“Sit down under a lime tree and think about your exercise, before you start to solve it,” my mathematics teacher would say. That’s what I’ve done after reading The Swing of Things. It’s full of information and impressions, so that I’ve got to straighten things out in my mind first.
Design of this book is plain but very expressive. The size and of course the cover with the three monkeys (as a comparison to a-ha) speaks for itself. The choices for the headlines are appropriate, and the continuous chronological blue coloured listed information give the reader the impression of milestones.
Band members’ comments about the records are interesting, too, because it will be good experience to know what Paul, Magne and Morten think about their own songs. ( A while ago I read someone’s posting at a-ha.com, that it will be a good idea if the guys will release a record with THEIR own favorite songs. Come on guys!)
Most of all I like pictures which show everyday occurrences and of course pictures from these days. The lifelines on their faces are much more attractive than faces of the young boys in the eighties. Now, they have charisma!
Statistics at the end of the book are informative, too. Not forgetting the beautiful songs! Ok, this version of “Take on Me” sounds a little bit like a siren, but the other songs I like very much. Especially “Presenting Lily Mars,” “Never, Never” and the version of “Hunting High and Low.”
Unfortunately there are some small mistakes ( e.g. mixed up dates), maybe they sneak in through translation, however. But that doesn’t matter, and The Swing of things is like reading a well-rounded novel and I like it very much !!
The personal touch of the book makes it to something special. The way Morten, Paul and Magne talk about their work and their lives gives the impression of the ups and downs of beeing a star. The way the people close to the guys talk is impressive, too. The honesty and openess of all the people (including Magne, Morten and Paul) helps to understand the soul and spirit of a-ha and the members in a better way. On the other hand getting some sort of idea who all supports the a-ha members is very interesting and important, too, I guess. Their family, the other musicians, the technicians and so on….
Jan Omdahl did a good job, he wrote in a humorous kind of way and in the same time he set the reader (and hopefully the guys, too) thinking about what they are and what they will be for each other.
Additionally I felt something like a time travel backwards. In 1985, when “Take on Me” was released I was 19 years old. I loved this music from day one, but I never read “Bravo” or something else and very rarely I watched TV . I only listened to the radio. After school I went riding and I liked to spend my time outdoors in nature. It is funny to have a look at the pictures which were taken in the eighties because I think back to the colourful fashion (sometimes awful fashion!), to the very good different music which is mentioned in the book, too (and which was played back from tape in those days), and of course, I think back to my own dreams.
Paul’s chapter told something about his shyness, I remember my own shyness when I was a young girl. I didn’t know that Paul was so shy, and sometimes he gives the impression of beeing a little bit arrogant. Sorry Paul, I will put a new face on it, now.
Reading Magne’s chapter I was confronted with my own childhood, because my father was killed in an accident, too, when I was a 7 year old girl. Such experiences are very bad, but they form one’s personality and not least they push a kind of creativity: Have a look at Magne’s wonderful songs and of course his art!
Last but not least, something about the Voice, Morten! I’m grinning from ear to ear, because I can’t forget the story about his healed fish! No, no, I don’t laugh at this matter! Friends of mine call a healer, too, if their horses or some other animals or members need help. And me, too! It is the image of Morten standing beside of the aquarium worried about his fish. That’s why I quite like him. He respects life and nature.
I’m not sure, but I guess Magne was the one who pointed out, that a-ha was like a married couple. He is right I guess! They stick through thick and thin during the first years of fame, sooner or later they felt pressure and tensions among each other (even of differences concerning money), then everybody went his own way and finally they come together again. That sounds trivial. But it isn’t trivial, cause it’s a-ha!
Fortunately they come together again and enrich everyone with this incredible, beautiful, deep and melancholy lyrics and sounds. A kind of music which is better and more expressive, than in earlier days. Concerning tensions between the guys, I guess Magne found a good description: “When I listen to us talk about ourselves the only thing I can think is that ‘That’s a band I wouldn’t want to have anything to do with.’ What fools we are, what self-centred idiots!”
Yes Magne, you are right, you are fools and idiots (excuse me), but you are pleasant and likeable fools! You will set free all your unresolved potential and find the way you still have to go…I believe in you!
Now I will finish this review, but not without paying homage to OSLO, the most wonderful city where such important figures like the vikings, Ibsen, Munch, Viegeland and of course Magne, Paul and Morten come from!
Tags: Books, Reviews