the hangover

Do you like to laugh? Do you like to laugh until it hurts? Go see, go see. The Hangover is the funniest film of the year!

The movie takes place in Vegas – of course. Vegas is the capital of the world, the ne plus ultra of excess, the oasis of the everyday. Lay rest to your I-would-if-I-could and go to Vegas, man. I know I want to. They even arrange Hangover packages at Ceasar’s Palace now… I’m this close – you can’t see it, but it is very close – to booking a trip. The only thing holding me back right now, is that, amidst inevitable debauchery, I’m afraid I’d end up marrying a skanky stripper. In the movie, she is Heather Graham, but in my documentary, she probably would not be…

No stranger to bad hangovers and big blackouts, I can all too easily relate to this movie. I never stole Mike Tyson’s tiger, though… well, less said is more to be watched, go on, get out of here, get into a theater.

Before you go, wear a diaper. It is so funny, you might piss in your pants.

1958-2009

They call him the king of pop. Maybe, maybe not. Michael Jackson created a mere three good albums, and of these three albums, only about half the songs were tremendous. Can you really utter his name with the same royal breath you use for the king of rock? Then again, Elvis was crap when he was off, and was so off he was nowhere to be seen for a great part of his career. But so what? Let’s focus. When they were on, in charge & ruling, they made sounds that had sex with your ear and then married your brain.

I’m so damn old I still remember when Thriller came out. At school, in class, during one of those Friday bring-something-from-home-hour, a scrawny mullet-haired kid put the cassette up the player. We all sort of thought we knew what was coming, we had heard about it along the grapevine, but still… it was an event… perhaps even a liberation from the everyday bullies and bitches that clutter space around us.
Back then, I regrettably didn’t dig Jackson that much. That came later. Nonetheless, the whole class was moonwalking that day. In fact, so was the rest of the world.

Possibly, that defines the impact of Jackson. He was a force that made a whole world moonwalk. Obviously we all looked like idiots doing it, but that was to be expected – only one person on the planet had that divine control of body and soul. It was almost like he had to grip his crotch once in awhile to keep it all together.

It’s a shame most people don’t think about music when they talk about Jackson. The gift of geniuity is a motherfucker. There just is no way you get to be only incredible. The law of balance makes sure that most of us are mediocre, while the few that get to be incredible, are by rule, also ultracreepy.

You be your own judge and jury. As for me, Billy Jean is on level eleven, and I’m just about to don my white glove.

button up

The only reason I have not yet reported on any of the races in the F1 season so far, is… äh, screw it. I absolutely despise people who blame lack of time. I’m just going to get on wid it.

First and foremost, let me just point out that this season is awesome for three reasons:

a) Hamilton is sucking.
b) New world order.
c) Button & Vettel.

And hey ho like so we ignore the first few races and find ourselves on the most overdeveloped rock in the world, Monaco. Oh, Monacoo. Coo coo coo. If there ever was one place where it would seem impossible to race a F1 car, it is Monaco. Yet, the race is the crown jewel of the series. Inexplicable? Au contraire. Bring the racing to the people, not vice versa. In fact, bring the racing to the people who are immune to fiscal crisis, to the people with gold tans (not just golden) and topless honeys on arm, better yet, let them park their floating palaces next to the track, chill the champagne and hey presto, where the rich and beautiful go, the poor follow – or aspire to follow.

And whereas we have followed the alluring scent of the Eurotrash, the F1 drivers have been following Jenson Button. Could it really be – Button world champion 2009? I dare say I never thought I’d say so. And this is why the 2009 season is fantastic.
Besides, Button is a dude, and deserved a break. Sure, F1 is all about the car, but Jenson is giving it to ol’ Ruben no less than old Shu did. Today sealed the deal for me – Button was superb, won Monaco easypeasy prettypenny. Fickle as I am, I have decided to back Button this year.

Who can stop him anyway? Perhaps my favorite German, Vettel. But he was off today, off in a big way. Anyone else? Kimi? Well, he is a hundred million points back, but let’s just see what Ferrari whips up in the coming races. If they can focus on the racing instead of bickering with FIA, we can look forward to banging with Brawn in the second half of the season.

BMW? Jeez.

The sun sets over the yachts in the marina of marinas. The breeze is cool. You better Button up.

pre grand prix

Yes, spring is here again, although by calender alone. There is still enough snow outside to build a house, a city, a civilization with it. I did brave the elements yesterday, though, when I burped the Porsche after a long winter hibernation. And as I ripped the black ribbon with the sun in my ass and the wind on my windscreen, I also felt that F1 urge again… perhaps because I was downshifting like Senna into the corners. No, not Bruno.

Standing on the brink of yet another season of romp and rpm, these are the horses I will back:

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Ferrari:

Kimi Räikkönen – yah, he may have had better things to do last season, but I still think I’m typing about the 2009 champ here. No one will be surprised by this incredible revelation, of course. It was never about the speed with Kimi. He has it. If he wants it. The question is, too stinkin’ rich already?

Felipe Massa – the Brazilian schoolboy won the most races in 2008, and ought to have won the championship. Better luck this year? Well, despite his pinball wizard hands, I can’t help but view him as a bridesmaid.

BMW:

Robert Kubica – wonky Polish guy rips. I am preparing to be afraid. If the BMW is up to the job, the Pole will pole. Champion material.

Nick Heidfeld – management lacks guts. Nick is back, and we are all bored. While Nick would be king in any other series, in F1 he will never win a race. But here’s to last chances and trying hard!

Renault:

Fernando Alonso – the Renault is far better this year, and the smell of chorizo will haunt us again. Fernando will win many races, and no one outside of Spain will enjoy it. But you have to give it up to Fernando – he is still disgustingly good, one of the best.

Nelson Piquet Jnr – why don’t they hire his dad instead? He was a blast.

McLaren:

Lewis Hamilton – the graces of the gods granted him the 2008 championship. So what. 2008 is so last year. The honeymoon is over. The car is shit + Lewis is not = England weeps. Talented in a good car, frustrated in a bad one, this year will be full of embarrassing mistakes.

Heikki Kovalainen – no matter from where you look at it, Heikki has got to lay down some law this season. Because if he doesn’t, he will find himself in touring cars soon. However, I believe in Heikki. He can pick up the car and carry it, and he will do it better than his teammate in 2009.

Brawn GP:

Jenson Button – we all want Jenson to come back from the dark side. Judging by the preseason speed of the old Honda, he ought to win half the races this season. But do you think we’re fools? Would Honda sell the team if the car was a second quicker than everyone else’s? Nevertheless, I will keep an eye on the Jensen. In any case, seems safe to say that Brawn GP will start stronger than they will finish. No brain, just brawn? Or?

Rubens Barrichello – what? Where is Bruno? Rubens must have done 3478 GPs by now? Surely this must be another Rubens Barrichello?

Red Bull Racing:

Sebastian Vettel – ah, the new Stefan Bellof. I like Vettel; he’s got spunk, and he’s not afraid to use it. He was a star of the future two years ago. He still is. I would like to order another victory, please. Maybe then BMW management will come to their senses.

Mark Webber – put another shrimp on the barbie. My patience is up. Webber’s curve is going down, and I’ve never yet seen a driver deflect near-inevitable descent. Life is cyclical, including financial crisis, global warming, and Mark Webber.

Toyota:

Jarno Trulli – if BMW management is on the wimpy side, Toyota is cooked spaghetti. Why do they spend money on Trulli? Bloody Corolla! He can never deliver anything else than a good day in a blue moon, and both you and me and the guy who just drove past your house in his burgundy Avensis know it.

Timo Glock – standing on the fence, swaying, but I just can’t make up my mind. Glock can be decent, but Vettel definitely carries a bigger Glock. It is a terrible insult to be called decent, but I can not muster more. Decent-decent-decent.

Williams:

Nico Rosberg – the mighty Williams, finest in F1, quintessential, epitome. Oh, those days are long gone. We all want them back, but we dare not wish for such much-much. You gotta ask yourself, is Nico wasting his career at Williams? Let us hope not. Let us pray for a couple of breakthrough performances.

Kazuki Nakajima – I like Japanese drivers. Nobody locks up like they do.

Toro Rosso:

Sebastian Buemi – now, here is a team that understands the value of inexperience, if you know what I mean. Speed is the holy grail, and nothing else matters. Keep your eyes peeled, as Buemi is poised to do something spectacular, à la Vettel in Monza 08. You can barely believe he is Swiss.

Sebastian Bourdais – baguette and brie, to my delight Seb snatched another year in F1. A French driver upholds an illusion of the flair and glamour old F1 bathed in. Besides, no one gesticulates like them. More importantly, Bourdais is underrated. Sadly, that’s often for a reason.

Force India:

Adrian Sutil – filling the grid is an important job. And on a good day, Force India can cause welcome distraction, probably when someone runs into them from behind as they try to lap them. Granted, Adrian is no punching bag, but 2009 still won’t have me shouting out his name like Rocky.

Giancarlo Fisichella – there are overtaking manouvers to be expected. Unfortunately, Fisi is the one being driven around, and it just might be around the outside. The inside works just as well, though.

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So, there. There, so. In the future you will realize that the 2009 season is history. Chances are it went something like the above. Pay witness, for free! Sunday is no longer the slowest day of the week – the F1 circus is coming to town!

more than quantum

We went to see the new Bond movie last weekend, in Tallinn. Kapow! Ka-fucking-pow! I’m happy to report that Casino Royale was no stroke of fluke. Welcome back, Mr Bond. “I never left”, he said…

quantum.jpg

He did, though. He left when Sean Connery lost his hair.

George was American. Roger was funny when I was twelve. Timothy was a bit of a bore. Pierce was the worst of them all. Welcome back indeed, Mr Bond. I’ve been expecting you a lot longer than Gert Fröbe.

Quantum Of Solace is the first true sequel of the series, spinning the story of Casino Royale into the beyond. As so often is the case with sequels, it does not quite live up to the prequel. No, not quite. But it throws a damned hard punch, nonetheless. Perhaps Bond is turning Bourne, but so be it. 007 sure can scrap these days – I go OUCH and hold my ribs just watching him fight for his life, for Queen and country and the hot babe he loved and lost. Bond is one bitter chap, and that’s exactly why and how we like him; suffering, like the rest of us…

Apart from the flaming inferno at the end, Quantum Of Solace is great. It teeters on the edge of too much boom, but, just like the Aston Martin, falls back onto its wheels.
Finally, there is something incredibly evil and mysterious out there to fight against. Remember old syndicate Spectre? So do I, fondly. Now we have Quantum. And Bond has a raison d’être. I don’t know about you, but I can barely wait to see who the next Blofeld is! They better introduce him from the back, sitting in an egg chair, whispering despotic orders… from his headquarters at Wall Street. Let’s hope he is a corporate crime lord, a hedge fund manager. And that Bond lays him to wild waste in at least the five following movies.

Hark hark. For a moment there I remembered Roger’s ridiculous karate chops. What a juxta! Man, he couldn’t get out of a wet paper bag. New 007 is the spy who we love.

brazilian medallion

It was still summer when I last watched a whole Grand Prix. Since then, I’ve been in continuous negotiation with Father Time, but he drives a really hard bargain, and I’ve had to pay and pay.

Anyway, my withdrawal coincided with the inexplicable slump of Kimi Räikkönen, and suffering was as such minimized. Still, to go from hero to zero like Kimi did will certainly always remain a subject rife for conspiracy theories. I will offer mine here: it’s the car, stupid.

Ah, but shrug. It was the greatest season that never was. And what happened to Heikki Kovalainen? Well, it’s still the car, stupid. Both teams in question play favorites, and neither happen to play my way. Finland has played second fiddle for most of the season, and I for one hate that instrument. Have you ever heard a second fiddle? It is the most pathetic, apologetic, and phlegmatic sound you can imagine. Tui tui tui.

Never mind the fiddle; it is time to blow the trombone. So, bronze goes to Kimi. Bronze is the color of polished crap, no need to dwell. Silver, then. And that goes to… it is raining in Interlagos, again… oh my GAWD! Ohmigawd! Oh-My-Gawd! I started writing before the race was over, and that is a surefire way to create excitement. Excitement? Shit, I nearly swallowed my tongue!!! Glbubb!!!

Silver went to Lewis Hamilton. For two seconds. Before he got luckier than no man ever, and somehow managed to save his ass in the last turn by doing nothing of value except getting lucky. Can you believe that the whole championship came down to the last turn in the last Grand Prix of the season? Who let Stallone write the script?

The real silver goes to Felipe Massa. He did celebrate gold for two seconds, which must have felt pretty wonderful while it lasted. From the highest high to the lowest low, “jabadabadooooo… ooooooh noooooooo!” In Portuguese, of course.

Timo Glock, Timo Timo Glock, letting Hamilton get by to fifth in the last turn. You didn’t have to, Timo? Certainly you didn’t have to slow down that much? Suspicious minds… I can’t help but wonder if McLaren managed to get radio contact with Timo… if they did, what do you think they said to him? “Timo, ten million dollars if you go wide. Do it. Now!

Fine. I’m not taking it particularly hard. When you want neither contender to win, and one of them has to win, it is more a case of whatever than absolutely. Besides, I prefer Toro Rosso. I will probably regret this someday, but to me, Sebastian Vettel is the true champ of 2008.

The year is over. Go home. Get out of here. What are you still waiting for? Clearly, the luckiest man in the world won. You want to argue about luck with me? You really want to do that? Ok. I’ll prove to you that Lewis Hamilton is way luckier than anyone else: Pussycat Dolls’ Nicole Scherzinger.

I rest my case.

on bleeding hands and knees in front of my master

He had no choice, he was born like this, with a golden voice – and blessed be his word, because it is without equal. Bob Dylan may polish his shoes; I refer to the towering force of majestic melancholy, the one, the only, the lonely Leonard Cohen, poet, preacher, river and mountain of true beauty.

Long ago I gave up hope of ever setting eyes and ears and all my adoration upon Leonard Cohen. When I gave up grunge and long hair for something a bit more intellectual, and contextual [as in relation to life], Master Cohen was already lost in monastery limbo, where contemplation of existence turns to mere, bare existence.
I found peace in his albums, which I gathered like a hamster, one by one, until I had all and treasured them alike. Together with Jack Kerouac, he taught me how to write. No better teachers around; blame the student.
Jack died before I was born. And Master Cohen grew older and further and further away from me, 74, the age of brandy and death. Still, I kept on carrying a little torch of hope in my chest – sometimes for no other reason than to keep me warm. Standing in the presence of a performance, I was forced to concede, was probably another one of the dreams that stay and only stay in the sphere of twilight.

Master_Cohen.jpg

But! Come Friday night! Look, tickets, crumpled by concentration alone! I dragged my Madli along to bear witness to what turned out to be the best concert of my life, of our lives. And while I have been accused of using superlatives like you get three for the price of two, I mean what I say; t’was the best concert of my life.

I’m still reeling from the experience. There were times when I was afraid to close my eyes, there were times when I could not help but close my eyes, there were times and they were all times where I was in awe, such was the power of the tower of songs of love and death and life and longing and hallelujah, it goes like this, the fourth, the fifth, the minor fall, the major lift.

Hallelujah is possibly the greatest song ever written. Strike possibly. Immediately. It is so. And I was there, to mouth the whole song in mute, never to utter a sound, because I dared not soil it. I mouthed all the other songs, too. By heart finally reaches accuracy in statement, so to silently speak.

I better get up from the position of worship now, and steer into bed. The night is dark and the morning won’t be. Besides, if it wasn’t, and if it was, there is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.

spa, so spa

Proof. F1 is not a sheik’s sandbox. The sport needs to be where the passion is. And the racing will come to us all – like today! Like tadaa!

Sure, Kimi threw it away. I don’t care. It was a glorious and stubborn fight to the end, and may the best man lose. Sometimes bitter defeat tastes nearly as good as victory champagne.

Of course, there is no way you can cut a corner to get a better drive out of it in order to be able to pass your competitor in the next one. In other words, you are not allowed gain from cutting corners – hence righteous Hamilton penalty. But it changes little; the championship is still going the way of Hamilton or Massa.

Normally, I’d have given up the season by now. But we saw fire in Kimi today, and as long as it burns, I’m going to keep my hands warm. Maybe, just maybe. Well, it’s a slim just and a long maybe. Still, let me add those three dots to it, those three little black smudges that stand for open book and blank pages…

tramps like us, baby we were born to run

I had waited half a year for this – but on some other mysteriously spiritual level it felt as though I had waited a lifetime. Friday night was the day Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band came to town. Did I ever sing along, did I ever!

Before I tell you more, this is what I proclaimed afterwards: “My life is thus complete.”

It’s one of those lines you use when you’re drunk on endorphin, feeling feverish from rock and buzzing from the happening, reeling from the dealing, hovering and heaving, dreaming, dreaming, of. Of.
So it was pretty good, in other words. In fact, the event was too precious to experience alone, which is why I dragged along my reference, Madli.

The Boss gave it his ALL for more than three hours straight, and had us eating out of his hand the whole time. I have never seen a longer concert. Other bands can be loud for no more than two hours. But then again the Boss is called the Boss for a reason. We got our money’s worth, and a mountain of gold to boot, at the Olympic Stadium in Helsinki. Even the post-concert parking ticket waiting neatly stashed beneath the windscreen wiper of my car seemed like a damn good deal to me.

Boss_resize.jpg

All praise and utter adoration, eh? Yes, mostly. But when you have waited a lifetime for something, you sort of build up no mean expectations, the worst kind of greed; it knows no bounds. And when all was said and done, I wanted God but got angels.

I wanted, I wanted. When the E Street Band cranked out No Surrender, and Bruce bellowed out that line, that big line, “well, we busted out of class, had to get away from those fools“, I wanted to feel the feel to end all feel. I wanted every strand of hair on my body to take off from their follicles, I wanted my heart on gasoline fire, I wanted inside vision and outside body.
I did not happen. It was just really really great. But when you for nearly ever have imagined that No Surrender was code for your own life, that it was written for you and no one else, then you suddenly feel a little empty, was that it? Well, it was.

So be it. And let it be. Because Friday night still went down into my bank of memory as the highest of carat. At times I could barely believe it was the Boss down there, the real Boss, not some sort of clever 3-D illusion of song and dance. I had to bite my knuckles in between throwing them up in the air.

Union cards, sawmills, refineries. Thunder roads, dirty streets, sad hometowns. And a big ol’ Buick. Broken down and beat, but still breathing hard through all that dust. It is ugly, yet beautiful, but why? Precisely, I think, because of the painful poignancy of reality; that’s what makes tramps like me hop into the suicide machine and drive all night towards the dream, always the dream, always away… and always to.

when it rains

What happened? In qualifying, Heikki kicked ass like ass was a leathershaped inflated oval ball. Add Kimi on third, and everything was set for the Finnish Championship Series come Sunday at the second to last-ever Silverstone.
But when it rains. When it rains, it pours, and princes turn to frogs.

Reluctantly, very reluctantly, I must hand it to that guy Anthony Hamilton – or whoever it is that drives the other McLaren. He was so good it was disgusting. When everyone else was having fun making grass or gravel angels, Hamilton kept clocking his card in timely fashion, going for – and easily earning – the golden plaque of Employee Of The Month.
Yet, Kimi drove him down, all the way down, and they pitted like lovers do, but then Ferrari forgot to change those round rubber things… which I can only compare to turning up at work and noticing you forgot to wear clothes. Oh, sure, they thought it would stop raining… stop raining, in England? Come on, Ferrari. Watch the race on TV next time – the airwaves were full with “rain in five minutes“. If not, then at least fire your weather man. Juha Föhr, is it?

This changes nothing, of course. Last Sunday, there was only one good driver on the course, and it was black Jesus. Everyone else was a bag of crap. But among all those bags of crap, Felipe Massa stunk the worst. I have never ever seen anyone spin so much in a race before! He was rotating more than accelerating, and that is some merry-go-around-round! Wooee! Tivoli! Or carnival, as they say in Brazil…

Speaking of Brazil, Barrichello put on a pretty nice show. To me, sofa-set and screaming out advice, it was agonizingly über-obvious extreme wets were the way to go. When you can go ten seconds – in a Honda, no less! – faster than anyone else, it takes only three laps to gain the time you lose pitting. But until one of the F1 teams hire me as the All-Seeing Oracle, all my advice will be lost in space, and the reign of the blind hen will continue.

But when the spray had… oh, England, remember… when the spray still hung heavily in the air, points were added – or substracted, depending on your mood – three drivers stood atop the tree. The Ham, Kimi, and Massa. They may not weigh much, but this is one branch that will break – and what a treat it will be to see two of them fall.

My prediction? Well, it’s not so much of a prediction, you know; Kimi will be the one to yell “TIMBER!