Hey thotlings! What’s popping? How was your day? Mine was pretty decent. One of the thrilling parts of working in the service sector is that your time off consists or rando days in the middle of the week. Since one of my main hobbies is eating, I spent my free evening making some wings out of cauliflower, and I’ll tell you hwhat, I know what I’ll be making for the Kitten Bowl this year. If you’re interested, all you have to do is throw some florets in a batter of flower, water, paprika, garlic powder, and salt, bake it in a 450 degree oven for twenty minutes, then coat them babies in a wing sauce, pop them back in the heat for five, and they’re golden. There are some vegan ranch recipes out there, but personally I just opted to dip them in some hummus since I’ve heard that too much of the soy concoctions can lead to the black titty death.
I also took myself to go see The Revenant because Leo has been a driving force in my heart for a hot minute now. If he doesn’t get an Oscar for this one, I don’t really know what will. I take personal offense at the fact that Jennifer Lawrence got an award for the clusterfuck of turds that was Siler Linings Playbook (although it was pretty inadvertently funny), but poor LeeLee was left empty handed. But anyways, I was extra impressed when Adam from yourmoviesucks.org (oh my god, please check out his reviews if you haven’t already) said that the Rev largely rejected green screen for the real deal. After watching the actors stagger through the snowy wilderness for two and half hours and then retreating into the darkness as the Mid-Atlantic hunkers down for the impending weekend blizzard, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the three weeks I had the pleasure of spending in Scandinavia.
I’m pretty sure I’ve alluded to this time of my life in past articles, and since I haven’t told any good stories in a little while, I suppose it’s worthy of some explanation. Basically I went to hippie college where I was required to study abroad, and before I really knew it I was on a plane to fucking Denmark. Unlike the majority of my other classmates, I didn’t grow up in a cocoon of bourgieness in which jet setting was the norm. My little Dago ass had never been nowhere before, but I guess in a lot of ways it made the experience all the more significant. Since my world was the size of a Gorgoroth album at that point I naturally picked to be blown around in the Northern winds. Copenhagen is fucking great because it’s sort of the Eurotrash capital of Scandinavia (side note: apparently “Eurotrash” is in the MS Word dictionary). I’ll elaborate on the EDM scene later. It’s also got all the manbuns of Oslo but at a fraction of the price. There are some unifying characteristics of the continent, though. When I left the airport and got on the bus to get to my housing the 90’s pop ballads were burning up the radio and it all finally began to sink in. Fuck, I was in Europe! And so, Jenna gets drunk and wanders around exotic locations 2K15 was off to a start.
My first day or so kicked my ass. Hard. It was my first time experiencing the shock and horror of jetlag, I had no food, broke my Danish SIM card for my phone, and realized I couldn’t read a map to save my life. The class I had to take was on the Cold War and filled with some of the preppiest, squarest dudes you could ever meet, and one of my professors was this hard ass ex-Navy dude that yelled at us to be brash in our class participation even when we were all hung over and wanted to die. But things eventually turned around pretty quick. My other professor turned out to be a babe and would casually quote Rammstein in class even though it pretty clearly went over all these kids’ heads. I sorta stuck out like a sore thumb, and when I dared to saying something in support of, yano, adopting some of Denmark’s social safety nets in America I got pretty much ripped apart (when they would come up for air while scarfing down their McDonald’s anyways). But not making friends kinda turned out to be a blessing in disguise since I ended up doing all of my exploring on my own terms. I highly recommend solitary travel – it facilitates doing what you want, when you want it, and not having to worry about plans getting fucked up because Becky forgot to charge her phone and has a UTI or some shit. Am I a terrible person for having that kind of attitude? I dunno, I’ve just had problems in the past where I’m such a doormat with people that I end up having to just babysit their neurosis instead of actually doing what we planned to do.
Oh man, if you’re going anywhere I also highly recommend this site called Metal Travel Guide. Shit is bomb. It’s pretty much how I found all of the rad places to stop by. It’s interesting because metal isn’t so bottom self, paper bag in Europe. The record shops weren’t burrowed in rando hipster hideout holes like in Bmore, but rather out in the mainstream, right alongside the expresso cafes and super models on bikes. The first place I hit up was this shop called Black No. 1, which, of course, caught my attention b/c Prince P. Steele. Like any gal that spent her time in junior high dreaming of being his goth princess, I spent the bulk of my time there admiring these pleather micro miniskirts that I regret not buying SO FUCKING MUCH because I haven’t been able to find even anything remotely similar back home. Instead I cheeped out and got this old issue or Terrorizer with no other than our good friend #Varn Vikernes on the cover because when in Rome. Adjacent to this shop was this super tiny but extensive music store called Sex Beat Records. I actually bought a Burzum album, come to think of it. Foreshadowing to my future of sharing a site with V-man? Perhaps. I also got some pretty killer patches. If there’s anyone to whom I could outsource the labor for finally making that battle jacket shoot me an email.
Lollllllll I almost forgot that Michael Denner from Mercyful Fate owns a record shop in Copenhagen, too (once again, right down the street from a place serving $20 pizza). I think it’s called Beat Bop or something like that if you’re interested. When I got there Denner was literally holding himself up by the doorway, chain-smoking, and seemingly contemplating death. I hadn’t really expected him to actually be there tbh, and if you’re a consistent reader of TTT you know that dudes-in-bands sightings turn me into the emotional equivalent of silly putty. I basically just pretended to dick around while attempting to keep it together. In some ways I came to understand why Denner seemed like a bit of a sad panda. The King was off having his solo career while he was stuck selling used David Bowie vinyl. I did, however, notice I slight crack in his demeanor when he saw I was buying a Mercyful Fate album, and in all seriousness he’s a great musician and a cool dude. I just wish I hadn’t been such a goober so I could have at least gotten him to sign the thing. Oh yeah, you know who is all over the shops over there? Fucking Crowbar. I couldn’t swing a Dane with an undercut without hitting Symmetry in Black. It’s cool to see something so distinctly Southern tear up the European markets. I guess them Norsemen don’t have such fancier tastes than us ’Mericans after all.
Okay, so fair warning, this is where more tales turn south a bit. My Klonopin is also kicking in. Excuse me while I go face plant for twelve hours.
Annnnnnd I’m back. So yeah, I went to this place called Escobar that night in some crazy type of getup consisting of an Eyehategod shirt, knee socks, and like ten cardigan sweaters because I was not even ready for it to be that cold in the middle of spring. It was so potato that I walked around in circles for minutes on end before I found the hobbit hole you have to go down to get into it. I had a really chill talk with the bartender lady about how much safer it is in Denmark, especially if you’re a woman. Knowing that I had tentative plans to see Eyehategod play in Sweden, I asked her what she thought it was safe for a young chick to go country hoping by herself. She literally laughed. I mean creeps are everywhere, but to be in a place where random crime was so miniscule in comparison to back home was so liberating, like I was living in some IKEA-built Utopia.
Things got a big hazy after that. After many-a whiskeys and Heinekens my new friend gave me some free shots of this super yummy peppermint liquor and introduced me to two of her dude friends that had come in. I remember one was named Simon and when he asked me to go some black metal showcase my intoxicated alter ego, Debbie, was like yeahhhhhhhhhhhhh buddy. “It’s the hipsters blacks metals, but it shoulds bes prettys goods” he explained. I was hoping they would escort me to the venue, but since they had their bikes with them, I was pretty much on my own. I’ll hand it to these guys – they tried so hard to try to explain to me how to get there, but I was past the point of no return at this point. So, they done sent Debbie out into the world with nothing but a dream and a Google map, except I could not for the dick of me follow the little green arrow thing. I clerped around in my knockoff Jeffrey Campbells until I was half way across the city, nearly crying because I thought I’d end up in the Baltimore Sun headlines about the little girl that disappeared forever because she didn’t know how to Europe.
In retrospect, I don’t really know why I was so upset. I remember being surrounded by a bunch of designer shops and fancy cafes where people were calmly having dinner – not exactly the red-light district. I’m sure I could have stopped and asked for help, but unwilling to admit defeat, I wandered some more until things started to look familiar again. I went back to the bar, had one last beer, and managed to make it back home without peeing my pants. Twenty points to my tactical drunkenness skills. I got in bed and made love to some sugar cookies and peanut butter that were both far superior to anything you could get in the states, and subsequently woke up covered in the carnage. I suppose this was foreshadowing to Horrorfest. If this column does anything, I hope it promotes drunk eating awareness.
I was also lucky enough to be in Copenhagen during the Distortion festival. The name pretty much says it all. Honestly, I would do anything to be able to go again next year. The best way I can describe it is Danish Mardi Gras. Pretty much every Dane between the ages of 16 and 30 descends into the streets and tear shit up for like a week straight. You haven’t really lived until you have the 7-Elleven employees open up your bottles of hard lemonade for you and twerk on top of cars without fear of being judged. I may or may not have also peed in a trash can in a random restaurant during the second night. Better than behind a shrub or something I guess? Actually I think the jury still may be out on that one.
It was actually during Distortion week that I met my Danish dream man. Let’s call him Johann. One of the girls in my class told me all the dudes on Tinder over there were hot af, so I figured I would explore it for myself. His Alexi Laiho-looking skater boy thing he had going on caught my attention right away, and as we started to chat, it was clear that he wasn’t one of the run of the mill Tinder “pic4pic” dude I got plenty of back home. Still, when we agreed to meet I was scared as hell. As I was walking to one of the many gorgeous parks in the city that we agreed on I saw the headlines flashing through my head again – “Dumbass American Chick Gets Kidnapped off Tinder.” I shivered my ass off on a bench for a good forty minutes while waiting for Johann to show. Apparently his bike chain had broken, but I was convinced he was busy sharpening the murder weapon.
But I can’t even begin to describe how pleasantly surprised I was. He was literally perfect. We sat on this hill overlooking this bucolic lake with fucking swans in it while he poured out beers for us into cups he had carefully stored in his backpack. We sat super close but he wasn’t annoyingly eager to feel me up. Instead he told me all there is to know about Denmark, showed me a bunch of his DIY tattoos, and we bonded over our mutual love of Electric Wizard. After that he swept me all over the city that was bustling with the Danish youth of today chanting traditional drinking songs in their H&M overcoats.
Eventually we settled on one of the most beautiful graveyards I had ever seen. He explained to me how resting spots are treated as parks in Danish culture, which created an interesting juxtaposition between the livelihood of children playing and young people jogging alongside ancient graves. I saw a sign giving directions towards no other than Hans Christian Andersen’s Grave and nearly fell over. I grabbed Johann’s hand and lead the way while he chuckled at my inner tourist. We found a seat right next to Mr. H.C. and continued to sit close while we drank Carlsberg after Carlsberg and smoked unfiltered cigarette after unfiltered cigarette.
I had heard that Scandinavian men often shied away from making the first move, and it was shaping up to be true. But I had caught the feelz way too hard, and asked him if he wanted to cuddle. “Does thats means likes ‘makes outs?’” Clearly I was getting a bit lost in translation. I put my arm around his narrow man-hips and buried my face in his hoodie-covered chest. Suddenly he understood. Cuddles can transcend any language. We said nothing for a good while, focusing rather on the warmth of each other’s bodies. Finally, he leaned in and kissed me softly while the sun peaked in between the trees and the beat of “Trap Queen” playing in the distance travelled through the wind. I’m sure H.C. was down there giving us two thumbs up. Hands down one the best days of my life.
To be honest I wish I would have just married him, gotten the citizenship, and taken advantage of some of that quality Danish maternity leave. Instead, I blinked my eyes and it seemed like my trip was already nearing the end. But, there was one last stop I still needed to make – the adjacent city of Malmö, Sweden to see Eyehategod. Some magic green pants-wearing leprechaun helped me figure out how to negotiate the train station and after much planning, there I was, in fucking Sweden to see my favorite band. It’s amazing how life actually works out sometime. It was a pretty sleepy town, but the metal scene was very much alive at the venue, Babel (whose staff was actually ace at mixing things even though their security dudes were assholes). I met some super rad Swedes, got piss drunk, and bought way too many beers for Jimmy because Christ, I can’t say no to that wonderful soul. He could probably ask me to pay for his kid’s college tuition and I would be like who do I make the check out to.
Unfortunately, I jolted awake on the floor of my hotel room at about 6 am to find I had pissed on the floor, bruised the shit out of my everywhere, and had a fraction of the money that I was supposed to have. Like, it was I wasn’t sure if I was going to have enough to get back to Copenhagen levels of bad. I had told myself that I was only going to have one beer so I didn’t see a need to get that much Swedish Krona and I had only gotten my debit card verified to work in Denmark. Mis. Calcu. Lation. Oh, and my phone data didn’t work in Sweden either. I have to hand it to myself, though; I put on my grown woman pants, got myself up, and worked it the fuck out. With no money for a cab, I pretty much copied the Google map onto the back of the hotel notepad (thank god I had my computer), and after about a forty minute walk, I managed to get myself back to the train station, where I managed to get myself a ticket with what was probably about 80 cents in USD to spare. So yeah, I came very close to being stuck in Sweden forever. I could literally still be there under an overpass as we speak. Although I feel like if you’re going to be homeless somewhere, Sweden wouldn’t be too bad of a place to be.
I even made it back in time for a class, albeit in the same makeup and crop top as the night before. Babe professor literally lol’d when he saw me. The syllabus initially said we had to go on an a field trip on a fucking boat the evening of the EHG show, and I literally asked him every day of class if I really had to go because I had an important show to go to. Thankfully, the trip ended up getting cancelled under some mysterious circumstances, and I couldn’t help but wonder if I had something to do with it. “Ohhh, someone wents to concert lasts nights,” he said at the start of class. I gave him a sassy little nod. “Who was playings?” the ex-Navy dude asked. With the last little bit of strength I could muster I yelled out “EYE. HATE. GOD.” All my classmates turned to me in horror, but ex-Navy was so delighted. “I loves these heavy metals names.” Homeboy certainly had a taste for the offensive. I remember we had to watch every middle aged white dad’s favorite film Dr. Strangelove and I kept doing that thing where you keep nodding off and then jerking awake again. I somehow made it through without completely passing out on the floor and retreated back to my room with a smothered burrito and Legally Blonde. It felt good to be “home.”
My last full time in Copenhagen is another day I’ll never forget. Our final class trip consisted of a tour of the Carlsberg brewery where I was humbled enough to pay witness to the largest beer collection in the world. That was at least one thing me and the frat bros could agree was really rad. We only got two free beer vouchers, but I made sure my classmates who didn’t want theirs would pass them right along to me. Ugggh, it was so fresh and prime and amazing. If you ever have a chance to go to a brewery fucking do it. Well, I was pretty nicely buzzed, and I figured it was no time like the present to finally get that tattoo I had been contemplating my whole trip. Johann had informed me about tattooing’s rich history in the Hagen, and I knew I would regret it forever if I didn’t get to be a part of it. I stood outside the shop full of gorg Ricki Hall dudes for a solid fifteen minutes contemplating if I should get a mermaid in honor of the HC tale, or the skull from EHG’s Southern Discomfort art. After much blurry internal debate, I decided that my ode to EHG could come in due time, but a Marina would be perfect in the present. No ID’s, no signing nothing, no swearing sobriety – Hans popped that stencil right next to my right boob and went to town on my ribs. It was that good kind of hurt.
I tried my best to hold it together the morning of my flight back. It took me a week to pack my bags before I left, but only about ten minutes to listlessly throw everything back in while Midnight Odyssey played through my computer speakers. I ran into one of the kids from my class on the metro ride to the airport but she pretended like she didn’t see me. The meme is true: when I die, I want my classmates to lower me into the ground so they can let me down one last time. I got stuck behind the inevitable couple at the SAS counter struggling to figure out what to do about their luggage overages, but I didn’t even care. I was just trying not to cry. Every time I moved slightly and felt the twinge of pain from my ribs I felt a little bit better. Some people find the prospect of having something on their skin forever intimidating, but I can’t help but find it so incredibly empowering because it’s something no one can ever take from you. I went to sit in Starbucks for a while, delaying the inevitable point of no return that is security. I took out my phone to say goodbye to Johann since my foreign SIM would soon be done for. Thanks for giving me the best of times. That’s when I fucking lost it. I was the weak ass bitch crying in the corner of a Starbucks. Fortunately, though, I “forgot” to return his hoodie, and I still hold it close from time to time.
So there you have it, kids. That was my trip to the North. I hope you enjoyed it. I know I loved reliving it. I hope more than anything I’ll get to return someday. Shit is hard when we’re constantly trying to survive, so sometimes you have to carve out an opportunity to really live, and live it big.