Sandra Knospe was one of the lucky fans who got an invitation to the book release party. To the party being held on 10th December in Leif’s Lounge at Hotel Tylösand. She travelled there with 3 of her friends and they enjoyed the journey, the meetings, the talks and the party to the full. Here’s her complete story about the event, how she experienced it.
The “Alla tiders Gyllene Tider” book release party or a not so usual short trip to Halmstad…
It’s a week ago already, but I needed this time to realize that it hasn’t been just a dream what I experienced last Tuesday, that it really happened. Again… Who would have thought back in 1997, when I witnessed the first book release party in my life at Hotel Tylösand, also for a GT biography, also written by Jan-Owe Wikström, that 16 years later I would be there again, at the same place, for yet another GT book release party, for another great GT book, a road biography, written by exactly the same person, Jan-Owe Wikström, with outstanding pictures from Anders Roos, that really deliver the live feelings from the past GT tour and bring back soooo many fantastic and intense moments of the tour. I can tell, I was there on all 19 shows. Going through the book brings me back the memories and make them become alive again immediately and I can’t wait to find some time to finally read the whole book.
But back to where I started… When I got the invitation I knew that I wouldn’t say no. Even though it seemed to be impossible to realize. I knew I had to work a day after the date of the party, I knew I couldn’t take my precious GT car for the trip since it’s missing a proper set of winter tires and I knew that probably nobody of my friends could join me, because it all came so suddenly and seemed to be impossible to manage in just a week. And as if that wasn’t hard enough to solve, I smashed my thumb in the car door just a few days before the trip should be. But everyone who knows me also knows that this wouldn’t hold me back from going. And suddenly everything turned out just perfect. My parents offered me their little Ford Fiesta to be able to go, my thumb was at least not broken just hurting (something I can easily ignore when it comes to such events), and even 3 of my friends made it possible to join me on this adventure. Life is great sometimes, isn’t it?
So on Monday evening we all met in Leipzig. I picked up Lisa at the train station and then we gathered Olli and Helga and shortly before midnight we all placed our luggages into the car and squeezed inside. OK, sitting there the 4 of us with literally no space left to move I have to admit that I thought it might turn into a horror trip, knowing we had 11 hours ahead of us with no space, no pace and only a cassette player on board (and not many cassettes that we could listen to). But no, it was so much fun instead. After we got some more air into the tires to make it more comfortable to drive we just headed to the North. We didn’t even use the radio, we were talking during the whole time, being excited and curious about what was ahead of us. No one of us was really tired through the night and it felt soooo great to be together again and talk about memories from the past. It gave me such a boost and thinking about it now I have a tremendous smile on my face again.
When we finally hit Sweden (Helsingborg) at around 11 am, it was all foggy and the weather was depressing, but in our car the sun was still shining. Mood was still perfect and it felt like coming home again. Not being that talkative anymore we decided to turn the radio on and listen to one of the cassettes Olli had brought. It turned out to be the “Heartland Cafe” album and it was somehow fitting. Haven’t heard it for ages and we all had to smile at some parts, but also sang along most of the time. Not really like singing Queens “Bohemian Rhapsody” in Wayne’s World, but almost. After that I turned the radio on to listen to some Swedish radio stations but somehow every station played Xmas songs only. We have never heard so many Xmas songs in a row and after half an hour we decided to turn it off again and continue talking instead. That was a Xmas overdose we weren’t prepared for.
Entering Halmstad it still felt like a dream. And knowing that we wouldn’t have any time on Wednesday, we stopped at Eurostop first to get us the most important things, e.g. some money and then some bottles of The Per Gessle Selection for home. I thought it felt so unreal, coming from Leipzig, falling out of the car into the Systembolaget and buying wine. As if we wouldn’t have better things to do, haha. It continued this way. Next stop, Halmstad City. It still didn’t feel real. Olli and me bought ourselves a French hotdog, after all we have had nothing to eat since we had left Germany. And it’s a must to be in the city at least for a while when you are in Halmstad. So we rushed through it, trying to make ourselves aware of the fact that we were back again. We failed, it still felt far away. After that we knew we should continue to Tylösand. One more short stop at the ICA in Söndrums Centrum to gather some more needed stuff that we only could buy in Sweden like räksallad etc. and even more important, the latest issue of “Livets Goda”. 4 exemplars left. How lucky we were. Then back into the car again with even less space now with all the things we bought and continuing our way to Tylösand.
We were kind of shocked when we saw the trees to the right and left. Sandhamn had changed a lot since we last drove by. Broken and uprooted trees literally everywhere, we were passing by mouths wide open. It must have been the storm Berit in the beginning of November that caused all this. We didn’t expect it. It looked a bit sad actually and I hoped at least the hotel would look the same as always. I decided to drive to Hotel Tylösand directly. We all were eager to finally arrive and get out of the car. We booked two rooms for the night at the hotel. None of us could really afford it, but we all knew it’s a special day and so it had to be just perfect. And no one of us would be able to drive after the evening anymore anyway, so of course that was the only option. After we got our bags out of the car, I parked it at the hotel’s parking place and when I came back I met Anders Roos and some others from the publishing company Roos & Tegnér. I said hi and thanked him again for the invitation and we had a little small talk on the way down to the lobby. A really nice guy with a really big talent and I hope he will do some more pictures related to Per or Marie or GT in the future. Then my friends and me checked in. And that was the moment when we finally arrived. Not only physically, but also mentally.
Having a bit less than three hours left before the party should begin, there was not much time for a rest. Actually, none at all. Being awake for more than 30 hours, now we had to get back into shape as much as possible, showering, getting dressed and having some wine already to calm down a bit. Maybe not the best idea with an almost empty stomach and no sleep, but well. We wanted to live the Rock ‘n’ Roll, hahaha.
Anyway. Shortly after 5 pm we were ready and went down, outside the hotel, gathering our thoughts, breathing some more fresh air and getting ready for the real deal. There we met Justyna and Kai-Uwe from TDR and had a small chat. They went in already and we decided to follow them after a moment. I didn’t expect anyone to be there already since we were early, but I was wrong. After entering Leif’s Lounge, Mr. Herrlin was the first who greeted us. We talked for a while, mostly about the then upcoming documentary on TV4. He told me I was in it and I just told him that I hope I didn’t look to f***ed up, since the interview was taken in Gävle on the meadow after sleeping and waiting there for the entry to the gig all day long. He said it was fine and left us curious about the documentary. After that we went to the bar to get us some wine, of course from TPGS, and checking out the people who arrived slowly. Some known faces amongst them of course. And it wasn’t hard to tell when Per entered the room. Being on the other side of Leffes, you could surely sense his presence, being surrounded by many people immediately… But there were so many great people that I met again that it felt like summer was back suddenly. I hoped for some more guys from the crew, too. But I guess they had other things to do. But I am not complaining, not at all. I had a great time. And I didn’t concentrate too much on Per, because I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to talk to all the others, hehe. Even though I was talking way too much to everyone that evening. I guess I acted like I was on speed or ecstasy, being tired, hungry, kinda exhausted, but still happy and excited. That strange mix made me act a bit overexcited probably. So here are my apologies to everyone who talked to me and could hardly say anything, because I wasn’t able to keep my mouth shut. I tried to, but it felt like a rush. Sorry!
I remember I talked to Anders Roos and Jan-Owe of course, to Benny Mårtensson, the designer of the book who also did a fantastic job, to Micke A. and Göran plus family. I missed talking to MP though. Again, somehow I never manage to talk to him. What a shame. Then I talked to Marie Dimberg, who also introduced me to the Swedish press. It was Expressen which I successfully managed to avoid since 2002, but this time I could hardly say no, since she introduced me to them. Anyway. I became a bit emotional when talking to them since I always wanted to tell them something for years, but never did. After we talked a bit about the past GT tour and the upcoming Marie tour, I just had to talk it off of my chest and told them what I always wanted to say, that I never liked the way how disrespectful Expressen behaved towards Marie during the hardest period of her life. I know, maybe it was the wrong place and the wrong moment, but experiencing it in my own family currently, it just overcame me. I don’t know if Per Hägred, the reporter from Expressen felt embarrassed or a bit ashamed, but he assured me that he never wrote any article about it back then. I just answered that complaints always hit the wrong people anyway and I just hope that Expressen wouldn’t do such things in the future, knowing that it was only wishful thinking. I guess I went a bit too far, but finally I could get rid of it. After that small talk, I didn’t expect to turn up in the next day’s issue. Well, I was wrong… anyway. I forgot about it pretty fast and plunged back into party mood. Leffes was nicely filled, but not too much. It was the right amount of people to have a nice and cozy atmosphere. Svante Karlsson was playing in the background and people were talking and drinking and enjoyed themselves a lot.
The boys went out once to pose for some pictures for the press and then they took their places to sign the books. A lot of books! People were buying all books available it seemed. And there was no end in sight. Seemed they even had to get some more books from somewhere, because there wasn’t enough in stock. But somehow they managed to make everyone happy. I took some pics and a video only during the signing, since there was enough time to do so, but otherwise I was busy with talking to Åsa and trying to grab what was happening. Somehow it was like a dream rushing by, but now that I write it all down I know that it really happened.
Here are some more memories I put together:
Most surprising moment of the evening: when Åsa asked me to get my friends together, because she wanted to take a pic of us 4. Dunno why. Thought about asking her whether she needed it for the darts board or the guest toilet maybe, but she was so lovely and I wasn’t sure if she would get my sense of humor, so I just agreed a bit stunned. Normally, we are the ones asking for pics…
Hardest task of the evening: to spell “Frohe Weihnachten” and the names of my parents to Per. I am not sure he knew what he had gotten himself into when he told me he wanted to write Merry X in German. But he did great! And I realized that he has the same problem with the spelling of the English “I” and “E” as me. No wonder. How the hell can the British pronounce the “E” like a German or Swedish “I”. Confusing! Anyway, he was fast with writing my parents’ names. While I was still reminding myself not to mess up the pronunciation of the “I” in my mother’s name he had already written the whole name. Thumbs up! My parents will love it!!!
© Justyna Bereza © Sandra Knospe
Scariest moment of the evening: During the signing I talked a moment to Per and after he signed my books, I just asked if it would be alright to finally get a picture with all 5 of them and just me, because I never got one alone with them. He agreed and I went behind the table to the boys. After we all had positioned ourselves, I wondered who would take the picture and looked into the only camera I knew at that moment, which was Kai-Uwe’s cam. But suddenly, there were cameras ALL OVER THE PLACE and started to flash. Honestly, I felt like a dear in the headlight not being able to move or look into any of these cameras. I was shocked and wondered where they all suddenly came from. A moment before that everything was so calm and quiet. That really scared me a bit. And I just found out that being a celeb would never be something for me. Thank God I didn’t pee my pants… Of course I am the only one looking into Kai’s camera. The guys all look into the press cameras, but not me. I didn’t dare to, hahaha. Scary shit!
Most embarrassing moment of the evening: Can’t tell here, but thank God it happened only after everyone else had left already, muahahaha.
After the signing they left the party as fast as they attended it. Per was in the studio that day and planned to go back the next day. No wonder that he didn’t stay any longer. But anybody else left, too. Except for us, of course. We continued a bit. After all, we only came by for that one evening, knowing we had to leave at half past 9 latest the next morning. So we continued partying till we dropped…
The next morning we were hardly able to get up. But we were starving and so we made it to the breakfast room after we showered and packed our bags again. Marie D. and Anders H. were having breakfast, too. After drinking lots of coffee and finally eating properly, we had to get ready. Time was up. So we said goodbye to Michael and got our bags, checked out, said goodbye to the beach and squeezed ourselves into the little Ford Fiesta again. We would have enough time now to talk about last night. Another 11-12 hours…
Right on time at half past 9 we left Tylösand and on the way to Halmstad I couldn’t really believe my tired eyes, asking the others if there was the Cayenne ahead of us. They realized it, too and we had to laugh hard. That would make our first stint on the way back to Germany not so boring and depressing, knowing that we might share the same way until Helsingborg. Of course I didn’t expect the Fiesta to keep the pace, but we were in a hurry, so I had to speed up as much as I could to get the ferry at 11 am from Helsingborg to Helsingör. On the way to the freeway, we had a chance to overtake him once and just wanted to wave goodbye, sticking an arm out of each window of the Fiesta. I wonder what other people were thinking about us, but Per recognized it and waved back. Then we just continued our trip. We didn’t expect to see him again, because with the Cayenne he would be off and gone as soon as we would be on the freeway. And that was exactly what happened. But somehow, a few kilometers before Helsingborg there he was again and we were even able to overtake him one last time (I am so proud of the Fiesta, lol), before we had to set the indicator lights to get off the freeway, heading to the harbor and he heading to the studio… It was hard not to follow his car, but luckily, we are grown-ups now and know how to make a decent decision. But still, that was the most unusual way to say goodbye to him. As unusual as the whole trip was. Another memory for a lifetime!!! Thanks to all the people involved. I will never forget that!!!!!