Ken Gutberlet

4/6/2001 - Euro-ramblings

So, like, a mad drunk Italian, 3 video camera-toting Greeks, and an ex-gitter playing Argentinian walk into a bar- have you guys heard the joke? They did. It was called "On the Road Again". Whatever misguided Superman complex I possess that allows me to think that I can pull off a song that I've never tried to play, and of which I know only 10 words (almost half are the title) had me in the phone booth. Pure kryptonite, that one. One of the Greeks wanted to hear a traveling song- my brainstorm suggested a
little vintage Willie. Yeah, great for a chuckle.

Due to that I shied away from the "Dust in the Wind" request but did twice offer the same mumbled verse of "The Times They Are A-Changin'" cause the Argentinian, who said he used to perform it, kept asking for it. Even he couldn't remember the words. Who cared. We were all trying to dodge the physical invitation to go with the mad drunk Italian so that he could make us spaghetti. If ya missed it all, highlights will be shown on Greek tv over the summer. Welcome to Barock. That's my April hangout. Right up Nyhavn from Fisken, it's the first pub one passes as they enter the touristy old wharf zone. The antics of two nights ago weren't what I'd come to expect from the joint. It's an interesting inside to the place. It's not nearly as friendly as Fisken. There's a large brick structure right in the middle of the room as one enters; it kinda splits up the pub into lots of little corners, reducing the partying atmosphere that I lived last month, and my sightlines to hang-outers. So, it's made for some mellow nights. I can't say that mellow hasn't been good tho.

My most excellent visitors, Piles, Cheryl and Joe (no Panker, sad), left me gasping for snooze. They, of course, partied with an unfair advantage. Most evenings when I would go get ready to gig and start playing, they'd fetch a nap. So, on Sundee nite, after leaving them at the airport, my 1st Barock nite had me perched on a stool kicking way light. Then a drunk (hmmm . . . a theme?) Glaswegian (I called him a Glasgonian, but my flat-mate Duncan corrected me . . . Glasgonian . . . it has a nice ring) asked for some Irish music. Then for more. So, due to limitations, I dug into my Pogues bag. That hit the nerve. I never knew English to be so hard to understand. His lack of sobriety aside, that heavy Scottish accent is a puzzle. I did decipher that he wanted me to play some of my own tunes. So, that was nice practice. By the end of the night he thought we'd bonded enough that he couldn't understand why I'd rather go to bed than buy him a beer and hang out. Gotta applaud his effort! The final weekend in Fisken I got to jam with Martin, my Norwegian flat-mate. His performance offers a bit of angst, and we clicked pretty well. As the Fisken weekend evenings went, I'd play for an hour or so and then a duo partner would show (it was Duncan until the last weekend). It's kinda a- wait a minute, that phrasing doesn't work- it's kind of a weird energy shift once the duo happens. For the 1st hour and 1/2 I was making music with the crowd. When a partner joins, I'm making music with him and the crowd loses its prominence. It works, but it's a different groove. Enough musical philosophy already! Martin and I had a blast kicking out some rockers. Martin also likes his "spirits", as they're termed here. So, especially on Saturdee nite, a few shots and a bunch of from-the-crowd pints and phew! Blur city! But hey, it was my last evening at Fisken- had to blow it out. We even offered up a Ripple- thanks to Cheryl Ann and Joe for Ripplin' along! Martin said he needed to learn the song so that he could jump around to it next time. Oh yeah, during Sat afternoon, we encountered an ex-pat originally from Vermont (there's an afternoon needing its own paragraph). He dropped me a 1000DKK tip for playing him some Buffett and other Amurkin tunes. That's, like, 125 bucks in real money! Hello! Let's talk about that Sat afternoon . . . It was the last day for the visiting crew and the TERPS! were playing that night, and a source said that the Southern Cross Pub had a satellite and could check out all kinds of sporting events. So, we wandered in- into the midst of an Arsenal/Tottenham football match (no dice with th HOOPS! search). It seems the SCP is a favorite for the local Arsenal followers. Yeah, the British football is big in DK. We got to witness the fan faves score both their goals in the 2nd half and the pubbers singing their Arsenal tunes. Now, as a perspective, being an Arsenal fan is like being a Yankees fan in recent years- you know there's gonna be some good product. Plus, the fans have a reputation.

Seems that last summer Copenhagen offered to host an international match between Arsenal and a Turkish club. Well, the Radhusplads (the happy town center) turned into a riot zone. Those Arse-noles! The match we enjoyed ended 2-0, the crowd thinned and I was chatting with the bartender and two other gents.

That's when they all compared stories. Bartender: originally from LA, married a Danish girl- still here three years later. Aussie: married a Danish girl- still here five years later. Vermonter (big tipper): married a Danish girl- still here eight years later.

It seems they all agreed: Danish women are great- they're beautiful, they love sex, but they never want to leave their mothers. So, "GET OUT!" is what they told me. Seems the Danish life doesn't offer enough punch for em. "I've got my plane ticket- I'm outta here at the end of the month" I told em. That leaving their mother bit seems a little odd . . . these Danes are great travelers. Maybe it's that old viking lineage. Who knows. Some of the holiday/wandering destinations: Bali, Thailand, Bolivia, Madagasgar. That's all a long way from Scandinavia!

Well, I guess I better go here. I've fallen. I've gained an appreciation for the happy Euro-pop. Someone prepare the airlift! There's something to be said for easy on the ears- a nice melody, a happy groove, who knows what the words are- who cares? It's just happy! Mel C and U2 (who are these guys?)- some real catchy tunes. Then they also like their US pop- the Backstreeters, the Sinks, and Spears. Yeah, that Britney Spears. I told one of the Fisken bartenders that I'd learn some BS (great acronym!) for her. If I'm whorish enough to honor the "American Pie" request twice in one evening (for those without calculators, that's 10% of my required gigging minutes . . . hmm . . . 20 American Pies in one night . . . hmm . . . maybe for my farewell 'hagen gig), I can do Britney . . . uhhh . . . her song. So, I dug deep into her ". . . Did it Again" disc and found an interestingly titled
song- "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction". Well, I changed a couple of the words she sang, something about how tight her skirt should be and her identity, to something about how white my shirts can be and not smoking the same cigarettes as me. Ya know, I thought it took a little of the BS edge off of it. People dig the tune- I didn't realize she'd had a big hit with it!

I'll wrap up the ramblings shortly. First tho, I've gotta talk about freshness. "Fresh" is the meteorological term for a nice day over here. That means five degrees (for those without calculators, that's 41 degrees in real temperature), a 7 m/s breeze (for those without calculators, that's 16 mph in real velocity), and mostly sunny. Well, we had plenty on un-fresh days in March. But, April, just as all the outdoor dining furniture was set up on Nyhavn, just as Tivoli prepares to open (next Wed), April, now there've been some fresh days! I even caught a thermometer telling me it was 15 degrees (for those without calculators, that's 59 degrees in real temperature) on Mondee! Ah, I could happily wear my shorts during an nice long walk on the Amager beach.

Now that's fresh!

Secondly, I feel I oughta wrap up this tale. Ice cream. Yup, I did it. After skipping that vice all of March, on that above-mentioned fresh Mondee, I tried my first Euro-Magnum Double chokolade. Served on an easily grippable wooden stick, it's a melt-in-your-mouth layer of dark chocolate shell surrounding a decadent frozen chocolate cake-like layer, housing a supportive milk chocolate shell which coats the fine Euro-chocolate ice cream center. Now, there's a reason to spend 8 years in Copenhagen! Oooooo. I'm hongry! But, give me an option, and I'll take three tubs of homemade brownies- thanks Piles! I guess I'll close with my old/new friends- my flat-mates. The Huddy's (Bryan and Julie), Hawaiians, are off gigging in some town in Norway. Manos, the Greek Canadien, is off in Oslo gigging. Martin, the young Norwegian, is taking a month off back home. Stu, the Long Islander, is back in NY, doing it Amurkin style. Duncan, the Glaswegian, is here for yet another month (his 5th in a row). Joining he and I are: Jules, English descent, now resides in Austria; Dylan, Kiwi, now resides in DK; Paul, Sheffield, (don't know the proper suffix for that one) England liver; Gary, NYer- he'll fill you with all kinds of late nite Beatles trivia; and, Adam, Brit, he gigged in Barock last month but was living with a bud here in town.

Alrite, I'm gonna go get fresh!
ramblin Ken G