You may come across it this summer in Sweden, maybe on the road or in a city where Gyllene Tider will play this summer. It’s black and yellow and looks very cool. And has the name of a very famous Swedish band as well as a funny happy guy called Leif on it. What are we talking about? Of course, we are talking about Sandra Knospe’s Gyllene Tider car.
Sandra has set as a target to get the car’s dashboard signed by all the Gyllene Tider members this summer and has agreed to share her story with us and keep us updated with the happenings. To start with, an introduction about how the idea was born, who helped Sandra make this dream come true and the story behind getting Micke’s and Per’s signatures on the dashboard.
The idea behind the GT car
Ever since I got to know this little guy called Leif K. LaStång (back in 1991) I felt that he has deserved some attention, as cute and jolly as he looks with his yellow round face and short little legs, being cheeky and sweet at the same moment. But back then I neither had the money nor the skills nor the fitting car to turn the dream to have him all over it into reality.
Luckily that has changed. I know photoshop by now, have a nice black car that was longing for some styling and surprisingly had some money left from the savings for the upcoming Gyllene Tider tour. And what could be a better occasion than the tour? So I decided to do it now or never. I thought about how to do it best. The concept was in my mind from the beginning. The GT members were supposed to get a different Leif character each and the Leifs should become as big as possible. I wanted the GT logo as well since I always liked it. Actually, it was supposed to be the new scribbled logo, but to cut out all the small parts would have driven the guy who finally pinned the decals onto my car crazy. So I took the old one instead, also looking very nice. And I also wanted to have something at the rear window so that it wouldn’t look too “naked” there. The tour poster was a great thing but I decided to stay with the Leif theme and change the original photo on it into Leifs, too. All I was missing now, were some more Leifs (so far I only had a file with three of them that I could use for this) and a high resolution version of the logo or even better, the original font. So I started to ask around and immediately got help from Patrícia Peres who did send me some pdf files with some more different Leifs. Thomas Evensson was a big help, too. He helped me out with files of the logo and turned the single Leifs into the first raw version to a group of 5 Leifs, the file that I could finally start to work with and turn into exactly that picture that had formed inside my mind for some time now. So I want to take the opportunity to thank them again for their cooperation and big help!! That was awesome!! From then on it was easy. I only needed to photoshop my car to have an example of how it should look like and then find a company that would produce the decals for me and put them on the car. I found a nice little advertising agency who did the job and now here it is. The GT car!
The first trip to Sweden
Actually I never expected such a tremendous feedback for it. First of all, I did it for myself because I always wanted to have Leif on my car in one way or another. Maybe my second intention was to do it also to kind of help promoting the GT album and tour in a funny and unusual way once I was in Sweden. Even though I know that this isn’t necessary at all. But already in Germany there were reactions from people being curious about it. Not to mention my colleagues and my boss. But since some of them know about my “hobby” and my summer plans, nobody was really surprised. My boss even tries to support it if possible with organizing the days off or vacation after my likings. Lucky me, eh? I even got response from some Swedes in Germany, who recognized the oh so well known band logo and wanted to know more about a German being crazy for GT. Nobody of them ever thought that this was possible. Anyway, when I was finally heading to the north to see GT playing in Halmstad on the 26th of June the attention got even bigger. Of course, I was entering the home country of GT. It already started at the costums control at the border. They picked me out, asking lots of questions. In the end the nice lady asked me if this was my car. I guess she was wondering about the German number plate on a car that was covered with stuff of a Swedish band. For a split second I thought about what would happen if I’d say “No, it is stolen.” but I decided that I didn’t want to find out and just said “Javisst!” She smiled and wished me a nice stay. “Du kan satsa på det!” was all I returned before I continued my journey. By the way, I knew that this car would force me to talk more Swedish from now on because people would approach me and speak to me and that in Swedish, of course. Not a bad way to practice it. I was always too shy to answer in Swedish even if I understand what people are saying. Now I at least try to answer in Swedish as much as I can. And so I had quite some nice and funny conversations before I finally arrived in Halmstad.
I parked the car at the parking lot belonging to the hotel Tylösand. I thought nobody would take much notice since it’s just one of many cars parking there but when I met BoJo in the hotel later that day he asked me if the car is mine. I was wondering that he guessed it was mine but didn’t ask him what made him think this. I just said “yes” and he continued telling me that it looks great and that “they all love it”. They all?? I guess he meant crew and maybe even band but still, I couldn’t really believe it. I didn’t realize that it was THIS eye-catching but obviously I was wrong. I kinda feel a bit proud of it now. It did cost some time and effort and it makes me happy that my concept seems to be liked. But it came so unexpected. After all at least BoJo and Per and the people who participated at the Rox tour are used to crazy fan cars with decals of the band. So the idea wasn’t new. But ok, after all it’s probably the first GT-car. And for me it was and is the best car anyway that brought me to so many concerts already and never did let me down.
While I was experiencing a great smygpremiär (secret concert) and lots of fun at the party afterwards it was waiting for me.
The first signature – Syd!
And when I went back to it the next day a car crossed my way to it. It stopped and the side window came down. Only then I realized that it was Anders with his family. I said hi and he also asked me if this was my car. I nodded and he just said that it looks really cool. I thanked him. Now I was sure they really liked it. I told him that I would like him to sign the dashboard the next time we meet. I didn’t want him to do it now, since he was leaving and not alone. And I was sure there would be another chance to get him signing it. He agreed on it and then we said goodbye. The idea came suddenly and exactly a second before I asked Anders that. I dunno why, but I think I realized that it maybe wouldn’t be so difficult to get them to sign the car. At least not as difficult as I expected it to be. After all it’s 5 guys and who knows if I can get an opportunity to bring the car near enough to get them all signing it. But no risk, no fun. Somehow I would make it work.
When I came back to the hotel later that day I found Micke sitting in the lobby, waiting. I approached him, saying hi and asked him how it is going. He said fine and that he was waiting for his wife to pick him up. I told him about my plans to want all of GT to sign the dashboard of my car and if he would mind if I bring it down to the entry of the hotel so that he could sign it. He said “sure, bring it down here and I sign it” so I hurried to the car and took it to the entry.
The same time his wife arrived but after he brought his stuff into their car he came to me and was the first one to put his signature on the dashboard, adding an unique little Micke-Leif to it. He is such a talented guy!! I thanked him and then we said goodbye, too.
Second one: Per
By now all of them had left and it got quiet again at the hotel. My friends had left on Thursday, too. Heading home for work. I also wanted to leave on Thursday because the weather was really bad and I had some things to prepare for the upcoming 37 days vacation in Sweden. For me work wasn’t starting again before Saturday night so I at least wasn’t in a hurry to get back. And since the weather turned to the better in the afternoon I decided to stay a bit longer and enjoy the sun coming out, taking some long walks in the nature in Harplinge and Haverdal, watching the sunset there. It felt so good that I continued to take another long walk at the beach on Friday. It should have been the last one before I finally had to leave again. When I got back from that walk I spotted the car from the Gessle family in front of the hotel and it came to my mind that this probably would be the only perfect chance for me to get Per to sign my car, too. Where else would I get him so close to the car and most of the time he was surrounded by tons of fans anyway, which would make it even harder to get him to the car to sign it. This time I was all alone. Not really something that I was keen on. I never met him alone before and even if it doesn’t seem so, I am quite shy when it comes to meetings with him. I feel much more relaxed when I am surrounded by friends so that the attention lies on many people. Anyway, I had to overcome that issue. I wouldn’t get a better chance. It would be the last chance before I had to go back and what nice boost it would give me for the trip back home if I could add his autograph to Micke’s before leaving. So I decided to give it a try and wait for a while.
Chances were 50/50 that Per or Åsa were in the hotel. But it seemed I wasn’t lucky. It was Åsa who came to the car a bit later. I approached her, greeting her and talked to her for a moment. Then I simply asked if there would be another chance to see Per at the hotel that day because I’d like him to sign the car. She said yes and so I decided to take that last chance. As always, it happens at the last possible moment (if at all).
Good that I knew when he would turn up so I didn’t need to wait the whole time. I went to my favorite pizzeria and ate my beloved chicken-banana-curry pizza. I tried to enjoy it but I have to admit I was a bit nervous already. It’s a strange feeling when you know what’s coming up and when. After that I went back to the hotel, preparing for the meeting mentally. He was late, like always, and I already feared that there wouldn’t be time left for it but I was wrong. When he parked the car, I came down from the parking lot and slowly parked behind him. I hoped Åsa had told him so he wouldn’t get a shock if I turned up with the car behind his. When he stepped out of the car he looked at me, nodding a bit as if he would want to let me know it’s ok. So I came out of my car, too. “The car looks beautiful,” was the first thing he said to me. I thanked him. We talked a bit about it. He wanted to know if I had done it by myself and if it could stand the Swedish rain. I just told him that it can stand any rain after it has survived weeks of rain in Germany. He was really lovely and calm and took his time. I wished I would have been more relaxed to be able to enjoy that moment even more but after so many meetings I am still not able to put this nervousness aside. He must have sensed this, he took care of everything. Waiting for me to film the signing, asking if I am ready. He took his time, adding a “June 2013” to his signature and then agreed on a pic in front of the car. I felt a bit lost but he just organized how to stand. He even asked me to check the picture after it was taken if it was okay or too dark. How come he thinks of all this?? I was already about to say bye, not wanting to take even more of his time, forgetting to check whatever. I was happy that I still was able to at least move. But he was so charming and calm at this meeting that it almost knocked me off of my feet. After I checked it I thanked them and wished Per and his family, which had arrived by then, too a wonderful evening. Then it was time for me to start the 1045 km long trip back to Leipzig, over night and through the rain from Malmö on until I had arrived back home 16 hours later.
Maaan, what a change of feelings in such a short period of time. It was one of the worst trips back home ever, with traffic jams and a full closure of the freeway I was on. Maybe all because of the constant rain. But no matter how bad this trip was, whenever I took a glimpse to the dashboard of my car all the tiredness and distress was gone and only good memories from Halmstad were present. I was probably the only one smiling from all the people standing in a big traffic jam at half past 4 in the morning. What a great time it was…
By the way, if anybody wonders if my car has a name. Yes, it does. It’s named bumblebee, fitting the black and yellow colors.
To be continued…