Monday, 16 May 2016

You're never alone with music

It's a sign of how much I've mellowed that I didn't bounce out of bed for more culture on Friday morning. To be honest I woke up feeling content just to be in my own beautiful place, with the sun shining in. I put the radio on and after a tussle with the smart tv, found my favourite Otvoreni radio for serious dancing tunes. All in all, it took a while to get going...

I finally and unwillingly ventured out to the central shopping mall to see what could be obtained underwear-wise. My host had already made the mistake of assuming I'm the average Balkan woman with a shopping fetish and was surprised when I said I really couldn't stand these places. However I hadn't seen anywhere remotely helpful in the old town. I supposed I could have asked for something with a beaten copper bottom...

Three pairs of tiny lace undies later, I was feeling more uncomfortable in a normal comfortable way.

It inevitably started to rain on the way back. What's a traveller to do? I'd walked past a lovely riverside restaurant a few times now on my way home and so I took advantage of the weather, time, indolence, and hunger. I've been a bit stupid food-wise in Sarajevo. But it's the same story whenever I go away - I don't mind eating alone when I'm in a certain comfortable zone. So yes, I went to pastry-sweets-and-meat central, and have actually lost weight.

My lunch at the Dva Riba was a lovely veal escalope with a tasty salad and really hot fresh fries. Nothing special but until the pizza slice at 3am, it was my only meal of the day. And that was normal for my time here. For someone who comfort eats to excess, perhaps solo city breaks in places that make me nervous are the way forward if I want to drop a size. Anyway the lovely waiter brought me a chocolate cake to have with my Bosnian coffee. Mmm sugar cubes!

I'd also been messaging my Sarajevo contact for this evening's entertainment. When I knew I was coming to this city a few weeks ago, I had joined the Young Sarajevo group on Facebook and asked for ideas about what to do there. One chap posted that classical crossover duo 2cellos were appearing and it was going to be huge! So we had exchanged a few messages, and given he was a student, tickets were reasonable and I didn't want to go alone, I'd invited him along. Anyway bless him, as he had access to a printer, I'd asked him to print not only the tickets for the evening, but also my bus ticket home!

I ambled home sleepily and did what any lazy bum would do after a late lunch. I went for a pre concert, pre beer nap as I had no idea what to expect that evening. We had arranged to meet in the Celtic Bar - so from a London theme to an Irish style one in two days? Glad that I was getting the full Sarajevo experience and the view of they have of the English and Irish!

After not managing to oversleep and making myself vaguely concert ready (sparkly Zagreb casino earrings and hefty walking boots), we finally met and had a good natter over beers. We covered everything from stereotypes (Turks - haha!), travelling, life in Sarajevo, study, going out... Then it was time for the main event.

The outside of the venue is distinctly rough and ready. We had no idea what to expect but we queued
up and entered. It's actually a sports - basketball - venue so was much smaller than I expected. But once the lighting pyrotechnics began and the atmosphere thickened with smoke, it took on an incredible feeling. Thousands of people letting their hair down, singing and drinking - Bosnians and hedonism are natural bedfellows it seems. I like them a lot.

2cellos (and a drummer) were very good and if they can bring classical music up to date and engage all ages, then I salute them. They are very rock star and seeing a cello played whilst the musician was lying on the floor, well, frankly it's sexy. The next music event involving cellos will be most dull. But for me the magic remains within the enthusiastic response of the crowd. Hvala Sarajevo!

This noisy and hedonistic theme was continued, as we decided 10.30 was far too early to retire. First of all we tried what looked liked a carpark but I am assured it's one of the best clubs in town but it was too quiet. So we headed back into the centre of town and climbed some steps up to the entrance of another grafittied concrete brutalist building. Club 'Mash' was packed out with a live punk-rock band playing and so we joined the party, carrying on with the beers. At a certain point the crowd thinned - I wonder where everyone went? - and we moved closer to the musical action to dance, whilst admiring the pianist's action. They were all seriously good. Free drinks arrived (normal) and many hours later when the band had done its final encore, we bumbled off for hot slices of pizza. Parting for the evening, we made no plans but this was Sarajevo, anything could happen!

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