Welcome to my annual end-of-the-year chronicle. Here I reflect on the passed year, the media I’ve consumed, the trips I’ve made and other personal stuff.
My first focus is this blog: Stray Bullet. This year I have published 9 posts. Six of the posts were concert reviews and three of the concerts were abroad. You’ll read more about them further down in this article (Music and Travels).
Next year I will do a lot of travelling for music as I embark one of the greatest adventures of my life: following Springsteen’s tour around Europe for around 20 shows (including three shows in the US). My plan is to write a travel journal and post it here. It’ll probably be more short tales of the experiences around travelling, meeting people and seeing new places than actual concert reviews. I’m still considering what the overall title for this new feature of my blog should be. If you have any good ideas, feel free to post them in the comment section.
Music and Travels
As the year 2022 started accompanied by fireworks, I was in Cologne. Cologne is a city I like very much, not only because that’s where my partner in crime lives. The city has a warm atmosphere and the vibrant streets of the borough of Ehrenfeld are becoming more and more familiar to me.
On April 15-18 my boyfriend and I went to Edinburgh to visit our good friend Connor and to see The War on Drugs, a concert that turned out to be exactly as good as I had expected. Click on the link to read more about it.
I’ve visited Edinburgh a few times and it is always a city I return to with pleasure. This time, however, we also had the opportunity to see St Andrews, which is a town about 50 km northeast of Edinburgh.
St Andrews is probably most known for its golf course (The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews), the most frequent venue for The Open Championship, one of the four majors in the golf championships. We weren’t very interested in the golf course though. Instead we had a sturdy breakfast in a lovely restaurant called “Mitchell’s” and a stroll through town. In the afternoon we had a lovely home cooked meal in our friend’s house before returning by train to Edinburgh.
Brian Fallon’s concert in Pustervik, Gothenburg was originally scheduled for April 2020, as a tour to support his then newly released album Local Honey. The concert had then been postponed twice due to the pandemic and finally, on 28 april, the time had come for the show. Support acts were Jesse Malin and Chris Farren.
Rebecca and Megan Lovell of Larkin Poe are American multi-instrumentalist sisters, that have an unique southern rock sound. In the beginning of June they performed in the small venue Trädgår’n in Gothenburg. It was my first outdoor concert of the year. The outdoor part was actually a surprise to me (and I think also for the band). The venue also holds a medium big indoor scene. Luckily the weather was nice. Larkin Poe is definitely one you need to tick off your bucket list of rock bands to get out and see live.
Two days after the Larkin Poe concert I set sail towards Munich to see the legendary The Rolling Stones. The trip itself was a bit of a hardship. All flights to Munich were delayed due to a horrible thunder storm that had closed the Munich airport. When I was finally onboard my flight, my boyfriend texted that he had missed his flight from Germany and he wasn’t going to arrive until early next morning. I had find my way from the airport to the hotel all by myself.
It was my first (and last?) Stones concert and I got to hear many of their most famous songs and although we were soaked by a heavy rain prior to the show I did not regret staying around even if it was a bit freezing. Click on the picture for a full review.
As you might already know, I’m a teacher and that means that I have quite much free time during the summer- a perfect opportunity to travel. In the beginning of July I went for a week to Cyprus. I stayed in a hotel in the centre of the small town of Ayia Napa, which is resort town on the southeast coast of Cyprus, known for its beaches and nightclubs. Beforehand I had made sure that the hotel would have a gym and that there wouldn’t be any screaming children around. It was a relaxing week mixed with training, sunbathing and long explorational walks.
In the middle of July I went to Scotland again. I stayed in my friend’s house in a small village just outside of St Andrews. We revisited St Andrews and also went for a swim in the North Sea, which was freezing cold! 🥶. One day we took the train to Aberdeen, where we checked out the University.
Rammstein and their fans invaded Gothenburg in the end of July for three consecutive shows in the outdoor stadium Ullevi. I was lucky to land a cheap concert ticket on Facebook the same day of one of the shows and I really enjoyed myself. Read more about how I experienced the show and how I, as luck would have it, ended up in the “Feuerzone” (aka the pit) here.
On 10 August I returned to Ullevi, this time to see Ed Sheeran. My companion was my collegue and friend Elisabet. Sheeran had set up a round stage, surrounded by guitar pick-shaped screens, in the middle of the arena. For everyone to get a chance to see him he was standing on a conveyor belt and travelled around the stage during the performance. The set of about two hours consisted of both full band features, and Sheeran’s characteristic loop pedal-based solo performances.
Håkan Hellström is a Swedish musician, local hero and current attendance record holder of Ullevi Stadium (71.977). In the summer of 2020, he was supposed to celebrate 20 years since his first album release, by having four concerts in his (and my) hometown Göteborg in Ullevi Stadium. All the concert were cancelled, due to Covid-19. This year he finally had the chance to go through with his plans. I went to see the first one, which turned out to be a rainy but memorable show.
A highlight this year was the trip to Dublin (my first visit), where we saw one of my favourite musicians: Jason Isbell. It was a short but intense weekend in a very beautiful but cold city. Apart from attending the concert, we visited the “Guinness Storehouse”, we strolled through the city and we met up with a mutual friend, Bronagh, in a classic Irish Pub.
We will stay in the same hotel (The Gresham) when we visit next year for the Springsteen shows. Read more about the Jason Isbell concert here.
Films and series
Last year the cinemas in Gothenburg were shut down during the Gothenburg Film Festival and the festival was arranged digitally instead. This year (28 January- 6 February) they had decided to arrange a mixed festival. You could stream many of the films and a few were shown “live” in cinemas.
As it happens I tested positive for Covid-19 in the middle of the festival and because of the quarantine rules I had to stay home from work and was able to see many of the films (Nobody has to know, Så jävla easy going, The Beta Test, Compartment number 6, Große Freiheit, Brighton 4th, Magisterlekarna, My night, Boiling point and Sundown).
The ones I liked best were:
- Boiling Point – Storyline (from IMDb): Enter the relentless pressure of a restaurant kitchen as a head chef wrangles his team on the busiest day of the year.
- Compartment number 6 – Storyline (from IMDb): A young Finnish woman escapes an enigmatic love affair in Moscow by boarding a train to the arctic port of Murmansk. Forced to share the long ride and a tiny sleeping car with a Russian miner, the unexpected encounter leads the occupants of Compartment no. 6 to face the truth about their own yearning for human connection.
I saw a few films in a real cinema during the year too;
- Studio 666 – In the film the Foo Fighters move into a haunted mansion to record their highly anticipated tenth studio album.
- Downton Abbey – The Crawley family goes to the south of France to uncover the mystery of the dowager countess’s newly inherited villa.
- Top Gun: Maverick – The film is set 30 years after its predecessor. It follows Maverick’s return to Top Gun where he must confront his past as he trains a group of younger pilots. One of them is the son of Maverick’s deceased best friend “Goose”. The film offers a lot of nostalgia for someone like me, who saw the original film as a teenager.
- The Batman – A sadistic serial killer starts to murder key political figures in Gotham. Batman is forced to investigate the city’s hidden corruption and it leads to him questioning his own family’s involvement. Fun fact: As I had never seen ANY Batman film before this one, my BF challenged me to actually watch all Batman films before allowing myself to go the cinema, which I did. 😅
- Neil Young: Harvest Time – This is a really cool docu-film that shows footage, shot between January and September 1971, from when the classic Harvest album was created.
Some of the series I have consumed this year are:
- As I heard that the series Better Call Saul would air its last season, I just had to see the whole thing from the beginning. However, seeing Better Call Saul without knowing the series Breaking Bad seemed weird so I actually started with that.
- Stranger Things – After nearly three years since the last season, the fourth was finally released this year. A fifth season is expected in 2024.
- In between releases of new series and seasons, I suddenly felt like revisiting an oldie. Do you remember ALF? ALF was a TV-series that aired 1986-1990. It’s a comedy series about a furry alien wise-guy, who comes to live with the Tanner family after crashing into their garage. There are four seasons.
- The Crown – A series about the reign of Queen Elizabeth II from her wedding in 1947 through to the early 21st century. Season 5 focuses on the period from 1991 to 1997.
- Wednesday – a new series that follows Wednesday Addams, daughter of the Addams’ family, and her years as a student at Nevermore Academy, a school for outcasts. She tries to solve a supernatural mystery that involved her parents 25 years ago.
- Harry and Meghan – a documentary on the Duke and Dutchess of Sussex, prince Harry and Meghan, that tells the story of the challenges and controversies that prompted them to step back from the royal family.
I have meticulously continued to go to the gym five times a week and since I’ve been healthy I have also been able to be consistent with my training and that is what leads to progress. In June 2022 I was given a 6 month’s subscription for Hybrid Performance Method by my boyfriend and the program “Hybrid Build” gave me new inspiration and still motivates me.
I’ve found that I have the head for this type of training. I’m rigid and determined. My goal is to be stronger and to build muscles. For every exercise I always want to improve myself. In gym language that is called “progressive overload”🙂. I’m curious to see how far I can go.
That concludes this test-of-endurance blogpost. I’d like to congratulate you on getting through it and also thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading my blog. I hope you’ll stick with me for another year. As I mentioned in the beginning, great adventures lie ahead!
Happy New Year! 🥳
(Header image by vikayatskina on Freepik)