Laila Ulvseth, Jorunn Ekre
Photo: Marijke Arentsen, Netherlands
A collection of the ” Tonsbookies” reports by Marianne Saietz.
On July 31st. 2010, Alexander Rybak was giving a concert, with Elisabeth Andreassen and their mutual musicians, in the norwegian town Tonsberg – a bit south of Oslo. More than 70 fans of Alexander, who met eachother on his official facebook-fanpage, had decided to meet eachother in Tonsberg and go to the concert together on july 31st. They planned the travel and the meeting for a long time. Early, they realized, that this was going to be the largest gathering of Rybaks Facebookies, ever!
Laila Ulvseth, Norway.
Tonsberg – as seen by a Norwegian facebookie
– Invite me whenever you want, but NOT the last weekend in July, I told my friends and family. – Oh? said my friend.
– What happens then?
– Party. Megaball. Concert. – Oooh…. Not AGAIN!! Tell us – you aren’t going to another Rybak-concert, are you? My friend gave me a look that told me she found me ridiculous. – How many have you been to now? Why do you keep on running after that silly boy? I tried to answer her in a way she would understand. It was impossible. – The main thing for me now is to meet all the other girls, I said. She frowned. – Bah! Haha! You must be in love with him, half your age!
– No, I’m not! I said, trying to defend myself, because – honestly – that’s not what I feel about Alexander. He is charming, beautiful, hot and a lot of other nice things – but I’m not in love with him. I have to say that I am privileged, and I know it, because I have met him on several occasions, sometimes quite undisturbed, but of course never alone. Each time it feels like meeting a friend. What I feel about him is something like I feel for my nephews. Friday 30th. July I went to Oslo, to meet Hege who came from Trondheim by train. I hadn’t seen her since November, and we hugged as the old friends we are.
It was great seeing her again. After some trouble getting on the right train further, we finally arrived at the hostell where we shared a room. We were both tired, and Hege took a nap. I went out and found one familiar face after another – it was so delightful to meet all my friends. Some I had met before, other faces were new to me, but everybody was equally delighted and happy to meet. I just knew that this weekend would be great. I can’t remember now who I went to town with, but we had to find something to eat.
Rybakitis has several funny symptoms, one of them is often lack of apetite. Still – a facebookie needs nutrition. We saw Hotel Klubben, knowing that the next day we would see The Man, the smurf, our hero, the fiddler… We were promised a meet’n greet after the concert, but then news spread – the meeting was to be at 5, not 11 in the evening! Seeing all my friends again was even more rewarding than I imagined. Hege, Lene, Laila S, Jitka, Petra… In front of the hotel we found Anastasia and got even more hugs. Marianne, some Russian girls, Madde, Lily – I can’t mention everybody, but we chatted, laughed, felt the same anticipation…
Saturday 31. 15.00 in the afternoon.
We found a pasta restaurant, and waited there. The funny thing was that I wasn’t as anxious and excited as lots of the other ladies were – I was just happy to see him again. Nametags proved to be smart because we were more than 70, and although I remember faces I am not that good with names. Soon we were ushered into this small conference room – I spotted a few journalists, and even more familiar faces. Kjell Arild was there, two of the fiddler girls… I kept in the outskirts of the mass of ladies, but I saw Alexander entering the room – wary as a deer in the forest. He took a few steps, looked at us all, and I wonder what went through his head. I hope he felt the love that radiated from us all.
Elisabeth Andreassen was there, and she held a short speach – proving that she too was enrapted by Alexander… Facebookies gathered around him, and I could hardly see what was going on. I was talking with Hege and a few others, observing more than anything. Suddenly I heard a roar of laughter – some shouted something about Vic – I saw her white fan, but I couldn’t see what was really happening.
The meeting went on and on. I saw how he talked to everybody, signing posters or whatever they wanted him to sign, always interested, smiling, attentive. When my turn finally came I didn’t have anything for him, I didn’t know what to say, I just looked at him. He looked at me and my nametag and said: – Oh, you are Laila with the glasses? I didn’t want to correct him by saying that the other Laila is also wearing glasses… If he wants to call me Laila with the glasses, it is fine by me! I told him that I didn’t have very much to say, and stretched out my arms. – Can I give you a hug?
Of course I could. I have hugged him before, several times in fact, so this time it felt like hugging a dear friend. I patted his back, felt his young body against mine, and smiled. I would have stroked his hair, his cheek, looked into his eyes and asked him something like take care and don’t worry because we are all here for you – but I didn’t. He is my nephew, my son, my friend, my classmate, he is everything dear to me. It is incredible how he has come to mean so much to me. Someone took a picture of him and me, I got a poster signed – and that was that. The warm feeling lingered in my heart for days.
I have seen him on stage lots of times. I have seen him off stage. He is many persons in one man. The man on stage OWNS the stage, fills it, lives out the music, he sparkles. The person off stage is the one I described – but still “at work”. When he looks at you, it feels like you are the only one that matters there and then. On one or two occasions I have got a few seconds glimpse of a third person – the private person. But simply because of that, I don’t want to describe that third person. He needs something for himself. We facebookies share – we like to know everything there is to know, from the colour of his underwear to the amount of bodyhairs he has – but I want to keep these very few seconds to myself. I have stored them in my heart.
Soon after, we entered the show hall. I had tickets to row 3 in the middle, which proved to be an excellent seat. I had never seen Bettan live before and didn’t know what to expect, but she was great – and the connection between her and Alexander was fantastic. The two of them filled eachother out perfectly, the music went fluent and the jokes were funny. They made me laugh and cry. I sobbed when she sang Blinde-Karls vise, and I cried when Alexander sang Skin – a song I’d never heard before. He looked at Dvora almost all the time singing directly to her. And we? We sang with them, we danced in our seats, we clapped and cheered. At one point he adressed the rest of the audience: – The ladies here aren’t crazy, they just spend too much time on facebook.
Afterwards I wanted to say a few words to Elisabeth – thank her for the show – and found her close to Alexander in a smaller signing line. I thanked her, hugged her (I think) and felt just so thankful for what I had seen and witnessed – I could have cried. I think I hugged Alexander once more just because he was there, just because I could, I felt so grateful – like receiving the most wonderful present ever.
Then I went down to the bar and got drunk.
Barndancing – getting the DJ to play some of the songs on No Boundaries – laughing… I remember that I had a White Russian, and I said to the others that that was perhaps the only way to have a whiterussian inside of me… (In Norwegian: Belarus = White Russia). Next thing I remember walking back to the hostell with Hege, singing Europe’s skies – a song none of us really likes… I stayed up for a while, writing a short report for the Abandoned ones while I waited for the alcohol to evaporate.
I didn’t sleep too well, but we had to get up and get packed. Trains don’t wait, and hostells expect you to check out at a certain time. Saying goodbye was the hardest part, and I saw tears. All the people I have grown to love – Lili, Sara, Yanis – who proved to have a real nice butt too! – all of them, no more mentioned but none forgotten. Most of them I’ll probably never see again – but I love you. We got to Oslo and sat down at La Baguette, reading VG over and over. A weekend was about to end.
I was tired from all the new impressions, and went home in the afternoon, filled with warmth and joy. This weekend will not die as long as Youtube and Facebook exists, or as long as there are Facebookies alive to remember the magic days in Tonsberg, Norway. Because magic they were. So much fun, so much joy, so much love. We have one man to thank for all of this – a young man, not more than 24, but already he has achieved so much and generated so much love and friendship. I will always be grateful to him – I owe him so much, for all the inspiration he has given me without knowing it, for all the friends I have found – friends I would’nt have got to know if it wasn’t for him.
Through him I have come to learn so much. Who knows what will come of this in a few years? He might step back from the ramplight. He might find a wife and settle down one place, not giving concerts anymore – and I can understand that. But still, what he has given will live on – the most precious anyone can generate: Love, laughter and friendship
Jorunn Ekre, Norway
I`ve been rather busy since I got back from Tonsberg,but I can say that I had the most wonderful time ever!!! l`ll never forget it,we had so much fun and it so great meeting with all of the Facebookies 🙂 The meet and greet was just amazing,I had my photo taken with Alex,he signed a poster,I spoke to him (he was suprised at my name since I don`t look Norwegian,he didn`t expect someone who looked exotic to be called Jorunn 🙂
When he met someone with an exotic outward he thought the name was like that too 🙂 We had our photo taken and he put his arm around me and I put my arm around his waist.I look extremely happy in the photo,guess you can`t blame me :)) Then he said good bye and said he`d se mee at the concert.I was so BONKED I couldn`t reply :)) The concert was incredible,we had a blast.We sang,applauded,danced and enjoyed ourselves sooo much.
Alex commented that we were present saying this is the Facebookies and they`re not crazy,it`s just how you get after spending too much time on Facebook :)) He was so funny.He looked great by the way both at the meet and greet and at the concert.He and Elisabeth are great together,they tease each other and they have good chemistry.I really enjoyed Blind Karl`s song (a very sad,beautiful song),Skins (a new song I had never heard before).Elisabeth did Gabriella`s song and that`s wonderful,too.All in all an unforgettable concert where the artists fed off the audience response.
This was a short report,but I`m getting tired now 🙂 I may write more later.It`s the most amazing weekend I`ve ever had.
Thank you Facebookies and Alex 🙂