Sunday, August 07, 2011

Kellys - it's got what it takes

For the first time in years, since before my dad passed away I think, last night I spent a night out on the town in Stockholm. First we went to a cool bar called Snotty, with good music and amazing interior. And when last call came we decided to continue to Kellys. 

Now, don’t get me wrong, Kellys is like a wet dream - I mean who doesn’t love a bit of trash metal at 1.30am! And there’s an interesting clientele. But I’m struck by how much it reminds me of when we were in our early 20's. It doesn’t make me nostalgic; instead it makes me grateful that that period of my life is well and truly over.

Kellys is a lot brighter than our beloved Trash Bar (R.I.P.) and you can actually see the people (Trash Bar was very very dark – part of its “charm”) but it takes me back to the time when you had to go to a bar to make sure you didn’t miss anything (or anyone), when you were already pretty plastered (I was remarkably sober last night – not from lack of trying); a place you spend so much time at that you know almost half the people there; and a place where that guy you’re “in love with” is likely to show. (Back in the days, that used to be a difficult logistic exercise, to make sure we all could go to the bars our latest obsessions could usually be found at.)

I’m not dressed for this place. Not nearly enough piercings, I’m not showing enough skin, and even if my tattoos were on display they’re not adequate in number or size, and without my usual black makeup I feel almost naked and not particularly rock n roll.

I people watch. I listen to conversations (the snippets I can hear). I feel lucky that I no longer spend my time going to specific bars on the off chance that someone might be there.

People move between the two bar areas, clearly looking for someone to start a conversation with, someone to hook up with before closing time. I keep my eyes averted to make sure that no one comes up to talk to me. But of course there are some cute guys there. One in particular. Very Swedish looking (which, to tell the truth, I normally find extremely off putting), with a lovely smile and one full sleeve and some great ink on the other arm too. I clearly allow my eyes to linger on him for a little bit too long: he waves at me sarcastically. Even though I couldn’t care less, it kinda flashes me back to my early 20’s when something like that probably would have ruined my evening.

Then Kellys redeems itself by playing some Foo Fighters – the first track I recognize since we arrived about an hour earlier. And then some Van Halen – Sammy singing “It’s got what it takes, so tell me why can’t this be love?”. I lose interest in my immediate surroundings as I wonder if it would have what it takes and why it can’t be love.

And I realize not much has changed since my early 20’s. Sure, my taste in alcohol is a bit more refined, I might not be so drunk that I’m likely to throw up at some point before I get home, my night is not depending on if some guy comes over to speak to me or not, and I don’t care if I’m bland and anyone notice me or not – I am highly visible when and where I want to be. But I do still wonder why can’t this be love.

But that’s not Kellys fault. So I get another beer and watch as a man in pink shorts is trying to convince my friend that we should go with him and his pal to an after-party in Skanstull. Luckily, we’re not in our early 20's any longer so instead we go home and raid the fridge and get to bed at the very respectable hour of 5am.

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