The Odyssey – Two Gentlemen and a Pianobar

It was Saturday night. Friday night did not feed the hungry, and me and Kornelius soon realized we would have to re-group and attack the Heart of Saturday Night from a new angle. While I was shopping the most necessary, beer, toilet paper, chicken wings and bread, I had an epiphany. Tonight I would take my old friend to the pool hall.

I have never been to an American pool hall, but I imagine that the pool hall downtown is just like one. It’s a real hall, the light is harder than other pubs, and you feel like you’re excercizing. People aren’t overly drunk, but they aren’t sober either. At the time we got there, around eight or nine, I was already feeling dizzy, and could hardly get a straight shot. Kornelius wrapped up 2 out of 3 games and consequently won a private dance. That’s one thousand NOK.

We’d started off with three-four beers at my place. We had no idea as to what to do, but I had promised a stripper that we were going back to their joint the following day. That’s my problem. I have this honor thing which makes me keep my promises. Even though I promise stuff only when I’m so drunk that I don’t realize what I do. But I like people to trust me, and you do this by keeping your word. A promise is a promise regardless who you give it to. So I knew I would have to end up at the strip joint at one time or another, with or without Kornelius, but I wanted to see more nightlife than the few glances we’d had the night before.

Kornelius wanted to go to a pianobar, despite the prices. I wanted to play pool and that was our first objective.
When we got into the hall called Newman’s pub, we’d entered a domain of more or less professional pool players. It was that kind of people you’d expect go there every Saturday night. ‘Cause it’s just cheap enough and keeps your mind occupied. A guy with a professional billiard glove told me to change the cues. He was playing on his own table, alone, and I think the guy had brought in his own balls. Billiard balls. If he had, I reckoned he must be some kind of silent billiard champion, the strong and silent type with glasses, looking suspiciously like that suburban killer in 8mm starring Nicholas Cage. It turned out he was a twat.

We headed for Garage a hard-rock kind of place. I don’t like hard-rock when I’m drunk because it makes me frustrated and aggressive. And it’s really crap music. We got a fairly cheep Guinness draught there, though, and since we were so early they hadn’t closed the smokers’ tent yet. After a while the music got louder and heavier, and soon all you could hear was excellently stupid chords and drummers masturbating the kick drum. I didn’t even have to suggest our going. It was a one beer deal and we headed on, in search of a pianobar.

I knew there was one just down that street, and even though the rain had began to gain force we loyally kept our heads up for any sign of live music. I was baffled to realize that the piano bar wasn’t there after all. Had they moved it? It was more likely I had seen a pianobar somewhere and had mixed it up in my poor geography. There was no piano bar where I thought it would be. There was no bar at all. And both of us had to use the bathroom pretty bad.
The only thing in the vicinity was a bar I’m not going to name, but is a self-proclaimed gay bar.
I went to a gay bar just like that a while ago. It wasn’t fun.

Kornelius, the cunning bastard, ducked into the ladies’ john, while I insisted on being a man and went for the johns’ john. Insisting on being a man in a gay bar is not the smartest fucking thing that you do, but I’m not the smartest person around either. And I didn’t like the analyzing looks I got from two militant lesbians waiting for Kornelius to finish.
The men’s room had one booth and one pissoar. The pissoar was free first. What the fuck. I really had to go. So I did.
Ah, it was the yellow river of Styx, and it didn’t seem to have an end. The kind of moment any man would cherish. It’s like being in church and having a great revelation, but instead you’re in the bathroom pissing like a horse. It’s very intimate and dear. Then I felt something creepingly disturbing. There was a man standing right behind me, really right near fucking behind me, I could almost feel his breath in my neck. This was a gay bar. I had chosen the pissoar. Was there some unwritten rule that guys going to the pissoar wanted to be raped?

I shook off the uneasy experience when I realized the young fag only wanted to check out his looks in the mirror. Which is totally ok, gay or not gay, but please – let’s keep our distances. I don’t like to have male-like people so close around me when I’m holding my cock in my hand.
I met Kornelius outside and the door man stamped our hands. I told him that it was redundant, but he insisted, with what I believe was a wink on the side.

I knew there was other piano bars than the one that had just mysteriously vanished, and we headed for the inner city, closer to the docks. This is where young, blond girls date mafiosos with big cars and bling bling. But at this point the rain was pouring down like the biblical flood, and you could walk without hassle in the middle of what’s normally Norway’s most populated streets.
We got there. I think the place is called Showtime, and I had expected they would have live music, kind of cabaret thing going. It turned out to be just another strip joint. I swear I didn’t know about it before hand. They wanted to charge us 100 NOK each for going in, but we agreed that if we were going to the other brilliant stripjoint the same evening, paying twice would be overkill.

We fetched another beer at another hard-rock place.
This was a more brown joint, narrow, with all the action going on around the bar. I could count maybe five girls in the entire room, and none of them looked interested or interesting. While Kornelius tried to find a bathroom I sat there listening to Guns n’ Roses’ Mr. Brownstone and watched the rain pour down outside the window. Then Bon Jovi did Runaway. Four girls seeking refuge from the rain storm ran across the sea and into the locale, holding their tits, they had dressed in white, like little naughty angels. Runaways. I had another one of those blissful experiences. This was a good night.

Kornelius came back and we had a short sit-down, declaring our distaste of the place, and that we should be on our way. The rain had subsided just a little, so we could wander further into the heart of the night, two poet beggars with great expectations and good intentions. I blamed him for not going with that girl that we’d met outside the gay bar. She’d been smiling to him. It was my turn to need a bathroom and we dropped into a place looking like a museum.
There was blue neon lights under the steps leading up to a bar with green fluoroscent tubes, the walls were white and a part from the sofas going around all the walls, there was no furniture. And people looked like they really believed they were part of a movie or something. This is where it’ll happen, we’ll just have to sit down and wait.
Yes, you sit here and wait.
We were soon outta there, perplexed with the oddity of human consciousness and bad taste.

Then we saw it. It was an Irish bar.
The guy in the doorway recognized me from one of the cafés I write at, and he pulled us into the crowd. For the first time since my visit to Scotland, back when I was eighteen, I had a Strongbow beer. I had forgotten all about its cherry flavour and light substance. I was immediately content and talkative again. We found our way out to the smoking tent, where big parasols sheltered us from the falling rain, and we met one Irish guy and a really French guy de France. We started talking about music and playing instruments and all that, and while Kornelius was the world’s best guitarist, and I the best drummer and accordian player in the world, we all had to recognize the air guitar genius of our French friend. There is no describing the amount of feeling he put into it. Hysterical.

Norwegian people are boring. A fight in Norway goes like this:
– Oh yeah?
– Yeah!
– Oh yeah?
– Yeah!
– Well, fuck you then!
– Oh yeah?
– Yeah!
and people walk from the duel with no satisfaction. That is, it isn’t always like that, but especially west-side Oslonians are afraid to fight. I’ve been into stand offs with this guy who equated my street smart skills. We both had our hands on our keys, if you know what I mean. That’s serious. Could loose and eye or something. But fighting is stupid anyhow. My point is that Norwegians are inbred, frustrated and anti-social people who don’t really care about anything but themselves. So going out can be really depressing for an open-minded guy like myself. People are always judgmental. In Scandinavia you’re not supposed to be good at anything. You’re not supposed to stand out from the crowd, be talented or anything that makes you you especially. You don’t deserve it and we don’t like you. So it was a breath of fresh air to meet these kind foreigners who didn’t have anything against talking bullshit and having a good time for the sake of good times.

I got in conversation with a Lou Reed lookalike from Austria. He was so alike that he could’ve made a living out of it. He was very Austrian though, and as I recall the only depressed person I met the entire night. He was sick and insisted on unhappiness, and I think he wanted to discuss since it’d slipped my mind that I was a philosopher that hold the key to happiness. That was a bummer, but then the French guy came running in, screaming that they were starting again. What?

We went back in, with bartenders closing the smoking tent behind us, only to realize they had live Irish music playing. One violinist, a guitarist and a Norwegian percussionist Kornelius had seen before. I tell you it was brilliant. The entire bar moved closer into the narrow three man stage, and they had a last song for us to hear, very Irish.
You couldn’t stand still. I was clapping my hands and moving around till my arms hurt of fatigue. They were dancing folk dance down on the floor, and the French guy was jumping up and down in ecstacy, and everything was blended with the open joy of grown up people able to have a good laugh with like-minded peers. Brilliant!

It was their last tune, and they got a standing ovation from everyone in the crowd. I found Kornelius nearby and nodded to him that I was leaving. I gotta keep my promises. The doormen of my striptease showbar know me as the big spending idiot I am, so we got in without paying a dime at the door. I was picked up by the same girl I’d spoken to the night before, got her some wine and eased into the transition of night to late night. I think it was three am or something.
I really like this girl. She’s a hard working, intelligent and strong woman. I’ve met more respectable women at strip joints than I have anywhere else. But maybe I hang out at the wrong places. And maybe I’m a lowlife poet seeing the romantic side of everything. But I cannot help respecting someone that turned the coin when Fortune let them down, and continued to walk proudly headstrong. And of course she’s brilliantly beautiful.

I had another girl give Kornelius the private dance he’d won at the pool table, without him knowing anything. She’s studying volleyball and she’s got more muscles on that body than I will ever have on mine. And I knew she’d fall into Kornelius’ taste of women. While they were away I went out to have a cigarette and see whether I could find the Indian guy we’d met the night before.
He was a freak, talkin’ restlessly and kind of spitefully about how he couldn’t stand hanging out in stripjoints because he only wanted to masturbate. He used a lot of body language to get the message across, and we almost fell down laughing. I didn’t ask him because there’s only so much you want to engage small people into conversation, but if he couldn’t stand strippers, why were he down with the hookers?
Anyway, Friday night he asked me for a fifty note so he could have one last beer. Money don’t mean shit to me when I’m drunk, I spent five thousand in the course of an hour this Saturday, but still he’d promised me that I would get it back the day after. He was nowhere to be seen. A man who didn’t keep his words. Well, I hadn’t really expected to get that fifty back anyhow. I’d just like to see how he’d react. Sick bastard.

I got back up, talked some more with the girls and finished the chablis while most of the girls were leaving. It was late night, closing time. They had a piano standing near the changing room and Kornelius wanted to play. Fuck it, we took away the candle lights from it and he started playing his sonnets. The piano was so out of tune it sounded almost like those you hear in old Western movies. Then this mysterious girl appeared from the changing room, none of us had seen her before. She could play.
She played Für Elise for us three or four times. Then we were on our way home to have a last beer before the weekend’s adventure would come to an end. We both agreed that that mystery girl had made a crap piano sound like heaven. I told him I would find a piano bar, didn’t I?

6 thoughts on “The Odyssey – Two Gentlemen and a Pianobar”

  1. The odyssey of our lifes.

    I feel we must take a different approach next time. Like: 25 bars in a four hour ride, dive deep into the peak of the wet & warm Osloian night. We’ll bring a couple of old friends and bewilder them in the process of consuming enormous amounts of energy, heavy alcohol and rapid jazz. I know just the right places.

    btw: a poem ’bout this night, presently called “Metawhore” will soon drop into your emailbox. enjy….

  2. Can’t get over that Lou Reed fella. When you look like Lou, you can fucking live of melancholy. Just learn some basic guitar.
    But I got the impression he didn’t have long to go. So much better reason for being happy, tho.
    Like your plan:)

  3. The guy’s tired.
    The Dark Prince is a walking wonder in terms of narcotic substances and their toll on the body.
    But he’s always been sceptic to big words and great ideas, and care for the little, real things.
    Take “Common Ground” for instance.

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