Stockholm, Annexet, 6th November 2015 (Operation Manchester, Part 5)

Getting there

The last show of my mini-tour on this European tour was taking place in Stockholm. As you might know I’m from Finland and Stockholm isn’t that far away, so this show was obviously the first one I booked in the summer.  Even though I have been in Stocholm many times before, I still was more nervous getting there than I was when going to Manchester where I had never been before. I needed to take a couple of deep breathes before I could go.

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The story goes like this.

I was taking a bus to Helsinki (about 5 hours journey, and when sitting there, watching the landscapes I found it very amusing that in that time I would have been in London already if travelling by plane), and from Helsinki I had booked a boat cruise for myself. I need to explain this. It’s very, very common for people from Finland to go to Stockholm by boat, it’s kind of a, uhh… how to say it… a permission to get drunk -kind of thing. I, myself, had thought that who knows, I might find myself in the night club.  The travel from Helsinki to Stockholm takes the whole night after all, and the boat was arriving to Stockholm at 10 am on the next day.

The nervous part started getting greater when the bus arrived to Helsinki and I suddenly realized that I didn’t have absolutely no clue how to get to the harbor, and none of the streets or buildings seemed any familiar to me. Also, I was worrying about the boat cruise -thing, because it had been so long since I last time was on a boat, that I didn’t know what to expect anyways. I was worrying about asking someone, for it was Helsinki, not London. Do I make any sense? Ha. Probably not.

Despite of all my worries I managed to get to the boat in time, with the help of nice people. I had a dinner in a boat restaurant and did some shopping in the shops. Then I got back to my tiny cabin and felt totally exhausted, and surprising myself decided to kick my boots off and go to bed. No nightclubbing for me, then.

One of the reasons for my anxiety was that, well, I don’t actually enjoy that much travelling by boat. Or, it’s fine as long as the boat goes rather straight. On my way to Stockholm it was all good, and I was thinking that I should do that soon again, maybe with my family, because it was nice. (On my way back to Helsinki it wasn’t fine. It was the worst journey I have ever had in a boat. The boat was rocking like crazy, not kidding. I couldn’t sleep, I only laid on my bed and planned how to get out when the boat sinks. I remembered right there and then why it had take so long since my last boat cruise, ha! Luckily I had my Gavin with me, and when his voice flowed from my earphones it made it all almost bearable. Slept perhaps almost 3 hours that night. Oh, well, what wouldn’t I do for my G?)

In Stockholm I was a bit cautious still. You know, Finland has two official languages: Finnish and Swedish, and it’s kind of expected us all to be able to speak both of them. Well, I can’t. I used to be able to speak Swedish rather fluently like 15 years ago, but since then I have never used it, so I couldn’t remember but the only obvious words, and I decided to manage with English only.

I did find my hotel, even though the subway-system in Stockholm is way more complicated than in London. I had absolutely no clue where should I be going, there weren’t any sign posts that I could have noticed that would have been useful to me. But, I managed. And when finding my hotel I was really amused. The hotel was located in the same building complex than the venue. So, that was one thing that made me happy.

Oh… and when getting there I spotted this rather familiar looking bus and it made me smile like an idiot.

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Getting ready

Before the Manchester show I had planned what to say to Gavin in the M&G. This time I had not. And this made me feel a bit nervous, too. After the Manchester M&G I had actually thought that now I have nothing to say him anymore (yeah, right?), and felt a short moment terrified because of the second M&G. But after the concert I so knew what I wanted to say. Something about how brilliantly the songs and the whole set list and the whole acoustic tour was fitting in my situation, my needs, my love… How greatly I had been touched in the two previous shows. I wanted to ask him also if he had read what I had written to him. These were my vague thoughts in the hotel.

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I also amused myself wondering that could it be possible in any way, that Gavin could remember me. I reasoned that there might be a tiny chance of that, because it wasn’t so long ago I met him previously, but I still was pretty sure he wouldn’t. Because, I wouldn’t, you know. So many new faces, how could one remember just one of them?

I tried to decide what to wear and struggled trying to make my hair to obey. I imagined that my reflection in the mirror was Gavin and I was trying to practise my speech for him.

Oh, but I had yet another gift for him. In the London concert he told us that the mouth spray he is using ‘as a motor oil for the throat’ has changed its formula and it now tastes like asparagus. This encouraged me to buy him a small box of Finnish Sisu-candies that are said to be ‘especially good for singers’ – and I can assure you – their taste is very peculiar, indeed.

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Getting Gavin

Then it was time to go. I went out from my hotel door and immediately I heard some Gavin’s music playing from a nearby pub, and that made me smile even more. I appreciated the gesture, a whole lot. I was happily surprised that there was no line to wait, but I could walk straight in and start feeling very nervous immediately. Ha.

I found the place I was supposed to wait for the M&G, and there I stood then. And waited. And watched all the peope pass me by and tried to figure out were they going to do M&G, or not. Nobody talked to each other, but only the ones they knew. And it was all done in Swedish, so I kinda didn’t want to participate, ha. What made me amused, again, was that plenty of people were buying popcorn. I was thinking ‘gosh, how disrespectful, this isn’t a movie, you know’, ha. But then again, Gavin can’t be everybody’s love of their lives, can him?

We were lead to an upper floor (no basement fun this time), and then we waited again. And how long that waiting was. I was almost disappointed but definitely surprised to realize that I was standing in the line like as the fifth or something person, and that I wouldn’t be able to watch Gavin as long as I would have wanted to. But on the other hand I was rather happy for it, because I still didn’t know what to say to him exactly and in that way I didn’t need to be freaked out that long.

Then, suddenly… there he was again. Smiling so damn widely and waving to us – to me, so it seemed. And I smiled back, like a complete idiot, but I just couldn’t help it.  There wasn’t much time to get more nervous, and actually I wasn’t that much. All I could think that there he is again, and how lovely it is to be able to see him again. And I was still kinda wondering would it be possible that he would remember me from Manchester.

The people in front of me went very fast, again, and then there was nobody between me and Gavin anymore. He smiled so damned gorgeously and his eyes were full of… sparks? I found this M&G to be more, uh, I don’t know how to put it. More personal? I guess it was just me getting kind of used to be talking again with him, to have some common ground. I don’t know.

He gave me his hand and said: “Hi, what’s your name?”
I was thinking ‘okay, so you don’t remember’, and I told him. Then things started to happen.

Gavin repeated my name, saying it pretty perfectly. And as a speaker of English it might be a bit tricky, for the first R should be pronounced a bit differently than in English. But Gavin here did a pretty damn good job. I was very impressed and probably repeated it myself, I’m not sure anymore. Ha. But Gavin kept saying it over and over again, and I got really confused and happy about it – and all the time he was holding my hand. And the look in his eyes… Good god, I would have forgotten my name right there and then if he wasn’t repeating it.

Finally he let go of my hand, and told me once more that his name is Gavin and ‘nice to meet you’.
“So good to see you again”, I replied.
“You were in London, weren’t you?” he asked.
Uhh, gosh, just what? I thought, but in the same time I thought that I just had given him a pretty good hint that I have seen him before.
“Well, yeah”, I said. “In Manchester and in London.
“Thank you for travelling, I really appreciate it”, he said and smiled.
“It’s my pleasure”, I said and was not really lying at all. Will you please stop smiling, I thought.
Then, with a somewhat mischievous gaze he said: “I think that your name is spelled…”
And then he told me how he thought it was written, and at that point the magic of that way too attractive man had done its worst (or best) and I would have agreed anything he said, haha. But I heard him saying the right letters (with 2 k’s and all), and so I agreed.
“Well, yeah, that’s correct. You have a great memory!” I managed to say.
“Thank you”, he said immediately.
(As a side note: I think it’s some kind of instinct of his to always, always reply immediately with thankyous when ever someone says something nice to him.)

He then wrote down my name, but it wasn’t actually perfectly right, but I now think that as a very precious treasure of mine, kind of, because it was all his doing, ha. Do I make any sense?

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I had this Sisu-packet in my hand and I needed to hand it over.
“I have something for you”, I said.
“You do? What is it?” he asked.
“Some Finnish stuff”, I said. “It is said to be good for the throat – and I can promise you that it tastes nothing like asparagus.”

Then it was time for the photo, again. It felt slightly different than before, I mean even better, ha. It felt like I was a bit closer to him than before, squeezed him a bit tighter, and longer it was absolutely necessary. Oops.

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After the photo Gavin kept thanking me for travelling and telling me how much he appreciates it. I wasn’t able to form anything sensible anymore, just smiled back. It seems that he was in so good mood and so, so, so charming on that evening, that it was impossible for me to fall once again for him, pretty damn deep.

Getting surprised (the show)

In this venue we had seats. I had mine in the second row this time, but for my surprise my seat was rather on the side, not anywhere near the center, so I got upset for a while. But okay, I was still in the second row.

This show was very surprising, indeed. The first surprise was that there was no ‘Belief’. I was waiting for it, but it never came on. That made me a bit sad, or wistful, for I so much love that song. It also seemed that the songs would have been in a different order than before.

I found it a bit uncomfortable that this concert was a seated one. Okay, my feet didn’t hurt, but it also kinda a bit flattened the feeling. And, the security guys were very efficient, they kept telling all the time people to sit down and go back to their seats. Also it felt different. I remember hearing Gavin say that he finds it interesting how different the audiences in different countries are. How differently they react, or show their love or their liking. And in a way I think I felt that, too. I felt like I was always cheering when others weren’t and the other way around.

When ‘Run Every Time’ started I was getting already excited, because it had seemed that Gavin would get off the stage during the song. He had done it in every show (if Manchester doesn’t count) and I had no doubts that he wouldn’t do it again. And so, when he moved towards the stage edge I felt my heart go wild. Then he did just what I expected him to do, climbed down, almost right in front of me. I was thinking about London show and my damned shyness that had hindered me from reaching his hand, and I decided that even how pathetic I would look, I would try to reach this time.

And I did. I surprised myself with actually doing it, and I was even a bit surprised when he grabbed my hand. He held it a very short moment, but even with that moment I found myself thinking (again): Oh, wow, how soft is your hand! And off he went. He kept strolling slowly through the crowd, and people were standing on their seats to be able to see what was happening. Some girls hugged him when he passed them by and I thought that I would never be that courageous. Ha.

He then climbed to the balcony-thing, and did his little surprise again. Gavin sang a part of the song without any mike, letting only his voice doing the thing. It was amazing.

You can see it from Instagram, just CLICK.

And, yet another surprise: Gavin duetted ‘Stealing’ with Sarah Dawn Finer. It was… brilliant.

Getting emotional

So, that was my last concert on this tour, and it made me wistful. Okay, sad. And it made me also a bit sad that as I wrote after the concert on Facebook or Twitter that I didn’t get the tribe vibe as usually. It was just me, a stranger, amongst the other strangers. I remember having this same strangely dull feeling in Amsterdam last year, and it was my last concert on that tour, so I guess that might have something to do with it, as well.

It had been so good, and I had enjoyed so freaking much, it was difficult just let go and go back to my everyday life. I was singing all over again: not ready to return and wake up, step out, cause I’m really getting used to be in this dream. And it was my exact mood. I didn’t want to go back, I didn’t want to forget how beautiful this experience had been. It had been like a dream to me. But the sad thing about dreams is that you need to wake up at some point.

I yet once more thanked the guys, and tried to capture it with some little words like these:

Thank you so much for this brilliant, amazing, gorgeous tour that made me feel so much, enjoy so much, cry so much. I’m honored to being able to share your passion with you. This is the reason why I love you guys. Missing you already. Come back soon!

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I wrote to my diary on my journey back to Helsinki (on the boat, not sleeping, at 3 am, remember?) that I would like so much to remember this always. How much I had enjoyed, how much loved, how much it was hurting to go back, and how beautiful it all was. And it made me think about life. I wrote next to those words that ‘this is life’, and it made me think.

Living a life is not just surviving from a day to another, just doing everything you have been doing before. Life is something so much greater, something that includes it all: the joy, the pain. Really living your life means that you’re willing to take it all, not trying to hide some parts of it from yourself just because you don’t like what you see, or it hurts you too much.

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And me, well I was pretty much out of my comfort zone for all of this mini-tour of mine. Our Gavin has been pushing me through, a tiny step at a time, making me do things that I now call actually ‘living’. He has set me free, and that I will always be grateful for.

 

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