That a-ha Article

First of all, please let me say a big thank you to all the 6000 miles… readers who took the time to send me that BBC article about a-ha’s role in popularising electric vehicles in Norway. It’s this sort of reader engagement that makes me all warm and fuzzy inside, and I really am very grateful.

I’m also clearly sending out some very specific vibes on here though, because I received links to this article no fewer than eleven times, on three different platforms, and from four different continents, all within a couple of hours of it being published.

Amazing.

Had I heard this story before? Well, yes, but only recently: in this thread on twitter early last year.

And yes, seemingly because of the efforts of Morten et al., it seems that Norway – who made all their money from invading Scotland in the 9th Century dirty oil – are now well ahead of the curve when it comes to electric cars:

In the first half of 2022, 78% of new car sales in Norway were pure electric.
The country intends to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2025 which is five years ahead of the UK.

and:

Add to that the fact that almost 99% of Norway’s electricity comes from renewable sources (and that climate change will make it wetter and windier there, ironically meaning more opportunities for hydroelectric and wind power), and it’s actually a very green picture for a nation which exported 114million cubic metres of oil in 2022 (and will increase that by 15% next year).

Merely moving climate change elsewhere won’t help anyone. Except apparently, as noted above, Norway.

But I suppose that I’m being a little cynical. This isn’t really greenwashing: Norway is actually giving other nations a great example to follow when it comes to electric vehicles.

And it was all thanks to a-ha.

[Did you manage to get the “The Sun Always Shines On EV” pun in? – Ed.]

2 albums out today

And probably the most eagerly anticipated two of the year from my point of view.

But I’m still away on Robben Island, so here’s what other people have had to say about them:

The Car – Arctic Monkeys

The Car is Arctic Monkeys’ weirdest album, and it’s their most overtly melancholy work too — like James Bond themes for a terminally depressed spy. It’s certainly the saddest-sounding music Turner’s put his name to since the dusky tunes he contributed to the soundtrack for Richard Ayoade’s Submarine in 2010.

and (of course) True North – a-ha

“There’s no audience, it’s us, the Arctic Philharmonic Orchestra and a live band,” he expands. “But what we wanted to realise was an audio-visual experience where the music was at the centre. It seemed a nice change from what we’d done before.”

Alongside the 12-track album, therefore, came a raw and powerful film directed by long-time a-ha collaborator Stian Andersen, shot in Bodo, 90km above the Arctic Circle in the north of Norway – already screened and positively received in selected cinemas around the world last month.

I have a Stian Andersen print on my wall just behind me (I’m writing this on Tuesday), bought from the man himself, and featuring yours truly at a recent a-ha concert.

Lifestyles of the rich and the famous, hey?

I’m In

Almost 12 years after their last ever concert (the one which I didn’t get to), and then 6 years after their last ever concert (the one we did get to), and then 2 years after we saw them in Cape Town, here’s… er… the new single from a-ha:

Predictably lovely stuff.

New album – True North – later in the year.

Whenever this sort of thing happens, people always ask if I feel cheated because they said that they were going to retire and now they haven’t.

No. No, I don’t. I’ve loving it.

Who’s playing at Montreux?

Lots of people: it’s a big festival. But three that I specifically want to see: a-ha (which is how I ended up on the Montreux website), Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, and Gabriels who have been doing some really amazing stuff lately.

And, thanks to the wonders of modern technology, all their sets will be available for livestreaming… live… as they perform.

a-ha are on at 11pm tomorrow (Friday) evening, Nick Cave 11pm on Saturday and Gabriels at 8:30pm on Wednesday the 6th July. All for free. Gratis. Mahala.

Click here for more details and for more free streams of other artists at the festival.

Day 596 – There will be some announcements…

…coming out very soon, that you don’t want to miss out on!

Indeed:

I’m very much here for yet another wholly unexpected album from my favourite Norwegian trio. Every time they do something new, I count it as a bonus.

And no, I’m not suggesting that you sign up for updates too – my infectious excitement is surely more than enough for the both of us – but look, if you want to, the details are all there.