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The Husband Eye Roll (Take on This!)

Published May 26, 2015 by authorbebedora

take on this1

Take on This!

—-The Husband Eye-roll—-

Say the words “A-ha” or “Morten Harket” in our house, and chances are my husband will roll his eyes.

I don’t blame him.

I mean, the poor guy hears A-ha all the time, has to put up with his fangirl wife 24/7 and probably wants to strangle me every time a new Amazon order goes through.

Him: Don’t you already have that album?

Me: Yes, but this one’s different.

Him: How?

Me: There’s a different version of *insert song title here*.

Him: (rolls eyes)

And let’s not even start with what will happen when Cast in Steel tickets finally go on sale. (BECAUSE THEY WILL!) He’s already been warned that he can’t balk at the amount of money I will more than likely spend. This will be my one chance to see these guys; I’m not going to have to squint from a million rows back. No pit-area tickets, though. I’m not tall enough to be able to see anything anyway. So see? I’m being considerate by not springing for the ultra-expensive seats.

Even when we play simple board games, the guys come up. But to be fair, it wasn’t my fault last time.

You see, we were having a nice family game of Life. My seven-year-old son proudly proclaimed to be married to Jackie DeShannon (cool kid, right?) and of course, it led to my husband bringing up the name of my pseudo-spouse.

“So, I’m guessing his name is ‘Morten Harket’?”

I probably blushed. “Well, duh.”

Another eye roll.

“Are you going to live in Norway?”

“Maybe…”

“You do know it’s even colder there than it is here, right?”

I contemplated it for a split second before replying, “Well, I’ll have Morten to keep me warm so it won’t matter. Besides, it was 20-below this last winter, I’m tough.”

This time I was greeted with an eye roll and a snort.

The game went on with only one mishap—Morten and I were ejected from our vehicle when we drove crazy on a hill—and we retired childless with just over 2.3 million dollars in the bank. That’s not including his earnings, by the way. Just my contribution from being a Police Officer-turned-Sales Associate who happened to strike it rich investing in computers and won a Pulitzer Prize. Trophy wife, I know.

Not a day goes by where my loving hubby doesn’t hear something to the effect of “A-ha this” or “Morten Harket that.” He gets the business weekly if the sun is shining, when I proudly (and usually loudly) proclaim that it is also shining on TV. I sing A-ha songs right in his face. And I’m sure he’s just tickled pink when I accidentally leave one of my CD’s in his car, the volume blaring—of course.

And not once has he complained.

Rolled his eyes, yes. But never a peep of objection.

We’ve been together a long time, him and me. It’s going on fifteen years in November. And all through said years, he’s put up with all my fangirling with a smile and—you guessed it—a roll of his eyes.

And then a couple of months ago, he did something that made my heart flutter.

He signed the petition.

Now that’s true love.
He knew full well that by adding his name to the list, he was sealing his fate. He would be attending a concert if it were to happen, more than likely hold his wife’s purse the whole night, and watch as she both smiled and cried at the same time.

But he did it anyway, because as a friend once said, “Happy Wife, Happy Life.”

So, the next time we play the game of Life, Morten will probably still be my “husband”…

…but I love my guy more than anything in the world.

Even when he rolls his eyes.

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Don’t Touch That Dial! (Take on This!)

Published May 19, 2015 by authorbebedora

take on this1

Take on This!

—-Don’t Touch That Dial! —-

I’ve probably heard Take on Me sixteen-point-nine million times.

Okay, that may be a *slight* exaggeration. But it’s a lot, trust me.

Granted, most of the time it’s because I have it in the CD player on on my MP3, so that means I’m in control. I can even decide on what version of the song I’d like to partake in at any given time. 1982 demo? Sure. 1984 original version? Why not?

But then there are those times—those magical moments—when Take on Me comes on the radio.

Unexpected.

Random.

So very wonderful.

I usually screech.

I love the unpredictability of the radio. My car has XM, and most days it’s stuck on the 80’s channel. My child knows the most of the words to 99 Luftballoons (in German, mind you) and loves the Go-Go’s. He could leave or take A-ha, but give him a break—he’s seven. (And he hears it ALL THE TIME.)

When something we don’t like happens to come out of the speakers—like that horrid Kim Carnes song or Relax (Frankie is not welcome in our vehicle)—we usually yell out in terror and the 70’s channel button is pressed. Because I love me some Moody Blues and Elton John.

But when A-ha comes on, it stays on.

Needless to say, you’d get your hands bitten—or at the very least, slapped—if you tried to change it. There is never a time where A-ha is allowed to be turned off. And, let’s face it; there are some instances where you just downright need to hear them.

A few months back, Take on Me came on the radio and immediately made my whole day better. It was the middle of winter in Wisconsin, meaning there was a foot of snow on the ground and the wind chill was twenty below zero. You know, typical.

For whatever reasons the Universe decided to throw at us, we were having a bad morning, and it wasn’t even eight o’clock. Fights, fussing, breakfast refusing—and the bitter cold.

My son and I both grumbled on the way to school, trudged through the snow to the building and, thankfully, were let in to wait because of the “warm weather.” We said our goodbyes and I marched back to my little red firecracker of a car and slumped back in the driver’s seat. I pouted when I realized that I still had to go to the store and post office before I could retreat into my nice warm house and hide until pick-up at three.

I started the car and the radio came to life a split second later.

And the magic happened.

Take on Me started. From the beginning.

Apparently, the angels knew I needed a pick-me-up, and it came in the form of a catchy pop tune from our favorite Norwegians.

I’d like to say the clouds parted and the sun broke through, but let’s face it—it’s Wisconsin in the winter and that never happens. We’re lucky if it gets above freezing before mid-March.

Regardless of the fact that it was still very much cold as hell and the sun hadn’t shined (on TV or anywhere else) in weeks, my day instantly got three-hundred times better. I was suddenly totally okay with having to go grocery shopping. It didn’t matter to me that I had to roll down my window to mail the electric bill—freezing my fingers off in the process.

“Surprise” A-ha had saved the day.

A Mincemeat WHAT?? (Take on This!)

Published May 11, 2015 by authorbebedora

Take on This!

—-A Mincemeat What?—-

 

You can’t deny that when it comes to artistic talent, Morten is near the top in most of the categories.

Let’s forget for a moment that the man sings like an angel. When we strip away that voice, we’re still left with an extremely talented (and devastatingly handsome) artist. For years, he’s been drawing and painting. John Ratcliff has been kind enough to share drawings and paintings that Morten did in London in the early eighties. Usually done in the studio during down times while recording tracks, they are true works of art.

He created stunning self-portraits that mirror the work of professional artists. One in particular seems to be painted with watercolors, and is simply sublime. Even without facial details and the like, one can instantly tell that it’s Morten lying on a couch reading a book.

jr3

Others are drawn simply, with no color at all—as if any was needed anyway.

jr4

They’ve both been described as showing what Morten thought his persona might be onstage. The shirtless one? While I think we can all agree that the abs, pecs and arms are what our dreams are made of, the pants are a different entity all by themselves. (I’ve just noticed that Morten’s choice of pants—whether in real life or in drawing-form—tend to be a topic of ‘what the hell?’ amongst us…) Putting the somewhat questionable trousers aside for a moment, it’s obvious that the drawing is of himself, even down to the earlobes.

jr1

The drawing with the microphone? I wish I could bring up Morten’s choice in pants again, but…this version of himself seems to be…ummm… without them. Now, I could make a risqué remark about how we all would probably enjoy a pants-less Morten, but I’ll just let everyone do it on their own.

*waits patiently*

Everybody done? Good.

Exposed legs and strange boots aside, this piece again showcases Morten’s incredible talent. This is a guy who knows a lot of artistic techniques. I’m not going to pretend I know anything much about art and I won’t use big words that I don’t know the definitions to in order to make me look smart, but I will say that this could easily have been published in an art book.

I would love to be able to ask him why he chose this persona as one possible stage presence. Was it harkening back to his childhood fantasies? He once remarked that he had a dream as a child about riding a white horse through a field—with aquariums towed behind for good measure—with the intent of galloping off into the sunset with the teacher he was in love with. Were these images the adult version of that hero? Or perhaps he envisioned both Paul and Mags following suit with their attire. (And that would have been FREAKING HILARIOUS.)

All kidding aside, both of these sketches are incredible. And to think that they were created in a dark studio while recording what would become their debut album. When it rains, it pours, I guess.

jr2
Then, on the other hand, we have ‘the rabbit-squirrel.’ I’m not quite sure of the species; it seems to be a hybrid. Maybe it’s another figment of Morten’s childhood fantasies.

Before I talk about the gesture that it’s flashing, let’s take a moment to appreciate the incredible colors and details. (See? I’m trying to be artsy before I talk about making fingers.) The tree’s leaves have a softness to them, the rabbit’s overalls are brightly colo—

Oh forget it; let’s discuss the obscene hand signal that this bunny seems to love. That’s right, I’m one classy broad.

I’ve seen our three favorite Norwegians flip the bird in several photos. Morten seems to have the most evidence stacked against him…clearly a man after my own heart. I’m assuming it has the same meaning in Europe as it does in North America, but I could be wrong. (I just researched it…yes, you read that right. I’m a legitimate journalist, dammit!) It seems that Norwegians flip the bird just like everyone else, and it means the same naughty thing.

So the question is: why? Is the rabbit mad at someone? Maybe he’s upset that he doesn’t have any shoes. Did he just wake up and is crabby? Perhaps he’s just a jerk.

I guess that’s a question that needs to go on the “To ask Morten” list.

But did you know he’s even dabbled in sculpting?

Sculpting?

Oh yes.

The piece of art in question was actually a gift. Friendship knows no boundaries, I guess.

Mags got married in 1992. Like for most guys, there was a bachelor party. Now, I wasn’t there and I don’t know what went on, but from the looks of the picture in question, I’m guessing there was quite a bit of alcohol involved. I mean, look at Mags’ hat and expression for crying out loud.

mincemeat

But what’s that we see in the foreground?

Yes…THAT.

No, you’re not seeing things. That’s a giant…ummm…well, you know.

//whispers// Penis.

Made out of mincemeat.

By Morten.

What a friend.

It measured just under 3 feet tall, no small feat. I could make a size-doesn’t-matter joke here, but I’ll refrain. Let’s just hope no one had a Napoleon complex that night.

Listen, I’m not a guy. I don’t pretend to know what goes on in the minds of guys. I’ve seen some pretty funny shit in my time alive, partly in thanks to the men in my life. (I’m looking at you, baby brother…) But this one dumbfounds me. So many questions come to mind.

Where was it made? In your own kitchen? Your mom’s? If so, what on Earth did she think about what you were doing? Did Camilla help?

How did you create it? Is it reinforced?

Why mincemeat? Why not marzipan, or cake?

Did you guys actually…eat it?

See? These are burning questions that need answers. Not just for my own sanity, but so all of us women out there can try and understand men just a little better. Think of it as helping to better humanity by explaining.

Plus, I’m dying to know what Mags’ wife thought of it…

…and if she ever looked at Morten the same way again.

Gotta Love Wogan, part 1 (Take on This!)

Published May 5, 2015 by authorbebedora

(Link to the interview here—–  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JgT_D5xC3kM )take on this1

I think Terry Wogan is hilarious.

He’s got this dry wit about him that makes my sides split. He’s not afraid to take a crack at his guests, but at the same time can handle himself if said guests fire one back at him.

Guests like Morten Harket.

January 1986 was a big time for A-ha. They were reeling from their #1 status, had just embarked on their world tour and were busy recording their sophomore album.

Now, I’m sure Wogan had seen his fair share of musicians and celebrities come and go from his show’s set, and probably didn’t remember most of them after they’d gone. But I’d be willing to bet that Morten is one that stuck with him. The lads came back to visit again near the end of the year (that’ll be discussed at a later date, don’t worry…) and Morten was a guest on Terry’s radio program in 2014 to talk about old times and the “Brother” album.

This appearance is what I consider to be one of Morten’s finest in his entire career. Thirty years of morning talk shows, radio appearances and silly MTV-like interviews—and this one is the one I keep going back to over and over again. Even as a young lad of twenty-six, he showed that he had a great intelligence and insight behind that handsome face, and was so much more than a pinup.

Terry greeted him with a wonderful spread of Norwegian foods to make him feel more at home, even though he had been living in London for several years. Morten seemed excited to see what had been laid out for him, commenting that he hadn’t seen most of it in quite a while. They always say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, and I would have to guess that his tummy was reminiscing of home right about then.

But then he smelled a bowl of what looked like thick spoiled milk, and his reaction was priceless. You can tell that he was trying to be polite, but his wrinkled nose said it all. He knew it hadn’t been prepared properly from the very beginning. The dish was rØmmegrØt, a boiled sour-cream porridge reserved for special occasions in Norwegian families. No doubt Terry ruined it for Morten for life, and I just hope that the next time he went home and his mother made it for him, he was able to stomach it.

Wogan put his neck on the line testing the fish balls (fiskeboller), which I wouldn’t have ever touched in a million years. Now, *I* know that they’re made of minced fish, but Morten—ever the joker—decided to take Terry for a ride.

As a student of two foreign languages, I can tell you that understanding the nuances of humor in another tongue is one of the most difficult things to get down. They can teach you grammar in school, but they can’t teach you how to make a joke.

And let me say that Morten nailed it.

“You may not believe it, but Norwegian fish…have balls…”

To make it even sweeter, Morten seemed to take extreme pleasure in watching Terry partake. I have to admit, I was actually quite astonished when Wogan didn’t seem to mind the taste, or question whether or not they were actually testicles. I’d like to think that Morten was probably hoping he’d gag. I know I would have.

Morten’s cheeky sense of humor pops up throughout the interview, whether he’s zinging Terry about the preparation and consumption of goat’s cheese or schooling Wogan in Norwegian customs and manners. It’s obvious that Terry figured out very early on that he had met his match. He even called Morten out on his sass at one point, telling him there was no reason to “keep showin’ him up.”

Clearly, they were having a ball with one another.

I think one of the most poignant parts of the interview comes with a more serious question, when Wogan talks about Morten being a conventional-type of guy, and asks about why he listens to his parents. Morten’s reply is one of the best I’ve ever heard from anyone, and his answer has always stuck with me.

“Because they make sense.”

Now that’s a stand-up young man.

Not only does Morten show a wisdom that is way beyond his years in talking about Norwegian upbringings and respect for his elders, but he does it without even a hint of snobbishness or entitlement. This is a guy who loves his parents and siblings and is grateful for everything that they have done for him in his life…and it’s very evident.

Once again, leave it to Terry Wogan to lighten a somewhat ‘heavy’ conversation by taking a crack at Morten’s (almost nonexistent) Norwegian accent. I’m actually disappointed that Wogan didn’t demand a language lesson right there, because let’s face it—Morten speaking Norwegian is like listening to angels sing. He could be reading the newspaper classifieds out loud or telling a dirty joke. I would have absolutely no idea what he was talking about and frankly, I wouldn’t care. Plus, it would have been a perfect arena for Morten to pick on Terry. Oh well.

Another serious line of questions followed, and it definitely showed that even though Wogan could be a goofball, he also knew how to get his guests to talk about real subjects. When asked about how he and the other guys were idolized around the world, once again, Morten shows a sort of clear-headed wisdom that most guys his age rarely demonstrate.

His response, after he tries to avoid the question by distracting Terry with the food, is very straightforward and honest.

He hates “that” question. He doesn’t like to be labeled as an idol. He doesn’t enjoy how people’s attitudes have changed towards him.

We see this all through their careers when they say there were reluctant pop stars and were much more about the music than being plastered on teenage girls’ walls as giant posters.

I’m so impressed by the way Morten handled this question, which he could have answered very curtly with a generic answer. But instead, we see the “real” Morten: one who is educated, sincere, emotionally present and not for one moment an air-headed pop star.

He understands that the fans have fun with their fame and, in admitting that he even enjoys it to a degree, shows that he is very normal in his personal life. It’s interesting to see him in this light, talking with almost an air of nostalgia in his voice when he speaks about how people have changed towards him. It’s obvious that even though he’s loving riding this incredible wave of fame and has made the leap to stardom that he always knew he would, he’s missing his old life.

In speaking about how people now treat him differently, Wogan assumes that it’s an artificial thing and that those around Morten are treating him differently because they just don’t know how to react.

And again, Morten impresses us with an answer that will become a trend throughout his entire life.

“It isn’t artificial, it’s very real.”

He gets it. He understands that his life will never be the same again. He realizes that, from now on, people will never again see him in the same light—and that he needs to accept it.

I can’t imagine being thrust into the situation that the lads were: not being able to walk down the street in their own hometowns without being mobbed, when seemingly mundane things like maybe going to the market for your mom or putting gas in your car suddenly become a game of cat-and-mouse trying to avoid photographers and fans alike. I can only surmise that it’s very frightening, in an exciting sort of way, to have your whole life turned upside-down in the matter of a couple months.

Terry puts it very succinctly. “It’s fame…you’ve got to get used to it.”

And Morten’s response, again, shows that he’s an intelligent guy and understands exactly what’s going on. “It’s fame…and that part of it [fame] is not very healthy.”

What words.

Thanks for sticking with it, Hakke. We all still love you the same as we did that day…maybe even more.