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Happiest Girl

A Near Depeche Experience
- by Happiest Girl, Feb 2006 -

Is there such a thing? How can a simple phone call a Sunday night make your stomach turn, your hands shake and your pulse rate soar? Sunday 26 February my phone rang. It was Trym, head of the Norwegian Depeche Mode fan club.

I had sent him a text message earlier that day, to find out the return time from Vilnius, Lithuania on Sunday 19 March (Ed: Happiest Girl is going to Vilnius to see DM..of course!). You see, I work Sundays, and needed to know whether I needed to book a replacement. I work in television production, and on Sundays we do a live show from the Plaza hotel in central Oslo. Strictly Come Dancing, packed with sequins, hairspray and glamour. For some, that is. Not us in the ob truck.

Trym rang me at 19.20, with a somewhat cryptic message. Did I have the night off? No. When did I finish work? Between 21 and 22. Did I realize there was a certain rock band on its way to Oslo? Yeeeees… And did I want to show up in a secret bar, at a secret address just in case something really cool but secret should happen? And did I want to bring an attractive friend? And KEEP YOUR MOUTH COMPLETELY SHUT ABOUT THIS for security reasons! Okay. Thanks. Sure. Yes. Lovely. Thanks again. SHIT!!! I put the phone down at 19.27. We go on air at 19.30. Great. Live shows require unbridled attention, I press keys and stuff, the mind should not wander too far off what we're there do to. The possibility of meeting the band you've been a massive fan of for decades in fact, is hardly what needs to spin around in your head in such a situation. With an enormous effort I manage to put this information into a folder in my head, and shut it until the live broadcast is over and done with.

Obviously, I am in no fit state to meet anyone this particular Sunday, yes it is Sunday, you're supposed to lounge in tracksuit bottoms watching telly in the comfort of your own home, so consequently my hair is so greasy it almost drips, I'm wearing no makeup at all, dressed in a hooded jumper and combats. Not exactly how I had pictured myself meeting synth deity. Clearly, something has to be done, so I jump into a taxi after work and rush home and into the shower, still with a rather frantic pulse rate. I try really hard to get the pulse under control, a few deep breaths and I'm almost there. I have no desire to be a blabbering idiot in front of anyone, least of all anyone I like.

Fresh from the shower, with makeup relatively carefully applied and wearing black I arrive at the said address. Outside I bump into Espen from EMI, who serves as a confirmation that I am at the right place. I'm not quite sure what to expect, Espen tells me nothing, I don't ask, we just chat about friends we have in common. I go into the bar, there are only a few people there yet, and the first one I meet turns out to be Linda. I'm just super-pleased to see her, I don't know anyone else there apart from Trym, and now I feel I can relax a little bit. She, however, is anything but relaxed. Rather pale and wide-eyed, she is hanging at the bar drinking Indian beer. Very, very frightened. I join her, order an Indian beer at NOK 60 per bottle! Extortionate! But what can I do? It is not the time nor the place… We sit there. We chat. We are nervous. We don't know what to do other than drink the pricey beer and nip out for a cigarette from time to time. I turn my head every time the door opens, I can't help it, Linda jumps every time I do it, and tells me off. Then we nag Trym. What's going on?? Tell us what's going on? Don't keep us in the dark! The replies are they're still on stage in Gothenburg, they're on their way into the country now, plane just landed at Gardermoen, etc etc. How's your intuition, Linda asks me. I usually trust the stuff my stomach tells me, for a reason, it is usually quite right, more right than my head unfortunately, but I refuse to listen to it. I don't want to know what it tells me, I want to hope. Time passes, the bar is nearly full by now, people I have never seen before, and they are not the kind of crowd that I feel at ease with. They seem to be trying too hard to be cool, maybe they are cool, but I don't think so. We're getting bored and disheartened, it's almost two o'clock in the morning when Trym finally get a message, they've checked in at the hotel, they're staying at the bloody Plaza Hotel I left just a few hours ago, and they've gone straight to bed. Oh no…

There must have been something in that beer (alcohol?) because Trym, Linda and I turn fourteen again, jump into a taxi and go down to the Plaza Hotel. Absolutely sod all is going on there, everything is closed, there is only one lonely bloke mopping the floor in the reception area. Oh well. Close, but not close enough. I am back at the Plaza Hotel the following Sunday, and I threaten to borrow the main key, and go into every single room in the entire hotel and roll around in all the beds just to make sure. I don't, of course. But it would have been fun.



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