Fun but slightly exhausting weekend; spent most of it in Turku at a knife fighting workshop. In a way it was a fun mini-vacation, spending a night at a hotel makes it feel that way even though you’re just away from home a short while. Of course, most of that time was spent at the salle/dojo, not much time for rest&relaxation.
This time around we studied various ways of carrying a knife, and how to draw it quickly into different grips. In the beginning it was pretty straightforward, but got harder (and much sweatier) when we bundled on our outside coats and some gloves, and then did all sorts of “draw knife quickly” exercises lying down, etc. Tricky stuff, it’s pretty easy to get tangled up in bits of clothing for many critical seconds.
The most fun exercise consisted of all but one person standing at one end of the room, and one person at a time walking towards them and doing some off-the-cuff maneuver to draw his/her knife into a ready position without the other people seeing the knife. Very challenging; some people managed to do it pretty smoothly but my “oops, I dropped my keys” routine only half worked, I didn’t manage to totally hide the knife. Instructional exercise, in any case. We also did speed-draw stuff, with a timer.
The rest of the time was spent with the normal pair drills with different types of knife hand / secondary hand timings, and in doing some more slow & careful sparring with sharps. No cuts this time, my packet of band-aids stayed in my bag.
After that was finished I hopped in the car and drove back home, showered, and headed towards town with Janka to see the Rachid Taha concert.
It proved to be an… interesting experience.
At the beginning things went fine. The crowd was a bit static (the theater-like seating makes Savoy a bit sub-optimal for rock concerts), but Rachid and the band got people warmed up and standing by doing a funny “let’s all sleep” routine. The music started swinging and everything seemed fine. I did notice that Rachid himself seemed a bit spaced out and subdued, but I just thought it was his stage persona. He was also having serious technical problems with something, probably an ear mic – there was a lot of scurrying about by roadies.
Unfortunately, about halfway through things started to fall apart and it became painfully clear that Rachid wasn’t subdued as such, he was just totally shit-faced drunk. He started staggering around stage, leaning on things and sitting down, singing only part of the time.. and the end, he could not even stand up and had to be half-carried away from the stage amidst a chorus of “boo!”s. All credit to the band, they played well and did their brave best to salvage an impossible situation, but in the end it just fell apart. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone on stage that drunk since The Jesus and Mary Chain did Provinssirock way back when. Helsingin Sanomat also has some commentary about the whole spectacle.
Pity, since the man does good stuff on CD and I would have liked to hear him in proper shape, not as an (admittedly happily) drunk wreck. Hopefully it was a one-time serious miscalculation on his part, but in any case I can imagine that the hangover from this one won’t be pleasant; I’d think the band will have some… issues to discuss the next day. Most of all I feel sorry for the band, they were good and did what they could in a very pro manner. No complaints there.
Oh well, at least it was interesting, if not in an altogether pleasant way.
As I was writing this, a friend on an IRC channel transmitted the news that Rush is coming to Helsinki for the first time ever this fall. I’ll have to try and get tickets for that when they come on sale (whenever that is, no info yet). Saw them last year in Stockholm, nice gig but maybe a bit too much guitar soloing and (very) old stuff, it would be nice to see them on stage again, if only to compare.
Getting concert tickets and hearing about them is a bit of a pain nowadays. Placebo is coming to Finland in May, and I heard about it two days too late – of course it’s all sold out now. I’ll have to keep my eye out on huuto.net etc, but no guarantees. That’s another band I’d really want to see live.