Considering the fact that I'm about as gay as it gets there is going to be an awful lot of male appreciation in today's post. And strangely many attractive swans in leather who make people confused about their sexual orientation. Sadly though, non-Finnish speakers will miss out half of this joke.

Since the 2010 New Year's Eve I've been pretty much anti-New Year celebration just because it was the best one so far and then a lot of shit started gradually happening and then I just didn't feel like going out in any occasion would do no good for anyone.
The 2011 New Year’s Eve was a miserable attempt to have fun, which resulted in an absolute failure. In 2012 we didn't even try but instead stayed in, eating assorted fruits while having particularly melancholic conversations with my best friend, as I recall. The plan for last year was pretty much identical until I found out that Amorphis, was to play at 00:00 on New Year's Eve. Perfection.

I don't think that anything will ever compare to 2010 in a giddy and smitten emotional level, but getting to begin a new year with listening to one of my favourite bands playing live was the absolute best thing that could have occurred at this point, in my life. I've never felt like the change of one year to the next had significance to me since while you're in school, the year starts in autumn and ends before summer. However, right now, even though nothing has really changed apart from the fact that December 2013 turned into January 2014, I feel like this time I wanted to embrace the symbolical meaning of the new year - to take it as an opportunity to give myself some sort of a fresh start. That's kind of an inaccurate expression though. I think, rather than a fresh start, I gave myself a chance to review the current state of affairs and how I'd like to proceed with it. Previously, I've just accepted that certain things are certain ways and there is nothing I can do about them; whereas now I'm trying to look at it all differently, and see that although I might not be able to change things, I can change the way I deal with them - or you know, rather than not dealing, I could try to start dealing.

Ok, sorry I promised male appreciation, and here we are having deep thoughts on how to take your fate into your own hands.

Let's talk about Amorphis, specifically Tomi Joutsen.

Actually let's be quiet as we admire his impeccable style,

I'm literally the biggest fan of this leather vest
adorable puppy face,
omg you're so precious and so is your nose ring

rather enviable biceps,

oh man, how much do you lift?
drool-worthy tattoos,
he also has glow-in-the-dark things how cool is that

and magical hair.
such hair
Is it a wonder that half of the band's audience wants to have this man while the other half wants to be him?
I mean why do we even try?
And I've had a serious crush on him since I was about 15, and I'm 22 now so yeah. I don't even know what to say about that. Except that, for a male musician, so decidedly unflirty, it is very rare to keep me spellbound for such a long time. Amen.

Moving on to ballet because I'm starting to drool on my keyboard.
Last weekend, I went to see a modern adaptation of Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake. And when I say 'modern', I mean male swans that were disturbingly swan-like, the black swan as a fucking Don Juan in leather pants, a queen who gave zero fucks as long as she got to play with pretty boys, a lot of thrusting hips and the most intense ending that I've ever experienced in ballet.

The classical Swan Lake, in a nutshell, goes like this: a prince needs a wife, falls in love with a princess under a spell that turns her into a swan. The prince has a hunting party where princesses from other kingdoms are brought out for him to have a look at wife candidates. The sorcerer who's keeping the swan princess under the spell brings in another princess, the black swan who resembles the white swan to the last details (except she wears black and is very seductive). Prince has a boner over the wrong princess. Odette, the right princess ends up dead. Sometimes prince dies too. Everything is dramatic and heartbreaking and oh so sweet.

Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake goes like this: a modern prince in a modern world is gay; his mum is a flirt. Prince needs a girlfriend; prince gets a girlfriend who's super embarrassing and cute, and doesn't know how to behave in royal affairs. The queen disapproves whilst being fabulous. Prince goes out drinking, gets offended when sailors hit on him. Prince goes to a shore of some kind and hallucinates about hot swan men. (I mean I hope he hallucinates and doesn't actually have a thing for swans) Totally falls in love, head over heels, with the most gorgeous swan man anyone could ever imagine. The royals throw a party with hot foreign princesses who all wear black. The stranger (the modern version of black swan) in leather pants appears uninvited but no one minds because he's got a damn fine ass. Prince thinks it's his imaginary swan boyfriend and they do a pas-de-deux. The queen hits it off with the leather trouser man, which makes the prince jealous so he gets a bit mad, then it dawns on everyone that he's gay, and they laugh at him and then they take him to a hospital and give him electroshock treatment. The prince dreams about the swan men for the last time, and dies. Every heterosexual male member of the audience feels uncomfortable over being attracted to a bunch of shirtless guys in weird, white mop pants that look awesome. The End.

On a more serious note though, I've never been so touched, impressed and entertained by ballet before. It is an admirable quality, to be able to make the audience laugh at one point and observe with a dead-serious concentration at another. The difference between the atmospheres on the first and the second act was just subtle enough to make it unnoticeable during the show. Nonetheless, afterwards it is clearly there: all planned and brilliantly realized.

Usually, when I go to a ballet, I expect technical precision - a show of physical excellence that requires a lifetime's commitment to arrive at. The interpretation of the story and the music is obviously important but I get easily distracted if somebody's knees or ankles aren't quite as straight as they could be.
Before this Swan Lake, I'd never seen modern ballet. I've seen plenty of modern dance and classical ballet, but not modern ballet as such. And good lord, the quality of emotion in this performance where the beautiful, well-known music of Tchaikovsky's was in a perfect harmony with the modernized ballet movement, was so intense that in the grande finale I completely forgot where I was and that time existed at all. It is such a different way to do ballet than what I guess everybody is used to that once the physicality of movement and the genuine, emotional occupation of the dancers come together, the result is absolutely breathtaking.

And now I would like us all to collectively admire the unearthly physique of some male dancers in swan costumes.

I cannot tell you enough how much I loved the transformation of the fairytale Swan Lake into a more realistic scenario, where instead of the prince actually falling in love with an enchanted swan princess, the swans are - as I see it - his minds way of trying to deal with homosexuality, especially frowned-upon for somebody of his status. Like, it would be completely inconceivable for a future king to be gay, and how the prince understands it and tries to repress that part of himself, resulting in some kind of mental breakdown. And how labelling homosexuality as sickness or some whim of insanity or whatnot, in fact, becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy when the prince ends up on a hospital table where electroshocks are provided to set him right again. And when obviously this doesn't "cure" the prince, he lets go of his life as it would never be bearable in his position - dying together with the white swan, which I take to be a representation of the prince's true, unrepressed self or something like that. It is so beautiful and so tragic. And also very, very sadly accurate.
And it weirdly ties in with my current university projects. How certain behaviours are deemed madness in certain circumstances just because they don't follow the social norms of those circumstances. And how convicting someone with that label can actually against the convicted - oftentimes fatally.

But let's just savour for a few more minutes, the beauty of Jonathan Ollivier whose Swan/Stranger performance was so inexplicably, mind-bogglingly, sublimely out of this world that I can't even understand it. Not to mention that I have absolutely no idea of what I'm saying.

how to look amazing in a mop

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