Musings on genre

September 6, 2012 at 7:00 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

Earlier, whenever I’d hear a techno song or a hiphop song, my initial thoughts used to be along the lines: “But these all sound exactly the same.” Many otherwise sensible people have the same reaction to metal music. I’ve come to think this is the same as saying: “I’m not familiar with this type of music.” (So I’m trying to stop saying it.)

Now, if we can agree to that, does the same apply for genre literature, as well? Quite often you hear people complaining the fantasy novels are all the same. You know, good guys, bad guys, dragons, knights, swords, elves, wizards etc etc. On one hand, it’s true, many of them use the same elements. On the other hand, if you don’t have any of them, it just doesn’t feel like fantasy anymore. One can use these elements in a cliched manner or in a new, original way, so it’s not the elements themselves that proclaim a work cliched or not. So, when someone not that much into fantasy complains that all fantasy books are the same, what they mean is “I’m not familiar with this type of literature.”

The same goes for detective novels, sci-fi, romance novels, and pretty much any genre out there. So we should stop complaining how “These books are all the same.”


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Heavy metal dinosaur concept bands for children

September 10, 2011 at 6:39 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

Lead singer Mr Saurus for the later band Sauruxet.


Finland is a country of heavy metal. This much you probably knew.

Now, when one is a country of heavy metal, that means one must also have heavy metal bands for children. One of these was a concept band where the musicians are dressed up as dinosaurs with leather jackets and long hair.

That band got into a fight with the record company over who owned the rights to the concept, so the band split. Which means there are two children’s heavy metal dinosaur concept bands in Finland, both wildly successful.

We heard them play yesterday, and they did indeed rock.

The only question is, in a country of five million people, are two children’s heavy metal dinosaur concept bands enough?

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Infernal Musical will soon premiere…

January 11, 2011 at 11:38 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

A short trailer for 1827 – Infernal Musical, the heavy metal musical that will open in a week and a half. There’s still some tickets left, but don’t waste any time if you want to pick your seats. The show only runs from Jan 21 to Feb 5, 2010.

Many people are confused by what a heavy metal musical exactly is. Will it only have songs  or is there a story or what? In form and function it’s much like West Side Story or Producers — a stage play where the story is sometimes told through songs instead of dialogue. In style it will be quite different, combining period action with the classics of heavy metal. The show will mostly feature known songs like Paranoid, Carry On, or Hunting High And Low. There will also be one of our own songs (lyrics by me, music by our band leader Joona Lukala), and one brand new song by Lordi, Devil’s Crashing the Party. So in traditional terms, “the book” is by me, and the lyrics are by Dio and whoever. But yes, there’s one hell of a story there!

If you’re in the UK, I recommend listening to BBC Radio 3’s program Music Matters, and their report on Turku and Tallinn, the European Capitals of Culture. They interview me about 1827, and play some of our songs.

Also, for Finns, Ajankohtainen kakkonen is going to do a big piece on Turku this week, and will feature both the musical and yours truly. (Also check out VR’s paper Matkaan, January issue.)

Rock on!

Lordi with two of our burned ladies, and the single release of Devil's Crashing the Party.

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Metal pic

May 26, 2010 at 8:00 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

I’ve written the book for the heavy metal musical 1827 – Infernal Musical. Two weeks ago they had a rehearsal weekend and a promo shoot. Here’s one great picture that really captures the period, the metal and the Turku Fire. Become fans on Facebook!

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April 20, 2010 at 10:24 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Because of the ash cloud I’m stuck in Amsterdam with my wife. The sun is shining and we don’t have to pay for the expenses, so it could be worse. But I’m still missing on lots of cool stuff.

A week ago I flew to London for a short work gig with The company P. On Wednesday evening I took a plane from Heathrow to Amsterdam, where my wife Elina and I took part in the EU-funded Languages Through Lenses short film workshop. Later this summer we’re going to make a short film based on our plans presented here, and we met some filmmakers from around the continent with similar plans.

On Thursday we found out about Eyjafjallajökull erupting, and on Friday the workshop was degenerating into chaos since everyone’s flights had to be reorganized. Our return trip was supposed to be on Saturday evening.

My intent was to leave Helsinki on Sunday morning and take the train to Turku, where they were rehearsing 1827 – Infernal Musical. I admit, the week was packed quite tight. This mandatory vacation has certainly taught me something about both flying on aeroplanes and being so damn busy all the time.

On Sunday the troupe in Turku read the book of the heavy metal musical for the first time, with what I assume was the final cast. Something like this is always a magical moment, and I hated to miss it. Especially since I’d only finished the script a few days before. The comments from actors and the rest of the crew have been very positive, and the project became much more concrete for everyone. I can’t wait to attend some of the reading rehearsals myself.

Funnily enough, while I was writing the text that eponymously takes place in the Turku Fire of 1827, I was thinking whether or not to mention the huge vulcanic eruption of 1815. It covered the entire planet in an ash cloud that resulted in a ”Year Without a Summer”. It was cold, crops were ruined, people were starving, European cities had food riots.

As a side note, four writers were summer vacationing in Switzerland in that year of 1816, but because of the vulcanic winter the weather was so bad they just stayed inside and held a horror story contest. Thus was born Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein – A Modern Prometheus, and John Polidori’s ur-Dracula The Vampyre. Two of popular culture’s central figures were born vecause of the summerless year. Lord Byron taking part in the same contenst later wrote the apocalyptic poem Darkness about the that year.

I left the vulcano out of the dialogue, since I thought nobody would believe a vulcanic eruption could have such global consequences. Now I’m stuck in Amsterdam because Eyjafjallajökull is spewing ash into the atmosphere. From Facebook and cell phone I’ve managed to soak in some of the mood of the reading. Here’s a picture of the event. (The reading, not the eruption.)

On this weekend Sweden hosts Knutpunkt, where I was going to hold three programme items. A Jesus-themed larp called Messiah, a ritual workshop with Erlend Eidsem and assisting Martin Elricsson in the presentation. The first I canceled and the two latter will be taken over by the others.

Right now it looks like we’ll leave ’Dam on a night train to Copenhagen, change trains there or in Malmö, and arrive in Katrineholm near where Knutpunkt is being held. We’d take part in the Punkt’s last evening, continue from there with bus to Stockholm and take the ferry to Helsinki. If nothing goes wrong…

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