All posts by rutelliotblomqvist

(Tour and) time off – a picture summary #2

So, I’ve been back in Sweden for almost two weeks. Since yesterday was a holiday (May 1st, International Workers’ Day) and today is Friday, I’m off today as well – it’s a so-called bridge day, or squeeze day as we Swedes would say.

And what better to do on a squeeze day than to squeeze the most out of the extra time it gives you for things that you don’t have time for in your busy, silly, working-full-time everyday life?! Hence, I’ve baked crisp bread, dealt with the washing up, played uke (I want to hold your hand and Brand new colony – good uke covers!), and created an add for renting a house/part of a house. Now I’m blogging. (No shit?) After that I’m playing squash.

Now, this was supposed to be a picture summary of the rest of my tour and trip. Problem is, I didn’t take any pictures when I was in Cardiff and Swansea busking, nor when I did my two Cardiff gigs. I did take pictures of my time off though.

The last thing I mentioned in my last post was going into Cardiff for a gig. It was a good gig but the crowd was weird. That was Saturday April 12th.

Sunday the 13th: Me, my sister, her husband, and their kid went to their allotment:


Monday the 14th: My sister had the day off. Me, her, and the crazy 3-year-old went to St. Fagans National History Museum. We didn’t really look at the historical houses and all that stuff, we had all been there several times before. We had picnic and then ice cream. Day trips to me are primarily about food. I was content.

Tuesday the 15th: Swansea busking trip! Had a good time, made good money.

Wednesday the 16th: Open mic in Llandaff Institute. They liked me so much that they asked me to contact them when I’m in Cardiff again so that they can book me for a night. Non too shabby.

Thursday the 17th: Cardiff busking in the day, if I remember correctly. It was a bit less friendly than Bristol and Swansea, especially Queen Street which was just too busy. Still, I met several nice people and made some money.
In the evening, I played an open mic in Face 11. Friendly café/bar, good crowd (including two Swedes who were the only people there to understand the lyrics to all my songs). The open mic people in Face 11 also asked me to come back. Success!

Friday 18th: Easter holidays began. We didn’t do much.

Saturday 19th: Went to Roath park,
feeding fish in the greenhouse …


… and feeding swans by the lake.


Easter Sunday 20th was like any Easter Sunday (or Påskafton, Easter Saturday, if you’re in Sweden): Food, sweets, fun. And, unfortunately, heavy rain. I got soaked to the skin on a walk around the block.

On Monday the 21st, I left for Sweden. On a train on the continent, I met a lovely Italian UK resident who was going to Gothenburg for a conference. She gave me some vegan coconut cake she’d made and we talked about languages, about politics, and about differences between the political systems and people’s mentality in different countries.

It’s good to be home and get to do all the little things I like in my everyday life, but I miss the tour feeling, the openness, the many meetings … the acceptance and encouragement from people in the UK. (On the topic of differences between countries.)

At least I’ve got a gig in Gothenburg on Friday May 9th. See you there, perhaps?

Tour and time off – a picture summary #1

This week has been … varied, to say the least.

I arrived in the UK on Monday this week and played in Brighton that same night. Then went busking in Brighton on Tuesday. Thanks to the lovely people who kept me company and lodged me etc.!

And here is a picture of the pier, of course:

On Wednesday I headed off to Cardiff to stay with my sister and her family. But before settling down there for a while, I got the train back to Bristol on Thursday for my gig at …

I opened for Rumble Pack and Lapis Lazuli, which was really cool!

But before the gig, I busked for an hour – and made 11 pounds. Bristol is friendly. It made me happy.
(Even though I look very serious in this photo, taken in the bathroom mirror at Start the Bus.)

After the gig, I got the last train back to Cardiff, at 1.40 in the morning. It was very unpleasant, but completely worth it.

On the day after the gig – Friday – my brother-in-law had the day off and me, him, and my niece went to Barry Island (near-Cardiff seaside). We made sandcastles and me and my niece waded out a bit in the water. An unusual but very nice way to unwind the day after a gig.

And so we have reached Saturday, which is today. Since it’s my brother-in-law’s birthday, we made a day trip to Glastonbury and had a picnic in the abbey.

It has indeed been a varied week. I like that.

I’m now heading into Cardiff to go to Lapis Lazuli’s gig here tonight.

That’s all for now, folks.

Tour update (with interrail anecdote)

The tour has started.

(Although I feel a bit self-conscious calling it a tour since I only have one paid gig, one short free gig, a few open mics, and some busking planned. But what the heck. I’m travelling between cities and I am playing music. What is that if not touring?)

Getting to the UK was fairly unproblematic. German trains are awesome. Swedish Öresundståg from Gothenburg to Copenhagen first stopped halfway down the west coast (not the train operator’s fault though, the police where hunting someone on the tracks—or at least that was the fast-spreading rumour on the train) and then it took ages to reach Malmö since the engine sort of broke down and they could only use 45 percent of its capacity. So I had to change trains in Malmö, but I got to Copenhagen in time to change for my night train.

After the night train from Copenhagen to Cologne—a fairly comfortable experience—I sat on the steps of Cologne Dome having breakfast as the day dawned. It was like 20 degrees out. It is not as hot in the UK, which is where I am now. My feet are cold.

I met a couple of Irish musicians on the night train. They had just been to Sweden, even played in Gothenburg (at Dubliner’s, of course) last week. What I like about travelling like this is that it breaks down the barriers between people. You get to talk to people you wouldn’t normally start a conversation with. And it brings out nice things in people, even though the vulnerability of someone on the road can be immense and it would be really easy to take advantage of that.

I remember when I was on an interrail when I was 20. Me and my travel buddy Anna where on our way back to Sweden and we were both really tired. Anna took out her sleeping bag and laid down on the floor of the station under a staircase. I couldn’t sleep so I went for a short walk, leaving Anna with all our luggage except my passport and wallet. When I got back someone had put a cup with €20 next to her. They could have stolen something, but they gave her money instead.

In any case, I arrived in Brighton yesterday (Tuesday) and I did an open mic in the evening. It was good—even though they, for some inexplicable reason, had a muted Harry Potter film on the TV above the stage. Kind of surreal listening to music with Harry Potter actors doing a bad job in the background.

Today I went busking in Brighton for a couple of hours (between crazy rain showers). That was good to. It paid for food today and I’ve still got enough money for a pint. But I’m going to bed now, saving that pint for another night.

Until next time.

Welcome to my world

Hello and welcome to my blog.

I’ll post stuff about living as a musician and still trying not to be stressed out and unwell all the time. It will also be about what art can do, how it can change us and help us make things right. Like, make things right as a species. That’s big. That matters.

Let me quote myself to explain. These are (part of) the lyrics for my song Stories (which I’ve started recording and will upload as soon as possible):

I don’t know where to turn for answers
I don’t know where I am
I coat my life in lies that comfort me
Don’t scorn me ’cause I turn to stories
We all do that

We don’t know where to turn for comfort
We don’t know where we are
We need a sense that there is hope for us
Some stories make things worse, some help us
To make things right