as Strauss, thinking that a future nuclear war will leave us trying to catch rats to survive (although you never know what future will bring). I already knew when I started to study journalism that the future for students of humanities would be dark, and now with these times of crisis, more than one must be thinking “why the fuck did I decide to study this?”. But for real, for most of you, my question is “How much of what you studied at High School or at University has had a real value in your everyday life?

When I studied in Madrid, the faculty was pretty horrible, academically speaking. Most of the students, after the first year, were spending more time at the cafeteria than in the study rooms. In 6 years of studies, maybe we wrote just 2 or 3 texts, and we had difficult access to computers. We did not have to study any foreign language, and some instruments we were using were almost from Middle Age, totally useless in modern times.


Obviously, there could be many different opinions about this topic, but I could think of a virtual school or University where I could choose what subjects could be important to study, these would be some of my choices:

-Foreign languages: The more, the better. Of course, with special focus on English language. Is not really sad that human beings can travel to outer space, but they are still not able to communicate in the same language at a global scale?

-Literature, cinema and music: More interactive lessons, with more discussion among the students; combining classic artists with the new tendencies.

-Basic surviving skills: Things like how to prepare a fire in the woods, orientation, how to set a camping tent, fishing, basic stuff for fixing a car like changing a wheel, etc. Nobody had taught me any of those things.

-Basic use of computer programmes and programming: A must if you want to find a decent work in many countries. If you take a look at the job offer for foreigners in Finland, you realize what I am talking about.

-Cooking: So you decide to leave the parents house, and then you spend week after week on a diet of pizza and hamburgers?  Cooking is easy, is fun, is useful, and can create chances for more than one date…

-Personal defence: Because you never know what you can find in the streets. And exercising the body and mind a bit is always welcome!

-Writing and typing lessons: A person who can write fluently, with no spelling mistakes, and fast, gets many points to introduce himself as a valuable character.

-Lessons to speak better in public and improve social interaction: to know how to express well, with the correct tone and speed, and to handle different social interactions can divide the line between successes and fails in life. A good body language is something very important to feel good and secure with the ones around you.

As I said, these are just a few quickly ideas after a brainstorming. But it really pisses me off the present system at most of Universities and schools. Instead of creating better human beings that can be ready for future challenges, they just create zombies that must memorize books to forget 2 days later. We should have a system that can really improve us for what the future will bring, not a virtual academic system that teaches you things that in the end, have nothing to do with the real outside job reality. In the end, what we create are young monsters, frustrated, having to work in shitty jobs for a shitty salary, with a low level of culture even having a University degree, and wasting the best years of the life without achieving the dreams because lack of chances and money.

Antonio's blog Blogs

Estonia vs Finland

Well, time to write in the blog. Life has been pretty active recently with other projects. As maybe some of you have noticed, I spend most of the time now in Estonia combining my work with FREE! with other freelancing stuff as writer and translator, and also working with an IT company as “the serious job”.

finland vs estonia

In total, calculating, I must have spent around 5 years in Finland and 1.5 in Estonia in total since 2001. Time flies!

I know that many of the readers are people who live abroad and are planning to move to Finland. Of course once in Finland, Estonia is one of the first destinations, due to the easy access by ferry between Helsinki and Tallinn.

So in all these years, I think I have learnt a couple of things about these countries, and in these times of crisis, I just wanted to share some opinions with you.

First of all, for all of you who are planning to come and try to find a job in Finland, I must advice you that is very very difficult, especially in these times of crisis, and if you do not speak almost native Finnish. For people with background in IT, like developers or testers with knowledge of programming, the task can be a bit easier, but for the rest, it is almost an odyssey. Finnish managers do not want to risk hiring a foreigner who needs time to learn the language, and the mentality is still quite narrow-minded compared to other countries. Excepting some big IT companies, you do not see many foreigners working in communications, PR or HR departments.

In Estonia situation is similar. You also need to speak Estonian (and Russian is always an advantage too), but I have noticed that maybe people are more open to hear your ideas. In Estonia the average salary is about 3 times less than in Finland, but prices are getting ridiculously expensive. Many items like computers or clothes have almost the same price than in Finland. I feel that the attitude of the people is a bit more down to earth than in Finland. In Finland, the average worker always complains about the lack of money, but then you see that they go on summer holidays for 1 month to Thailand. In Estonia, when they complain about money, is basically because they cannot pay their loans or put bread on the table.

Music scene is also growing in Estonia, overall in Tallinn where more and more good concerts are organized and venues opened. But of course is still very far away from Finland or Sweden in these aspects.

For those foreigners also interested not only in finding jobs but in making their own business, my opinion is that it is also very difficult. It requires a lot of time and patience to build up business relations with Finnish, and once again, if you do not speak the language, they won´t trust on you. Networking is the key. Try to get acquainted with as many people as possible and sell your skills to your friends. It is always the best way that something good happens. If you want more detailed information about job search or building up a business, it is easy to find in different blogs and forums. In our partners section you will see many interesting links.

finland vs estonia

Otherwise, I can tell you that probably you will be gladly surprise about the Finnish and Estonian nightlife, and that the foreign community really enriches the country. Many of the most interesting people I have met in Finland or Estonia are expats, and usually they have many interesting anecdotes and travel stories to share.

If you need more detailed information about aspects of life in Finland or Estonia, you can always drop me an email at If you are planning to visit this side of the world, welcome!!!

Antonio's blog Blogs

Happy 2009!

A new year starts (shit, it seems to be yesterday when they were announcing the end of the world with the arrival of year 2000…), and FREE! Magazine is still here to offer you more interesting features, stories, reviews, interviews and prices.

From my personal point of view, 2008 was a tough year. I spent half of it trying to look for a job, and the other half trying to recover from all the previous months without job. Situation led to my temporal move from Finland to Estonia to work with an IT company, but one also learns important lessons from the bad times. Even though the difficulties, I was able to graduate with a MD at Tampere University, and continued writing for FREE! Magazine and other publications inside and outside Finland, although not having always all the time wanted to improve the contents.

happy 2009

Music, overall rock music, has been the spine of FREE! Magazine in 2008, but I still hope that we can offer more diversity in this new year, focusing also not only in happenings that take place in Finland but as well on a more general landscape that could include all Scandinavian and Baltic countries. And as always, you are more than welcome to participate with your comments, ideas and help. If you want to be in direct contact, you can easily drop me a few lines to:

For the moment, we know that in 2009 Metallica and AC/DC will visit Finland again, so this year cannot be so bad (even including worldwide crisis), can it?

Antonio's blog Blogs

Glenn Hughes rocks the house!

I spent a nice week end of rock in Tallinn, the Estonian capital, and there on Saturday I had the chance to assist for first time to a Glenn Hughes concert minutes after being in Scorpions’ press conference at a luxurious hotel.

The German guys were friendly and funny, although they arrived half an hour late and they seemed to be in a hurry to leave the room, basically not much time to take pictures or chat a bit with them. I got also a bit pissed off because they had some nice posters on the table, and at the end of the press conference a guy from the organization took them away and we could not even enjoy a small souvenir from the band.Unfortunately I did not have time enough to arrive on time to the sound check to make a personal interview with Glenn Hughes. Glenn is a rock living legend who had played with bands such as Deep Purple or Black Sabbath, apart from having had many other interesting projects alone. He appeared on stage looking good and sharp. The venue was at Rock Café, in Zelluloosi Keskus; a place near Tallinn’s bus station quite nice for rock concerts, and old paper factory reconverted into a rock club. The atmosphere reminded me a bit of Nosturi in Helsinki, and here you do not even have to pay for the wardrobe!

Glenn Hughes

Hughes must have suffered some kind of lifting in the skin of his face, because the man really looks younger than his age. I had read opinions in some forums of people who did not want to go to the concert because considered him a kind of “old fart”, but the image he displayed on stage was totally the opposite. With a funky sound and moving all around, he played his bass player (and also the electric guitar in some songs) with a lot of vitality, but without forgetting to wink to his old fans with some classics like Stormbringer. Although the venue was not totally fully packed, and the beginning of the concert was a bit cold, Glenn managed to warm the atmosphere and make people dance with a great show. You could notice how the band was enjoying the concert more and more after some time passed by, with more smiles painted in their faces, and put a great cherry on top of the cake, being this their last European concert before coming back to USA.

So for the moment you cannot enjoy new gigs of Hughes in Europe, at least for some time, but if you have the chance to visit Rock Café if you are in the Estonian capital, I am sure that automatically will become one of the favorite places for rock lovers. Although beer is not as cheap as you could expect, 45 Estonian crowns-3 euro…

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Hanoi R.I.P.

{mosimage}Hanoi rocks, maybe the most legendary rock band ever born in Finland, announced this week that they will not continue together in 2009, after facing their compromises that will lead them to tour still around Europe and Japan, putting the cherry on top of the cake to their long career at the mythical Tavastia club in Helsinki. The piece of news did not seem much surprising to my eyes. Some months ago they already had some problems with their drummer, and now seems that Michael Monroe and Andy McCoy will continue again walking separated paths. 

I had the pleasure to meet the members of Hanoi Rocks during an interview at Suomelinna fortress in 2007, while they were at the studio preparing their latest album. First we chatted with the Swedish Conny and A.C., having a beer in a terrace. The guys seemed surprised that we were there shooting questions at them, but after a while the conversation was pretty friendly, especially from the side of A.C. Later we entered the studio to chat with Monroe and McCoy. We met them outside, and McCoy was breathing deeply and noisily like if he would be Darth Vader himself. I must recognize I felt a bit nervous about his reactions to our questions, but they turned to be also very nice and friendly. Michael Monroe still seemed to be that naïve child who dreams about being a rock star and McCoy…he is certainly a special guy, when you think he is half slept, he can shock you with a really sharp and intelligent comment. 

We had a couple of surrealistic situations while enjoying some hours with Hanoi Rocks. At some point Andy McCoy played virtuously and unexpectedly a fabulous solo at the piano that got amazed even to the rest of the band members. There were also ironic jokes about the absence of their previous drummer, a clear symptom that something was not working out well there (for remembering him, they had stitched a drawing of his face on one wall of the studio) and it was also very funny to run with the rest of the band not to miss the last ferry that was linking Suomenlinna with Helsinki harbor. We had then another excellent opportunity to take some more pics with them on the deck of the ferry, while small children were surrounding the band looking for an autograph from their idols. I certainly wanted to be journalist to experience those kind of special evenings like the one we had with these legendary rockers. 

Many times we have had interviews with Finnish bands, we were a bit surprised about their lack of glamour; bands that go on stage at international events but seem too shy to share interesting stories with us and the audience. Hanoi Rocks certainly was, is and will be a case apart; certainly one of the few Finnish bands that exhale really glamour and 100% of rock spirit wherever they go. They will be missed! At least I will miss those Spinal Tap moments with them…

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Musicians down to earth

I had yesterday a nice evening at Tammerfest in Tampere. I visited the backstage to make an interview with Lovex, and ended up hanging around with the guys around the city until late at night (finally I felt tired to continue the after party and headed to my bed at 5 a.m…).


Lovex bass player Jason is a very friendly guy and we had interesting talks while enjoying some drinks together. I also had the chance to salute shortly Toni Wirtanen, the singer of Apulanta, because we had met for an interview last year in Helsinki.

During the past time, working as journalist and meeting many Finnish and international musicians, what you discover is that they are easy going people and very down to earth. Even a couple of days ago, meeting Jonne Aaron, the singer of Negative, I was surprised when he tells small details about his life like that he enjoys cleaning his house and washing his dishes, or that he was feeling jealous not to be able to go to Bruce Springsteen´s concert as I did because he had to record on studio that evening. {mosimage}

Maybe it has to do also with the features of Finnish people in general. They have a strong working class philosophy running through their veins, and they are in general humble to recognize their own successes. Also being foreigner can help to break the ice. During the time living in Finland and Estonia, the citizens are always curious and interested to hear what people from other countries who are living here think about them. It is always refreshing to see that after the stereotype we have of rock stars having a crazy life, they are in the end just human beings who feel curious about things around them and are eager for a nice conversation sharing some beers if you approach them with respect.

I am by nature a curious person, interested in getting to know all kind of people, so it helps when you forget their roles as public figures on stage, and just approach them with a honest attitude and respect for their personal lives. I just can say that I take my hat out for people like Lovex or Jonne Aaron, who made me feel so comfortable during the festival and have a good time there with them. In the end, they are just a group of young guys, like many of the readers of FREE!, who just enjoy sitting in a park taking advantage of the nice weather, sipping a cold drink and having a nice chat in a good company.

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Euro champions!!!

Although this website focuses on culture in Finland and neighboring countries, I cannot less that put a patriotic note today telling: we won the football Eurocup! 

It was about time for our soccer national team to win something important. 44 years later, we finally were able to win the European Championship again. A title well deserved, with a team that played better than ever and finally was able to go through quarterfinals defeating Italy in penalties. Maybe I was expecting a bit more from Germany in the last minutes of the final, but they were totally over passed by Spanish midfielders. A championship that brings our national team again to a privileged place. We still have the pending subject of winning a world cup…but that is another story…

Spanish sport is living a sweet moment. Just some minutes ago Nadal won the final of Wimbledon in tennis after having got few weeks ago Roland Garros. Cyclist Alberto Contador won the Giro de Italia and we have chances to win the Tour de France this year. Our basketball team is the present World Champion, and we also have a strong handball team.

Olympic Games are getting close, starting the 8th of August, and I hope that the good strike of victories can continue. And overall, that everybody will enjoy and have fun in a nice atmosphere, out of political and violent issues. Because in the end, it is just about playing a game and having fun. 

Antonio's blog Blogs

Great Mark!

 I take the train from Tampere on a boring Friday afternoon that soon will turn into an exciting one with the perspective of watching for first time live to Mark Knopfler, the legendary guitarist ex member of Dire Straits.

Already in my same wagon I hear and later join the conversation of two Spanish students who are heading also to the concert. Once in the capital, I head first to salute a friend who works as a waiter in Bar Loose. If you like rock music, you cannot miss this particular bar located in Fredrikinkatu, in the heart of Helsinki. It has a special atmosphere like not so many in Finland, a bohemian place where you can chat with interesting people from all over the world and from time to time share table with a rock star. Anyway, my visit (friends always go first) makes me arrive a bit late to the gig at Hartwall Arena, but once I am able to find my place in the middle of the dark (not particularly helped by the Finnish sense of amiability…) I am ready to enjoy a great show by the Scottish guitar hero, kindly surprised that he does not focus on his last record, Kill to get Crimson, although some of the most remarkable themes like True Love Will Never Fade are part of the set list, but makes a good tour to all over his discography, from his previous solo work, playing Sailing to Philadelphia, to the most expected classics: Romeo and Juliet and Sultans of Swing, with the audience totally on the edge of paroxysm at that point. 

Knopfler is accompanied by a selected group of excellent professional musicians and instrumentalists, and with a not very complex but effective scenario and lightning, is able to put the audience in his pocket.  During the encore, new vibrant moments with Brothers in Arms and So Far Away (at this time of the concert people forget about their seats and run to enjoy the song as close to the stage as possible) and the end that could not be missed, the instrumental Theme from Local Hero to put the cherry on top of the cake. A satisfied audience leaves the Arena, and for me, there is a boring trip of 2:30 hours waiting in the last train (not to Brooklyn but back to Tampere) at Pasila railway station.

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10 Average answers

While doing albums reviews, here goes nonsense like any other I could have written. A compilation of average answers we receive when making interviews. For you, young musician who can face in the future the questions of FREE! Magazine!

1. This is the best album we have ever done.

2. Last gig was excellent! ; full of energy.

3. The audience is not cold. They just have a different approach to the music.

4. We do not have any influence from other bands. We just create the music we want.

5. I like all the songs of the new album equally. They are all my babies.

6. The record company is doing an amazing job.

7. We do not pay attention to the copies sold of the album.

8. I find inspiration from the things that happen around me.

9. We have not changed our style.

10. People did not understand that album when it was released. But it was a great album. 

Now I only need to learn to play guitar, and I am ready to hit the road!

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Rock Show. Blow into here, please.

The gig was behind Tampere Talo, and It seems that the concert was aimed at promoting the fight against drugs and alcohol and a healthier life for the youngsters. So the point is that not only was forbidden to buy any alcoholic drinks from inside, but they made everybody blow into an alcohol test at the entrance! And they supposedly did not let anybody enter if they had drunk before! At this point, when I realize about the situation, there is this interesting dialogue between me and the person of the organization who handles me the little plastic tube to blow into:

Me:  “Mutta… olen toimittaja…” (But…I am a journalist…)

Organization Guy:  *“Ja Mitä? “ (So what?)

*(Finnish diplomacy at its best!)

I don´t really have any idea how these little machines work, since it was the first time in my life that they made me use one…and  funnily enough, not driving! I had just happily drunk 2 cans of half a liter of beer before walking to the concert and they let me pass. But I found quite stupid that even journalists who go there to cover the concert had to go through the filter. In any case, my point is: are these solutions really effective? For me Rock has always been, and will be about sex, drugs, alcohol… resuming, everything considered as rule breaker. Because rock has always been dangerous, that is the essence of rock. Imaging rock fans and rock musicians behaving like model citizens would be like eating salad everyday with no salt, oil or vinegar to season.

I am already pretty pissed off with the general “amazing” ideas of the concerts organizers in Finland, that isolate the audience in stupid closed areas to drink that are usually half a kilometer away from the stage (so you have to decide between sacrificing half of a concert to get one beer…or no drinking at all) and now I assist to another “excellent idea”. The consequences is that the venue was half empty, since many people just found boring to go to a “dry rock concert” that starts so early in the evening to be surrounded just by teenagers.

Are these kinds of concerts the solution to teach the young Finnish generations how to have a healthier life? Sorry but I don´t think so. I am surely not the biggest expert to analyze the drinking problems of the Finns. You can find many theories: the weather, the darkness, the solitude, the big spaces that separate the houses, the shyness that needs to be broken with alcohol consumption… there are many explanations, and maybe no one is valid, or maybe they all have to do with the truth. But I would advice authorities to show youngsters other ways of fighting against alcoholism that screwing the atmosphere of a rock concert. The habits and culture of drinking and eating could be highly improved in many other ways:  teaching youngsters to enjoy food while drinking, selling alcohol in smaller glasses that in pints (in my native Spain we have small glasses of beer, that we call “cañas” perfect to eat with some tapas) or making the point that drinking could be much funnier as a social habit that can be taken easy and moderated, instead of extended national trend of trying to end up wasted as quick as possible, alone at home, before hitting the nightclub. Meanwhile, please, let there be rock without blowing at the entrance any stupid plastic tube!!! 

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Make up, toilets and sexy death metal

The venue where the interview took place was not very sexy: one small and not very well illuminated room close to the showers of Jäähalli, where the ice hockey players can get rid of the sweat after hard matches. The singer looked tired, most certainly with hangover after the previous night show in Helsinki, but he kindly answered my questions for half an hour before getting ready for the show.  After their second album, the Swedish are getting a huge number of female fans, since their “glamdeath” could be catalogued in the same league of sexy music as HIM. But a couple of hours before the show, Whiplasher does not look any glamorous at all in front of my eyes. I just see a tired guy trying to recover the hangover with a glass of wine, looking a bit sick while protecting his throat with a scarf, feeling bored if answering the same typical questions about his band and just showing more shine in his eyes when other issues are discussed during the interview far from merely music business. If I let my imagination fly, and I think about Ville Valo, and about how many fans, women (and men) would like to sleep with him all over the world, it is funny to think about the concept of glamour, don´t you think? Imagine that you would meet a rock star while peeing in the toilet, or while he would be wasted and puking in a dark corner…and…glamour is dead.

Probably, that is the good thing about music: just a theater, a big circus, pure fantasy that makes us evade for some hours from our worries. And certainly, the magic works for Deathstars, that with some more grams of make up on their faces are able to deliver a more than decent performance during the short time that they are allowed to play on stage. I stay to see the American band Korn, which is heading the night show. I have encountered feelings for them, since I associate Nu Metal with a period of crisis for my beloved and classic heavy metal. On the other hand, the band gives a good show and I can feel, mixed with the audience in the first rows, that people are really having fun. I can look back without anger to those years when bands like Korn irrupted in the metal scene and see that mixing some styles can be always healthier for the music in general. Nonetheless, it is something that my beloved Aerosmith did many years ago when recording Walk this Way with Run DMC.

In any case, if Ville Valo ever comes to the toilet to pee close to me, I will try to erase that image from my mind and just remember his glamour on stage. That is where the truly rock stars really belong to. For the rest of the occasions…we are all just human beings with tired eyes.