Part 2 of Oslo in October:
Oslo is not the kind of capital city that one falls in love with quickly. It's charm might reveal itself over a period of living there, and it might make a difference that I visited at a time other than the peak of tourist season. But I don't like being surrounded by tourists. I like to pretend that I am not a tourist when I visit a city. My excuse this time was that I was there to do some 'research' at the museums, and to go to a concert. Because a concert is always a legitimate reason for going somewhere, without making me feel like a 'tourist'.
It was entirely possible that I would not be able to go to the concert. Camera Obscura isn't a completely unknown band. You pop-chart-listeners sit down and be quiet. I know they are on the indie charts, but the indie audience isn't that small. After the OC indie is trendy, remember? And indie kids are so the hipsters of today. Okay, I also think that indie is music for aspergers kids. Here you have a group of kids being hipper-than-thou by knowing a vast network of information, and using it for social standing in a select group. No one outside this group has any idea what these hipsters are on about, and by knowing music that someone else doesn't know, the hipster is thus hipper than the other. This is hyperbole of course. The really hip hipsters are much more open than this. This is why they are actually hip, instead of obnoxious. The hip-hipsters are really into the content of what they listen to, either for the politics of it, the sound, or some other ephemeral aspect, and they want to be connected to others that feel the same as them, and tell the interested periphery (that would be me) about it. I knew some really cool indie kids (though I don't think they would define themselves as such) back in Madison. It sort of spoiled me. Now I'm shocked when the people I talk to don't know the major indie record labels. Or the major pop labels. But really, after Nirvana, I don't think anyone who grew up during grunge has an excuse not to know who SubPop is.
After this very long tangent, back to Oslo. Without having a very clear idea in my head of where I was staying for the night, where the club that I wanted to go to Tuesday night was, or how to get to Bygdøya, I managed really well. I spent more money than I would have liked, and only brought home a coat. I found the hostel where I had reserved a bed a few blocks away from the central train station, without very much difficulty. I found the club I wanted to find almost by accident, and they had 11 tickets left to the show that I wanted to go to when I stopped in that afternoon. Café Mono reminds me of the King Club, slightly smaller and a little dolled up. I had a beer at the show, marvelled at how early it started,* and spoke to some random Norwegian guy after the show who told me that Michigan is cool, Wisconsin is boring, and everyone from North Carolina is a snob, but he patted me on the head and said I was a good girl. And of course, as far as museums go, I found those easily enough. So I was really lucky with Oslo. I didn't even get rained on, despite it being overcast with occasional rain the whole time. So perhaps I'm being unfair to the city. And I think if I was going to school there I would like it well enough. But I still think I would be fine with leaving it at the end of the year. The one place in which I was not especially lucky was with shopping. I wanted to get a zippered hoodie and a pair of sneakers. I didn't think any of the hoodies I found were worth 200 kroner. That might be because I can't do math, and didn't realize that 200 kroner is only about $30. That's not bad for Norway, really. But if I am going to put down $30 for a hoodie, it should be cool. Like with some band I like screen printed on the back. Or some neat design that not everyone and their cousin has, and doesn't mean a damn thing anyway. Instead, I found the second hand store, Uff, and got one of those flatteringly cut wool coats in tacky 70s colors. It is dirty-white, navy, terracotta, and olive. It clashes with my newly bright blue hair, my knit hat, most of my shirts, and my everyday bag. But I love it anyway, because it some how reminds me of my Nata, who is so far away.
*10! And on time! Shocking in Norway or America. And the audience wasn't tanked. I guess that is the difference between smalltown and city Norway.
**WI is my university, NC is where I grew up.