A Windowless Peace

Friday night.

Prior to showtime evening I am interviewed at the hotel by a young man from a web magazine. He says he met his girlfriend at a Fosca gig, and asks for an autograph. I suppose I’m flattered to be considered a kind of very minor cult figure, though as ever I wonder if I’ll ever be able to turn this so-called ability into something approximating a modest day job.

Passionate fans yes, but never quite in serious number. I’m told the last album has still to break even (though it’s close). Though weirdly, they’ve completely sold out of Fosca t-shirts. I wonder if it’s because you can’t download and copy t-shirts like you can music.

It’s odd to think of Fosca as a t-shirt band, given the lead singer prefers shirts and ties. But clearly t-shirts are still a perennial indication of affection for a band (or a sci-fi TV series). They’re a kind of declared vote, a register of passions, a joining of a club, or even a ‘Would Like To Meet’ advert.

Stage time in Stockholm. Backstage, I pick up the guitar that’s been kindly lent to me, strum it tentatively, and promptly break the top string.

Thankfully a replacement (for the replacement) is found at once, courtesy of the band Days, and Fosca go on to play a well-received if slightly sad-feeling set.

Days, the guitar and amp-lending band on after us, turn out to be a group of extremely lovely and frankly jaw-droppingly beautiful young Swedish men, with a soulful line in jangly Echo & The Bunnymen / Chills style songs. I stick around to watch their set, then walk back with the others across the snow-lined streets to the hotel.

The huge and trendy Scandic hotel is teeming with people and noise when we get in. Some kind of Eurovision ‘Song For Europe’ event, apparently, complete with red carpet on the pavement outside. Maybe not the selection contest itself, but certainly a tie-in party. Both Charley and Rachel ask the hotel to switch their rooms, so great is the interruption to their sleep.

But I’m fine. My room is two floors underground at the opposite side of the building. I sleep perfectly. For someone who suffers from being easily distracted, windowless rooms are perfect. If I need daylight, I just go upstairs and loaf in the artily-decored lobby area.

The morning afterwards, the lobby is rapt to groups of tell-tale burly men in  padded North Face jackets, with laminated Eurovision crew passes dangling from their necks.

Off to Norrkoping today. The very last Fosca gig.

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