The Road to Rjukan

The Road to Rjukan

I am told on a regular basis that I should be concentrating my efforts on music. I don’t always take the statement seriously, I have to admit. I think part of the reason I still haven’t written and recorded my debut album is a lack of self belief. I have written some pieces which I think are ok but they still lack that thing which makes them a “great” song. The other part of why there is no “Lee Townsend Album” is a certain amount of laziness. I am sure that if I set my mind to it, I could write a decent bunch of songs and release them.

Anyway, last week, I went over to Norway to play three shows in a small town called Rjukan. I was asked if I would like to play there a few months back when my friend, Derrin played there. He passed on my details and I got the call so, of course, I accepted. Armed with my guitar, a loop pedal and my Canon G7X II digital camera, I set off with the intention of making a short, 15 minute VLOG about the trip. I filmed throughout the whole journey and during my time in Rjukan and ended up creating something much longer.

So let me present to you, my full on, 45 minute tour diary film, “The Road to Rjukan”…

Day 1 – Wednesday 22nd February 2017

Arriving at Málaga’s María Zambrano train station, I caught the high-speed “Ave” train to Madrid. From Madrid, I boarded another train to Madrid’s international airport, followed by a shuttle bus to terminal 2, which was where my flight would depart from. I arrived at terminal 2 just before midnight and had nearly a 7 hour wait before I could catch my plane. I had no hotel room. Just my guitar and 2 bags surrounding me on the terminal floor.

Day 2 – Thursday 23rd February 2017

I could finally leave Madrid! I checked in my guitar and boarded the flight before sleeping through virtually the entire journey. I am sure I must have been snoring loudly as when I awoke, I received some deathly stares from the other passengers. Once we had landed, I caught a bus from Oslo’s Gardermoen airport to the main bus station in Oslo itself. I then transferred to a bus heading for Notodden before changing again to a new bus going to Rjukan. When I arrived in Rjukan, I headed to “Huset Pub”, my venue for the weekend and was greeted by Stian, the owner of the pub. He was very accommodating and served me my first Norwegian pint and we talked about life and music whilst listening to Jaimi Faulkner. I ate a pizza which was delicious and went off to bed.

I slept 13 hours straight…

Day 3 – Friday 24th February 2017

I woke up and went straight to the main square in Rjukan. I had heard that the town doesn’t get any sunlight in the winter months so the only natural heat the residents get is the sunlight which is bounced off the series of mirrors installed on the mountain top. These mirrors were installed for this very reason and I have to say, it is a weird sensation walking into the light there. Shortly after, I received a message from Stian offering to show me around. We went up to the ski slopes and checked out the ice climbers on the way back down. We also went up to the power station which creates something called “Hard Water” as a byproduct of it’s primary function. Hard Water is an essential ingredient when building certain types of bomb and for that reason, the plant was controlled by the Nazis during World War II. The Norwegian’s regained control of the power plant thanks to 7 soldiers, who took it back without killing a single person.

After our trip out, I received a call from Glenn, an ex-colleague of mine from Spain. He’s Norwegian and came down to stay for the weekend so we met up and had a chat before the first of my gigs in Huset Pub. The show went well. I got some great feedback from the crowd and was assured that the venue would be busier for me the following day.

Day 4 – Saturday 25th February 2017

Having got to bed at nearly 4am, I woke up at about 11:30. The afternoon show of the day was due to start at 3:30pm so I had time to go for a coffee before playing. The first show was really enjoyable and people seemed to be very happy with my performance.

Before the evening show, Glenn and I went for a kebab which was great. I then tackled the last of my concerts in Rjukan. It was a success once again and everyone told me how much they had enjoyed the weekend’s music.

Day 5 – Sunday 26th February 2017

Glenn very kindly offered to drive me the 260kms to the airport, saving me most of the travelling I had to do on the way in. Also, I flew straight back to Málaga which made the day much easier.

All in all, I had a great time in Norway and would definitely return. I plan to work hard on my first album whilst the experience is fresh in my head.