The life ran out of him slowly, wedged stuck between steel and asphalt and a wish for forgiveness. Little did he know that everything would get worse – much worse – if the firefighters managed to cut him free.
Name: Egil Skram Olsen
Date of birth: 23.12. 1974
Residence: Tinnheia, Kristiansand
Current: Playing at Odderøya Live next Thursday.
AFTER THE DARKNES. MORE DARKNESS.
“France will win.”
The voice on the radio was in no doubt – the host country would win that evening’s semi-final. You just had to look forward to a dream final against Brazil. He believed that France would win the World Cup. After all, they had Zidane.
The 16-metre long semitrailer was also getting closer to the final.
Last stop, last unloading.
He actually shouldn’t have been on the trip. He had stopped, but allowed himself to be persuaded to take part one last time.
The very last trip.
No more moving other people’s property. Never again. He had seen how the job had eaten up his father’s strength and health. Ruthless and notorious. The clock never stops in the removals business, but the heart does.
“We had probably driven all night, I would think,” he says quietly.
Just a few dozen kilometres more. He looked at the clock and worked out that he could manage a quick nap in the narrow bunk behind the driver’s seat. A little rest – just a little – before the last unloading.
He speaks with passion, but now closes his eyes. Not to remember, he doesn’t want to remember, but to signal a pause. It may be that he gets dragged back anyway. To the cab of the lorry. He was a passenger, his colleague was at the wheel. Endless strips of yellow were swallowed up under the front of the trailer. The paper from a sausage rolled back and forth in the footwell, a side window was slightly open. The newspaper was curled up and worn out, just like the news it carried: Myggen and Berg, Norway’s shame. They should never have gone to a nightclub.
It was almost 30 degrees outside. The hottest day of the year.
Wasn’t there a little figure nodding its head on the dashboard?
The bone-dry asphalt, an eternity as straight as an arrow, disappeared suddenly into the dark.
The Lier Tunnel.
Drammen waited on the other side.
After Drammen there was Kristiansand – after Kristiansand there was nothing.
Home at last.
If furniture had to be moved after this they would have to find their new living rooms and attics without his help. He was going to be a musician, playing to a crowd. His talent was not in question, everyone knew that, and now he dared to do it. Now he believed.
18 wheels and 18 tonnes rolled on through the hole in the mountain.
The light at the end of the Lier Tunnel grew stronger and bigger.
The sun was right in front of them. So was the trailer from Felleskjøpet. 54 tonnes in the middle of the blinding light. It was almost stationary, impossible to detect.
Not until it was far too late.
The delicate arrow on the speedometer was pointing at 95 at the moment of impact.
That’s what the investigators believe.
He remembers the sound, the sound before the sound – because panic has its own sound – and the shadow which grew larger. And the weightlessness, the feeling of being parcelled up, encapsulated by metal and pain and high-frequency noises and a question which he never got to ask: What happens now?
For many years afterwards he got that gruesome, indefinable metallic taste in his mouth every time he got stressed or angry. Now he was tasting it for the first time.
He remembers there was an electric fan which wouldn’t stop. The fan went round and round, bumping rhythmically against something metallic. Couldn’t someone stop that damned fan? Everything else was quiet and he could feel the blood gushing – within his own body, in his stomach.
Then his sight disappeared. He could not see.
His colleague, the driver, who only sustained minor injuries, shouted his name in desperation, like when you shout at the moon and never expect an answer.
“Lie completely still, don’t move,” another voice said.
As if he had a choice.
The firefighters had covered the area in foam and there were signs of life deep within the wreckage. A young man, covered in blood. Without shoes, in what was once a bed in what was once a trailer. He was white as a sheet.
And he was in no doubt himself – this was the end.
Soon he would just be an inscription on a stone: 1974 – 1998. “God forgive me,” he said – just loud enough that both God and the firefighters could hear it.
He never received a reply from above.
Help came from below.
They cut him out through the floor.
COMING AROUND. WHY ARE THEY CRYING?
First one eye. Then the other. Then the pain came. There were wires everywhere, machines with digital numbers and low beeping noises. The relief he should have felt was totally absent. The last time he closed his eyes he was peaceful and warm. The quilt of resignation had spread itself over him. The last thing he heard was a stern voice outside the wreckage, ordering people to keep away.
“It might explode,” the man shouted. Then the silence. Long. Until a gentle voice, a woman, said something right beside his ear: We’re losing him now.
Then they lost him.
They found him in the ambulance on the way to the hospital.
A faint pulse. A few weak heartbeats. A hope.
Both sides of his ribcage were cracked, not broken. His bones and pelvis had held out, pretty much. Lucky. His spleen was split in the middle, but luckily the two parts were held together by a thin sliver. Lucky. His liver had burst in three places. One of his kidneys was wrecked, there was a tiny hope of saving the other. Lucky. Four litres of blood in his stomach, massive internal bleeding. But his heart was still beating. Lucky. Five vertebrae were broken, but it seemed there was no total paralysis. Incredibly lucky.
They would just have to wait and see when he awoke.
If he awoke.
And he did.
He pulled out all the tubes entering his nose and mouth and wrist. A mixture of ferocity and fear. Blood ran from all the openings and a figure came running from the other side of the room. It looked like his younger brother, Erich Arne.
“When I saw the fear on his face I realised that something awful must have happened.”
The injuries were so extensive that the doctors believed there was a 92 per cent chance that he would need to be cared for in a home – for the rest of his life. The bundle of muscles, the brutally strong young man – it was as if someone had pulled out all the batteries. The next three days were just fog. People came and went around him. Doctors, nurses, experts. Friends and family.
They stood around the bed crying. They had been told the prognosis. He lay there unknowing.
Why are they crying? There was no reason to cry, he thought.
After all he was alive.
He was breathing.
None of them knew that it would soon get worse.
And yet again it started with a bang. New Year’s Eve, half a year later.
THE FUSE IS LIT. HAPPY NEW YEAR.
The chronic pain had completely disappeared. As if by snapping his fingers. It only took a couple of seconds. The feeling was euphoric – he could dance, jump, yes he could even run if he wanted to. But he was not going to run anywhere. On the contrary, he wanted a little more of the same. Right here, right now. None of the doctor’s medicines – his kitchen cupboard was full of them – had come close to this.
The fuses would soon be lit.
There was most definitely reason to celebrate.
Happy New Year – and good evening, amphetamines.
Someone he knew had suggested that he should try it – after all it was the last day of the year, and the situation could hardly get worse than it already was. He had been practically bed-ridden for months. He sat in a wheelchair. Heavily medicated, deeply depressed. After three weeks in the hospital in Drammen he was sent home to Kristiansand. The other patients in the ward in his home town were dying, most of them had cancer. They met in the smoking room during the day, he listened to stories, stories from the war, stories of lives lived, before they were wheeled away to their own places. He slept badly at night. He still woke up with the same metallic taste in his mouth and a voice in his ear which repeated: Now we’re losing him. When the sun finally rose and cast an angled, dusty light on the window pane in the smoking room a new chair was empty.
A new battle had been lost, yet another storyteller had gone, another was added.
He went nowhere himself.
Not yet, but it was getting nearer.
“She was an incredibly beautiful girl,” he says with a grateful smile.
It was she, his girlfriend who lived with him, who helped him after the doctors had let him go home. It was because of her that he was allowed to go home. He was still in a wheelchair. He was still black and blue. When he woke up in the morning the bag on his stomach was brown. As soon as he got up out of bed it turned completely red. The bleeding was almost unstoppable.
The pain was constant.
His great love, his guitar and music, had become a subdued, hushed lament. It stood in a corner like an old piece of furniture which no-one was allowed to touch. A bit like himself.
There was nothing worth singing about anyway.
He couldn’t do it. Didn’t want to. Didn’t dare to.
Everything was a trial, absolutely everything. He could hardly make it to the toilet, and on one occasion he had to relieve himself on the floor. On the carpet. In his own flat.
He cried then.
So he had nothing to lose when the little clear bag of amphetamine was thrown onto the table. Idiotic, of course, but desperation has always exerted a magnetic force against the naive fetters of simple solutions.
It had never tempted him before.
Now he gave in to it. He didn’t care.
He had never felt better.
When the fireworks lit up the rooftops over Kristiansand the town’s criminal fraternity had just added a new man to its roll call. New blood, a hungry fortune hunter, someone who was definitely ready for bigger things than a walk-on part.
He would soon take a leading role.
Not the kind you cheer.
The kind the police have a picture of in their canteen.
THE FATHER, THE SON AND SACHSENHAUSEN :
It may be that it’s lying back there, in a moment when he hurried past. So obvious that he missed it, so near that it was impossible to focus on. Not then, but perhaps now? Everything would have been much simpler if you could just rewind, analyse, underline the answer twice:
The right answer to everything that went wrong.
God knows he’s looked.
He had to look back to dare to look forward.
“But I won’t find anything. Nothing. I was like all the others.”
He had always been a bit badly behaved. Kind, but restless – and the class clown at Karl Johans Minde school at Tinnheia. He often sang in the classroom when he had the chance, and when a reporter from the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation visited he took the opportunity to grab the microphone. He chose Elvis and wiggled his knees. The teachers shook their heads, but they also applauded.
He was a bit different, the eldest son of Torbjørn and Maria Ida.
Torbjørn drove a removal lorry for HK Solberg AS. He was always working. The Norwegian military was restructured again and the military bases in northern Norway needed help with moving. The roads were awful and the distances were insane. They were efficient, didn’t have much time to rest and earned a lot of money. There was no mention of complaining – Torbjørn had learned that early when he emigrated to the USA as a 16-year-old. If you wanted to get anywhere you had to sweat for your luck. He had worked in a tough environment on the other side of the pond for 17 years and had even served in the American military. In the middle of the Vietnam War.
His pension still ticks in from the USA.
“There’s no shortage of stories in our family,” Egil says.
His family tree has branches holding both the author Amalie Skram and the great opera singer Knut Skram.
His grandfather Egil, the man he is named after, was in the resistance during the Second World War. He ended up being very badly mistreated and lying emaciated on a pile of bodies in Sachsenhausen. The bones of a hundred men in each pile. But his fellow prisoners in the concentration camp weren’t sure that the young man from southern Norway was dead. They thought they could see some movement in the stick-thin wreck through the fence. The guards let themselves be bribed with two cans of herring. They reluctantly dragged Egil out of the pile of bodies. They hid him in a latrine, where he lay for three months.
Then to everyone’s surprise he got up one day – in a sweater, clogs and trousers that were far too big for him.
He also survived, as if by a miracle.
“Granddad often babysat for us. He didn’t say a lot, half of his face was paralysed, but I always listened when he spoke.”
Egil liked Egil a great deal.
But the younger Egil wasn’t very obedient in some ways and when he had first had an idea he pursued it to the end. If there was also money to be made he was impossible to stop. He became a paperboy as early as in Primary 6, and the following year he was Paperboy of the Year. He earned a thousand kroner a month, a fortune, but the little businessman had much bigger plans. At the Linjegods freight company he had discovered a container which was filled up with newspapers and magazines returned by the shops in the town every week. Where others saw rubbish Egil saw profit. The container was full of money, no doubt about it. The newspapers were taken and then swapped for Batman and Donald Duck at the local exchange.
“I sold newspapers straight out of cardboard boxes in Tinnheia’s market square. As everything was stolen I made a hundred per cent profit on everything I did.”
While his classmates mowed lawns for pocket money he had more money than he could spend, enough money to buy a TV, video and computer games.
He still hadn’t started at secondary school, but he had a trader’s blood running through his veins. Only the smartest earn money. He understood this. He had also learned the art of discretion – he understood the importance of keeping quiet about his own business.
These turned out to be two important qualities when the drugs were pumped into those same veins a couple of decades later.
A trader, because he had to be – in order to survive.
Completely silent because he had been hit in the throat.
With a hammer.
SEVEN SPANISH ANGELS AND HOOCH
They just laughed, the guys in the practice room. They hadn’t heard the like. Their classmate from secondary school, whom they had never seen singing into a microphone, had suddenly grabbed it. Then he closed his eyes. Then he sung. He shone, his voice sounded like a full-blooded superstar. A little Cash, a little Elvis, a touch of Willie Nelson – heartfelt, nasal and with an accomplished country twang. He knew the words, he knew the song, but it was at least three guitar legends and two generations away from what they were actually going to play.
16-year-olds don’t play country.
Not in 1990. “I remember it well, I sang Seven Spanish Angels. One of my absolute favourites by Ray Charles and Willie Nelson. Dad played all the classics for me, and even as a young boy my heart beat in time with country music.”
The contrast was enormous. After the laughter – initially they thought he was just singing a silly song – they just stood there, gaping. Egil, who ate and slept and did his homework on a skateboard, who had tapes of soft rockers and blood-spitting hairballs in his boy’s room – here he stood, in the middle of the practice room, singing full-on country.
They were actually going to play hard rock, that’s why they were practicing, but this, this was incredibly good. Now the rest of the gang also wanted to smell of cowsheds and Davy Crockett hats.
Saddle up, boys.
The first practice is starting now.
A few months later Bill Booth was in town, and the American veteran needed a local warm-up before entering Caledonien Hall. A rumour started that a gang of cowboys had ridden into Tinnheia Leisure Centre and that they had both dry gunpowder and heavyweight self-belief in their guitar cases. But the organiser didn’t like the fact that they were called Moonshine.
If they wanted to play they would have to come up with another name for the poster.
When the lights went up and the smoke lay like a thick blanket over the monitors there were almost 700 people in front of them: Egil and a band. You could even hear that the young vocalist’s whole body was shaking in the guitar sound. He could hardly even breathe. But it sounded heavy, really heavy, and the presence and voice of the vocalist blew away the slightly elderly enthusiasts on the floor.
“The adrenalin rush, it was simply huge, standing up there on the stage. I knew it straight away, this is my thing.”
The next four or five years were an endless whirl of concerts, several hundred of them. Sometimes sitting alone on a barstool, sometimes with a full band. Often with his own band, sometimes with other bands, also sometimes as a guest artist.
Three beers, a fistful of bank notes, thanks for tonight, see you again.
They were all over the place all the time, often took regular buses to venues, and they carried both their instruments and equipment onto the bus. They paid their dues, and they did it with pride. No musician became a musician without paying their dues.
Carry in, set up, sound check, a quick cold pizza and two beers and rattle through thirty songs.
Dismantle the kit.
Sleep, perhaps tomorrow.
He loved it. He loved everything.
When he needed money and felt a need to be manly he worked for the removals company. He never really got rid of the indefinable draw of life on the road. Maybe it was genetic, this restlessness, a hereditary magnetism. He still remembers all the moments from the trips when he sat in the passenger seat like razor-sharp photographs, just a little too short to see over the dashboard. Dad behind the wheel, the safest driver in the world, and the proud glances he sent his son.
Suddenly they had the whole of Norway behind them.
Then a turn.
Right up there in Kirkenes.
And suddenly they had the whole of Norway in front of them again.
They played Waylon Jennings, Don Williams and Kris Kristoffersen on the system in the trailer. They smiled, stamped their feet in time and sang.
Father and son.
That was then.
“I have probably always sought my Dad’s recognition, being together with him, doing a job which needed muscles. That meant a lot to me.”
But everything has its own time. There simply wasn’t enough time. It was also going so well with the music, including financially, that he wanted to quit the removals business.
The last refrain came suddenly for the young cowboy.
Just outside the Lier Tunnel.
Several years would pass after the accident before anyone heard his voice in the microphone, and when he finally appeared again in public it was as vocalist in a band called Gledeskompaniet. The year was 2001. There were frequent bookings, but Egil also had another job, a job the other people in the band didn’t know about.
He dealt drugs. A lot of drugs – and he had the police on his heels.
He also took drugs. A lot of drugs – and he was on his own heels.
“I didn’t care at all. Cocaine, ecstasy, amphetamines, anabolic steroids, sun beds and the gym. It was a like a 10-year-long episode of The Sopranos.”
He was too unstable. They couldn’t have him in the band any more. His last playing job was at Lista, just before Smokie. It basically suited him fine. He had more enough to do. Secret hotel rooms, rolled-up bank notes, dirty deals and scarred fists. Little bags passed from hand to hand. Needles, white nostrils, a short fuse and stolen credit cards. New faces on the scene and old acquaintances, hopeless quarrels and constant paranoia. He marched into other people’s houses, locked the door behind him, issued crazy threats and slammed the door again. Impossible to misunderstand.
If the money didn’t arrive he came back.
He was the junkie and the torpedo no-one wanted on their back.
I didn’t care at all. Cocaine, ecstasy, amphetamines, anabolic steroids, sun beds and the gym. It was a like a 10-year-long episode of The Sopranos.
He had to whisper for nearly a year.
On the other hand, a pistol speaks both clearly and loudly.
That’s why he carried a pistol. He had to. He believed he had to.
“Not because I wanted to, definitely not, but because a few other individuals did. I had it in bed, under the pillow, in the car and sometimes I carried it on me.”
He felt he was being pursued and constantly thought he could hear sirens in the background. He often heard correctly. One evening he was arrested at a petrol station just outside town. Three cars and a police van raced in between the petrol pumps. The team stormed out in formation. They had helmets, bulletproof vests and automatic weapons. He had a broad grin, wore a cowboy hat and a long coat and was carrying a whole bottle of spirits which he held in front of him like an imaginary revolver.
High as a kite.
He even laughed when they put him in handcuffs.
“I can’t manage to relate to the person I’m speaking about, even though it’s me. I can’t comprehend what the drugs did to my personality.”
According to the police he spent more than 40 days in a custody cell over a short period of time. He had become a nightmare for the uniformed police in the town. His parents’ house at Tinnheia was searched. They looked in his mother’s underwear drawer, pulled the books out of the bookcase, spoke harshly. The police knew that the son of the house was a major player, but those around him closed up. He was also so high up in the system that no-one would speak. The boy who just wanted to play guitar on a barstool, who wanted to see people smiling in a venue, singing along with the refrain – he was now thought to be totally irrational. He was totally irrational. Even the guys he had illegal dealings with, the bundles of nerves on the other side of the table, felt that they were looking at a loaded gun. After a while both his passport and driving licence were seized. The police thought it was necessary.
The propeller from Tinnheia had to be stopped.
The guy who had recently been bound to a wheelchair had become totally unstoppable.
He took six grams of speed a day as well as all the other drugs.
People have died of much less.
But his body was working very well. He was building muscles and was happy to show them off. The endless hours of physiotherapy were history and the doctor’s appointments had stopped a long time ago. The self-medication was an unconditional success. He was invincible.
Days and nights melted into each other.
His lifestyle couldn’t stand daylight, but everything happened under the moon.
And he had full control.
Right up until his heart collapsed.
Right up until the metal door slammed shut and the sound of a lonely bunch of keys grew weaker and weaker out in the corridor.
Dear mother, I can’t take any more.
THE FALL, THE CELL AND THE COMEDOWN.
“It’s so good to be able to finally look my parents in the eye again. I just want to cry when we talk about it.”
He thinks back. To the end. He was ready to die – it would basically have been the same thing. That evening he knew that there was a full stop waiting around the next bend. He wanted to go home to leave this world in safe surroundings. The police let him out of the custody cell, drove him to the door at home in Tinnheia. Torbjørn and Maria Ida could hardly believe their own eyes when their son came in. There was nothing left of him.
He went straight down into the cellar. He hardly dared to look at his parents.
If his cousin, Ole Georg, a consultant at the hospital in Arendal, hadn’t jumped in his car when his dad Torbjørn telephoned then Egil would have lost his life in his bed in his boyhood’s room.
He had just turned 31.
There was no birthday cake that year.
“Have we lost him?”
The voice was there again – not the same as last time, not in a dream, but in a new ambulance.
His heart had grown by more than five centimetres. The body’s most important muscle was completely exhausted. He was completely gone in the ambulance on the way to Arendal. He had two blood clots in his ventricle. The doctors in casualty raised the highest level of alarm and experienced consultant and heart specialist Torstein Gundersen believed that the patient, “Was the youngest person with the weakest heart that he had ever treated”.
When they wheeled him in only 20 per cent of his heart’s original capacity was left. It isn’t possible to get much lower without requiring a transplant.
The doctors were in doubt for a while.
That body, that guy – he was probably too weak.
He was suffering cramps and delirium, withdrawal and panic attacks.
But he was still strong.
Just strong enough. Once more.
“I was discharged after 10 days, but I left there without having understood anything. I went back to it straight away.”
He shakes his head and pulls his sweater over his powerful shoulders.
He seems so incredibly strong, physically, sitting there. It is difficult to think that this is the same man that the emergency services in Drammen cut from the wreckage of a trailer. Was it really the same man who had spent the next 10 years falling into violent and humiliating decline? The guy who threatened people? Sold drugs which were injected into wrecked young veins? Was this the man admitted to hospital with a heart which only had 20 per cent of its original capacity left, but who still didn’t realise how serious things were?
So open. So apparently thoughtful. So polite.
Was it he who slept with a pistol under his pillow?
“The whole story. I don’t think I’ve told it all at once before, not in this way. It’s very powerful.”
He knew it – sooner or later things would go wrong.
Later arrived after two more years in hell.
In 2008 his outside door was kicked in.
He can even remember how it felt when he realised that his race was run. First the anger, of course, when the police raided his flat on Dueknipen, then the arrogance and denial in the long, brutal interviews. Relief finally arrived. The lovely relief. The police had been watching him for over a year. They had tapped the telephone. They had witnesses who told the truth.
This time he couldn’t get out of it.
“I realised it very quickly. Now it’s finished. It was actually liberating.”
He had been on remand for four long months. Total isolation. 23 hours a day, locked in a narrow cell with the shame, the angst and the doubt. For the other hour he was led out to a narrow exercise area where the only view was upwards – to the sky.
He would probably have to look elsewhere for forgiveness.
“In a place like that, alone with your own thoughts, you get to know yourself well,” he says with a lopsided smile.
The police had cleared up a major case, it turned out. More than 30 witnesses were interviewed, and three of them pointed the finger at him. Perhaps they were taking a chance to get him away, out of town, behind tall walls and locked doors.
And now he sat there.
“It was the best thing that could have happened to me, the only thing that could save me.”
The original charge was for almost 14 kilos of amphetamine and 6 kilos of rohypnol, but when he was convicted it was on circumstantial evidence, for possession of about a kilo of amphetamine.
Three years and eight months, the judge said, banging his gavel on the table.
He panicked just before he was about to serve his sentence. He ran away, hid for several months, but he felt it deep inside, the change. The sentence – it was final, and it gave him one last chance. To settle an account with himself. To feel guilt at last. He had almost forgotten how it felt.
Now he carries it with him every single day. He thinks about his son, who is now six years old. He came into the world when everything was everything was in confusion. A son he hardly gets to meet, but who he wants to care for and be responsible for. He will earn it.
He thinks about his parents, Torbjørn and Maria Ida, so easy to get along with, so full of humour, right up until they lost control of their boy. He knows that he has contributed to them growing older, more uncertain, more worn out.
They were so afraid so often – for him and because of him.
He knows it now.
They have cried a lot.
“I have apologised to them. To all those who are close to me.”
He has moved home now, to his mum and dad at Tinnheia. Of course they didn’t turn their backs on him, that was never on the agenda. They are making amends and making up for the years which disappeared. They got back the son they had lost, not the son they thought they missed. He has spent almost two years in prison and has been going to a treatment centre – Loland Behandlingssenter – for three-and-a-half years. He was at Loland voluntarily for the final year. He still felt the draw of what he had left behind, the lure of the shadows. He didn’t trust himself – not for a second.
He got his belief back at Loland – belief in himself.
Supervision, care, understanding and respect.
Balance after 10 years on a slack line.
He found it, and he found a hand to hold – a girl who was also searching for balance. They are still holding on, well aware that together they are twice as strong – and twice as vulnerable.
Songs should be written about stories like this.
Fortunately six strings were standing in a corner, waiting for a cowboy to walk in.
MONDAY. THE VERY BEST.
“Good evening, people, I’m on chemotherapy, which is why I’ll be sitting this evening.”
Pløens gate 4, Café Mono, June 2013. The capital, it rarely sleeps, not even on a Monday – maybe the worst day in the week to be employed as a musician. Not because Mondays are unmusical – Mondays have their own refrain, but Mondays always come two days too late for the party.
Monday is an after party with no stereo.
Monday is an Opel which won’t start.
He also has chemotherapy on Mondays. Hepatitis C is a curse in a minor key, a final greeting from the syringe needles.
Everything is bit worse on Mondays. The sweating, the shaking and the nausea.
Mondays come on top of all the other days, with all the other medicine and the daily tablets for blood pressure, incontinence, the heart, blood, anxiety and back pain.
The riders are ready right behind him, musical supporters, a wounded cowboy’s inalienable cavalry. One of them was there when seven Spanish angels revealed themselves in a run-down practice room at Tinnheia. That must have been in another life.
The riders are ready right behind him, musical supporters, a wounded cowboy’s inalienable cavalry. One of them was there when seven Spanish angels revealed themselves in a run-down practice room at Tinnheia. That must have been in another life.
Saddle up, partner.
He draws breath. Closes his eyes. Dries the sweat. Just like then.
Can he remember the words?
Of course he can remember them. After all, he has lived them, written them down, set them to music.
The next hour is the sound of a life.
This is the continuation, and all continuations deserve a Monday.
One like this.
A Monday when the removal load finally arrived.
PS! Next Thursday Egil Skram is playing at Odderøya Live with a full band.
This case is based on interviews, conversations and correspondence:
- Egil Skram
- Maria Ida Skram (Egil’s mother)
- Torbjørn Skram (Egil’s father)
- Stein Roger Sordal (childhood friend and musician)
- Dag Tallaksen (head of the uniformed police in Kristiansand, confidentiality lifted)
- Ole Georg Torjusen (Egil’s cousin and consultant at the hospital in Arendal)
- Martin Gellein (unit manager of the supervision unit, Loland Behandlingssenter)
- Eivind Flaten (driver of the trailer in the accident in 1998)
- Jan Ove Johansen (former musical colleague)
- Torgeir Øveraas Moland (former musical colleague)
- Jan Kenneth Transet (friend and manager, Karmakosmetix Records)
- Bianca Nilsen (girlfriend)
- Kai Møller (childhood friend and tattooist)
- Tone Sverresson Ørmen (archive service, Drammens Tidende)
- Håkon Knappen (library adviser, Buskerud fylkesbibliotek library)