It has taken me awhile to read and absorb the 400 plus pages of this amazing book and to listen to the demo cd (at least ten times over). These are my thoughts on ‘The Swing of Things.’
First of all, there was really nothing in regards to their conflicts and lack of communication that surprised me. Many people have voiced their disappointment in the negative aspect of the book. I don’t feel that way at all. I actually appreciated the fact that it was real…not a candy-coated a-ha but the real thing…all the way.
Morten, Magne and Pal have been a part of our lives for so very long…most of us anyway. If anyone out there in a-haland didn’t know that there were conflicts, then the book would give them a jolt of reality for sure. Conflict in a band that has been together for two decades is not an uncommon thing. The members of many bands, who have a falling out, go their separate ways never to lay eyes on each other again.
A-ha has and always will be so much more than just a band to me. If not for Morten’s voice and the melancholic masterpieces written by Pal and Magne, I am not sure I would be here today writing this. They literally saved my life. For that I am eternally thankful.
Much more of a surprise were the interesting and even comical insights into the minds of our favorite Norwegians. The stories of the tours, the parties, the fan interactions, the concerts, the quirks…all very entertaining, and many times I would find myself laughing out loud in the car while my husband glared at me (he hates a-ha…hehe oh well). My favorite story had to be the one about Morten eating the Habanero, the world’s hottest chili pepper, even after watching his bodyguard end up on the floor after eating one. That image of Morten writhing on the floor had me in stitches. What a dummy…gotta love him…hehe.
But of course it is Magne…dear loveable Magne, who takes the cake on stupid stunts…most of which involved alcohol. From tequila drinking contests to blowing up a sauna while he and Morten were inside it, the man seems to constantly get in trouble when he drinks. It is his little quirks and his amazing talents that make us love him.
The book gave me a new insight on Pal and a new respect for him as a person. I realized after reading it that I have been a little hard on him over the past few years. He is truly an amazing songwriter, that much I have always known. But I can now get a clearer image of the whole man…the father, husband, friend and musician. Though I still cannot get into the music he creates with Savoy, A-ha wouldn’t exist if not for his talent for words and melodies.
There was so much in the chapter on Morten that I had to read it three times before it all began to sink in. The man is truly an enigma in many ways. But somehow I find myself understanding him on some level…I always have. Like him I am a dreamer and it was an incredible feeling to learn of his love of the lighthouse near his summer home. I have always had a special love of lighthouses and to find that he does too was a thrill. His love of nature and music and the fact that he is not afraid to get his hands dirty makes him seem even more real to me. It is no secret that he has and always will hold a special place in my heart.
I loved the book and I am thankful for their openness and honesty. It is truly a treasure and I know I will read it many many more times. The demo cd is awesome. After waiting 20 years to hear the song ‘Days on End’ I was not disappointed. It is an amazing song and I would love to see it recorded someday on an a-ha album.
All I can say in conclusion is that if these three boys can create an album as incredible as ‘Lifelines’ through conflict and miscommunication, imagine what they could do if they found common ground again. I don’t think they are through with us or each other yet, far from it. They have a lot of music left in them and if they can just meet in the middle there will be more…much more. That perfect A-ha Album could be just over the horizon.
Jennifer DeNaughel aka JenJen
Tags: Books, Reviews