anarchist café and I had been invited. I arrived a bit early and stepped in. Youngsters in black, acne fading into piercings, dyed hair, stared with surprise at the old geezer who obviously didn’t belong. I for my part stared at the walls covered with posters exhorting action and revolution, many of which I remembered from when I was their age. One poster listed the distinguishing signs of a plain-clothes policeman, possibly I displayed several of them.
Presently another elderly gentleman turned up, presumably a proud father of a musician, also out of his element:
“Can I pay with credit card?”
I paid the entrance fee in cash and had my hand stamped: RETURN TO SENDER
Finally both the Only-Begotten Children turned up and we sat down, waiting for the concert to start. I used the rest of the cash I had to buy dinner, a vegan risotto with beans that turned out to be cheap, good, and plentiful. I was also (finally!) introduced to the OBDB’s parents.
The concert space was festooned with murals, mottos, and the tags and signatures of hundreds of bands that had played there over the years. Several times when audience members entered the room I gave a start and thought I saw a classmate, and immediately had to remind myself that they would now be as middle-aged as me, but apparently the look and fashion has never quite gone out of style.
The first band consisted of the classic three guitars and drummer and demonstrated that the sound system was amply dimensioned for the relatively small space. They all carefully wore ear plugs and the rest of us could experience the drums and bass straight through our sternums. The lead guitarist finished by showing exactly how fast he could play. Quite impressive, in fact.
The OBDBB came on next, also three guitars and drums, but played much more softly, concentrating on poetic lyrics (in English, natch). The OBDB even changed guitars during the set. Very professional.
The final band also consisted of mop-topped three guitars and drums, playing in the shoe-gazing style, but they also added a lead singer. In this case it was the drummer who demonstrated his speed-drumming skills.
Eventually the gig was over and I wandered down along Katarinavägen, looking at the view over Stockholm and feeling a bit like Viktor Rydberg’s gnome: Where do all these kids come from, generation after generation?