Norway, as you may know, rebuffed the euro.
It has its own currency – kroner – as does Sweden and Denmark, but they’re different in all three countries. This constitutes something of a nuisance when touring, and has led to the dubbing of currencies as “shitters”.
The term applies in the touring industry to any European currency except British sterling. Take the Bulgarian Lev, for example. Now, imagine you’ve slogged through the night from Bucharest to Sofia.
After a nice breakfast and a nap, you venture out to explore a little, perhaps opting to purchase a garish fridge magnet. Fumbling in pockets produces Romanian thingummyjigs but sadly nothing with Lev printed on it. You see how easy it is not to even know what the currency is?
An inarticulate, articulated-truck driver must once have been in this very situation. Groping for a witticism, he floundered. Hence the coining – pun intended – of the term “shitter”. And, without further comparisons, the term stuck. Try it. Approach a British trucker at any rock show in Europe, mention shitters – straight-faced – and see if he/she bats an eyelid.
Erm, shall we get on with today’s blog? Oslo’s Telenor Arena isn’t finished yet. Norwegians fool about with electricity fittings while AC/DC’s truckers squelch around the catering area, sticking to the freshly-painted floor.
A local girl, off to Ikea to buy last-minute pillows for the dressing rooms, eyes my trombone case. ‘The definition of optimism is a trombonist with a business card,’ she opines. Oh, ha ha. Just for that quip, I use AC/DC’s dressing room for a chillblain-inducing shower.
My father, finger ever on the pulse, emails me. ‘Do they still have that funny little guitarist hopping across the stage?’ he asks. Tomorrow night AC/DC play the first ever concert in the building; I wonder fleetingly if bands are booked alphabetically here.
My colleague, Richard, a veteran rock n roll trucker – in fact Motorhead request him for their tours – is vertically challenged. As a result, I thought it might be fun to apply the soubriquet, “Little Dick”.
This morning, Little Dick is wearing one of the free, woolly crew hats that we’ve been issued with. The hat has a green, shorts-wearing gremlin on the front, and only comes in a size that leaves one’s ears exposed. Snow flies straight into my ear canal.
“Gentleman Steve” (yet another driver) opts for a flat cap instead, reminiscent of a character from Last of the Summer Wine, and looks as though he’s come from a nearby allotment.
These city breaks have their disadvantages, you know. Before the euro, turning up in, say, Portugal, we’d hoped someone else had enough escudos for a beer – we’re often only in a country for a short time, and understandably reluctant to change money.
The point I’m circuitously building up to is that Namibian and I, and Little Dick, have arrived in Norway with very few shitters. So, with no money, we’re confined to bumbling about the immediate area as pedestrians, and rushing back to Catering for thawing purposes.
They say that the best things in life are free. However, rolling around in the snow for Namibian’s video footage turns out to be a foolish idea at the start of a walk. My hands get so cold that I have to walk the streets with one hand, then the other, down my trousers..