In 1993, a friend of mine and I traveled to Oslo by train, hoping to meet the band that had influenced us so, so much. In those days, punk / hardcore bands tended to put out their own records (or formed small labels to do so), and often times their contact details including address and phone numbers was printed on the sleeve. So we figured we should go there.
I really cannot recall how we found their house (this is way before the Internet / Google Maps and whatnot) – it’s possible we bought a street atlas of Oslo when we arrived in the city. It’s crazy to think that you used to just get on a train with a rucksack, a tent and a couple of train tickets, with little plan as to exactly what to do when you arrive, where to sleep, little preparation in terms of money (other than exchanging some to whatever foreign currency you needed). Our age might explain it – we were teenagers, and fearless.
I do remember arriving in Oslo and hanging around the main station which struck me as being very clean. There were a couple of drunkards in the station and a couple of cops in the process of removing them. I clearly remember that alcohol was very, very expensive, even then. Not sure about cigarettes, although back then I still smoked.
We ended up going to a campsite somewhere outside of Oslo – it was one of the cheapest, with basic facilities. One night it was so cold I slept on the floor in a toilet cubicle inside the campsite facilities rather than in the small 2-person-tent. I don’t think we ate all that much (I was Vegetarian and had to make a couple of exceptions to have a fillet-o-fish, the rest of my diet was french fries when ‘eating out’ and chocolate spread on rolls when in the tent or on the go).
My friend was a boy – we were friends, not lovers. I didn’t mind sleeping beside boys or in the same bed / small tent as them; it was fully innocent (though others sometimes didn’t understand how you could have a deep platonic friendship with the other sex – you can, if you don’t fancy them!! I trusted him and all my boys were friends, not ‘men’ or even ‘the other sex’ – all of that poisoning came later).
A couple of days after arriving in Oslo, we got on a bus and traveled from our campsite across the city, to this band’s address. I took a photo of the house from the outside (not reproduced here but yes, I have evidence). We then went around the back and knocked on a door. The singer didn’t seem to live there, and the other band member weren’t there at the time. However after we’d explained in heavily accented English the reason for our visit (to 2 or 3 people who appeared to be the band’s friends), they let us in and offered us a a couple of beers. We must have chatted for about half an hour or so and then, before we left, the friends gave us the first 2 LPs (vinyl) of the band as a present – they had a few copies of these rarities still in the house.
Once back at the campsite, my friend and I tossed a coin as to who would get these precious and rare records to take back home, and I WON!!!!! I WON!!!!!
I still have them in my house. One record was released in 1989, the other in 1990. They changed my life.
Below is the band with their singer, live in 1989. She was 18/19 at the time. I’ve also included one from 1991 (after she had her dreads cut off). In the final videos from 2014, she is around 44 (the 2014 videos / music is with a different band).
Just imagine: In 1993, we traveled all the way to Oslo by train, because of our undying love for a band from Norway.
Life but how to live it – 1989
Live but how to live it – 1991
Castro – both videos from 2014