Report on the birth of the BOOK and the concert in Oslo, Oct., 10th ’09

“The Operation 10/10
or
how Rybak’s Facebookies went to Olso”
a report by
Irena Bay

Part 1

Well guys, I think it’s time for me to report back to the grid… to be honest I don’t feel that I will be able to put into words what I have experienced this weekend with these indescribably wonderful people … I know my account will fail to convey what really happened … still – I am a FB spy on duty, night and day, and I would never let you down! 😀

My story begins way earlier than the most stories you have read here until now[1]. My story began in July this year when out of the blue I found myself organizing and directing a facebook project – how the hell did that happen again?? (And why I am working on the new one in my head like crazy again since yesterday??)

Anyway: the idea was to write Alex a story that would make him laugh and what would show how his appearance on our horizon has affected us: Suddenly we write poems, we picked up learning an instrument, we are drooling gloriously and artistically in our virtual fantasy game “Catch him if you can” in the “Nice Butt – for Sure!” thread (and we never do catch him – which is great: this game can go on for ever)… we travel, we meet each other, we expand our funny little worlds to unknown dimensions (laughing all the while!) … we are having the best time of our lives! And I know that for sure that others do feel as I feel: I have seen it written all over their glowing faces just some days ago!

For the last three months, I have been writing and editing the BOOK … night and day … at home, on the subway, at work, everywhere … in between studying and letting my plants and my youth fade away (BTW – need money for an extended vacation on Seychelles with Alex and a cosmetic surgery to lift the bags underneath my eyes up which I had been dragging around on the floor a meter behind me!)

The BOOK developed naturally – a person started a chapter, told a bit of a story and left a hook at the end which was picked up the next story-teller. The story itself was Alexander’s story – a true story insofar as it happens in our minds. (There was a deadline mid August. Before that, everybody could participate; after that we went underground.)

Everyday I woke up and literally flew to my pc because I knew that there is a new bit of a story waiting for me. It was clear after one week that the story will be magnificent! The writers just blew me away with their imagination and talent! They amazed me every day, got me totally addicted to the project and they made me roll on the floor laughing all the time (my body is hairless for ever now: I have burnt out the hair roots rolling back and forth on my rough carpet … so, I am the bold one with no eye brows if you looking for me on the pics from our Olso adventure…)

Then the work part started: putting the single plot threads together into one story … sounds simple – turned out it’s freaking schizophrenic!!

For a month I was slowly but surely becoming insane working on nearly all chapters simultaneously trying to glue them together. I felt like I was conducting an orchestra where everybody was playing a different piece as loud as they can. (Mariannes’ viking horn was the loudest, by the way :D) It was like putting puzzles together while inventing them on the way always surprising youself with the new, unexpected things. In short – I loved each day of it and I am ready for a sequel!!! (after my cosmetic surgery, of course!)

However: things were not looking good two weeks before the Oct., 10th, the day of the concert in Olso, – I had no time for it and IT required way more time than I would have had even if I had dropped everything else. Anastasia was helping out me like crazy everyday – whatever I needed I was giving by her immediately: she read, she proof-read, she wrote, she edited, she gave me feedback, a shoulder to cry on when I was overtired; she held up a punching bag when I needed to let steam out (the last part was a bit tough, though: she is so tiny – I had to put her on a trampoline and let her jump up all the time with the punching bag, so I could hit it – we gave up it early cause of all the laughing and used the trampoline for other missions later on[2].)

I honestly did not believe that the BOOK will be ready on time, but I tried anyway. However, I told Anastasia that it probably won’t, so she won’t keep her hopes high.

I came back from my seminar in the mountains (Yanis never has picked me up there with his helicopter, BTW, 🙁 – even though, I made a huge fire for him to see me down there[3].) It was on Saturday, 3rd. From Sunday until Thursday, the day Anastasia came to Frankfurt, I was on it! Working in the fast forward speed!! The last words were written couple hours before I went to the airport to pick Anastasia up! I posted them in our group “Rybak’s FaceBookies” aka the secret place and ran to clean my apartment which looked like thirty male students have lived and partied there for a month (it was always either the BOOK or everything else on the agenda.)

I was cleaning like the road-runner while packing, while washing cloths, while scyping with Irina, while grabbing a bite to eat here and there … shaky hands … so nervous (Anastasia will be here in 2 hours!!) … so wired (“Think, Irena! Think! Did you do everything it had to be done in the BOOK??? Cause in 5 hours, it’ll be in print!!! After this, it’s too late.”) … My stuff was falling down all the time while I was wiping the floor or running through the apartment … something quite heavy fell on my foot (*ouch!*) … I ran into a sharp edge by accident … in the shower I forgot whether I washed my hair, I was so lost in my mental to-do-list … getting so freaking nervous (“OMG, the BOOK got ready?! OMG!! Anastasia is on her way?! OMG, I AM GOING TO NORWAY????? I WILL MEET THE BUTT BRIGADE???” — to be honest, I did not think much about the smurf …)

… I poked myself in the eye when trying to put mascara on and rolling up the one-meter eye bags to look decent for Anastasia – I was afraid she looks at me once, turns around and goes back to Greece … I ran to FB to complain to Irina and to calm down when I saw 2 new messages: Milena wrote me that something was really wrong in the last parts I have posted — WHAAAAAAAAAAAT??? I have to leave the house and run to the airport in about … NOW!! The second was from Marion K. saying that I wrote a nice introduction (thanks!) and that I mentioned every country of the FaceBookies but forgot Austria, but she is not too sad (NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! How could I? NOOOOOOOO!!!) Trying to put pants on with one hand, finish putting mascara on the second eye with the other, I tried to type Austria with my teeth when Milena wrote me that she just figured out that it was not wrong after all what I did – *HEART ATTACK* Don’t do this to me!!!!

Everything is ready? USB stick with the doc on it – check! Keys to the door – check! Blouse on – oops!

Running to the train – good! Got it – breathing heavily – humming “Somewhere above the ocean …” – smiling at people – they don’t smile back at me – I hum a bit louder 😉

Quickly to the bank – changed currency – check!

Train to the airport – on time! Waiting … waiting … dying cause so nervous … can’t sit … walk up and down … go out for a cigi just not to stand there … Anastasia … whom I have been talking to every single day for hours (sometimes until the dawn) will be here … will be a real person … I am a bit afraid that it only worked in the chat and will fall apart when we really speak with each other … I am a tiny bit scared that all the fun we all had here will stop when we meet and feel the clash between the real and the virtual worlds … But not for a minute, I regret the decision to make this trip – something is screaming out loud inside me: I will be blown away and that this adventure has something in store for me which will surpass my imagination!

I am standing there waiting … starring at those automatic doors … (checking out the pilots a bit :D) … all shook up … with a sign in my hands saying “FaceBookie Anastasia – Welcome to Germany!” … shaking … smiling from one ear to the other … then suddenly a big grey suitcase comes rolling up and behind it — a tiny, drop-dead gorgeous girl with black hair looking lost and overwhelmed fiddling with her cell-phone and waiting to be picked up … then she comes through the final doors scanning the crowd of people until she sees me: with the sigh and the ear-to-ear grin. We squeak! We jump! We hug! We start talking and laughing and walking – running actually … I’m running fast and telling her that we are going to the copy shop now (!) and give it to print … with the suitcase … I am running … she is trying to keep up with me … She looks around, scared, while we are running through the maze of the Frankfurt airport which has the size of Patras, according to her words, and through the streaming, shouting masses of people that I slowly start to worry: If I loose her here somewhere – I will never find her! Then I will have a big fat Greek, angry family banging at my door!! I have to keep an eye on her all the time.

We get along instantly!!! We joke around in real life as we did in the virtual – same joking speed, same punch lines – only louder! I am relieved! From this moment, I know that it’ll be great! We just have to make sure that the BOOK can be taken with us to Norway.

We take the train – the stupid train changes its usual route and does not go beyond the Grand Central Station – more masses of people, more shouting, more running through the mazes – Anastasia always slightly behind me skipping and looking with big round eyes at the architecture while I am looking with big round eyes AT HER making sure that she did not get lost behind me, picturing the furious Greeks invading my small student apartment.

I am running fast and throwing my arm into the left and right from time to time – giving a digest sight-seeing tour. Meanwhile, I am thinking what the best way is to get to the copy shop. While running Anastasia tells me that she have run through the BOOK mentally while she was on the plane and found one major mistake!

Oh ‘faen’[4] !!! no no no — where are we going now? … Ah! You are right: This must be so and so in Renia’s chaper … This! This subway! we have to take this subway here! Renia’s Chapter … The subway which is about to leave now! Run Anastasia, run!! We must catch it. I am behind you … suitcase is still here! Don’t worry!

She jumps through the doors, turns around and sees me trying to get the suitcase inside when the doors suddenly slap together while I am outside and she inside with screaming eyes … Tripple FAAEN!!!! … She: noooo!!!!! She is trying to open up the doors somehow, but is already saying goodbye forever to me with her eyes accepting her destiny. But I am not ready for that: I spot that the next door is open! I run! Suitcase behind me! I drag it in! The doors slap behind me! I am in! Anastasia is standing in the subway car – still in shock, but relieved. With shaking hands, I quickly write down my address on the piece of paper and my phone number, pin it on her jacket, so the people who find her can give me a call …

PART 2

… After some more adventure of riding trains in Frankfurt, we finally dragged Anastasia’s suitcase into the copy-shop where the BOOK would be printed and bound. I was so happy that we arrived there – at last! – a bit closer to make my mental to-do-list smaller! Now everything will be much easier. So I thought. Until I realized that the nice young guy whom I had talked to about the book for a half an hour two weeks ago and who had been so helpful with suggestions and really understood how I wanted the BOOK to be – this guy was not there! Noooo! Ok, calm down, Irena! Turn around and smile with confidence and calmness at Anastasia who is looking quite stressed herself mouthing “What is going on?”

I went to the older man and started explaining. He hushed me way to the PC: “Put your usb stick in!” I did. I jumped into the document and changed the mistake which Anastasia had discovered on the plane. Done! The guy came over. I started explaining … slowly … clearly … while I was thinking: Nooo! He is not even listening!! (This will happen to me again later on in my story, you’ll see ;))

He started printing. Wrong size! I am trying to be the sweetest customer he had ever had! Playing the “You are so smart cause you’re a man”- card saying things like “What do you think is best? I don’t know – you are the pro!” (Which worked, by the way!) But he is still running around, messing up the chronology of the pages, double checking, printing the cover in strange formats again and again, cutting its edges wrong … And all I can do is watch him helplessly and trying to think of a way to make him less distracted and nervous and listen to me.

I summarized my wishes one more time, took the phone number of the shop, grabbed Anastasia and her suitcase and left the shop after having decided to leave the BOOK up on its own and to turn my attention to my tiny, sweet guest!

We sat down on a terrace of a café on the university campus and began enjoying the unusually sunny warmth and each other’s company, of course. Some time later, we dragged her suitcase and my slowly unwrapping eye-lids to the public library to get a map of Oslo (I did not have time for that before and we needed to find our way from the Grand Central Station in Oslo to our youth hostel in the middle of the night.)

Then I called to check whether the BOOK is done and thirty minutes later Anastasia came out of the copy-shop shining with glee and carrying a box with copies of it, still warm from the print.

The next day I was running around with Anastasia through Frankfurt feeding her everything German I could find (Schnitzel, Knödel, Kartoffelpuffer mit Apfelmus, Rotkohl, Bratwurst, Apfelwein and Bier ect.) It was over twenty degrees and we walked a lot (!) around the city (but first we bought a camera! Neither of us had one and there was simply no way that we go on such an adventure without a documentary device!)

Sitting on the riverbank of Main with coffee, I exchanged intelligence with Susanne, a spy who had already arrived in Oslo and was looking around (together with Marianne) for a perfect hiding place for our boot and OUR MISSION[5] in the harbor of Olso. Unbelievable, but the same sun shines over there as well … and it did this day.

A bit later, we were dragging suitcases again, this time to the airport. Guess what – I ran into the wrong direction again! Trying to look like I know what I am doing, I ran back asking myself whether Anastasia buys that. She doesn’t. Instead, she is panicking! Asking me again and again why am I doing this and that, why are we standing here, whether we are right at this counter, are we really not late … I am starting to discover new sides to my personality while waiting in line and seeing Anastasia biting her lips looking around with worrying eyes: I am like a man! Bad memory and then too proud to ask for directions or admit that I made a mistake. It is needless to say that I did not share this discovery of mine with her.

“No, we are not late!” followed by a glance at my watch seeing that we totally are. Shooooooooooooooot !!!!!!! We are running! Again! Fifteen minutes until boarding time! (Thank Renia’s Narrator’s god for those moving ways at the Frankfurt airport!!)

PART 3

I see the first Norwegians on the plane – I am grinning. Peaking into the newspaper of my neighbor on the plane – yap! Norwegian! I am smiling happily into his ear and turn around quickly hoping that he did not see it.

We are getting off … Anastasia does not like flying … she is making funny noises like she is in pain … but who could blame her after all this stress, running and the German food … I am starving! I have not eaten much the last couple of days … I am waiting for food … but none comes! You have to pay for it on Scandinavian Airlines – faen! I am now frowning sourly into the ear of my Norwegian neighbour – I hope that he saw that.

The first thing I noticed at the airport: the Norwegians are very quiet! No loud talking, no shouting! People are very polite! And it’s so clean!

But I’m seeing all this through the blur of my tiredness and hunger. We are trying to find out the way to the train express. We find it. But where do we buy the tickets? A nice, young Norwegian guy is suddenly next to us offering his help. He shows us where to buy tickets. While Anastasia is inserting money, he asks me what we girls are doing in Norway. I am looking at him while in my imagination I am jumping towards him with widely spread arms, smiling at him and shouting as loud as I can “I am in looooove with a fairytaaaale!” … maybe not, I think. “Oh… just checking out the city …”

Outside on the platform. Brrrhhh! Norway is cold! But the express looks very cool: Like a space ship!

We buy two burgers and a tiny coke on the Grand Central Station. I am nearly finished with my burger when I finally manage to count the krones back to euros (I have a mathematician chewing next to me – am I asking her how much it was – nooooo!) and realize that we just paid for this meal nearly twenty euros. *glups*

The cold air outside is pinching me under my coat while we are walking through the slightly dubious area around the Grand Station after midnight. With shivering bodies and running noses we arrive at the Anker Hostel – to find two gorgeous Norwegian blond and tall male young receptionists at the front desk. Anastasia and I exchange glances and NB-smiles while I am wiping my nose.

“You have just been upgraded!”, on of them says to me. “You are overbooked, someone screwed up and that’s why you don’t have a room for us after midnight!”, I think and want to complain. But as soon as I open my mouth, a thought occurs to me: what if Alex had read about us coming in the threads, has known that almost all of us are going to stay at the Anker youth hostel and had decided to surprise us with upgrading us all to the hotel? Yeaahhhh, right, Irena… When the hell freezes down, when it snows in July, when men can give birth to babies – maybe …

PART 4

Next morning, we packed our stuff back into the suitcases, brought them to the luggage storage (we were down-rated back to the youth hostel only after one night) and ran to find the New Opera House where we would meet the first members of the BUTT BRIGADE.

The sun was shining while the air seemed to be not cold, but fresh – the streets not dubious, but friendly and full of live … Charming stores with fruit stands outside. I see a lovely tiny yard sale with climbim and old funny furniture. The architecture around us is bright with unknown forms to me. People look so different here. (The fuzzy hair on boys is a cultural thing, apparently.) They are all running busily, talking on the phone, talking to each other. A lot of suitcases-dragging tourists. The little nice street I pointed to the night before turns out to be the famous Karl Yohans Gate. Anastasia and I are singing now and then. “Somewhere above the ocean” … What a beautiful day!

While we were walking over the bridge to the Opera house, I spotted a bunch of ladies standing on the magnificent platform of this architectural art work. I recognized some of them instantly – they seem to recognize us as well cause they start waving and smiling at us! I am welcomed with such cordial hugs and friendliness down there thinking, how much better can this become?

Twittering along, we (Susanne, Marianne, Marijke, Petra S. and us two) go into a café in the Grand Station and keep on twittering. I give them their copies of the BOOK and the buttons saying “Rybak’s FaceBookies” which I made as a surprise for everybody who participated in the project and we make there our first video report (see my videos).

Laughing, laughing, laughing. What a lovely bunch, I think looking around! And I feel like it’s a real reunion, like we have known each other for a very long time.

Petra has to pick up her concert ticket yet and she leaves. We continue talking and sharing, so the time flies by quickly. Marianne turns out to be this marvellous person which you simply must let into your heart! A Viking when needed to be, but very mellow, easy-going and sooooo funny! (Now, I hear her voice and the speech melody when I read her and I laugh even more!)

Susanne is so sweet and open-minded, I like her right away. Marijke is always girlishly speedy and really very nice. Petra is reserved with an open, friendly face and a disarming smile. I sense that we all the very most ourselves in these hours and I can’t believe it: How does the smurf do it??? Bringing such diverse people with different lives, from all over Europe, of all ages together? This is amazing! What is it about him that let us shine, open up and go seeking for more life? Will this little boy ever know what role he played in our lives and if he knows, will he ever be able to grasp it fully? I doubt it – but for now I don’t care: we are about to go and discover Oslo for ourselves and “mark our territory” as Marianne had put it into words!!

On the way through the busiest street of Olso, we chit chat, we goof around, we spread in the mass of the people and find us back … There, in this crowded place, a girl from Moscow crossed our path – she came all the way to the concert: Marina. She had already been adopted by the FaceBookies plus the three Czech musketeers who partied with her in Marianne’s room the night before. Marina will be not the first one of the singletons who will fuse into the huge facebook crowd and shake up Rybak’s stage.

… Finally! I see the fjord!! I see the sea!! I wanted so much to see it. The harbour is beautiful! The sun is reflected by the water surface and, on it, huge ships rise up in front of us while somewhere swing music is played …

…. the ships thrill me with delight and make me feel like a child on a field trip! I always had this thing with airplanes, trains and ships – airports, stations and harbours … In their nature, they bare an alternative to now and here – they promise a change, a better life, a real way to dreams. Give me a ticket and I will smile! I have always been driven to seek for more, for something different, for something else …

I am on a ferry to Nesodden – hihihi! I hold my ticket! It’s moving. We are sitting outside, on the nose of the ferry, facing the island. The girls are chatting with a lovely Norwegian couple sitting next to us. I am dreaming and inhaling the sun light, the air, the sea, the view … the flat mountains are enclosing the world and conveying a sense of safety … (“Look, this tiny house on the water! We found our castle! haha! And it’s so close to mama and papa!” *giggle*) … The fall is so colourful here! More colourful than where I live … (“Are you proud of Alexander?”, I hear Marianne asking the lovely older couple) … The countless, firmly blown-up canvas’ of the boats twirl in the distance going where the winds bring them … (“We are going with the same ferry as he used to go all the time – can you imagine?”) …

When I enter the island, I found myself flabbergasted: For more than ten years, I had this clear image of where and how I will spend the evening of my life. It has appeared one day unexpectedly and has never left me ever since. And now, on Nesodden, I saw it – there it is! I don’t quite get it myself … It’s senseless trying to explain such experiences … it would sound wrong and ordinary … so didn’t try much to express it back then… I was rather busy rationalizing these emotions … it just does not fit into my view of life as moments of coincidences and natural contradictions … no mysticism … no higher plan … but still here I am … looking at the place which was with me for years, which is mine …

PART 5

… Only couples hours later, our bunch is just walking around the corner when we see another and bigger bunch of FaceBookies in front of Sentrum Scene. I look at them from the distance, and the excitement in my chest explodes in laughter: They are standing there with banners, laughing, smiling, shining, waving to us! I recognize Lene first, then Laila U. and Laila S.

As soon as we arrive, they start saying to us with thrilled, loud, chaotic voices: “He was here! Just now! You missed him! HE WAS HERE AT 17:15!!! The time we agreed on!” My face melts into a frown – WHAT? Nooo! This was the chance to give him the BOOK! The chance to explain in a quiet atmosphere what it is all about! To make him know what he has to know about it! We missed him! *aesj*[6]

Susanne tells me that she spoke to him, that she had told him that there is a girl who came all the way from Germany to give him a very special present from us all and that she (me) must give it to him today! He must come and get it. I feel better just for a second: Someone shouts from the back that he said there might be no autograph signing after the concert. I feel like banging my head against a wall.

No, Irena! Think! Don’t give up now! You are in freaking Norway! You managed to finish the BOOK against all odds and it’s in your purse! YOU ARE ON A MISSION! YOU MUST FIND A WAY – EVERYBODY IS WAITING FOR YOU TO DELIVER RIGHT NOW IN THE NB-THREAD!!! (no pressure, though – AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!)

I pull myself together, dust off and smile into the crowd: I am gonna get the smurf! I am gonna do it! Yes yes yes!

The next hours pass by like minutes: The chatting, the sharing, the laughing … watching the girls singing … watching the pedestrians watching the girls singing and us grinning … grinning at the bunch of teenage girls with open mouths next to us looking like they don’t know what just hit them … I go over to them campaigning for our facebook page and ordering them to join us … there are big banners with photos of Alex saying “Klassnaya popka” and “Happy birthday, Jorunn!” … all of a sudden, I have a song-book of our versions of “Fairytales” in my hands (OMG, he got one from them, too – and the lyrics are quite naughty) … in the song-book, I find my BONK-manual! hahaha! (sweetest Laila S., thanks! I feel so honoured.) I see Marianne’s face when she goes through the song-book … she asks herself why is she on every single page – ‘cause you’re the queen of the NB-thread! 😀 You’re the motor in our machinery! I give out more copies of the BOOK to the writers and distribute RFB buttons. I am hugged all the time! Great! Then the Czech musketeers arrive shaking us more up! Then, the chaos trying to take a group picture (see the videos – LOL) which we manage to take at the end! Dear Marijke goes around giving out the loveliest present: a root for us all to plant at home which would grow in our apartments and houses all over Europe and remind us of this very moment by its blossoming!

Then, Anastasia pulls me at my sleeve: Over there is Katrine! The manager! I recognize her from the ESC videos. She is there without the huge belly but with a stroller and her family around. Anastasia communicates with me via telepathy (we discovered very early on that we share a brain), giving me signals … your chance! Do something! But someone else from the crowd distracts me for a second and when I turn around Katrine is gone! I am getting really angry! Why??? Why am I forced to chase him to give him such a wonderful present? Was all this hard work during the three months not enough?? This is degrading! I would have hated it to disturb her spending a lovely evening with her children and family … it would have been a big act for me to go over there and bug her … I really don’t want to do it … I feel like I have no right to do it. But she is gone now, anyway … and I still have the BOOK in my purse … still, I don’t want just to send it to him or give to someone who works for him: HE MUST KNOW CERTAIN THINGS ABOUT IT! I owe it to all the writers and to myself! We deserve better!! Faan!!!!

“No, Irena! This is not the real life, this is show biz – this is what they work for,” I am trying to convince myself … (not really buying it myself.) But I feel so obliged to my roomies, I decide to cast the rest of my dignity away for this one occasion. Meanwhile, I am picturing in my head, how I kick Alex’s popka for doing this to me!

I tell you how it should have been: HE wakes up all excited in the morning and is waiting for us in the freezing cold in front of the Sentrum Scene from 7 am on … waiting for us to arrive at 17:15! HE should stand there with banners he made in the night for us to sign … his camera ready … and it should have been HIM posting messages with his mobile phone on his wall for you, guys, “OMG, they are here!!! OMG, I am in the first row!!! OMG, my cloths are wet, I am starving but I don’t care … riiiiiiight, Irena, stop day-dreaming and cursing and go back to work!

Then I get my chance: Katrine is right behind me opening the door for someone else to get in. I fly over there. I am asking her permission to talk to her for a minute if she is not busy. She says she is. I say: “Well, all right then! Thanks, anyway!” and want to leave. She says: “Ok, tell me!” (YES! Chaka!) I explain quickly and nicely … I try to smile and be aloof, but to sound determined. She listens, nods and says: “I will talk to the tour manager and see what I can do!” I smile a “thank you” and “Have a nice evening!” back at her and return back to the girls knowing that she just turned me down gloriously. Grrrhh!! They fury rises in me … I am about to erupt … give me another drink, someone!! … ooh, this is not orange juice with vodka! This is vodka with orange food color! …

… I hear muttering somewhere … my spy-ears are glowing … *ALARM!* *ALARM!* … I’m following the noise … I find out that Petra S., Marina and Raquel who had won their concert tickets, are going to go a Meet & Greet before the concert, as well! I am back on my horse, waving my sword above my head, humming the song “Ne veshat nos, gardemariny!” and smelling another chance. I ask Petra S. to take me with her when she goes to the pick-up/ meeting point for the winners in an hour. Ooooh, the vodka was too strong! Need a clear head now! I am on a mission! I pop into the bar next door and get myself the strongest coffee they have. Outside… tick tock … tick tock … Marianne and Anastasia are mocking me a bit saying that I must be freaking out and bonking already … I nod while I am thinking: I will bonk him, but not in the good way! This smurf! I hope that someone forces him on his knees tonight, this brat!!! …tick tock … coffee is working … I am working on my speech in my head: how to make the guy who picks up people for Meet & Greet to take me with them. I wish that it was summer and I could pop out my boobs into his nose or something … He is not gonna let me in for my puppy eyes and my woollen scarf … I am not very optimistic, but I don’t have a choice, do I? – this might be the only, last chance … on your knees, you smurf!! You are gonna be punished somehow when we are in our castle in Southern France!! I will smack you with a baguette! … Ohhhhh, it’s time!! But where is Petra S. (one of the writers, by the way)? She’s gone without me!!! *aesj times 5* She broke her promise! …

PART 6

… I leave the others and go on my own. I roam the area and find the bunch a bit further at a lamp post. “Petra!! You left me!” She completely forgot about me … She apologizes. After a loooong while, a guy approaches us (visibly gay – good that he does not see my boobs at all … it might have been contra-productive).

I wait patiently when he counts the people and talks to them … when he is done, I go to him and start working on him. He brushes me off professionally saying: “Ok, everyone who won a Meet & Greet on this side! … everyone who didn’t, on the other!” … and there I stand all by myself, with puppy eyes, still hoping, with the BOOK in my purse … Petra comes and whispers: I will talk to Alex!! I promise! I will tell him about the BOOK! … off they all go leaving me in the darkness at the lamp post.

… tick tock … tick tock … Suddenly, there is the lovely Jannike and the wonderful wonderful Hege in the crowd! I feel so much better seeing them all! But I can’t concentrate on what is going on around me in the crowd (suddenly, there are so many people in the line! I look over to the teenage lines and laugh devilishly inside, hähähä! We are the privileged ones tonight! You have to stay up there! Hähähä!).

We are standing directly at the glass door… I’m listening to the exciting murmurs of my NB-roomies: Can you believe that we are about to go to his concert??? They are all making plans: No screaming! No shouting! We are the decent ladies from the ART CLASS[7]! I am looking through the glass hoping to see Petra and some staff member coming to pick me up … I give myself a mental slap on the face and tell myself to keep it low profile …

Then, all of a sudden and just for seconds, I spot a white shirt with fuzzy hair over it … I grab Anastasia and pull her to show her: There he is!! She starts jumping, screaming and waving at him! He waves back at us! And off he goes. Anastasia turns around looks at us puzzled: Did I just freak out?! Did I just jump and scream and wave like a crazy person?! What just happened?! And what will happen when he is on stage?

Petra and Raquel return: It all went too quick! No chance to say a sentence to him! *aesj* *aesj* *aesj* … *smack* *smack* *smack*

We’re in! I leave my coat at the wardrobe. I go into the small, empty concert: The whole first lines are filled with the FaceBookies … I grin proudly (and a bit ashamed already — decent ladies, yeah right! Just wait and see!) Anastasia spots me with the familiar worrying eyes which scream loudly “Panic!”: “Where were you??”

Waiting, waiting waiting … I look around … there are more and more guys in the audience. Guys?? I look at the stage. Right there! Two meters away from us is the mic stand … I still don’t realize that I am in a concert hall in Olso, for real! … Mixed feelings … very surreal … dream-like … far away … as if it is not happening … as if I should not be there, at all … I am thinking what to do with the freaking BOOK … I am getting tired of this … My hands are shaking and I remember that I am really really hungry and weak …

… and then the band comes out … plays the first tunes of Springleik … the Frikar dancers march in looking disturbing real (and yummie … and real … and yummie)

… and then

… the violin …

PART 7

… and there he is … ap ap aaappp… I … can’t speak …

This is certainly him. But in the same time – it’s not: I see a person I don’t know at all … I realize that it’s just a guy … but just a stranger …good looking guy (really, hossa!), but so strangely unknown … a boy … He comes sooooo close to us! Playing the violin … posing … moving … looking down into the audience … looks at me briefly … OMG, he can see me!?? OMG I did not expect that! My brain fails for some time to connect these two pieces of information: “Alexander Rybak – the two-dimensional, nice-to-look-at, flickering on my screen image of a fiddler” and “this real guy standing in front of me … looking BACK at me” – what?!

The first thing I notice – and it breaks my heart – is that he looks very very tired! I remember Anastasia saying before the show that he had five concerts in a row. I look at him closely and want to grab him and bring him home with me and put him to bed for a week to rest.

To be honest, I don’t remember much of the concert. I am looking at the videos now and am amazed: Did this or that happen? I can’t remember! *aesj* (I am in love with this sound :))

What I remember is this: the first shock that he is a real person … I remember that the guitar player on the right was looking at me grinning and I am trying to smile back politely as if we are in a café or something, and our glances have just crossed by accident … and I am trying to hide in the same time … I remember that Frikar dancers were really good (and it were different guys on stage depending on the song) … I remember that they put a magnificent show during “Kiss and Tell” – so great, really! … The put up a show pretending that they are fighting with each other and the winner stood there nodding cockily his head … I found this really entertaining!

… It all went by so fast that I could not believe that it was more than an hour … I remember the two men standing behind us … Marianne talked to them before the concert and told them that we had travelled from all over Europe to see the concert and to meet each other … one guy replied that it is really fantastic and that it would be a great story for a newspaper … someone has to write about this … I remember that I felt really awkward when Alex looked at us and that I reacted strangely trying not to stare and to force myself to look away and smile at the others on the stage … again and again … thinking “Hello!? That’s what the concert is about!”, but I could not change that. I felt so responsible to give feedback to Alex and the dancers and the musicians (in my memory, it was way too quite in the hall, not much applauding or singing along), so every time the Frikar boys did a great stunt, I was raising my hands and clapping and hollering and feeling stupid because I thought I am the only one doing that … when Alex started singing Russian songs, I felt obliged to sing as loud as I can (and I can’t sing very loud – in fact, I can’t sing at all) because I knew that all my roomies wanted him to sing Russian songs, but can’t really sing along (and I actually did not expect that he would sing them in Norway) … so I sang (growled more likely) for three people while the blond guitar player was grinning more and more at me … Kuuuupaliiiinka, kupaaalinkaaaa, Tyeeeeeem… and then Kamarovo … shoot! I should have learned the lyrics … I was humming the beginnings of the first lines and shouting out the last two words ( mmm … na nedelku!! …mmm Kamarovo!!) … feeling very nervous, ‘cause I knew that they can hear us on stage very clearly … poor them!

I remember that the water was knocked over by a flip of a Frikar dancer and I remember the subtle, angry look of Alex at the wet floor … I got more nervous: “I know what you are thinking: I don’t want you to slip on it and fall, too! … Oh thank god, a guy with a towel!” … All the time, I felt: “We’re too quiet! Noooo! It’s so quiet!!” Now, I am watching the videos and am thinking, “What the heck?? Is that the same concert?! Where was I in my mind when I was there?”

I remember only tiny bits of the performance.

Yet, I noticed there how much better Alex’s singing has got and how professional his performance is by now: Every detail was simply perfect! A bit too perfect … you can’t see on the videos, but he is acting the whole time: Every glance into the audience and every smile is choreographed … I missed a genuine smile or a giggling … anything that would have shown me that he is more than an actor … When he was singing, he was staring into the lights and his gaze was rather a contemplative one … maybe he uses his imagination to create certain emotions in order to produce them for us on stage … He seems to go back into his imagination and returns to us in an act. There is this distance between being present in now and being involved emotionally into what is happening around you. It was not different for me: I did not completely realize when I was there – now, that I am writing this, I return to my memories and relive them again. (So, basically, he was not there, I was not there – nothing ever happened :))

Seriously: I can hardly remember hearing of any music there!

Oh, what I remember well was this: He came on stage and I thought, “Ohhh! He is not that skinny at all! And he, in deed, has a nice butt! I mean a well-shaped apple made for sinning! I am changing my name to Eve! Holladihoi!” Before that, there were times that I had doubted that he has a backstage which can compete with that of Michelangelo’s David … you know, there were some pictures and videos which sent mixed messages on this matter … but I had not mind it very much …the overall package was very satisfying … Now, I can say for sure (after this empirical study of mine which I intend to go deeper into): The Butt can have a life of its own, would still rock and totally deserves an own thread, a fan base and Meet & Greet-ings with fans after the shows (and before the shows … actually whenever it feels like it)!!

When Alex came onto the stage and sang couple of songs, I noticed that he noticed Anastasia in the first row. From that moment on, I knew she is going to be on stage. We all knew. The only one who did not know was Anastasia! He kept addressing her here and there when performing other songs. I remember that he came up to our spot in the white t-shirt with the big hole on the left side (was it during Funny Little World? I don’t know) and hung above us for a while singing (there was no touching! We were very decent! We even went back a bit to give him space – it must have irritated him very much ‘cause he expects touching and he love love looooves it … a bit too much for my taste). Then Anastasia turned around to me and giggled: “I am thinking to put my finger into the hole in the t-shirt! hihihi!” She never did – the decent lady.

And she still did not get it even when he looked at her briefly and then pretended that he is looking around for thirsty guests to give the water, only to come down afterwards to her straight up, give her the cup and ask her for her name. (By the way, I hate the “water”-thing! What?! Does he think he’s Elvis?)

Ah! I love it that she did not get it ‘cause her face is priceless when he says to her “Ok, lets go!”!!! I am still ROFTLing hard and *bonking*©[8] against all walls when I see it on the videos and pictures! We should blow the pictures up and make wallpaper out of it for our party room in the NB-thread!! We should make x-mas cards with it and buttons!

But, let’s go back and see how the A & A thing did start? Before the concert, Anastasia was eager to be in the first row: “I must be there or I won’t be able to see anything … too tiny!” Marianne and I were making plans B, just in case we won’t be able to be in the first row. “You can sit on my shoulders”, Marianne suggested. “Or we can throw her up in turns like a ball, so she can watch the show from up there!”, I said. “Yes, and when the time is right we will throw her right onto the stage!” “Perfect! Then, she’ll grab him and we’ll run to the harbour, jump in our boat and row like crazy to our castle in South France :D!”

When he came onto the stage, he “scanned” the first row for a victim for “I love you, baby” – according to Lene’s words. ( I don’t remember – I was busy hiding cause I was so shocked when I discovered that this whole thing does not work as watching TV.) Yes, yes – I really can imagine how he scans the front row and thinks while playing Springleik: “No, no … my muscles are too small for her … and for her … mmm … cute, but maybe after another year in the gym … Oh! she is great! this one! She is tiny … If I take her, I will look like Hercules! … Get ready, cutie! … Victim found for “I love you, baby” – check!”

So, we all are waiting and looking forward to this (we are communicating via telepathy by now, we got so good) … he finishes a song (no idea which one) … asks in Norwegian something and six fingers out of our crowd are pointing feverishly on Anastasia’s head (which she does not see … probably, she was just standing there, smiling at him, bonking, maybe drooling a little (but I doubt it, cause we have implanted Marianne’s new, for this special occasion invented anti-drooling devices in our mouths before the concert). I see the fingers and am pointing, too, thinking: “All right! We are buckled up! We are ready to go! I would like to see the faces of “the Abandoned Ladies” of the NB-thread now! hahahah! We are going to rock facebook majestically when we return!!”

He starts singing … oooooh! my bloody camera!! How does it work??? I must film noooooowww! Gosh! found the right button on my new camera, which I bought the day before, just in time! … ohhhhhh! …..puztfvgbnmöäaüpoiuzh …. he is 10-20 cm away from my face … focus, Irena! focus! I know that my job is just to film the part until she is on stage and then I can party and enjoy: I look around and see 20 cameras pointing at Anastasia and Alex! LOL LOL LOL! I don’t remember anything about him, so don’t ask me! I was busy filming! Then I heard “Lets go!” and we all screamed for the very first time like crazy teenagers!! I think we shook the whole concert hall with our screaming! (And it’s the very first time in the history of youtube that the cameras are filming the girl and not Alex :DDD)

As soon as she is on stage, I stop filming and start cheering for Anastasia! We all do! We scream! clap! shout! grin! jump! I am singing to her and with her, afraid that she might not feel comfortable on stage, so I am trying to make her comfortable! But she is more than comfortable: She orders him to go on his knees in front of her! I have to laugh so hard, I hardly can stand on my feet! And I am so so so happy for her, cause I knew that she would enjoy that (I wouldn’t – I would kick his butt if he tried to get me on stage!)!! I am so relieved and glad to see that she is having a blast, I can’t stop grinning! (Now, I wonder what it was like for the musicians and the Frikars to see us going bananas (and I’m quoting Susanne here) … It must have been hilarious for them! I think we put up a great show for them – I am sure they did not see it coming! :DDDDD)

The song is over and Anastasia’s forehead (with the happiest eye-brows I have seen in my entire life peaking through the flowers and the gazillion stuffed animals) returns back to me squeezing itself through the crowd of people. hihihihih! hihihihhi! all I could say back then and can say now about this is hhihihihiih!

The show goes on … again, only bits of it, I am able to take in… the screaming teenagers – a drunken bunch of girls and guys right behind us … pushing us a lot cause they obviously decided to have a ‘poging’-session on Alexander Rybak concert … (what was that all about, by the way? … I am in between … spreading my elbows! … looking annoyed … I had decided during the concert to give Alex the bloody BOOK because I started to think that he never might be closer to me than that … I am waving the BOOK at him … he does not see it!! … Not during this song … or the next one … I hate behaving like that … waving a gift at a popstar … he must see me! Or it! It is wrapped as Julia Bezbakh had advised me: shiny and sparkly golden! It only could be more visible if I wrapped it in a whole American x-mas house decoration with 10,000 electric bulbs, a 3-meters large Santa Clause and freaking reindeers with glowing electric noses a la Las Vegas style!!! … I am waving it at him, but he does not see me! I am getting furious – I want to throw the BOOK right at his head, so hard that he bonks!! In my imagination, I am doing it: Then the baguettes are flying behind it, followed by Anastasia with her flowers and stuffed animals! (I don’t worry about her being hurt – I know he would catch her, just to show off!) …

All of a sudden, he says bye and leaves … WHAT??? I think I screamed desperately: “Come back!!!” Then I look around and try to hide behind Anastasia (mmm, this speaks for itself): How embarrassing! The people think that I am star-struck crazy woman! I hate the smurf so much this minute, I am about to jump on stage, follow them, drag him back onto the stage, put him on a chair and read the whole freaking novel we have written him aloud … here and now! … until the very end! … and when we are done, I will make him write a test on it!!!! *aesj*

Lene turns around to me and smiles comforting … she understands me … she says: “He’ll come back! For an encore!” … I feel her kindness and repay her by making Alex sit on her lap on the stage while I am reading to him aloud and walking around them with a whip in my hands!

He comes back and performs “If ya think I’m sexy” … hmmm … hmmm… bits of images in my head … nice, nice, nice … a la ooh, veeeery nice … he, hovering over the crowd with the Czech musketeers, Laila S., Marina, Hege … I see hands all over his face, arms, chest … what the heck is happening here? … hands all over him? … whose hands are these??… decent ladies, aha, right!! … OMG … all around me yelling, pushing, screaming, singing … then (!) I see someone’s hand coming out of the human ball, very long and *butz!* … IT’S ON HIS BUTT!… then, suddenly, he is over our heads again, sweating down on us disappointedly cause nothing happens where we stand except for humming a bit … *whosh!* He is on the right side … the drunken teenage boys are pushing and squashing the ladies in the first row (I curse) and they are reaching out their arms for him … and he? He is singing right into one boy’s face “Just reach out and touch me” … I am in the middle asking myself while pushing a Russian woman with a huge bouquet of roses – all in my face – back, what is happening here???? Between this and the last song, I tried to catch his attention and give him the BOOK while still pushing with my butt the impertinent Russian away who is screaming into my ear… I fail … he does not look … he does not hear … I HATE IT!!! My last memory is: …. *whosh!* – a Frikar dancer did stage-diving and was on the hands of the human octopus to my right.

The lights go on … People start to leave … I am shaky and furious: I am still with the BOOK … While everybody else is leaving and our bunch is gathering around the smiling forehead of Anastasia, I spot a security man in a corner: I must find out where the backstage entrance is … I hear words echoing in my head: “No signing afterwards … he will leave immediately” … I am approach the security man, get the info I need and go on my own, leaving the others behind me …

PART 8

… so I am running upstairs … look around and find quickly a cue. I decide to be English: I join it! If there is a cue, then something good is being sold there! 😀

I rise on my toes to look over the heads of the people and around the corner to see what is going on: I can’t tell how far the cue goes … I just see that there are a lot of people and that they are selling some promotion stuff like t-shirts in a corner. Is it maybe just a souvenir shop?? I look around and see people rummaging in their bags for pieces of paper and pens and holding the cameras ready: No, I am right here.

Oh, gosh, I am really shaky: I tell myself that it’s because of the long day and the hunger … riiiight! I am hyperventilating. I am secretly doing my Yoga breathing exercise to calm down and am cursing at myself for acting like this: I am self-confident in every other situation: job interviews, exams, talking to the leading personalities in the economy at work and professors in the university — but what is happening to me here? I am fourteen again! *aesj* So I am taking deep breaths to slow down the oxygen entrance to my brain which makes you a bit tired, but it also relaxes you and decreases the physical tension — what the heck? I know things like this, but still, some little boy can make me so nervous? *smack smack smack with the baguette*

There are so many people around me: teenagers … now, my FaceBookies have found me and joined me. “Marijke! Good that you are here! Here’s my camera! You are going to take the video of me giving the BOOK to Alex!”  “Ok! Ok! I’ll do that!” “Great, thanks!” “I turn it on now?” “Nooo! You turn it on shortly before I go to him – the camera goes off automatically after a minute … unfortunately – we have to wait!” “Ok! Ok!” I show her what to do and start working on the things I must remember to say to him “Hi, Alex, … I am from Germany … I came all the way from Germany … no! I am from your facebook page …” “Irena, so I take the picture of you and Alex when you give the BOOK?” “Nooo! You make the VIDEO!” “Ah! Ok! Ok! … Got it!” “… it’s a book … for you… from us …” “Should I turn the camera now on?” I look at her baffled: “Noooo! Shortly before I go to him! The camera will go off after a minute or so!” “Ok! Ok! … Anastasia do you want to go after Irena? Before me?” “Noooo!”, Anastasia cries out. “You are going with Irena! To make the video when she gives him the BOOK!!!” “Ok, Ok!”

There are mothers with their children … The children don’t really want to go, they are tired, cranky, whiney … It’s nearly eleven in the night … I know exactly why their mothers are doing that to them: I, myself, had been seriously thinking of dressing Anastasia up as a kid just to have an alibi: “the kid” gets autographs, hugs and pictures taken while I can enjoy the “landscape” from near distance. 😀

Then, the line starts to move … slowly … at some point, I see that he is here … this time, in a normal lighting and not hovering above me. I feel sick and confused – my brain again … fails to processes that he is a real person … I don’t know whether I like all this … I look at him and feel so sorry for him: He is tired, and yet, he is staying to sign and hug the octopus.

I am observing him – I try to do it subtly, cause I know that he feels the gazes of this mass on him all the time! He seems to be absent-minded. He does not really know what is happening around him. I don’t think that he listens … just reacts automatically. Only when a camera is pointed at his face, he shines for a second a smile at the lens. He is not here!

I feel angry suspecting that he is being taken advantage of – by some greedy people in the music industry … and by selfish us, of course. I don’t want to take advantage of him! I look at him and want to leave for his sake. I don’t to have a picture taken with him – I will remember that I was here … he does not care who I am and won’t remember it or me, so what is a picture good for? (I remember that Muslims in North Africa don’t like to have their picture taken: “Every photograph steals another part of your soul!”) I don’t want to have an autograph – I would not know what to do with it. I don’t want a hug! This is the worst part – I don’t want him to hug strangers because it’s part of his job! How terrible! If I hug him today, I will make it all worse, I will contribute to him slowly becoming an empty shell! I look at him and he reminds me of my little brother, so I feel even more pain and sadness.

A moment later, I realize something: Now I am here … finally, after all this running after him … to hand to him the gift in a proper way, as it and the FaceBookies deserve it – but he might not get it!! Because he is this robot smiling at the cameras, not the people. I start panicking – I must try to make him listen to me. I must speak simply and clearly – and be brief!

The line is shorter and shorter. Soon! My list to do: 1. Give the Book. 2. Have a video taken. (I never asked him whether he is ok with it – I still feel bad about this…)  3. Let him know about the FaceBookies and the process of the BOOK. 4. Show and give him the button, so he can recognize the writers at concerts in other countries. 5. Ask him to greet everyone on his facebook page. 6 Ask him to greet the Russian bunch …

I am going through the list. I am feeling sad for seeing him like this … feeling stupid standing between children and teenagers … feeling the pressure …  “So, I am taking a picture now?”, I hear Marijke’s voice next to me – I burst into a cathartic laughter! I look behind me and see “my crowd” smiling, happy, waiting with me!!… Anastasia with her flowers and animals!! … :DDD … oops, it’s my turn!

… I come forward to him and say hi (or something … I don’t remember much … I was so focussed). I give him the glossy package (all worn out and ragged, by now), tell him a bit about it and ask him to open it. (He is not here, at all! I see a smile, but no smile in his eyes! The upper area of the face is frozen, while he is exclaiming some automatic, weak “wow!”s.) I proceed with explaining … make a pause while he is looking through the book and asks, “Is this a story?” “Yes! About you.” (All this, after I have just explained everything to him. He is not really listening – as I expected it) He is still looking through the BOOK reading (?) here and there (I see that he stays longer on the ART CLASS chapter … oho!)

I don’t have a sense of time, so I don’t know how long I have been standing here (a minute? five?) and I know that there are all these people behind me and the tired children. So, I try to get his attention again and explain him the thing with the button. He is not listening — looking through the pages — I think I even went a bit down bending my knees to catch his gaze from down there while holding the button up to his nose. Only after few moments, I got him. After that, he says: “Ok, you probably want your picture taken”, looks up and sees that Marijke has been standing there and filming like a fast moving soldier (back and forth – back and forth) all this time.

And there you go, the fake smile! You appear when facing a camera and the limelight!

I quickly ask him to greet the FaceBookies (I had not remembered him talking to Marijke either, until I read Anastasia’s report) … (the line, the children behind us!) and then I jump in while he is still speaking (before he is done and gone): I ask him to say something in Russian. I am amazed that my Russian was there and intact when I needed it on the spot (it does not usually happen this way), but then I was amazed even more about his ability to switch from language to language: A total pro!

But, there is no surprise expressed on his face (I am watching the video right now while typing this down) … no emotions … he is just reacting to outward impulses – and he is really good at it! … He says to the camera: “Ok, then!” turns around to me. I say “Thank you for your time!” He goes for a hug. While I am accepting the hug, I suddenly realize that I am hugging him – but I did not want to!! So, I do it quickly and coldly (like a robot, hmmm) and kinda push him away, thinking “No no no!” I start walking away …*whoosh!* the soldier-camerawoman is on the other side … filming me, filming him … I am thinking: We are done, Marijke!!! Stop it! He sees that the camera is still running and turns around to me waiting for me to do something … I: “Well, please read!” ….He: “I’ll try” … Marijke is still filming back and forth *whosh* *whosh* … I: “Please give us feedback …” (I remember that I felt that this sentence came all the way from inside of me – it felt like a relief saying that) … I try to smile at him and then at the camera hoping that Marijke understands that we are done. She doesn’t. She is filming like a maniac – all absorbed into the process of filming, forgot completely the objects of the filming … she just follows any random movement with the camera … I’m realizing that I am waving my hand in front of my throat mouthing (or saying? Oh gosh, please let it be just mouthing) “cut! cut! that’s enough!”. I stop doing that (I am standing there facing the glass wall and, on the other side of it, the big bunch of the Butt Brigade is standing on the street watching through the window pane. Hoooow embarrassing!  I am pulling an Orson Welles here!

How fast your thoughts are in moments of stress: While this diva-director episode was still happening, I was already thinking that I need a program on my laptop to cut the end of the video before posting it here. (It was not necessary – Marijke stopped filming just in time (What a natural talent! I look forward to have more collaborations with her in near future 🙂 ).

In moments of leisure, on the other hand, you are not that smart, at all: I just realized that the army of decent ladies could not have seen me pulling an eccentric director – I am sure they were all staring at HIM! No one heard or saw me embarrassing myself at all!!!  *aesj* Wait a minute, I’ll just delete quickly some paragraphs and come back …

What happened after this, I did not remember until yesterday when I read Anastasia’s report. (Ohhhh! I missed all this romantic atmosphere! No! The writer in me feels being bereft of an inspiring experience  🙁 ). Now I remember that I said to his back when he was looking at Anastasia’s copy of the BOOK which she gave him to sign: “Alex, she is one of the writers.”

Then blackout. Next memory: I am in the main hall – alone. Where is Marijke? Where is everybody?? Did she take another exit and is already outside with everybody? I go back and ask the guy watching the line (whom I remember from the wardrobe – very nice and very very cute, ladies: All the good guys are, in deed, in Norway!!)  … I ask him politely whether I could go back in and check on my friend. “Yes, yes, I saw you coming out, go!” (Nice. And cute!)

I go back in. See Marijke. She runs up to me saying something nervously. Can I take the picture of the Czech girls with Alex? Yes, sure! I am standing there waiting for all of them. It’s their turn. *Whosh* *Whosh* One, two, three, four! They are lining up in a semi-circle with Alex – but with the back to me and the camera!!! There is no one to take the picture of them in front of them!!! LOL “I am here, behind you, guys!” They don’t hear me! “I am heeere!!” *whosh* I see Marijke jump in and line up with them creating a nearly full circle! And, so they stand there for a minute – arms around the shoulders of the next one …. juuuust looking at each other, smiling, happy … the time goes by … *whistling* … they’re still standing there … And I am jumping behind them laughing and trying to get their attention … then one of them woke up and gave a mobile phone (I think) to the security man *rolling on the floor laughing*

Then, I’m waiting while he signs their autographs. I use a moment to tell Alex that all these ladies contributed a chapter. He says, “Yes I know, they just told me!” I tell him: “Look outside, through the window – many of these people over there are your writers and they all came to the concert tonight!” I point at the Butt Brigade in the darkness behind the window pane – they all smile and wave shyly at him! He takes the BOOK from the table, point at it and mouths at them: “Did you write this???” They nod in unity and continue smiling shyly – and happily!

The Czech Musketeers, Petra S., Marijke and I start walking out, as he turns around to say something to the musketeers. Then, suddenly, he asks us, “What facebook page are you guys from exactly?” “The Official Facebook Page!”, we all yell! His gazes jump from one person to the other … he is with his back to the crowd of people waiting in line… he looks at us and the bunch outside … and in this moment, when he looks at me (smiling a bit in the background), he smiles for the first time genuinely! The person, the boy – not the shell! A short smile, but a real one! I feel truly contented – I see that he understood it now! He says more: “It takes me very long to answer – just so you know! But I will answer! Bye!”

Mission accomplished!

Finally, outside. Fresh air!

Chaos while organizing the Butt Brigade: “Where are we going now? What are we doing? To the bar next door! Let’s move, people!” Suddenly, Jitka jumps back to us whispering that Kjell Arild Tiltnes who manages Alex’s/our facebook page and also a personal friend of Alex – that he sits there at a table outside the bar. “I am going to say hi!”, and off she goes.

Kjell is such a friendly person! He talks with us for 15 minutes! He says we must take a group picture together! He really listens to us and answers our questions – while his friends and family are waiting at the table! We tell him about our page and discussions. We tell him that we had travelled from all over Europe to meet in Oslo. We tell him about the BOOK (Susanne sacrifices her copy spontaneously and gives it to him as a present – good job, Susanne! I did not think of that!) He gets a button, too, and puts it on immediately.

Alena asks him whether we can have a group pic with Alex. “Sure!” and Kjell runs off. Oh, I feel bad … it’s past midnight and the poor boy is still signing autographs … and now this … I feel like I am a burden … (I remember that when we were in the line for signing, his father came to say hi to him – he just gave Alex a hug, said couple words to him and went away: Alex had spent more time with each one of us than with his own father 🙁 )…

We’re inside … Alex is talking to some friend of his who has to wait even longer now for him … I avert my gaze from them… I don’t want to look … I want to give him privacy … Alex is now next to me … I mumble something like “I am so sorry that we’re bothering you again.  You must be tired,” without even looking at him. He says “No! That’s alright!” he says and just stands there waiting for us to line up. (I move away.)

A strange situation: he is always prepared, knows exactly how people react and does it in the fastest way. It was clear that he came just for the picture – not to chat or exchange, he can took position, no talking, waiting.

And then he was gone.

PART 9

… after all this excitement, the FaceBookies went to the bar next door to calm down and to share their joyfully trembling inner lives with each other: Everybody was thrilled with the great performance and with each other’s company. We squashed ourselves into a corner and were practically sitting on each other chatting and sparkling with happiness – well, everybody except for me. I felt lonely and worn out:

So, that was it? Months of hard work is a tiny booklet, two minutes on the video and an ephemeral genuine smile? A concert which passed me without me? The realization that the person on stage is a boy resembling my little brother who has been thrown into shallow business and has sacrificed his private life for something that has to prove itself as having been worth?

Later in bed, I can’t sleep. Hour after hour. I am tossing and turning in agony, disappointment and sadness … Even after having had listened to the positive impressions of the overall experience (the concert, the signing, the meeting with Kjell and the group picture) of the others, I still can’t shake off these feelings. … Anastasia is sleeping in the other bed … the stupid air-conditioning makes noises … I see the BOOK in my mind … so small … so small … In its smallness, it does not reflect what I felt about it all these months – it completed me! … I was fully enwrapped in its unspeakably precious net of imaginative worlds of many people I have never met … the greatest summer of my life! …and now I fell out of it … on my butt … sitting on the cold ground holding a tiny, amateur-looking booklet in my hands.

And, this boy …I feel sorrow … am I guilty of destroying the human being by simply being here? Are we both trapped in a vicious circle of selling and buying dreams?

… cars are passing outside … my face is cold – we could not switch the air-conditioning off … the room is an interior of a fridge now …

Next, morning after having slept only few hours, Anastasia and I are walking through the cloudy and cold Olso to the New Opera House to meet the FaceBookies for a fare-well coffee … my heart is icy, my silence is full of questions.

From the top of the New Opera House, I am looking down at the dark morning spreading heavily on the harbour and the ships … I stand there alone …

But then … in a café of the Central Station, I am looking around me and … hour by hour … one hot coffee after another … in these sunny explosions of female laughter … surrounded by these oh so well-known strangers … surfing on our waterfalls of words and music… I discover that I am melting!

I am starting to understand that the answer to the riddles of my mind lies right here – in the expressions on these faces … in the warmth of these smiles … in the timelessness of this very moment on the cross-roads of the whole Europe … in my being here with them!

We are sitting here and remember together all those moments of the last months which have enlightened our minds … which made our lives brighter … which have lifted us up! We have spread click by click on our dashboards the sound of his music through out the world and found ourselves in each other! This all cannot be put into words – but all this here is, damn sure, real!

While listening to the others talking about the BOOK, telling to each other its story, its funny and sad moments, holding it in their hands, turning page after page carefully, getting lost in reading, and laugh out loud from time to time, I realize that one reason for my sadness is that I will never be there when he reads it – when anybody reads it – when you read it. My journey had ended when the BOOK stopped being a living, pulsating thing in my mind, my heart, my imagination and became warm pages in my purse. I will never know if I made you laugh, made cry, inspired you to dream, seek and run … I will never know.

But Alex does! He sees it in the faces of the front rows, he hears it when we’re singing along, he knows it when he sees us waiting for him to greet him in rain and at unspeakable hours, he learns it by reading some book that thirty people whose lives don’t have room, time and money for such young-hearted adventures that others might call silly -had written, and travelled long long distances – just to let him know.

How important is it to know that you have been heard! That you are loved! That there is someone who treasures your work and your mere existence! How indispensable is it that someone comes up to you once in your life and tells you that you made a change!

So, all the sacrifices … do they make sense, after all? Dear reader, it’s up to you to decide – I am a story-teller, nothing more.

The dream of one little boy was the key to all our dreams! I remember reading somewhere on this facebook page right after the ESC: when Alexander Rybak appeared that one incomparable night in May 2009, that it felt like everybody has just been waiting for him all their lives without knowing it. And then he came, finally, and we knew that it’s him, that it’s it!

He stood there on the stage, shining directly at us through the TV screens, through time and space … ecstatic, happy and young … relieved to be heard and to be perceived at last! He stood there, and in his sparkling eyes we saw ourselves! In his eyes, there was a promise of an alternative! “Give me a ticket and I will smile!” All you have to do is to find the child in you, the courage to turn your life upside down and run after your dreams! Everything is possible and it’s all up to you! And the way to it, is your imagination! It’s there where we meet –

fairytales do exist!


[1] It has become a tradition that Rybak’s Facebookies post reports on Alex’s page after their meetings with him or visiting his concerts.

[2] A joke of the thread “Nice Butt – for sure!” (NB for short) :DD

[3] This was a joke between Yanis and the NB-ladies

[4] This is Norwegian curse, learned from Alex! 😀 It means something like “Devil!”

[5] The Misson is basically a joke of the ladies from the thread “Nice Butt – for sure!”: To grab Alex during his concert, run to the harbor of Olso, jump into a boat, row like crazy and move with him into a castle in South France. Applications for the MISSION send to Marianne. 😉

[6] This is a Norwegian sound, also learned from Alex. It sounds like “ush!” and is used to express repulsion. We use it to express disapproval and feeling of being annoyed 😀

[7]The NB-ladies call themselves also ART CLASS. One day, we all thought that it would be nice to invite Alex to pose as nude model for our drawing class. Being decent ladies, we have only art in mind. ;)The invitation has been sent and we are waiting for his reply. Applications of the ART CLASS session: send to Marianne!

[8] “to bonk” describes the sound when you fall unconscious to the floor after seeing or hearing something unbelievably sexy.

2 thoughts on “Report on the birth of the BOOK and the concert in Oslo, Oct., 10th ’09”

  1. Просто нет слов. Пока читала, каталась по полу. Содержательный, весёлый и с ОГРОМНЫМ смыслом отчет=)))
    Спасибо Ирен! Спасибо нашим переводчикам!=)))

  2. Ирен, спасибо!!! Прочитала на одном дыхании.А как ещё можно читать о собственных мыслях, чувствах и состоянии души?! СПАСИБО!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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