2011: The Turku Odyssey

Being a fictional account inspired by real events of a reporter embarking on a search for Finnish civilization in the dread city of Turku. Woke up in the morning, sunlight hurting my eyes. The papers were filled with empty promises and clumsy evasive maneuvers of politicians. Only 48 hours to the parliamentary election. I knew exactly what had to be done.

It was time to go to Turku.

Two nights in the old capital, stripped of its power, but holding on to past prestige, clinging to its historical Finland Proper status. The European Culture Capital 2011 (quaintly postmodern, isn't it?). Even in these days of True Finnland, seeing it should suffice, should restore faith in society, in civilization, in democracy – should be enough, should prepare me for anything that might come. Should lead me to intelligent conversation, cheap liquor and hallucinogenic inspiration.

With my Prestige mirrorshades, a German backpack bought on sale and a suitcase borrowed from my girlfriend, Janet, I set forth and headed downtown. A charter bus would be waiting for me, filled with bright minds of my generation, most likely terribly hungover from the night before on orgastic, pulsing and neonlit Helsinginkatu (never fancied that myself, would probably kill me the time I tried).

I soon noticed I needed coffee to think straight, to prepare for something I'd never experienced before. The bus was hot like a jungle priestess on Mardi Gras.

Finally got my latte from Elielinaukio. The coach to turku left soon after, anticipating and almost bursting with the pressure of posh people, luggage and internet memes. On a Mannerheimintie window, Jesus beckoned me to follow him. I passed, as Turku's call was stronger. It seemed clear that Jesus wouldn't be there. What could one man have on a city?

The bus was filled with guitars, three thousand maybe. Fascinatingly dangerous smell of large markers in the air of a Mercedes. Sun got higher and higher, I received an accidental call from my mother.

Suddenly, I noticed that I was tragically overdressed for the bus ride – must've been the shades. Stopping halfway down the road at a dreadful ABC station didn't help, people stared at me funny there. Got two beers for lunch, but my definite goal remained unclear. Victory? Without a doubt. Glory? Most definitely. But how to achieve them? No help from Jesus of Helsinki, so I decided to ask Karjala next for answers.

The chance to defend my honor and reach for the stars soon presented itself. In the midst of soap bubbles and streams of conversation we (I and the other posh peepers) set out for a serious pub crawl. I took my chances with Hamlet in intense shiv combat, gave my all doing Texas in pantomime and re-enacting prison-themed rape scenes to the howlings of onlookers in overalls. Bribery and loose strings of wallets helped me and my team later on. Notes got sparse. Cultural exchange and loving the aliens from Joensuu, Tampere and Jyväskylä.

The after party took a turn towards the banal and profane. Onnela. Never been that close to the mouths of the multiheaded hydra. Did my best to go pow-pow-pow as they played 'Paper Planes', but the bastard of a DJ cut the song short. Retreated to the karaoke-side, did my best singing fuck off to freezers, cars and color TVs. I tried to do 'Why Don't You Get a Job', too, but they didn't let me do that either. No sign of anything highbrow so far.

The next morning, all I could do was plan murdering the Hell's Angel who had shat in my mouth. The guitars still would not let me escape. The events of the previous night had me jumpstarting self with coffee, tea, painkillers and fresh water. I faintly remember almost getting into two fights in the deep of the night. The first, a discussion on immigration, I somehow managed to turn to hockey and made friends for life. Later, classically at a burger stand, the presence of a lady probably saved me from being manhandled by suckers cutting in line.

Apparently, something academic was to follow, so I straightened up, tried to act professional. The moment I deciced to do that, I failed, for Janet was there. She's known to make dead men groan in any kind of weather, you know. Still, I kept my cool the best I could, tried to appear fresh and interesting – not smell too bad (and failed horribly).

Got tickets to Intercourse, Pennsylvania and decided to check out famed author Ibid as a result of an enlightening lecture. Then Italian and preparations for a classy dinner party later on, my final chance to find what I came looking for – the future and essence of Finnish civilization.

Turku failed to fail me. Shedding the shackles of social norms and politeness strategies we sang, danced and drank. Jesus appeared again in the traditional guise of a bearded dude from the east. It could've been Brian too, the context was ambiguous, but the experience was prophetic.

I pieced together the puzzle, uncovered the secret of the shaman ritual dance. It was full-throttle party animalism, a total mix of lights, smoke and drinks, boogie being our totem animal. Fire lit in our souls we were a single organism of won't-give-a-rat's-arse for tomorrow. Moves were made, seen and unseen, physical and electronic. The day of Patrik was done, full of moonlight madness.

The memory of tequila, magic mojitos and the music so loud finally took me back home. The lesson had been learned. Civilization was never lost to me or any of us, it couldn't be found with Jesus or from Turku, it does not rise from faceless multitudes, but from individuals who are one. The truth was with me all along, ready to be unleashed given a kick in the pricks. This time I had to go far to see near. To hear More News from Nowhere.

Pessimism as a Way of Life

BTSB: Hobbies and Interests