I woke up, just like every morning, to the voice of Claudio Sanchez in Coheed and Cambria's Junesong Provision:
- Good morning sunshine, away from the sun hits the sky, look up, the sounds that surround the day you've died
The song went on, as I got up from the mattress on the floor, which I can't call bed because it is too messy to even look like one, before going out to run my daily miles I dared to look back into the mess on the floor where I had slept; there she was: my Taylor T5, it was black with the Koa Top, I had fallen asleep playing yesterday, I was working on a new album, which will probably end up in the pile of oblivion I had at home, this one was called: The Revenge of the Green Eyed Muse and basically, it was just me playing with my Taylor softly while saying to the ones I needed to what I thought about them, it was quite soothing, I got to be honest with you. Anyway, things were looking bright today in this relatively warm spring morning in Espoo; we must have been about 1 to 3 degrees, with some fog around, perfect for my mood today.
First off in the morning I would go out and run a few miles, whatever took me to run from my department downtown to a cofeeshop in Leppvaara, in other words, about 30 minutes, not too far, just enough to shake away the cold. So I get there, say hi to my boss: Roope, grab a cup of coffee, and head on my way back. When I get home I take a shower, get my clothes on and head to the subway, where I can have my guitar bumming shift; my name is Keith Richards, and this is how to live a life, the right way.
Yeah, I work at a subway station playing my guitar, you may wonder why, the answer is quite simple: I want to. Simple as that, see, if I worked as a lawyer or doctor, I would still wake up early in the morning, run my miles, and whatever, the difference is that I wouldn't be happy, I would just be a victim of the system, dreaming of getting home, pulling out one of my guitars and jamming my fingers off until the early morning, to start the drill another day.
So I bum in the subway, y take my guitar, which change depending of what day of the week it is, just like the style of music that I play, today was grunge, so I got out of the shower, put on the first t-shirt I found, my proudly worn jeans, my intimidating boots, and my trustworthy coat, I have to be honest with you, that is some seriously awesome coat, it is a leather trench with buckles everywhere, jeez, if I could only show it to you.
The point is that I dressed up like I normally would, pulled a guitar out form the place where I had all 15 of them, excluding the bases and other random instruments and amps, this time, my Takamine G363 came out, a beautiful guitar, it was the last gift I got from my parents before I left home, is seemed right to take it with me today, for no apparent reason.
So I walked the 3 blocks from my apartment to the station where I usually wandered, found my usual spot, right at the end of the cart, pulled out my Chise (yes, that's her name) and started playing a catchy tune
-Hello, I've waited here for you: Everlong. Tonight I throw myself into. And out of the red, out of her head she sang
The song went on, whatever, I was really into it, since it was the first in the day and I was really aching to sing it. Specially the chorus, while I played the song, some ex-grunge in a suit looked at me, lip-synced some of the lyrics, threw some money into my case, smiled and left. I felt kind of sorry for him, I knew that he once had dreamed of being like David Grohl, or at least, to have a like mine, in music; now he was 40 years old, and woke up every morning wondering where did his dreams go.
The list went on, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, more Foo Fighters, Alice in Chains whatever, just like everyday, I won a few more coins, had a request: Hysteria, Def Leppard, I smiled, see, that song really brings me back to some good times when I was around 10 to 12 years old, when I first started to like music, to really listen to it, and to pay attention to what they said, what they wanted to tell me, perhaps Def Leppard wasn't the deepest song around, but even though they still showed quite some skill when it came to making your spine chill after 15 years of listening to them. I thought of this as I sang the chorus:
- Gimme all of you lovin', every little bit Gimme all that you got, every bit of it. Every bit of your lovin - oh, c'mon live a bit, never want it to stop.
The woman who had asked for it sang along with me, I loved that; that told me that she had not given up with her dreams, even though she was dressed for waiting tables in a dinner, doing the morning shift, having to hide some streaks of white hair beneath her hat, and some wrinkles behind her cheap makeup. I told her that as she got down at her stop:
- Keep fighting girl, because you know: it is the dreams that make us real. Keep them alive, and feel how they make you feel alive.
She looked back, turned white at the amazingly wise quote she had gotten from the bum, but realized it was true, smiled and winked at me, just before she started to walk. Those kinds of things are the ones that make me simply smile on my way home.
So, I wander around the town for a couple of hours, until I realize it is time to go, present myself to the few lucky ones to be present at the time, smile, sometimes crack a chuckle and start walking home, from whatever place in town I find myself in at the moment, it just feels right, so I get down. I could use the exercise anyway. Luckily, today no cops fell on my back, those are a real drag, see, sometimes: system dogs get annoyed by my Wish you were here and decide to call the police on me. That usually means two things: firsts having to run from them for some 15 minutes until they realize that I most likely have absolutely nothing against anybody and just decide they would like to have a job like mine, the other times, they drop by the station, boss around and after getting tired, they would just request a song, sing it, sometimes we would have a reprise of the chorus, then they would drop some coins in the case, if I was lucky, even some fines, when they really were in the mood, or my music had gotten them in the mood. Then they would just say bye to me and leave for another day of helping the system fail at catching dreamers like myself.
That is another thing you probably never knew about our system is that it is a professional dream killer, it is the only thing it really does. Think about it, if you stick to whatever they tell you, you will just end up like everybody else, stuck somewhere you don't want to be, doing something you never thought you will like, or even do. So, if you want it briefly and for short: the system sucks.
So yeah, that's basically how my morning works, every day, from Monday to Sunday, and everyday in between, you might think that I am just a cover artist, you are wrong. I also make my own music, and I am absolutely proud of every single piece of it. But if I played my music at the sub, people wouldn't care, and I would end up being locked up for some ridiculous charge. So, that's why I work at Bar Fennia.
Every night, from 12:00 to 3:30 I play at the Bar Fennia, in southeast downtown, a few blocks from home, there people are either too drunk or on the process of it to care to much about what is being played. Yes; there are the times when someone asks for a song, or stuff like that, sometimes I end up playing Happy Birthday and it is the most clapped song in the night, but I really don't care too much, I get paid for playing my music, and that is fine.
And besides, there is this waitress, I don't know her name, and I have never spoken to her, I guess I just never have had the need to speak to her, but today I will walk up to her. For the sake of knowing what will happen.
So as I arrived earlier, much earlier than necessary, it was 10:26 when I dropped on a table by the stage and ordered a large pint of anything from a bottle they had.
She came to wait my table, after all, she was the only waitress at this hour, just like in any hour. She spoke amazingly quick, judging by her accent, she must have been from Russia.
- Good night, what will you order?
- Olut, please, try to pick a good one.
She went after it, while she came, I paid attention to the band upstage, they were called the Black Swans or something like that, they weren't as tight as they should be, but they rocked out to the rhythm of their alternative rock and were having a good time, I cheered loudly at the end of each song.
Then came the waitress, she had the bottle in her hand
- So what is it you have brought me?
- Sinebrychoff, ancient olut recepie: my favorite.
- Wow. I feel quite special, I get to learn something from you. What comes next? Your name, perhaps?
- OK Nina, I guess you must be thirsty as well, given that you have brought me your favorite beverage. So: how bout' you sit and chat with me for a while?
- Hmm, I don't think so, friend, I don't even know your name
- Keith Moon
- and besides, my shift hasn't ended. But it ends in twenty minutes, so: can you wait for me outside?
- You got it.
I waited for her, I thought of what would come out of tonight, I didn't have much time; I had to return in an hour to play my shift. So I would just have to wait and see what she would do of me.
When she came out she still was in her waitress outfit, except that she had changed into some running shoes. It didn't make any sense. Did she want to go jogging? I decided I was too anxious to wait and simply asked her:
- So; what's up with the running shoes?
- Oh, see, nowadays, I have run into a lot of trouble in this parts of town, so I find it easier to run away when my shoes are made for that, don't you think?
- Well, you certainly have a point. Now tell me, what's in your mind?
- Hmm, I must get home, it is late and I have another shift at the pancake house early morning, so: would you mind walking me home?
Great, so this was what she thought of since the beginning, a guy to look after her on her way home from work. Man! I should have seen this one coming. Anyway, I wasn't going to leave her alone, so I started to walk.
- So, tell me about you, where are you from, Nina?
- I'm from Bosnia, see, with all the cous from the government, my family left many years ago, they are right now in Russia, but I got sick and tired of there, so I traveled to Espoo, a place where everyone told me I would at least find pretty trees. What about you? You certainly don't seem to be like anybody from around here. Set aside the last name.
-Yeah, I guess you are right. I did change my last name, it used to be Richards, but I just never liked it; so after I left home I changed it to something I always wanted to be.
-You ran from home? Why?
-They kept pushing down my dreams and desires, every time I tried to follow my dreams, they kept pushing, pushing, so I got sick and tired of that and ran. Picked up all my gear, back in those days I only had a few guitars and some amps. And ran to the only place I knew I could not be disturbed, and could be what I had always dreamed of.
- And what would that be?
- A subway bum!
- What? Seriously?
- Yeah! Think about it, it is the best job you can have, I take my guitar with me everyday, I play what I am in the mood for playing and don't have to worry about when is my boss going to come at me to scream.
- It just seems like an easy way out.
- But it isn't, it is much harder than you think. You don't get paid enough to eat and you will never sign a record deal, you will just play, on and on and on. This isn't bad, just that, you need something else to be able to sustain yourself. That is why I have to work at the bar, every night. Until someday I can take the next step and become a star.
- Well, Keith, it was nice talking to you. Thank you for walking with me all the way here. Good night.
She pulled out her keys, came inside and locked the door behind her, leaving me whispering lyrics in the snow.
I ran on my way back, things had certainly gone different, but that was OK, one less thing to bug my mind now. Tonight was going just like any other night, I was playing my new material, when I remembered a really old song I had written when I was about 15; it was called, Verses you shall never hear I had written it to someone back then, and now that I looked back, instead of crying like I once did, I smiled and though of that as the begging of my good times. The song was quite simple, it didn't even have a chorus; it just said what I felt over some chords I had come up with. I remembered her smile as I sang some verses:
- You know my body trembles, with your simple blush, your ever present smile, which is nave and mature
As you can see, the verses are quite straightforward, and even though my style has changed a lot since those days, I still like the song, and up to now, I still keep using that B flat suspended chord that is practically the base of the song.
Everything went smoothly for the rest of the evening until a girl walked up to me, she was short, had dark hair and something seemed quite vicious in her look. Her voice has quite high pitched, based on what I first thought of her. She spoke quite bizarrely, like if she had been partying for too long:
- Hey dude! Can you play Lovefool by The Cardigans?
Cardigans, wow, did that remind me of someone, someone who, now that I think of it, resembled a lot like her:
- Ok, you got it, but there is one thing: you have sing this tune with me.
- Ugh, nein danke dude, I have some disease, it is, ughm, somethingphobia, but don't worry, I'll watch from down here.
- What you have, my friend is stageophobia, that's OK, I guess I'll just have to do my job.
I started off with the song, it was quite simple, honestly, but Cardigans had shown some creativity with their guitar lines, let alone the lyrics, so I was happy to play it. As I sang the chorus, I remembered the only problem with that song:
- So I cry, and pray, and beg: Love me, love me, say that you love me, fool me fool me, go on and fool me.
In that moment, a tall blonde in high heels and short skirt approached me, she seemed quite excited:
-Wow! You sing just like Justin, he is so amazing I can't
I didn't let her finish her phrase, before she did; I gave her a look that was so expressive that she didn't need to know any language to read the Piss off sign on them.
The night went on, the girl who spoke to me earlier just before she left came close to the stage, when I was already picking up my stuff, getting ready to leave, and poked me lightly on the shoulder:
-Hey dude, you played great, thank you so much. I really loved the part where you kicked out that blonde; jeez I can't believe someone like him could cover such a good song.
-Tell me about it, when I first hear of it I nearly cried, it is so pathetic, you know?
- Yeah, it is. Well anyway, I gotta go, I hope to see you around sometime again, gonna come back to se you ok?
She blew me a kiss and winked as she left the place. She might not be the vision you might expect to get to know like her, but she seemed nice and I thought about her on my way home.
When I got home I noticed a distinctive smell: Benson cigarettes. That meant someone was inside the house, or had been, I didn't smoke, and I lived alone, even though, I had quite a good idea of who would it be.
As I walked through the door, the first thing I did was walk straight to the guitar wall, placed Chise in her place, and my amp, with the others, then I walked into the kitchen, I hear my chains clinking with every step I took, followed by the deep *thump* of my steel toed boots.
When I turned on the kitchen light there she was: black, leather, 80's style punk jacket, her signature skinny neon green jeans and her big DC shoes. Her hair was completely messy, just like she liked it:
- Wassup yo!
I greeted Lu like every time I saw her, which was kind of our pickup line every time we saw each other, which usually involved some seriously random situations.
-Hey man, what's going on?
-Well, I'm pretty sure you should answer that question, after all, you are the one that broke into my apartment.
-Dude, come on! You call this an apartment? And besides, this is downtown; one can get into anyplace much more easily than you could even think of.
-OK, I really don't need more details; I'll just have to change my locks.
She burst into laughter, which meant I burst into as well. She was like my little sister, and I had missed her today.
It was 3:46 in the morning, which meant that we had absolutely no need to sleep yet, see, I started this belief that sleep was a complete waste of time, so now almost everybody close to me slept from 2 to 4 hours a day.
She took a drag from her menthol roll, and slowly, breathed out the smoke, tobacco smell filled the room, I have to admit that even though it didn't smell exactly nice, I still could stand it.
Her head was rested upon her chin, she was thinking about something really deeply, she was practically in another world when pulled out a pair of Sinebrychoff. She took hers without even looking, she was really, really lost in thought.
- Tell me sis, what's on your mind?
- A new opportunity, our chance to get out of here.
- Right. And what makes you think that I want to get out of here?
- The fact that you are never going to meet the next Alexi Laiho so you can form the next band to rock the ages.
- Gee, thanks - Her comment had hit me hard, that did make me want to go, but not with her.
- Please, think about it we could start again, from scratch.
- Anyway, where is it exactly you want us to go?
- Bora Bora!- She got up from the table and whirled her olut and neon colored cigarette on the air, filling the floor with olut.
I was in awe, I couldn't believe this. She actually wanted us to go. This was the most stupid idea I had ever heard. Even from her.
- What in the world? Did you seriously mean that? Look at what is around us, I have two jobs, a place to live, and all my gear is here. My whole life is in this place!
- But we have enough to go away and start again! I already have our tickets.
I chucked, this was amazing.
- I need a bigger suitcase.