Fate could be of help by giving him a gentle push down a slippery sidewalk.

How does one end up on a train at eight in the morning on a Sunday? It can only be the shriek of duty. The incoherent rambles of the people I still for somehow even reach out to here. I tried; I hugged all the sick and crippled between the stadium and the railway station, but nothing life threatening unfortunately clung on.

I wonder what they’ll have me do today. Price tags don’t straighten themselves, although they’ve certainly had the encouragement to do so. Yesterday I saw an opportunity for branching out in a new area of business, though. The Zamboni-man looked old, frail even. He can’t stick around forever, he might retire soon. I’m gunning for his position. Fate could be of help by giving him a gentle push down a slippery sidewalk. I’ve seen him going, it doesn’t look like sometime I couldn’t pull off with an ice proofed bike (I don’t have a driver’s licence). Ecologically valid. Sustainable. I bet I can also squeeze logistics in there somewhere and then I would have got my work placement in the pocket. School will be proud.

Shit-JYP.

If there’s one bunch of people I particularly hate with a passion, it’s that hockey team from Jyväskylä.

What they lack in actual skill, they make up for in bodymass and Neanderthal-tendencies. It’s a miracle they make it in and out of the bus each time, it’s a miracle they achieve forward motion at all. What a bunch of nitwits. ‘If you ram into something else long enough, no doubt it’ll collapse into a pile!’ seems a fitting team motto. I wonder how they’re allowed out to roam the streets at all.

Last summer at the airport there was a lonely jyp-bag left behind. I don’ know whose it was but I sincerely hope the bunch abandoned his ass and then left for Siberia. I sincerely hope the plane was made out of Chinese ducttape. Looks like the real deal but performs a helluvalot differently. Nice thought that your seat can be used as a flotation device but I doubt it would support their over-sized waterheads that smell like dead fish. I hope it was Nolan Wankman’s bag. Wankman can now be seen staggering around Vantaa like a bum. A bum with a JYP bag; you truly deserve each other.

In hindsight, they should have checked that bag thoroughly, you never know what crap it could contain. People who smash their heads smack-boom into their own sticks do not deserve to tell the tale, yet last Spring this one particular delinquent managed to skate onward to do exactly so. The only appropriate way for these idiots to leave a stadium is in bodybags.

It’s too bad it’s so difficult to translate the ‘Ziekte van Hedel’ into English cause it would truly fit the mood. It’s refreshing to swear with diseases.

Maybe because they want to smuggle baijiu Caribbean style, but methinks not.

2016 was a pile of pish for most of us, and then some.

We lost many a brilliant and talented soul. Of the top of my head: Alan Rickman, David Bowie, Sharon Stone, Prince, Sonia Rykiel, Franca Sozzani, Carrie Fisher, Bill Cunningham, Johan Kruijff, George Michael, and the list goes on for a couple of pages (Lenoard Cohen will be missed by many but I have bad memories to his songs due to an unfortunate hitchhiking trip through Norway). The rest got injured and cannot play and be epic for the remainder of the hockeyseason.

Speaking of which –my team sucks. No other way around it. Silver-lining speak such as ‘two steps forward, one step back’ does not cut the mustard. In fact, we’ve taken the mustard and I don’t know where else to go with this sentence other than that everything sucks, mustard spilled all over the ice, and it’s a big mess and all I can think of is getting a stack of big, fluffy cardigans from Fida for those cheerleaders cos they must be freezing cold!

The other remedy would be making hotpot for the whole bunch, with some nice extra Sichuan peppers for the coach. I’m sure Larry David would have something nice to say in defense of the bald gentleman but I sure have not. If you don’t have anything nice to say… hotpot it is. The great equalizer. Hotpot with Baijiu, which was the great equalizer amongst Chinese poets – most of whom drunk themselves to bottoms of many a lake and river.

Meanwhile, nitwits are thriving. Spina still happily scooping spinaattispoothies there where the sun daren’t shine. Americans once more got over competitive after that whole Brexit pile of shite –there can only be one dumbest of them all- and decided to hire themselves a cauliflower for leader (‘MURICA!). Numbnuts think somehow it’s now possible to grab a hold of a truck and bluntly start plowing through crowds of people. Wilders somehow is still on the scene – and people are somehow still listening to his incoherent rants about nothing. That hairdye must have gone through his brain by now. Nazi-zombies from below the sea. I’ll start on the script right away. The most horrifying things go on and on all around us, and all we care about is thingie not winning some singing show, a bunch of other dumbasses doing a bunch of other things, some other idiot got Jalapenos on his pizza even though he didn’t want to and while we’re all reminiscing on their lavish adventures, China has pumped a range of islands out of the sea. Maybe because they want to smuggle baijiu Caribbean style, but methinks not.

What, then, about the next year. Somehow January 1st is a milestone for many. Everything will be magically different. We’ll battle hunger. We’ll be nicer, and buy less crap. We’ll go to the gym (hyii). If only there was such a thing as a magical-slate-clean-wipe-make-doer. January 1st many pretend that there is, and for a week they manage to behave themselves moderately, only to continue being a sloppy dumbass for the remaining 14 months of the year.

Did you know that Noam Chomsky reads 6 newspapers + 80 articles a day? Did you know that John Galliano used to run stretches next to the Seine every day in order to get inspired? How about Bill Cunningham, who lived decades in a stamp sized apartment in Carnegie Hall, walls lined with filing cabinets collecting each and every photography he ever took, riding a bike every day, exclaiming to the real estate lady who showed him replacement houses cos Carnegie hall was to house telemarketers in office cibucles exclusively: ‘I don’t need a clothes closet, and who needs a kitchen and a bathroom!?’ Speaking of Andrew Carnegie – did you know he insisted on pumping his excess profits back into society by supporting the arts and whatnot – because thought that to be his duty?

Without telling you what to do or what not to do for your new year’s resolution (they can work. Mine worked throughout the year as I made it a very small sacrifice – always a smart trick), let’s all be inspired by Chomsky, by Bill Cunningham, by Sharon Stone whose musical career blossomed by the time she as well in her forties. Let’s start reading more stuff (it’s fun. Books are friends!) and question what we’ve read at the pub or somewhere. Let’s start running; not at one of those treadmill monstrosities at those gym places (yuk), but properly outside. Bonus if you go in winter. Be careful not to break your hand. And why not keep trying to do that one thing, the thing that everyone says we have to let go cos a) we suck at it b) we’re too old for or c) we have no time/place for.

Ps.:

Grace Coddington – if you’re reading this, please be safe. Stay put with lots of blankets and tea and whatever it is you need to stay alive. We need! We need you to thrive for many years to come!

 

p.p.s: the resolution I’m starting today is learning how to properly finish a piece cos that I still don’t know how to do.

We bantered about swamps and hockey merrily.

I have switched to wine recently. My waistbands should be grateful, as should my inner plumbing because of the anti-oxidants and whatnot. Oakiness. Palettes. Either way, red wine is what’s on the desk, the coffee table, in the fridge and at the pub. yes, I was as surprised as you are to find out that the local sports bar serves wine without blinking or spilling.

Even though the apple of my eye and definitely my better looking half has started calling me a ‘wino’, I feel very zen, balanced, and above all: a grownup. Everything becomes a little more sophisticated when you’re waltzing a glass of shimmering red in your hand. When procrastinating at your desk whilst sipping from an elegant glass on a long leg, you’re not just being lazy, nay, you’re simply pondering!

Yesterday I chose to ponder at the pub as I had a long day of redecorating the shop and it was matsipäivä (they’re at the other edge of the country this week). I staggered to the pub through the sludge (snow has started to melt, so simply walking is impossible. You have no choice but to stagger) after being absent for a while, cos they foodpoisoned my eye-apple. Also their service stinks, the beer is overpriced and when asking for a mug of tea you get a mug the size of my ass, filled half. Not good. Food poisoning is easily taken care of by simply, bluntly, dining elsewhere (hesburger), trying out a new beverage however looked like a gamble. I got quite pleasantly surprised.

A glass of house-liquid turned out ok, and there’s an even bigger upside to sipping wine than I ever realized. When you’re sitting, sipping, waltzing, pondering, looking sophisticated altogether, gulping the whole load at once would negate the pondering and the altogether sophisticated looking. One must stagger, and take one’s time. This adds even more to the grownup-ness, as staggering reeks of patience and washing down liquids glass after glass is something for silly little kittens.

It’s a wonderful thing, staggering just the one glass. Getting stink-eyed from behind the bar. Making it through two periods + breaks of a hockey match with just the one glass. Then, halfway through the second period, something happened. I got served a second glass. The second glass was way fuller then the first one, too. Folks, this never happens to me, it certainly never happened with beer. It turns out the wine was a gift from a set of gentlemen watching the other game.

I headed over there to express my gratitude, as ladies (and grownups) must, and had a lovely conversation (the match went down the drain, unfortunately). The fellas hauled all the way from Oulu (The Others) and were avid kärpät (rodents) fans. Their team was losing which unsurprisingly made me feel slightly better about my team also biting the dust (how they managed to go from 3-2 to 5-2 in mere minutes I’ll never understand. Black magic. Dark matter. Stephen Hawking was called in and is still pondering).

We bantered about swamps and hockey merrily. Apparently Oulu is the greatest biking-city in Finland; this gentleman certainly put a lot of energy in convincing me that I should hop over with my wheels and not just take his word for it. I happen to know that Lalaland is by far the most bike-friendly town I have ever encountered in this great nation, but I let this poor fellow have his moment.

How great it is to banter maters of life and death, in a pub, with a glass of wine at hand and civilized company. How great having a brain, which made the very sound decision to take the MTR to work today. How marvelous this thing called hockey. And how astonishing, my new liquid of choice.

Tall, dark and handsome – as the rum, he is now gone.

Today ended on a somewhat sad note for me. I want to curl into a pile of sadness and cry with long, loud HUUHUUHUUHUUHUUHUUHUUHUUUUU-noises, like a 5 year old whose bike has been taken to Germany for no goddamn good reason. I mean no disrespect for my eastern neighbors. They’re good people. Perhaps should not have made the bike joke as my kind takes those matters rather seriously, and before you know it they’ll be at the border with pitchforks, tomatoes and whatnot.

Anyways.

I read something tonight. It shook me to the very core. It almost made my eyes bleed. It made me sad. I ran through the house like a headless chicken before I realized there were two more minutes to make it to the supermarket to get a beverage. Of course I have the stamina of a chainsmoker ( I might as well start…), despite biking to work every day, but still I reached the fridge just in time. A small, futile victory. Allow me to elaborate.

The kamikaze-king of hockey minded Finland has flown the coop. The beer is gone and the rum, the rum is gone. The one and only source of unlimited inspiration for many a school paper has turned off the sauna to find his luck elsewhere. Germany has just become a little more awesomer-er. Tall, dark and handsome – as the rum, he is now gone.

Hockey  (and rabid fangirl behavior) is something new for me. My affiliation with sports is that I dislike it. When something comes flying at my face, I duck (right?). Then  along came this magical troupe from Finland. They played something called ice-hockey. My affiliation with this thing was that I had heard of it. According to my brother it was the reason why the Dutch Olympic team was so small.

However, these folks played sports like I had never seen it before. There were shirts in black and yellow. There was passion and fire. There was a ruggedness – in this sport one guys can bash into another guy, and they both remain standing. There is no room for divas on the ice. Where teeth get knocked out and limbs smashed asunder, egos seemed to remain unbruised. This one dude always did a fantastic job at the smashing around.

The name is Sami Venäläinen and the amount of games he played within this great nation is over eight hundred. In China the number ‘8’ is considered to be the luckiest of numbers, and perhaps also here. The man has been a fixture on the Finnish hockey scene and maybe it’s about damn time his epicness is being rewarded elsewhere. It makes me, however, sad. A marvel of human engineering, he always managed to be everywhere. Zooming from one far end to the other he’d leave some poor bugger at the receiving end of his charge a shivering mess. He’d score  and co-score the most beautiful goals last season -the ones I mime (still) until exhausted.

It’s the end of a era. Tall, dark and handsome – as the rum, he is now gone. Sadness, all around. He will be missed, this beacon of handesomeness and badassery. The ice will be a little less epic on this side of the Baltics. I’ll keep my eye out for another kamikaze but am doubtful I’ll find it. Little aspiring hockey dudes can look up to this man for guidance.

edit: the ‘legend vs. fixture’  debate will open up soon. 

For some reason this amazing sports event never took off below sea-level.

From a report for a course at school. I somehow managed to make this chapter on hockey a logical and appropriate introduction for a chapter on teamwork:

 Something about hockey.

Never have I ever been into sport, yet here we are. Dismembering the couch, yelling at the TV, as if they could hear me. My throat hurts, and so does my brain. They’re doing it again. Exactly now when it really matters, because playoff season is upon us. I made a pact with the devil a while back where, either they win on my birthday, or I am no turning a year older. The perfect pact! Except from the fact that they may not even be in the running anymore by the time it’s my turn to blow out the candles.

That’s boring! Screw the devil! Much more interesting is it to retrace all the steps I took from a bona fide sportophobe to a swearing, poutine-whipping, couch-throwing, beer-flinging, coffee table-hurling hockey fanatic.

The Netherlands are / Holland is (they both mean the same country, and it really does not matter how you call it – except for people living in the low-lands. The argument of where Holland stops and the Netherlands begin is very much alive. The line is only in our heads. Just how the Ural Mountains in Russia are not so much an actual chain of granite teeth but made up for the sake of a division between Europe and Asia on a map) a hockey-vacuum. For some reason this amazing sports event never took off below sea-level. We have the high-speed skating, which we do super well, and we have the field hockey, which we also do super well, but no-one ever thought to put their hands together, big-bang style.

We would watch high speed skating as a family, huddled together on the couch or around the dinner table (skating was one of the only events we’d watch during supper), watching Dutch people for once being really awesome in something. I’d admire the Dutch skating fans, who are insanely outgoing, dress head-to-toe in the most outrageous orange outfits, and then go on cheering on everybody. As I grew up I fell disinterested with the sport- bored even (have you ever watched through the men’s 10 kilometres? Half an hour a set! Nightmare! You just sit there and watch them go round and round and round…). It wasn’t for me anymore.

Field hockey was that thing I could do moderately well –ish in High school gym class. This sport however is something only practiced in sort of posh neighbourhoods, and does therefore deserve to be made fun of. Football, although insanely popular in my country, does not interest me one tiny bit.

Something about this crazy sport makes me jump up with excitement, and curl up in a big bawling ball of sadness other times. I care. Deeply, passionately, loudly. I tend to care very loudly at the TV. I don’t know why. I don’t feel at all inspired to live a healthier life style, or work out more. Never have I ever set foot in a gym, and I never will; I just don’t think it’s normal. The game itself is fun; I love the speed and the energy. There is no room for big egos on the ice.

Of course, watching dudes ram into each other either on the telly or in real life makes for a great evening, but there is something more to this phenomenon. In Dutch, the word is ‘clubliefde’. I only heard that today in a talk with a poet called Jules Deelder. Deelder is one of those people who seems infinitely intertwined with his city (Rotterdam). He tends to be a bit outspoken, and only recently I have been searching for his material.

He is a passionate supporter of a smaller football club from Rotterdam (Sparta), the oldest in the country. I do not care much for football, but the way Deelder passionately cares about his club speaks to me. This passion goes beyond money, or transfers, or performance. It is a sense of belonging to a tribe, a devoted group of people who have but one thing in common: a few colours, a few songs, and a team.

In my case, it is dudes in yellow and black from a town called Lappeenranta, where, incidentally, my boyfriend is from. We have spent a few months there, and for some reason the colours of the local hockey team really managed to stick with me.

‘Clubliefde’ is about this intense sense of belonging. The supporting of something greater than all of us. And when the game is over, and the banners put away, we adjourn wherever it is we adjourn to, the colours of our team we carry onward around our neck, and in our hearts.