A night at the Moulin Rouge

The other day we had a very special night at the cinema. A famous comedian and band performed in what usually functions as our living room! In a record-breaking evening, 150 people were crammed into a space that usually holds, um, two or three…

Sadly we had to turn away some people who wanted tickets, because the cinema was really full to bursting point. It quickly heated up like a sauna, but what a night! The audience was in high spirits, and the show was at times funny and at times sad, with songs ranging from biting political satire to melancholic odes to bygone times and long gone people.

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Here are some pictures from the evening.

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And finally, here is a small memento from the evening. If you don’t understand Swedish, all of this is fucking funny, okay?*

* Hat off to Eddie Izzard for the original joke.

Variatio delectat

That was my favourite saying in college (high school or whatever, I was sixteen, okay?). And it still holds good. I like tasting the many different hues of life. Spending a weekend at the cabin without showering, wearing filthy old clothes and drinking only water from the well, only to make a total U turn and go for a night on the town. Alright, that last one is blue-moon rare, but you know what I mean.

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Today was just such a day. A perfect balance between working in the basement (still scrapin’ those floors), smelling the flowers and listening to good music.

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And on the way home at half past eleven at night, this was the view.

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Strings in sunlight

Tonight hubby had his final guitar lesson for the semester with his group of new learners, and my presence was kindly tolerated. 🙂 We grilled sausages in a hut built in traditional Sami style (grillkåta) and played and sang together in between bites.

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It’s always fun to see hubby in teaching mode. He really was born to do this – and I don’t know if that’s a blessing or a curse! In any case, he’s really good at making people sort of perform at a higher level than they really should be able to – to create circumstances and show the exact things they need to immediately apply brand new knowledge in relevant and inspiring exercises. They get to feel that they can do things instead of staying at a very basic level and rehashing the same old stuff again and again. I don’t know, it’s hard to describe, but I really admire his ability to bring out the best in people.

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It was such a lovely evening – windy but sunny – and the hut we sat in was cozy and warm with a fire in the middle and benches covered in reindeer pelts.

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The glamorous life of a musician

This post and the links in it contain advertisements for my books

“I wish I was a musician. It’s such a glamorous, romantic life…”

Or is it? Let’s have a look at a day in the life.

6.30 am: Drive to the guy who owns the band van

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7.15 am: Load stuff and leave for the venue

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8.30 – 10-00 am: set up the equipment and test the sound

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10.00 – 11.00 am: Wait

11.00 – 11.45: Play (note that the actual gig starts four and a half hours after we left home)

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11.45 – 1.00 pm: Wait, possibly buy a hamburger

1.00 – 1.45 pm: Play again

1.45 – 2.15: Wait

2.45 – 3.00 pm: Play one last time

3.00 – 5.30 pm: Load all the stuff in the van again and drive home.

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And that’s a daytime gig – imagine if all this happened at night. Because of course musicians always work when other people are free, just like cooks and cinema operators.

And all this doesn’t even take into account the hours and hours of rehearsing, or the money you spend on petrol, strings, pedals, speakers, lights, and other equipment. It’s like Michael says in the fourth book about Pax, Cutting Edge:

Sometimes he wanted to explain to people how much work went into a gig, that it wasn’t something you just pulled out of your sleeve, but that was the one thing he could never do. The whole point was that it had to look easy. If it didn’t, no one would be seduced by it. After all, who wanted their entertainment to look like hard work?

Strings Attached

Strings Attached

Conductor Jeremiah is having a shitty day. He’s late for his concert, the hotel missed his booking, and touring is making him lonely. Things improve when violinist Tony arrives and offers him a room. But Tony wears a wedding ring, and tomorrow they’re booked to perform on opposite sides of the world. Will their one night in the same city lead somewhere, or are the odds too stacked against them?

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Cutting Edge (Pax Cymrica #4)

This post and the links in it contain advertisements for my book.

Cutting Edge cover

After ten years of hard work, rock band Pax are enjoying a stable career, but not everyone rejoices in their success. Just weeks into their first holiday in years, a family files a complaint against them for causing their son’s death. Their lawyer assures them the lawsuit will go away quietly – after all, a rock band can’t be blamed for some poor kid’s fate on the streets.

Or can they? This is the eighties, at the height of the moral panic surrounding heavy metal, and no accusation is too ridiculous. When Jamie takes on a guitar pupil who pushes the boundaries of artistic freedom, he starts to question his own responsibility for what he puts out. At the same time, Michael meets a former bully who insinuates that Michael wasn’t as innocent a victim as he thinks.

While Michael fights his personal battle against demons from his past, he also prepares to give evidence on the part of the band in a court of law. The question isn’t just whether Pax will survive this latest blow – it’s whether Michael will.

“The clear star of the show was the tension was between Michael and Jamie. Their internal conflicts were incredible and intricate.” (The Novel Approach)

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Blog posts:

Forgiveness – but for whom?

If you don’t like it, don’t watch it

Symbols and opposites

Unicorns in the office

Should art be censored?

Release (Pax Cymrica #3)

This post and the links in it contain advertisements for my book.

Release fire större text röd eld

Things are moving forward for Pax. At 35 miles per day, to be exact. Their new tour may be unorthodox, but they do have fans, tucked away in the backwaters of England. Besides, there are whispers about bigger gigs, maybe even another album. But there’s something wrong with Jamie. Michael doesn’t want to believe it, but on the eve of their big break, the truth threatens to destroy everything.

“Ingela Bohm did an excellent job with all her characters and this story but Jamie’s character in particular. I didn’t feel like I was just reading words on a page but I was actually in his head with as scary and as hard as it was to be there sometimes it made this series one of my favorites.” (World of Diversity)

“It’s almost impossible to read it with a dry eye … Ms. Bohm is such a lyrical, masterful writer that, at times, she takes my breath away. There are moments of unmatched tenderness, breathtaking first-love, depths of despair and betrayal, broken hearts and soaring hearts, evil, beauty and love – and above it all, music.” (Sinfully Addicted)

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Blog posts:

Jamie Gardiner: a charming chameleon with hidden pain

Michael Vaughan: a study in contradictions

“One, two, three, four…” A band comes to life

A musical love affair

Just Playing (Pax Cymrica #1)

This post and the links in it contain advertisements for my book.

Between two passions, which one do you choose?

Just Playing fire

Michael has never really had any friends, so when Jamie starts spending time with him, he’s suspicious at first. Sure, they share a passion for music, but Jamie’s golden good looks seem destined for something bigger, better. Not that Michael is noticing Jamie’s beauty or anything…

Jamie is the first to realize that something is happening. Spellbound by Michael’s talent and fey-like softness, he’s powerless to resist. The thrill of playing together slowly turns into something else – something that, in 1975, has only been legal for eight years.

They have to stop it. The pleasure of touches as blissful as they’re terrifying can only end in disaster. When things finally start moving for Jamie’s band, it seems like the perfect way out, but the choice he faces is brutal: what’s more important – Michael, or the music?

Angsty and poetic, this slow burn romance charts every push and pull of a young love that isn’t exactly forbidden – just not allowed.

“ANGST, ANGST, ANGST, galore! My heart hurt reading this story but I wouldn’t have wanted to miss this for anything!” (World of Diversity)

Just Playing is a novel, but in its most basic form it’s a love letter written by both Michael and Jamie. It’s excruciatingly breathtaking in its simplicity and it’s excruciatingly breathtaking in its complexity.” (Joyfully Jay)

The writing is superb. Superb, I tell you! Poetic and full of meaning. It’s like the author hand picked each individual word for a specific purpose and it so worked for me.” (Boy Meets Boy Reviews)

 Author’s note: contains a cliffhanger.

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Posts about the Pax series:

Pax playlists

Pax demos

The original story (scroll down a bit)

The glamorous life of a musician

Fly by night

Pax playlists

This post and the links in it contain advertisements for my books.

Since the Pax series is above all about music, I thought I’d share some of the things I built Michael and Jamie’s world on.

Let’s start from the beginning, with Just Playing:

Swansea Till I Die
This one is sort of self explanatory, but yeah, Michael and Jamie’s classmates are kind of big on football, and Michael and Jamie… aren’t. Also, they live in Swansea. So: Swansea City FC chant!

Bye Bye Baby
The kind of thing everyone listened to back in ’75. What would have been on the radio.

Firth Of Fifth
What Michael and Jamie would listen to – kind of a different vibe than the Bay City Rollers, I’m sure you’ll agree. Also, on a more personal note, this was my first introduction to prog, and it was love at first hearing.

Hush
This was also on the radio – notably, when Jamie shows Michael a riff by getting behind him on the sofa, snaking his arms around him and playing on the guitar in Michael’s lap. Seminal event.

Nights In White Satin
The first thing Michael sings, during a camping trip that sets the ball rolling. If Jamie wasn’t hooked before, this seals it.

April’s Fool
So what does Michael’s voice sound like? A little bit like this. Not quite, but almost.

Seekers Who Are Lovers
For me, this is the song about falling in love. I’ve never heard it illustrated this well. It’s like you fall in love all over again while you’re listening.

I Want You
What the title says. Even as Michael and Jamie accept their feelings, things are complicated in Paradise. And angsty.

Next up, The Road Taken:

Babe I’m Gonna Leave You
Because the world insists that they can’t be together, and because Zeppelin would have been one of their musical inspirations – even if they didn’t actively listen to them. It was in the air.

It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue
Apparently, Jamie once played and sang this to Michael? I don’t know, I’m just the writer.

Hocus Pocus
Another example of what Michael and Jamie listened to at the time. Delightfully crazy music from the Netherlands. Songs like this give me hope for humanity.

Concerto for Harpsichord and String Orchestra
Michael’s first taste of the harpsichord, and a contributing factor to his abandoning the bass. This is the music they overheard at the studio.

2112
The song they listened to in that farm house. It has changed many lives.

Let Your Body Decide
In the end, Michael and Jamie had to make a decision – to be together or not be together – and this song might have helped them if it had been around at the time.

And then we have Release:

Ring Out Solstice Bells
Midsummer at Stonehenge! Who better to encapsulate that vibe than Jethro Tull?

Tarot Woman
Annabelle enters the story. She has her own song, naturally.

Hurry On Sundown
Hawkwind played at Stonehenge, too. Maybe they played this old classic.

Wuthering Heights
Kate Bush would have been on the same Top of the Pops programme as Pax, but she was busy, so they just played this song and had a dance troupe perform to it.

Nature Boy
Jamie discovers a box of albums in the attic, and with it, a hidden side to his mother.

The Musical Box
This was in my headphones when I wrote the Albert Hall concert.

Finally, there’s Cutting Edge:

Want
You thought Michael was a sweet guy? Think again.

Mysterious Adventure
The kind of thing Ludo would compose.

Better By You, Better Than Me and Suicide Solution
The songs that landed Judas Priest and Black Sabbath in court. You see, I wasn’t making much up when I wrote that. In hindsight, it can be mystifying, but at the time, these songs were EVIL.

Hades
This is kind of what Ripped Maidenhead want to sound like.

Dansa i Neon
The song that plays on the car radio on the way to Arjeplog. No holds barred, take no prisoners bubble gum pop.

Screams Behind The Shadows
The Sepultura song that plays at Nathan’s place in the final chapter.