Swedish Metal Fiasco – Ghost – Part 3

Ghost is a Swedish heavy metal band that was formed in Linköping in 2006. In 2010, they released a 3-track demo followed by a 7″ vinyl titled “Elizabeth”, and later their debut full-length album Opus Eponymous. The Grammis-nominated album was widely praised and significantly increased their popularity. Their second album and major label debut Infestissumam was released in 2013, debuted at number one in Sweden, and won the Grammis Award for Best Hard Rock/Metal Album. The band released their third studio album, Meliora, in 2015, to much critical acclaim and high record sales, reaching number one in their home country of Sweden, and number eight in the United States. Its lead single, “Cirice”, earned them the 2016 Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance.

Ghost is easily recognizable owing greatly to its eccentric on-stage presence. Five of the group’s six members, its ‘Nameless Ghouls,’  wear virtually identical, face-concealing costumes. The most distinguishable member is its vocalist, called ‘Papa Emeritus’, who wears a prosthetic mask of skull face paint and appears as what can be described as a “demonic anti-Pope.”  Each album cycle has brought about a change in the band’s appearance. Though the vocalist is always portrayed as roughly the same archetypal character, there are slight appearance changes, and even altered personality traits from former versions.

All of the band members’ true identities were kept anonymous until 2017, when five former members revealed themselves, four of whom filed a lawsuit against the lead singer Tobias Forge, marking the confirmation of his true identity.

Church and I get to the venue around 8:45pm. It’s hot as hell this summer. They check our ID’s at the door and stamp our hands. We go through security like it’s a fucking airport. I have to take out my keys and show them to the nice lady who is patting me down and I just pretend she’s fondling me for a second.

Then I see my adorable young friend Emily! (See: Emily – 2015 to Present – Super Baby Sister) I forgot she works here at the Fillmore. I love little Emily. I give her a hug and I feel all of the rage that I had bottled up for the last four days simply drain out of me. I’ll have to bear that in mind on the next occasion I’m angry. Simply hug a cute girl.

Church and I hit the bar. He gets a coke because he’s not drinking. But buys me a vodka and tonic. Free drinks always make me feel better. We walk around and check out the venue. He’s never been here before. The Fillmore is one of my favorite places to see a show. It’s an old refinery that’s been converted to a concert hall. So it’s very spacious. They have a big open lobby area, then there is a bar called the Foundry as you get inside. To the left is the main concert area. And again, that’s very spacious as well. There’s a huge long bar in there as well. It’s just the perfect place to see shows. This is a general admission show so there is no seating. Church tells me the show is sold out, and the place is packed. But not the bar area. So I’m happy to just sip my drink and I’ll watch from the back.

The show starts and the band comes out and hits it. Ghost is the antithesis of Catholicism where they worship the devil. They are lead by Papa Emeritus whose costume is similar to that of the Pope. Ghost had been to Philly before opening for Avenged Sevenfold in 2013. That lineup consisted of Papa Emeritus II who has since been replaced with Papa Emeritus III.

Ghost’s tour to the smaller venues is an amazing show as their light show is one of the best I have seen. The lights enhance their songs perfectly. They stay with the Catholicism theme using a thurible during one of their songs. Giving sacrament by using two ladies from the audience to give communion wafers and wine. Ghost has really reinvented their sound with Papa Emeritus III. The older songs do sound better with the new Papa. Hearing “Cirice” live reinforced the Grammy Award as it a perfect song. The Nameless Ghouls wore masks that would represent Moloch as well.

Like I said before, I don’t know anything about this band, but they rocked out and the guitar work was solid. I didn’t know any of the songs but near the end I was swaying and tapping to the music. If Duncan were here he’d be head thrashing. I always wonder why most people I see at concerts just stand there. I always move with the music. Maybe because I’m a musician.

All in all I had a good night and didn’t spend a bunch of money. So by the end of the night I was happy again, and making plans to see Emily one of these days for a Sugar Baby night of drinks.

But like I said in the last chapter of this trilogy. Never again will I get roped into someone else’s plans. NEVER AGAIN!

Church wants me to go to Las Vegas to see Billy Idol at the Hard Rock casino in October to celebrate his 9 months of sobriety. Never happening. I love Billy Idol, but that dude is sixty and I don’t gamble and why would I spend that kind of money to go to something I have no interest in? Church needs to pull himself together and do whatever he needs to do, but my life is magical enough without going to Vegas.

I’m happy with my life the way it is. I’ve done so much and lived so much. I continue to live in the now and feel life’s energy. I get my energy from people and I love that. I am full, and they keep pouring it on.

I’m fine. Daughter is fine and we’re hitting on all cylinders. She gets it and of course so do I. I’m surrounded by some empty lost souls. I’ll help them but that shit gets tiring. Let go of the bars of your prison and walk the fuck out.

 

 

 

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Swedish Metal Fiasco – Church – Part 2

I tell Church about how Duncan bailed on the show. He thinks that’s fucked up but is all amped to go see Ghost at the Fillmore.

I on the other hand I’ve been working my ass off at my job, the salon and getting the fitness center off the ground. I don’t even feel like going now that Duncan isn’t coming up. But Church bought a ticket and now I have to go. I swear, if he wasn’t so amped to go, I wouldn’t even have opened the email from Duncan with the tickets in it. I would have just finished my shift at the salon, and  went home.

I find I have had such a big busy life and have enjoyed the people and events and places in this city, I’m like a seasoned New Yorker now. People that have lived in Manhattan for years usually don’t go out much. I’m like that now.

I especially don’t like getting dragged into something I’m not interested in. I don’t know who the hell Ghost is, and I have no interest in seeing them live. My life is plenty exciting enough. I don’t need to truck up to the Fillmore in 100 degree weather, and go through a pat down, and then pay $8 for a vodka and tonic plus tip. I don’t like crowds and metal shows are always crowded with a bunch of scruffy ruffians.

I hardly even listen to metal anymore. I’m literally having anxiety about going to this show. I even thought on several occasions of emailing the tickets I have to Church and telling him I’m sick and he can take two other people. I just really don’t want to do this.

I’m even more pissed off at Duncan for setting up this whole shit show and then bailing three days before the show. What a dick. All because of the money aspect. He’s rich! What the hell?

Once he bailed on this show, I told Achilles I could work that night, because I figured, Doors open at 7pm. Warm up act goes on at 8pm. Headliner goes on sometime after 9pm. That’s how most bands and venues roll. I finish work at 8pm so after some final clean up I close the doors around 8:30. I don’t give a shit about the warm up act so I’ll get there when I get there.

I’m miserable about this. Church told me earlier that day he was driving down from Lancaster (Who knows why) and will meet me at the venue. I’m thinking, great. I can focus on the salon, no distractions during closing, and get an UBER to the Fillmore around 8:30-8:45.

I plan on ordering dinner. I can eat in peace, get my drinking armor on for the show and I’ll be fine.

Don’t I get a text around 7pm that fucking Church is now going to come pick me up. He’s been to the salon dozens of times. He must be familiar with when I normally get out of there. I’m like fuck! I have to order my food now because I want to eat in private. I really don’t want him to come here because it’s going to turn stressful.

He gets there around 8pm. Why couldn’t he have just cruised by at 8:30 and I could have just hopped in and off we go? No. He has to go park, and come up to the salon. I’m barely civil when he arrives. But behind him in comes my food delivery guy and I’m delighted to see him.

Now the fucking pressure is on. Fucking Church is talking about his parking and worrying about his mirror. He wants to help with folding the towels. I’m rage eating my food.

“You’re inhaling that!” he says.

Why couldn’t he have just gone to the fucking Fillmore and I could have met him there? Because he’s never been to the Fillmore and he didn’t want to go there alone. You’re a grown fucking man! Sack up and act like one! You were in the military! Where’s your nuts?

Then I have to go to the bathroom.  Church is actually concerned that I’m going to defecate rather than urinate because of the time factor. This is ridiculous. It’s all a waste of time.

I am so fucking angry at Duncan and now Church. We finally get out of the salon. I need a cigarette. Church lets me smoke in his car, thank God. He drives like a maniac through the streets pf Philly and I’m genuinely frightened and feeling a headache coming on.

We finally get to the venue and Church is practically running to get in there. He’s creating this whole stress level that shouldn’t even be here. I just tell him I’ll catch up and get there when I get in there and he slows down.

We get into the venue and the warm up act is done, and nothing is happening. So all of that pressure, and stress and speeding to the venue was all for naught. I knew it would play out this way. I just need to get some alcohol into me so I can chill out.

I vow tonight that I am never letting any of this happen to me ever again. I’m not going to any event I don’t really want to go to ever. My life is better than it’s ever been, and I’m not going to let anyone fuck up my smooth glide anymore.

So if you’re reading this do the right thing. Don’t ask me again!

(I see during final edit that whatever shitty Ghost video I posted on here is now unavailable. I’m not even going to bother replacing it. Because I don’t give a shit!)

 

 

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Swedish Metal Fiasco – Duncan – Part 1

“You should come up! We’ll rock out and you can see your family. No one ever laid on their deathbed and said, ‘I should have spent more time at the office.”

My buddy Duncan reached out to me a couple of months ago. He’s the one who works all the time at the bank in commercial real estate in North Carolina and makes tons of money. He’s completely driven by succeeding and earning, so he’s lost all site of the little things in life.

But I thought there was still hope when he sent me some music clips from a Swedish heavy metal band called Ghost. I thought it was pretty good, but I’m not thrilled with metal in general anymore. I’m just not that angry. I enjoy music that’s a bit softer now as I’m well into middle age.

A few weeks later he texts me that Ghost is playing at the Fillmore here in Philly. He says he’s buying two tickets and flying up to see them with me. I’m thrilled that I’m going to spend time with my old friend. I wouldn’t care if we’re going to see the Wiggles, I’m just happy to hang with my buddy.

He also tells me he’s staying up here a couple of days because his sister is getting married on Saturday. Ghost is on Thursday so I figure I’ll take off a few days and do stuff around the city with him until Saturday. It’ll be awesome just like the last time he came up.

I was hanging in a bar with my friend Church having some food and drinks when that text came through. Church says he loves Ghost. He wants to go too. I figure the more the merrier. Church buys a ticket on Stub Hub, and now we’ll all go rock out.

Three days before the show, (I’ve already asked for the time off) Duncan texts me that he’s not coming up now. He states that it will cost him $1000 for everything round trip and he just doesn’t want to spend the money. (This clown will be a millionaire by the time he’s fifty years old in two years!) What the hell?

He says it always costs him that much with air fare hotel, transportation, etc.

“Dude. Listen to yourself. You’re close to being a fucking millionaire.  A thousand bucks is like piss in the ocean to you!”

“I just don’t want to spend that much money on anything right now. Got to stay focused.”

“What about your sister’s wedding?”

“I’d rather do a longer fun filled trip and spend a thousand dollars rather that a quick up and back for a ‘questionable’ second wedding.”

“Oh, come on! This was your idea!”

“I’m emailing you the tickets now.”

“You suck! Church already bought his ticket.”

“Well you can bring someone else, or sell the ticket or give it away.”

“I think you’re making a mistake. Dude, you work a lot, you like this band and can totally afford to take a break and come up and enjoy the show. Live a little!”

“I would have really liked to see this band with you, they are good but a little different than what we’re accustomed to listening to.”

“You should come up! We’ll rock out and you can see your family. No one ever laid on their deathbed and said, ‘I should have spent more time at the office.”

“You sound like my mother.”

“Fine.”

 

 

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Tales of Rock – Keith Moon

Keith Moon was the drummer for The Who, and if he didn’t invent insane rock star behavior, he did his best to popularize it. What are now common rock star cliches, were daring and original back when Moon was doing them. Trashing hotel rooms, consuming horse tranquilizers, engaging in naked cake fights–Moon did it all, with vigor, passion and creativity. The best Keith Moon story is the time when shortly after leaving a hotel, he sat up in a panic and told the driver to stop and turn around. “I forgot something! We’ve got to go back!” Upon returning to the hotel, he ran to his room, grabbed the television and threw it out the window and into the pool. Returning to the car, he said with a great sigh of relief, “I nearly forgot.”

His signature stunt was ruining toilets, and not in the way Kevin Smith ruins toilets. Moon actually demolished them. He went on the road with an enormous supply of cherry bombs, M-80s and dynamite, exploding toilets wherever he went. Moon was ultimately banned from every Holiday Inn, Sheraton and Hilton in the country for his trouble–though he was heralded Man of The Year by several plumbing supply industry associations.

A Typical Day If You Were Keith Moon’s Personal Assistant:

You: Keith? Please come out of there, Keith. Please don’t flush that down the toilet, Keith. I could see why you’d think it’s funny the first 60 times, but this is too much. Exploding Toilet 61 is going to be no different than any of the rest. We’re just gathering redundant data now. There is no logical, scientific or statistical need for this.

Keith Moon: -Opens bathroom door, runs past, cackling.

You: -Rolls for cover.

 

 

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Insert straw and drink from bottle! — Sensuality, Sex & Something else

The weekend comes round and I do not have any hot dates set up. Nobody so far seems to meet up to the standards of M and I am pining over the loss of amazing sex!! A good friend of mine will not allow me to have a pity party and she gently coerced me…solidly […]

via Insert straw and drink from bottle! — Sensuality, Sex & Something else

 

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Sun Stories – Colleen – Fudge-O-Rama – Part Three

I couldn’t think of a fudge pun for part 3 of this little trilogy. If any of you reading this can think up a better title for this entry, please let me know and I’ll change the title!

The weekend grinds by. I work Friday night. I had to go see my sister at the shore house on Saturday and settle some estate stuff, which really didn’t feel like a day off. We’re trying to get this gym open and I’ve been working two jobs and this one for the las thirty days straight. My friends and all of the ladies in my life thinks I’ve left the living.

But I’m here. Just building a business in Rittenhouse. We will be successful but I’ve never worked this much physically but I love what we’re doing, so it in no way resembles the crushing feeling of busting your ass for some shitty corporation and having your talent squandered by morons everyday. Here at the salon, we rule. It’s a lovely place to work and I never want to go back to a cubicle agin.

Tuesday rolls around and I stop by the salon early because Achilles wants to talk business and vision. We both voted that our new fitness manager guy should go to Popeye’s chicken and get us lunch.

I really respect what he’s doing for us but I love that Achilles is clear on the pecking order in this company and having him go get us some fried chicken is a brash show of who is who in this business. I didn’t care, I just hate standing in line over there and it’s hard carrying all of those boxes and drinks back down to Walnut street.

It’s a subtle compliment from him to let me know that he and I are the main partners here. It’s Me and Achilles all day long, but we need him to manage, organize and run the gym. But we’re the loyal money partners in this business. I love the clarity and arrogance in that.

Later, we all munch our chicken and it’s good, but I think Popeye’s gives me tummy troubles, but a free lunch is what it is so that eases the pain.

Achilles leaves and I’m on shift doing what I do.

It was a quiet Tuesday and I expected that. But after 6pm we started to get a little rush. Some of my favorites were coming in and I love that. Pretty girls with lovely faces and legs to match. My dear friend Alice even stopped in to tan! (See: Alice – 2012 to Present – The Cute Recruiter)I loved seeing her and the lobby was alive with attractive chatty ladies.

Then during the melee Colleen arrived.

I was sending ladies to stand up units and lay downs left and right but I wanted her to know I saw her.

“Hey Col.”

I could she was carrying a large plastic bag. It was on. The deal was about to be closed. I could feel the juicy chocolate energy flowing through this facility.

Once I cleared the other girls from the room I turned my attention to lovely Colleen.

“Hello, dear. It’s so great to see you!” (she kept her word and came to the salon exactly when she said she would. We respect that here at the salon.)

“Here you go.”

There it is. The real deal. Two pounds of delicious freshly made fudge from The Original Fudge Kitchen in Cape May NJ!

Colleen has kept her word and this babydoll has just earned herself a month of All Access tanning for $35 buck! Well played!

Colleen is so amazing she even through in a bag of salt water taffy absolutely free. ( I love that she sweetened the deal)

She also gave me a little box of fudge as a thank you for brokering this complex tanning/candy deal.

Oh’ the benefits of being King!

Wow. That really captures my existence. Delicious candy. Cigarettes. A Chardonnay on the rocks, a shot of vodka in a Boston Red Sox glass, two pictures of my daughter Lorelei with the Father’s Day card she gave me, some pens, my glasses on a Rock Trivia book. I think I just smiled…

“Don’t refrigerate the fudge okay? Write Achilles a note about that. It’s important.”

At this point I’m so joyful, I’ll do whatever she says.

I write Achilles a note on the computer in the section where I let him know what’s going on in the salon on a daily basis. This is good fudge. Apparently you can freeze it, but you can’t refrigerate it. I don’t know.

I happilly take the pic above of the two pounds of delish and text it to Achilles and wait for a response…”

 

 

I show this to Colleen and she leaps into action….

 

We crack this pic off immediately as to not spoil the fruit of our rich bounty today. Sweet Colleen is instrumental in this communication.

Achilles response?

“Ok”

My response: ” I can’t believe you didn’t even notice my new manicure.”

Ten minute later…

“That’s also very nice, thank you for pointing it out to me.”

 

I’ll see him and the salon and the gym tomorrow and it’ll be business as usual as we continue to all work and build our model. But after working 30 days in a row because it’s what’s needed to be done to run a business there is always space for love, laughter and fudge!

Thank you, Colleen!

XOXO

 

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Sun Stories – Colleen – You Better Pack My Fudge – Part Two

“Does he like peanut butter?

“I guess. I don’t know. Keep it pretty traditional. We’ll all be safer that way.”

Colleen comes in around 7pm. It’s raining here in Philly. Summer storms are passing through to quell the humidity. She’s dressed in a black bodysuit and looks lovely. We’re chatting and she is absolutely charming as always. She wants to go to the huge windows that overlook Walnut Street to watch as the populace run from the storm. Standing with her in the dark overlooking the night street is lovely. The music from the salon sets the soundtrack as we giggle as umbrellas blow out and couples find shelter. I want to kiss her in this moment. Not as a romantic gesture, but because she seems so present and real. Like an old friend.

We get back to counter and she gives me $35 cash. She promises profusely that she will fulfill the remaining aspect of this unique deal.

“I’m a woman of my word. You know that. What kind of flavors does he like? I’ll do whatever’s necessary.”

Achilles tastes are simple. Keep it to vanilla and chocolate for now. I don’t him weirded out by any exotic flavors.”

“Does he like peanut butter?

“I guess. I don’t know. Keep it pretty traditional. We’ll all be safer that way.”

“Okay. I’ve been at this a long time. I’ll make him up a nice couple of batches.”

“You wanna tan?”

“I’d love to tan.”

“Well based on your word, and the $35 cash I just dropped in the safe I think we should let you tan. But… because you’ve been so wonderful and I like you, I’m going to have to tan you under the house account tonight because technically your account hasn’t been loaded yet. So I’m taking a risk here without any fudge and I’ll let you tan tonight.”

“Yes! Thank you so much! I have to go to Jersey this weekend, and then I’ll be at the Fudge Kitchen on Monday and I’ll deliver on Tuesday.”

“I trust you. Colleen, you’ve tanned for years in shitty little 15 minute beds that really are inefficient and take forever to give you the bronze glow you so rightfully deserve. Since you’ve been so wonderful, I’m going to tan you under the house account. Although this deal will secure that you’ll have the All Access plan, I’m going to do something a little extra for you tonight because I can.”

“I don’t even know what these other beds will do.”

“They’ll tan you faster and better than those old clams you’ve been lying in for the past three years. But tonight, you get a little something special just to ensure that you know we’ve taken your offer very seriously.”

“Wha…”

“Come with me Colleen.”

I take her to room number one. That’s where the Megasun Alpha 6800 lives. It’s a premium bed held exclusively for premium members. This is a state of the art tanning unit.

I call it the Tropical Starship.

600 watts of UV in the face tanners. (More A than B) 180 watts in the tubes. P2 vitamin D lamps throughout that glow pink. A plug so you can hook up your phone and listen to your music in there. Air conditioning, including vents that blow toward your face to keep you cool. Three levels of tanning. Basic, Mediterranean, and Caribbean. Dark, darker and darkest. And the best part of all? Aqua misters that spray you with mist every three minutes to keep you feeling cool and sexy through the entire journey. The Alpha is THE experience.

New, this bed costs $35,000. More than your fucking car.

I walk her through what this baby will do and Colleen is nearly orgasmic. She promises again and again to keep her word on the fudge.

“See that you do.” I send her into her session.

Let’s see if she keeps up her end of the bargain.

 

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