March 2001-B ("The Oblique One")


Since I was a child of 6 I loved to march along the roads in our neighbourhood dreaming I was a band. I had been in the closets of our kitchen to find an empty, round cookie-box of shining metal. With the laughing blessing of my maam I fastened it upside-down to my stomach with a leather belt and borrowed a couple of table knives from our drawer to use as drumsticks. The knives were perfectly suited for the task, because they jumped very willingly on the metal surface of the cookie-box. So suddenly there I was, a fullfledged drummer, ready to back up a band and guide the rhythmic walking of the masses. You know, we have a strange habit in Norway: Every 17th of May to line up in rows all over the country and fill every street with walking people holding their flags high and smiling to the other half of the people standing along the roads to watch. But to have all these people to move in the same direction, or to have them move at all, of course music is needed, and first and foremost a strong, dominating, never failing march rhythm! So I guess I saw a big mission in living up to the picture of The Long Awaited Drummer. But I soon found it a bit lonely to walk around among the houses carrying the world's deep need for rhythm on my young shoulders. Therefor I invited all my friends and enemies to join in the band. I can't remember whether they brought instruments of any kind. For that I was too busy drumming. But we went through a considerable work designing, cutting and pasting uniforms. Pasting, yes. For the uniforms were all made of good, green, cheap and solid paper. This was a very effective band indeed. The idea of having uniforms came up in the morning. And before we were all called inside to go to bed in the evening, we were in fact already an impressive looking band dressed up like green paper generals everyone of us. I can't quite recall, but I suspect we didn't manage to wear them one more day, as anyone who has tried to get out of a pair of pasted paper trousers and a tightly buttoned pasted paper jacket in the evening and get into it again first thing in the morning surely will understand. But we marched a lot. And soon I was ready for advancement. Full of self-confidence I showed up one night at the local youth brass band rehearsal and wondered if they needed an experienced drummer. The conductor fortunately had a lovely sense of humour. And with another of all these countless laughs of blessing I have met in my life he gave me the job!

And not only the job. I also got a real uniform of my own! This was one of the greatest tasks I have ever been given. As for the uniform, I had to be a member for many, many years before I was big enough to fit into it. But I was included from the first moment and given meaningful, musical roles. Of course I functioned as a kind of mascot in the beginning, marching in the back of the band almost the entire boy hided under a huge captain's cap and sweating my way with far too big a drum on my thighs. But this was my first music education. And it was important and full of fun.

As the years passed by, I moved to trumpet. I joined other bands, experienced other pieces of music and other mixtures of instruments. How many street marches I blew during those years I am not sure of. But I think it must have approached around 2000. And little by little something very strange started to happen in my mind. With increasing frequency I found myself in the middle of a march I had never played before, yet playing it without looking at the notes, only trusting an inner prophetic vision of the coming measures. Had I become a psychic? Or was it all due to a similarity between the marches I knew and the marches I didn't? Since I soon proved unable to foresee anything else in my life, I settled with the similarity explanation. And this became a crucial turning point in my musical life. I promised myself that if I ever became a composer, and if I ever got the opportunity to write something for a wind band, I would make a small piece not quite so easy to foresee from one measure to the nextů