Anni Jowett, Nina Lindfors, Mary-Ann Hansson and Magda Szykor
A collection of the ‘” Tønsbookies” 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 Tønsberg, 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 Tønsberg 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!
Anni Jowett, Nottingham, United Kingdom:
It was my first Facebookie meeting and my first time meeting Alex… so please forgive me if this report is too long and too full of nervous ramblings. My original report is about 4 times longer Ha ha…but I have toned it down, and just included the Alex bits.
FRIDAY (T= -1): The sun was shining on the glistening water of the Tonsberg fjord, and ten happy Facebookies were taking a stroll along the promenade after a successful shopping trip to buy the latest Alexander Rybak CD, (currently unavailable in the UK ,except on import). our hearts were light, the air was giggly. Marijke had made jokes about spotting him in the shopping mall and some fell for it . One thing for sure, we were all excited about seeing Alexander tomorrow. We headed back to the hotel. Marijke whispers “There he is” we didn’t believe her at first, she had cried wolf before… But then as our eyes came to focus on this heavenly vision… white tee, cropped beige trousers . We realised it was true! He was heading down to the promenade, with his fiddlerettes. We made a swift U-turn purely just to observe for a while.
We kept a respectful distance, admiring the scenery of the promenade. Suddenly something snapped inside and I thought “grab the moment”. I had come all this way, I had his just purchased his CD and I had a sharpie pen, Of one thing I was certain. I needed his autograph! I began to walk faster. Never quite catching up with them. Alexander suddenly stopped turned around and said to his party “shall we eat here?” (this is odd because either I understand Norwegian now or he spoke in English) I called out his name, I don’t know if he heard me or not, maybe I was shadow speaking.
They took a table outside. I returned to the Facebookies with the disappointing news that my autograph mission had failed. Huyen and I decided to go for a drink in the restaurant they had chosen to eat. But to respect their privacy we sat a decent distance away . We spent a wonderful hour observing Alexander in his natural habitat . I drank a refreshing glass of alcoholic cider, and chatted and laughed with Huyen whilst trying not to make it obvious we were staring at him eating his pizza. Then disaster struck… Lillian called me to ask if we had made contact … “Stop it stop it” Huyen squealed, as I rapidly tried to silence my phone, I had blown it! Note to self: not a good idea when you are covertly observing Alexander Rybak to have “Fairytale” as your ring tone.
SATURDAY MEET AND GREET (T=0): Oh my oh my… I was not ready for this!!!!!!!!!! We all entered the private room at 5pm. Shortly after Alexander arrived, he entered the room his eyes popping out of his head…”Oh wow”. I think he was amazed to see how many facebookies had turned up for the concert and to see him. He said ” Hello everyone” he then immediately turned and left the room. The trickster! Of course he came back almost immediately. Dressed in a tight black tee and white slacks/pants…… Lovely lovely lovely. At this point I think my inner “demon” possessed me, because there is just no excuse for what I did. He walked through the crowd and straight by me…I just can’t believe it, I grabbed him round the waist and gave him a little squeeze. Oh my he felt sooooooooooooooooo good. (I really did it, was that wrong?) He just said “Oh… Hello” in a friendly way and squeezed me right back! Oh my good god… Alexander Rybak just hugged me! Yikes!
He managed to make his way to the front of the room with no further indecent assaults. So then Elizabeth Andreassen made a short introduction speech about the show and Alexander. Alex said how overwhelmed was to see us all there (not as overwhelmed as I was to see him in the flesh, I’m sure). Following that, everyone waited patiently as Alexander met and spoke with every single one of us individually. It was so amazing. I wasn’t so patient I was about 5th in the queue. Oh my! I spoke with him, asked him to sign my cd, a poster and my England flag. I hugged him then posed for a photo.
I introduced my husband (Brave) Dave who was about to take a photo, I felt Alex’s hold loosen as I said the word “Husband”, “Oh no don’t let go! He is fine about this” I laughed. Unfortunately Dave’s camera failed* right at the critical moment (so please please please if any one captured this moment please get in touch). Hang on that ” demon” was back again, and made me ask for a kiss before we parted, and as the old saying goes “if you don’t ask -you don’t get” … He kissed me on the cheek!!!!!!!!! As I kissed him also. Okay now I have had three autographs, three hugs, and a kiss. I was so “out of it” I left my marker pen on his table. Two of the fiddlerettes were there at the meet and greet also, Katherine and Maria, so it was a great opportunity to ask them to sign the cd too. But when I went to get them to sign my flag… Where was my pen? I went to look on Alex’s table… And he was using it! I had to prize it from his beautiful hand… Yet another chance to speak to him (tee-hee). The girls were really lovely I have to say, as beautiful inside as out… So I enjoyed the next hour and a half as Alex “meeted and greeted” the remaining 65 Facebookies. He was showered with many presents. I think he liked them all, but the Facebookie signed cooking apron from Marijke and the beautiful book Tessa had made for him went down very well from what I could see, that was until Paula turned up with a basket of Face-cookies…he seemed to like that best of all!
The time flew so quickly, chatting to the others, watching the Alexander interact with his adoring Facebookies. Maria and Katherine introduced me to Alexander’s best friend he was blond, tall and handsome and so so sweet. He signed the flag too! But just one close encounter with my idol (or two in my case) is never enough. I had to get close one more time… so I joined the queue again. 2 more autographs this time.
So the meet and greet was over Alex was about to leave, he looked shattered, but he had coped very well with the meeting and greeting of 70 crazy Facebookies. I wasn’t going to let the guy leave without doing one last thing for me… Would I have the nerve to ask? Well, yes I did! He kindly agreed to record a quick message to some dear friends of mine. I cherish that video footage.
*I have to say despite Dave’s camera failing at the critical moment, he got some other brilliant steady shots over the course of the afternoon. I was so shaky most of mine came out blurred. Note to self… Next time when you have a close encounter with Mr Rybak and total of three cameras on your person , hand out the spares to the two nearest bystanders and ask then to click away!
IT’S SHOW TIME: The show was amazing, my seat was in the perfect position towards the right hand side if the stage. Alexander performed either to the centre or the right hand side as Elizabeth and the fiddlerettes were to the left. Third row meant I was close. Alexander appeared on stage wearing the tightest t-shirt, Elizabeth thanked him on behalf of the audience for wearing it. (I have since found out he didn’t wear this t-shirt on any other night of the week…he did it just for us! His facebookies)
Alexander explained that he would sometimes be speaking in English tonight as he had 70 friends in the audience in the first three rows, he made a few in jokes to the Facebookies, like he said something like ” I’m feel such a smurf… Now I know why you call me that” and how “the first three rows were not in fact crazy but they just all spend far too much time on Facebook”. The show was a great mixture of Scandinavian traditional songs and some modern stuff I including Alex’s “Fairytale”, “Funny Little World” , “Roll with the Wind” and “Europe Skies”.
When Alex was performing his own stuff the Facebookies went crazy singing their hearts out. The energy in the front section of the audience was high voltage! Elizabeth and Alex also performed many songs together including Dolly Parton’s “Nine to Five” during which all the Facebookies took to their feet and danced their socks off (the rest of the audience looked on bemused). I have to say, for me this is the best show I have ever seen in my life. The banter and chemistry between the two stars was amazing. I hope we didn’t spoil it too much for the rest of the audience with our over exuberance and my screams and out of tune singing.
At the end of the show I turned to my Lillian and said “Who the hell is Rob Pattinson?” (she had pre-warned me on my pre-show anti bonk training I may forget any other idols instantly)… Mr Rybak had won my heart, for sure! So after the concert, there was another opportunity for meeting him. So I joined the queue again. I bought “Fairytales the Movie” DVD, and had another photograph signed. As he signed the third photo he asked if I was making a collection (of photographs).
I walked away, Dave said he needed me to get back there with Alex to take another photo (he knew he had been unlucky earlier,) so Nina was sweet enough to let me back in the queue in front her to get a quick photo. I went for “the three minute bear hug!“ All I could hear was Nina laughing saying “Anni! Enough, move on, you have had enough,” I didn’t manage the three minutes … Because I think Alex is wise for his 24 years and knows the right button to press to release a woman old enough to be his mother from a bear hug … He kissed my forehead (it still tingles now). I bonked and let go .
Alexander Rybak kissed me without me asking this time! I felt a like teenager again! After meeting and greeting every one again, he had to leave straight away as he was going to Ukraine the next morning, but before he left he thanked everyone for making it the coolest concert he had ever done. Everyone was on such a high no one wanted to go to bed, We didn’t want this night to end. Many of us went to the bar and partied until 3 am. There was a disco and of course the DJ had to play Alexander’s music for us. Even I was dancing in my 5 inch heels(my toes are numb and my thighs ache the morning after as I write this while it’s all clear in my head) When “Barndance” came on every Facebookie took to the floor and did a perfect coordinated dance routine. The perfect day finally came to an end. Final tally 7 autographs, 1 cd, 1 DVD, 1 poster, 1 hand painted shirt, 6 hugs and two kisses and one blissed out Facebookie who had survived her first encounter without any serious *bonk* incidents. Finally I also need to add what an absolute pleasure it was to meet all the Facebookies. Alex should be proud of such a warm, friendly, welcoming, fun and beautiful fan/friend base.
Anni and her ( brave ) Dave
Nina Lindfors, Sweden.
Hallo everyone and thank you for amazing days in Tönsberg 🙂 I was a little bit nervous going all by myself to Tönsberg…I’d never met anyone of the decent ladies before. But I can really say that Alex can be very proud of his facebookies 🙂 They all was so lovely and nice and it was so easy to talk to everyone. It really felt like I’ve known everyone for all long time 🙂 Alex was so nice and one amazing thing about him is (well, it’s a lot of those) exactly what others also written – he really makes you feel special and almost alone with him in the room when he speaks and listen to you. He is so focused…I don’t know how he can managed to do that with so many people around him.
Nina and Vic
After the concert he asked if I liked the it and I said it was just wonderful, he just smiled and gave me my second hug that day 🙂 And the concert…it was a thousand times better than I was expecting! I was stunned and goosedbumped and tearfulled and laughing and dancing and cheering. I don’t think I breathed ones on Skin, on Gabriellas song and För kärlekens skull I almost started crying. And the “hat-trick” on 9 to 5…hahahahaa.
My feeling during the concert on saturday was that it was “our” concert. The next feeling was – Yeah people, he’s with us!!!!! Alex was so funny when he presented us to the rest of the audience as “the legendary facebookies – they are not crazy, they’ve just been on facebook too much! And I’m the crazy smurf!” We for sure wasn’t sitting on our nice butts the whole concert, we danced and sang along…but I do think that the audience who was sitting down didn’t mind at all, they looked happy to. During 9 to 5 I looked back and the whole crowd was standing up dancing, it was so nice to see.
You really could see that Alex was so happy on stage and enjoying his facebookies getting crazy. He looked at us and smiled and sometime he looked really touched 🙂 If I would sum up the days in Tönsberg in one word it would be – LOVE. Love between facebookies, love from facebookies to Alex and love from Alex to his facebookies ♥ Thank you all for making it the time of my life ♥
Mary-Ann Hansson, Sweden
This is partly a copy of my report in the NB-thread. I am slowly digging myself back from my bonked foggy condition into consciousness, so I have added some bits here and there. First of all: I can’t tell you enough how amazing all you FaceBookies are! This was my very first meeting IRL with you. I parked my car, took a deep breath and approched the group outside the hostel on wobbly legs, but I didn’t had to worry. It felt as if I had met very old and good friends (Well, in fact you are) and all I could feel was total happiness. You were all hugging me, Laila and Petra helped me inside with my things (why do you always have to bring as many stuff for two days as for two weeks, Mrs Hansson?).
I was really hungry, so I joined a bunch, heading for town, to get something to eat. After finishing our salads, we went into Platekompaniet for some of us to get No Boundaries. We found it on the 11th place in the list, so we made a little change to get it into 1st place for a while. When we went to check out the Hotel Klubben we spotted Alex and the fidlerettes walking in the street in direction of the harbour. So we went back to se what they were up to… ah, food of course. Anni and Huyen can tell more about the spy work…
The meet & greet the next day caused some wobbly legs again and shaky hands, but again: I didn’t had to worry about that either. When I talked to him, I had his full attention and at that moment he was focusing only on me. That is the big impression of him, he made me feel important for the very short moment I stood there next to him. I got two oh, so lovely hugs, and luckily Vic kept fanning me so I didn’t bonk right on him… (Thanks a lot Vic ♥ ) He got a big white towel from me, with the embroidered dolphin logo and he was hugging it for a short moment, while we were talking. Then he gave me the first hug, which I wasn’t at all prepared for.
I was just about to ask him to sign my CD-covers, when he just reached out and hugged me, just like that. And yes, that felt so nice… I don’t know if he forgot to sign a poster or if he just thought signing the CD covers would be enough, but I asked him “Can I have one of those as well?”, and he immediately signed it for me. Nina was taking a picture with my camera, so thanks to her I have a pic that helps me to remember… (Thanks a lot Nina ♥ ) And then I got my second hug.
The concert… I have no words to fully describe what it was like. The best one I have ever been to in my entire life, thats for sure!!!!! So much energy, good music, humour, sparkling smurf… At my first concert with Alex, I wasn’t a FaceBookie (didn’t even know they existed). Now, experiencing an Alex concert together with the bunch was totally amazing!!! I was in a trance for several hours after the concert, and still am in a way. When we were talking outside the hotel entrance after the concert Alex came down in the lobby, ready to leave. When he saw us standing there, he popped out to us to say goodbye. That was really nice of him. He must have been tired, and still he made this gesture, that meant a lot to me. I will keep these days in my heart forever. Thank you all for beeing such lovely people and of course, thank you Alex…
Mary – Ann took this
Magda Szykor, Poland
My first facebookie report: Birds are flying over Europe skies Tell me please why can’t I?
WHAT? I can’t ?? But I just DID! I’m in Norway… with this thought I made my first step on Norwegian land. Ehh… It’s gonna be great adventure. I know it will! At the Torp Airport I met first Facebookie, together with Janina, we travelled to hostel . I made quick check in and as soon as possible we went to Hotel Klubben to see bunch of Facebookies. Here they are, big hall, with long table and big group of giggling Facebookies. After some time, we went to the bus station for next girls. At the evening, Anastasia read a letter from Irena and then we had great singalong.
Saturday morning… it’s TODAY! Finally I will see Smurf. Last time, in Prague, was great, this one can not be worse! After breakfast, some of us made Facebookies T-shirts, apron and even underwear 😉 At 4pm excitement was in every inch of Tonsberg. Soon, meet and greet will start…. About 80 Facebookies, well dressed, with big smiles and turned on cameras was waiting for THAT moment. Last moments of waiting and… *siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh* We saw him and his georgous, fuzzy hair and of course color;). Let’s the M’n’G begin… Opening speech from Alex and Bettan was so funny… very good beginning of Rybak night.
A: So, who wants get first poster? … Hm… no one? I’ll change it!
M: I want!
It wasn’t smart decision. Unprepared, without antibonk helmet I went to him. Instead of telling, for Magda please, I received a tight hug *bonk* no, it was not a hug, it was kiss and then hug *gigabonk* Now I can not breathe, move or even think… After I received my poster, suddenly I remembered, I’ve got present for Smurf! I took it from my bag and gave it to Smurf.
A: Oh! Thank you, It’s really nice, thank you so much. And here we go again. Second hug almost killed me. I turn back and only one thing I remember are Petra’s words: breathe, breathe, remember to breathe… During next hour, every Facebookie received a poster, hug, kiss, (Vic, you are my personal number 1!). Time was passing by and I was wondering… Did anyone take a picture of me and Smurf? No one? ;( Go and get what you want – I heard.
I went to queue again and when my turn came something unexpected happened. Even antibonked helmet didn’t work well. Big, brown eyes was looking into my eyes so deeply that I totally forgot why I was standing in this queue. Something leaned on my shoulders, something means precious, Smurf’s hands. Big brown eyes are staring at my eyes and I still don’t know how to speak… Smurf, you made me dead! Trying to said something I mumbled: Can I… Please… first… because I was first and … picture…. Eh.. can I have a picture with you? Finally, I said it.
A: Sure! Then I asked for a poster for polish fans and again, I received next hug…. _________________________________
Concert: I’m speechless, I can’t find proper words to describe my feelings… It was something special, magical… I will remember it for ever! For moments like this, I can travel to the other end of Universe. After concert I quickly buy new CD and went for signature from Smurf and lovely Fiddlerettes. No hugs this time. Probably I would not survive next one hug.
Magda Szykor made these.