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The rock takes on a bookshelf

Novels written by rockers are close to the publishing lists this year. – Rock'n'roll has taken over at sea for young men. Even the tattoos the rockers have taken from the sailor, says rocker and author Sverre Knudsen.


The Lijord in Bærum, 1971: “It was the music that shaped me. More than poems and novels, more than pamphlets and leaflets, news and politics, more than parents and school, hopeless crushes and robberies with comrades. It was the one I was filled with every time I went out into the world to find excitement and happiness, and it was the one I would wait for back to lick wounds or celebrate one or the other victory. ”

Such is the life of the teenager Freddi, as described by the author Sverre Knudsen in the recent novel Sugar cravings. Freddi is torn between childhood and adulthood, AKP (ml) and Young Right, the arts and working life, intoxication and everyday life. And Freddi talks about the music that changed his life; Jim Reeves, Roxy Music and Sex Pistols. Sverre Knudsen is not Freddi, but right here they agree 100 per cent.

- Pop music is much more serious than it sounds, and this book takes place at a time when the relationship to music was much more serious than today. In the 1970s, Norwegian rock was definitely a subculture, divided into many strongly separated subgroups. If you listened to Roxy Music, there were not many others you could hang out with. We now live in a far more versatile time, where it is more accepted to like very different music. For example, did anyone know I bought Wuthering Heights by Kate Bush in 1978, I wouldn't have been able to show up in a month. Especially because I liked the record, laughs Knudsen, who has previously been a bass player in the influential new wave band The Aller Worst.

Rock novel

"Rock has become backpacking, slumming and self-realization for people who grew up in homes with solidarity watercolors and Dea Trier Mørch novels about lesbian pregnancy," proclaimed Thomas Seltzer in Turboneger when he in 2001 refuted rumors of a comeback for the band. And since playing in bands in adolescence has become as accepted as the scout, the youth party and the football team – and often more popular – the rock novel is seriously becoming an accepted and attractive genre for Norwegian publishers. The book lists are only more densely populated by people with extensive experience in sex, drugs and rock'n'roll. At least the latter.

- In a way, the rockers have taken over the old sailor role in literature. In the past, young people went to sea to experience the world, and came home and wrote novels about it. Now we Norwegians no longer have that opportunity, says Knudsen,

To put it bluntly: Now it's the rockers who tattoo themselves, have a lady in each port, travel half the earth in a tour bus and end up in chaotic fights. And write a book about it.

Rock Roman. Taste the word. It's a nasty word, but it also describes what this is all about. Stories that revolve around playing in bands, often written by people with experience with electric guitar, groupier and backstage life. In Norway, rock literature has long been referred to as the youth novel, where the band has formed the backdrop for puberty problems of all kinds. But now pioneering works are starting to happen The Mustard Legion by Morten Jørgensen, Floating across the water by Ragnar Hovland and The new Dylan by Torgrim Eggen to join the bookshelf.

No success story

Back to Sverre Knudsen. He has published numerous novels, though Sugar cravings is his first "adult book" where music steals the lead. Sverre and Freddi have been in the same places at the same time: from Lijordet and Chateau Neuf to London, Monte Carlo and Bergen. Sverre was even given the nickname Freddi Fjord by Joe Strummer in The Clash, because Strummer was not able to pronounce Knudsen's name. But Sugar cravings is no autobiography, nor is it the story of The Very Worst. The novel skips over the success story.

- If you are interested in that part of the story, you can go to a record store. In the first version of the book, I wrote far more about a band that reminded me a lot of The Very Worst. It was fun to write, but it did not work as a novel.

Sugar cravings was not the book about when the punk came to Norway, but a far more personal upbringing about Freddi from Bærum. He who would like to create something, be an artist, and believe the is about living dangerously, moving boundaries and breaking taboos to find the raw material. When the punk came to Norway at the end of the 1970s, the band became Freddi's university, but when we meet him again in 1994, the drug has taken over the art: “I drop newspapers, radio and television, and finally the stereo system. All the music makes me cry. "And there Sverre and Freddi are once again completely in line.

- There are many parallels between us, so to speak. I stopped drinking in 1994. Freddi stopped drinking in 1994. It was a bad year for both of us. If you have been drinking regularly for 25 years, it is uncomfortable to quit. It does not pass with two dispril the next day. It takes months. Year.

Just as intoxication can give you strong positive experiences, you can have quite extensive negative experiences if you last too long. And especially in the areas that matter most to you. When I stopped drinking, I didn't play music for two years. I didn't read anything either. Then I bought a new stereo system and started picking up new things: Pulp, Portishead and Missy Elliott gave me great experiences again, even though they didn't change my life in the same way as music when I was younger.

For Freddi, life is about the art, the drunkenness, the love and the madness. Too little love, and too much of everything else. The balance between intoxication and art also becomes the big dilemma.

- You want great speed, but then you lubricate the skis so that it goes too fast. Intoxication is something many people need to use as an aid, while it constantly threatens to take over. That is precisely the challenge of balancing on the border I wanted to write about. There are many who have something to gain in intoxication, probably much less than you think, but there is something to gain in all strong experiences. The danger is that the strong experiences turn into only negative ones, and one must be extremely careful not to go too far.

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