10. huhtikuuta 2012

Somewhere it's always time for tea.

Long time no see. I humbly apologize my recent absence here in the blog universe and I promise that from now on I'll be updating this site more often than once per month (ok, at least I'll try my best)! So much has happened during the past four weeks but I'm going to write about one very special subject on this entry. And that subject is my crazyawesomeamazing two day trip to see Emilie Autumn and The Bloody Crumpets performing live in Tampere and Helsinki. 

So you might wonder "who the hell is Emilie Autumn and what exactly are the Bloody Crumpets?". Well, it's hard to describe shortly an artist like Emilie but let's just say that she's a singer/songwriter/violinist/author etc. from the USA. Her music is a unique twist of melodies from the Victorian era, industrial-genre and pop/rock with some of the most witty, painful, beautiful and empovering lyrics I've ever heard. The Bloody Crumpets is Emilie's back-up group that travels with her during her tours around the world, helping to create the ultimate experience with shows full of girl power, glitter, cabaret, vaudeville, circus and, most of all, beautifully crazy characters from the Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls.

This is the story of my trip to the Asylum and back.

06.04.2012 - Come see our girls, crazy girls!

On my way to Tampere // 06.04.2012
I had waited for Emilie & The Crumpets to return to Finland for almost 3 years so you can only imagine how excited I was in the morning of April 6th. My plan was to take the 9.09 AM-train to Tampere where the first of Emilie's two gigs in Finland would take place and then, for the rest of the day, I would line up in front of the venue. As I looked at the snowy scenery from the train window, I started to wonder "how the hell am I going to survive the 9 hours of freezing my ass outside in the cold". Well, I was determined to get into the front row so the only choice was to hope that I had packed enough clothing into my backpack. Luckily I wasn't the only weird fangirl/-boy though: Salla, my friend and one of the biggest EA-fans in Finland, was in the same train with me and so we wandered our ways to Klubi, the venue, together.

The tour bus // 06.04.2012
The glamour of lining up pt. 1 // 06.04.2012
The glamour of lining up pt. 2 // 06.04.2012 (photo by Sanni)
For our surprise we were the first fans out there around 11 AM. We sat down on a terrace, leered the tour bus next to us and giggled like little children because we started to realise that we would see Emilie and The Crumpets in the evening. It didn't take long when a girl came to interrupt our fangirling by informing that we were lining up on the wrong side of the building. And so we had to abandon our rather comfy place and move in front of a side door. There we met two other fans, one of them was the girl (Sanni) who had adviced us with the correct door, and faced the reality that is called "the Finnish spring". The concrete was wet, cold and icy, and soon Mother Nature showed us her force by dropping even more snow from the sky. It wasn't nice at all and people walking by were staring at us in awe (I'm not blaming them though, haha). But then something magical happened: The snowing stopped, the clouds started to move away and the Sun came to greet us with it's warmth. And it stayed like that for the rest of the day. How amazing is that!

Me with Contessa // 06.04.2012
After 2 hours or so more muffins started to arrive to the venue and it turned out to be a day filled with meeting familiar faces from the past and getting to know some new awesome people too. We were also hoping that we would be able to meet Emilie or the Crumpets before the show but it started to seem rather hopeless when the hours passed by and the only persons that we saw were EA's crew members. Finally, around 3 PM, I saw a familiar looking woman heading towards Klubi. It was Contessa, member of the Bloody Crumpets. One of us fans shouted out her name and she turned to look at us with a smiling face. The next few minutes were filled with hugging, sweet words and taking photos, and it truly warmed my heart that Contessa remembered me from EA's Tallinn- and Helsinki-gigs in 2009. She is sweet beyond words and it was great to meet her after the 3 years of waiting!

Salla giving Veronica her present // 06.04.2012
And so we had a bigger sparkle of hope that we would get to meet some of the other girls too. It didn't take long as we saw Maggie, also a Bloody Crumpet, walking towards us and waving her hands happily. Maggie told that she was in a hurry but that she would come to greet us properly a little bit later. As she went inside, I realised that Veronica, my favourite Crumpet and also one of my favourite persons in this world by all means, would most likely get out of the tour bus rather soon too. And so she did. Salla was the first one to notice Veronica in the distance and in a matter of seconds she was running towards her. I followed Salla and it didn't take long as I was hugging Veronica while both of us were squealing from the sheer joy of seeing each other in such a long time. Mrs. Varlow chatted with us fans for a couple of minutes until she had to go and start to prepare for the show. After the meeting I couldn't stop smiling - I just felt like the luckiest girl in this world to have such awesome people being part of my life.

Andie entertaining us // 06.04.2012
Maggie and Suvi // 06.04.2012
Me and Maggie // 06.04.2012
"Ultimate Derp Collection." - Suvi // 06.04.2012 (photo by Santeri, edited by Anna-Reetta)
All in all the 9 hours of lining up went by surprisingly fast. I'm not even kidding! I guess that the biggest reasons for that were the oh-so-glorious Sun warming even just a little bit and, most of all, my muffin family around me - we had so much fun talking, laughing and goofing around! And, as promised, Maggie joined our group a couple of hours before the doors opened to the venue. She is the cutest little thing ever and was truly taken of our dedication and friendliness. Maggie said that "being in Finland feels like having a family reunion", and well, that's so true. After snapping photos, loads of chatting and group hugs Maggie returned inside to get ready for the evening.

The timetable for the evening // 06.04.2012
The line in Tampere // 06.04.2012
Salla and Veronica playing the Rat Game through a window before the show // 06.04.2012
The last 2 hours seemed to pass by a lot slower than the ones before. More and more fans joined the line and the volume of fangirling started to rise, especially after me and Salla spotted Emilie going inside. It was finally all real: We would indeed see her performing tonight. At 8 PM the moment came that the Finnish Plague Rats had waited for so long: The Gates opened and it was time to enter the Asylum. It felt oh-so-good to get inside and, as I reached the edge of the stage, I felt a huge wave of relief passing over me. It didn't matter that we still had to wait a little over 2 hours before the gig even started. I was back at home. Then, at 10.15 PM... Well, it was showtime at the Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls. And oh boy, what a spectacle I was about to witness...

The Bloody Crumpets // 06.04.2012
Captain Maggot // 06.04.2012
Emilie Autumn // 06.04.2012
Veronica Varlow // 06.04.2012
It took me a while to realise that I was actually watching Emilie Autumn performing right in front of me with Contessa, Veronica and Maggie - it felt like a dream too good to be true. When Emilie came to the edge of the stage and I touched her hand, it finally hit me: The realisation that I wasn't dreaming. It felt like being in heaven while I was listening to some of my favourite songs of all time and getting to finally hear properly some of the new songs from the upcoming "Fight Like A Girl"-album. And you know what? They sounded bloody brilliant!

Blessed Contessa & Veronica Varlow // 06.04.2012 
Veronica Varlow // 06.04.2012
Captain Maggot & Emilie Autumn // 06.04.2012
It's hard to explain something that you just have to experience yourself. An evening with Emilie Autumn and the Bloody Crumpets is exactly like that. The structure of the show had changed a little bit from the Opheliac-era (f.ex. with more music and less talking) but the atmosphere was still as magical as it has always been. Emilie sounded absolutely amazing and she seemed to enjoy the fact that the audience was loud and energetic.

Veronica Varlow // 06.04.2012
Veronica Varlow // 06.04.2012
Veronica Varlow // 06.04.2012
Captain Maggot, Veronica Varlow & Blessed Contessa // 06.04.2012
Emilie's shows are special in many ways. One of them is the interaction between the fans and the girls. During the show in Tampere we got a fair share of tea, cupcakes, flirty looks and encouraging words from the stage. And yeah, that's not all. The biggest interaction of the evening is always The Rat Game. One lucky girl will get to the stage with Veronica and play this little game that will end up to a kiss between the girl and her. Well, guess who was the lucky girl this time?

*drum rolls*

Me playing the Rat Game with Veronica // 06.04.2012 © Anna-Reetta Eve P

Me playing the Rat Game with Veronica // 06.04.2012 © Suvi Hirvonen
I couldn't believe my luck as Veronica grabbed me to the stage! I've been a proud member of a fan group called Veronica's Kissing Army since 2008 and I had been dreaming about this situation for years. I was afraid that I would faint because I was so nervous but luckily Veronica's encouraging gaze and familiar faces in the audience helped me to relax a little bit and even enjoy being in the spotlight. The Rat Game itself was perfect, more than I could have ever asked for, and I will cherish the memory of it forever and ever. Do you want to know exactly what happened? Did Veronica really lick my glasses? Watch this video, shot by Verena Kroell, and find out (there's a little part missing from the beginning of the game but not too much anyway)!

Veronica Varlow // 06.04.2012
Emilie Autumn & Blessed Contessa // 06.04.0212
Emilie Autumn // 06.04.2012
The rest of the show passed by like the speed of light. My memories are a little bit blurry when it comes to remembering what songs Emilie and the Crumpets performed but there's one thing that is pictured in my mind as clear as day. It was the part before encore when the girls were on the stage with tears in their eyes, watching the audience cheering as loud as hell, and Emilie gave a touching and powerful speech of how much she appreciates us fans. It made me cry too.

Emilie Autumn & The Bloody Crumpets // 06.04.2012
Veronica Varlow, Emilie Autumn & Blessed Contessa // 06.04.2012
After 2 hours the show at the Asylum was over. I was overwhelmed by all of the emotions I was feeling inside. The evening had been perfect in every single way and I was more than happy that I had the chance to return to the Asylum again the next day. As I stepped outside from the venue door and was surrounded by the cold night air, I felt more alive than in a long time. I was supposed to take a bus back to Helsinki with Salla and Santeri but I decided to stay with a couple of other fans and wait for the girls to come outside too. After an hour or so I was surrounded by Veronica, Contessa and Maggie, and I couldn't have been happier - they're seriously the sweetest girls in this world and I'm honoured to know them. Soon it was time for them to go to bed and so I started my journey back to Helsinki. With the beautiful full moon as my guide, I watched the countryside passing me by and dreamed of the adventures yet to come...

Me and Veronica after the show // 06.04.2012
The full moon at the Tampere Bus Station // 06.04.2012

07.04.2012 - And so I hold tight to any hands I see.

I woke up around 3 PM, and even though I was exhausted as hell (I had returned home from Tampere at 7 AM), I was still more than excited for the evening and the return to the Asylum. I wasn't planning on lining up this time, but oh well, I just couldn't stay at home and so I found myself standing in front of Nosturi 2,5 hours before the doors opened. It was once again cold and snowy but I stood in the line with the help of Finnish sisu, like the day before, and hung out with my fellow inmates.

The line in Helsinki // 07.04.2012
Gorgeous sunset before the show // 07.04.2012
At 9 PM it was time to enter the venue and, by my surprise, me and my friend Johanna got pretty awesome places in the front even though 34 fans with VIP-passes had had the chance to get the best places before the rest of the crowd. My sister Karoliina and our friend Vilma arrived soon also and so we fangirled together before the show started. And damn, what a show it was! The audience in Helsinki was C-R-A-Z-Y and the girls totally noticed it. The energy in the building grew up to be something out of this world as muffins of all ages danced, cheered, pumped their hands in the air and sang along to every single song Emilie and the Crumpets performed! It was so stirring to see the girls standing on the stage in awe, while the audience was screaming at the top of their lungs. No wonder that Emilie said afterwards, in all honesty, that it had been one of the best concerts ever. So if the evening in Tampere had been incredible, the evening in Helsinki was indescribable.

Emilie Autumn & The Bloody Crumpets // 07.04.2012
Emilie Autumn & Veronica Varlow // 07.04.2012
Emilie Autumn & Veronica Varlow // 07.04.2012
Veronica Varlow // 07.04.2012
Way too soon it was time to farewell the Asylum, my second home, and start the journey back to my normal life. Luckily before that there was still time to sit on the floor with my muffin friends, and as we chatted, we came to the conclusion that it would be an awesome idea to say goodbye to our sweet girls also. And so, once again, we faced the coldness of the spring in Finland while standing outside Nosturi and waiting for the girls to come out. Melissa, EA's tour manager, was worried of how we would survive in such a low temperature and I just said that we'll be fine because we've gotten use to it while living here in the north, hehe. Anyway, our perseverance was rewarded with meetings with Veronica and Maggie. Veronica gave her posters to all of us, told the story behind it (read it here) and just kept on saying how hardcore we Finns are. It was such a magical moment. Maggie came to hang out with us a little bit later, and even though the clock was ridiculously much (around 2 AM), she was still filled with energy. Maggie gave us autographs, took photos with us and the rest of the time we laughed together for silly things. After a group hug we said goodbyes and then it was time for me to take a taxi with Karoliina and Vilma and head back to our homes. 

With Maggie after the show // 07.04.2012

After the two days of madness, tea, friendship and love I was back in the reality.

It's been now 2 days since my trip with Emilie Autumn, The Bloody Crumpets and fellow inmates ended. Everything seems still a little bit surreal, like the reality is the fucked up one and the Asylum is the one that's sane and more real. It makes me sad that Emilie's concerts in Finland are over for now but I know that she and the Crumpets will return to Finland sooner or later.

Me with my new gorgeous Veronica-poster.

I just remembered something that Emilie said during the shows in Finland. That the Asylum is always open for us so, in a way, I never left at all. I know that most of you have probably wondered "what the Asylum actually is" while reading this blog entry. It's not a physical place, oh no. For me it's a state of mind, a thing beyond time and space, where we can all gather up to gain strength and support each other in facing the aches of life. It can be a truly scary place but it can also be your biggest comfort during the bad times. The Asylum celebrates our differences, our uniqueness and, most of all, it encourages us to fight for a better future where we all can be our true selves without any fear.