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Now we’re at the hospital. Hasse is lying on an examining table, waiting. A poster is hanging on the wall, showing the structure of the spine. - You’ve got nothing to lose on there being a plan to improve the back. - What they can do is get you to visit one of these pain clinics. The question is whether or not it’s worth it, just to be able to move a few hundred meters further without pain. - But let's say you could go down to Hallstahammar with less of a hassle. - Yes, but what I'm asking is whether or not its worth it just to be able to walk a few hundred meters further. - But is it really meant to be that way. That you, for example, shouldn't be able to sit? - Well, that's something you can work up to. I'm going to have to, either that or, for example, use the toilet while halfway standing and halfway sitting. And that's enough, why should I need to sit? In order to aimlessly ride around on a bus? - Are there no other situations where you feel it would be beneficial to be able to sit? - No, I can't think of any. Sit on a bench outside while feeding pigeons? - Sit in your kitchen? - Well, in that case I might as well be standing. I don't understand the difference between standing and sitting, it's not that important to sit. - But I'm having a hard time understanding what's being said. There's a freedom in increased mobility. - Yes, but there's also a freedom in not experiencing any pain. The greatest change in Hasse's life is that he is no longer able to sit because he has gone through arthrodesis due to vertebral misalignment of the spine. He's able to stand up and walk for short periods without support, but is constantly suffering from pain. He spends most of his days lying down. - But are you receiving sickness benefits for the rest of your life? - Yes, it seems like it. - It seems like it? Do they have any plans for getting you rehabilitated? - No, I've often asked about it. But it seems like there's nothing they can do. And, in a way, that sounds tragic, but I can't think of anything that would alleviate these kinds of things. Perhaps some specialized training that makes it possible to sit. But should you sit when it only leads to pain? (Hasse is listening to an old interview featuring him) - It's like a dragon that I have to fight against. It's the social thing. Social district 13. - Dragon? - I have to fight it with my sword, while it breathes fire towards me. But I'm going to win. And everyone knows that the knight always wins and gets the princess in the form of a check, a cash check. - I have to stop here. Did I really say that? - Yes, you did.
- It's such a damn good feeling to get out. I need to get out more. - It's not exactly strange if you feel confined, if you're spending that much time in doors. - No, but I'm not really feeling confined. But, just being able to shuffle about somehow. You also need to carry on a disrupting conversation, so I won't focus on my pain. - Why do you live around here? Why didn't you move back to Stockholm when you turned ill, or turned worse. - Yeah, that's a good question. It probably would have been smarter. But it's actually because I can't stand the city. It's just too much of a hassle to be in the city. It's crowded and shitty. Even if I wouldn't really notice it that much, it would still feel crowded. - How is it crowded? - Well, it's simply too crowded. Too much of a hassle. - But there areas just like this. - Yes, there are. But I need more space. It's hard to explain. - That gives me a thought. If you lived closer, it would be easy to just drop by sometime, perhaps for a coffee. But you're not getting those kinds of visits. - No, but I'm probably happy about that. - Are you? - Yes, because I'm not the same mobile person that I once was and if old friends remember me for who I was, it just makes everything harder. No, that's a tough thing to deal with... I've been on the phone with a few people from the city, but I haven't felt like taking it further. It's been enough. - Has anyone been over here? - No, nobody has been over here. And that's a good thing, I guess. But I've also let them know that I will be in touch once I'm feeling better. Nobody has visited Hasse since he moved, seven years ago, except home care, siblings and his mother. I don't feel like asking someone who has been alone for seven years, whether or not it feels lonely. - I really should quit smoking. I keep telling myself. But that means it's not a good idea to spend time with people, because that's when you smoke a lot. - But you know, people out there have quit smoking. - They have, haven't they. Boring bastards. That's horrible. - God, it's really snowing. - And this will once again melt away on Monday. And our childhood with snow-filled winters, it wasn't the case. - No, but... - But that's how we remember it.
- We stand up and talk next to the high table alongside the bed, and it creates a feeling of waiting for something. But what will we do once we're done waiting? Well, in Hasse's case, there's not much else to do than go to bed. - But have you really gotten all the help you can get? - Yeah, yes. I guess it's not possible to operate more, and I don't really know how they have come to that conclusion. I need to go and lay down. The room is darkened, in order for him to see the computer screen more clearly. The furnishing is for a single person, with the bed in the middle of the room, the TV at the foot of the bed and all the other things on the floor are in general disarray. It's extremely disorganized with stacks of books and papers, coffee mugs, cords and computer stuff. Initially, I become depressed seeing how he lives. Spending entire days here in bed, only to shuffle about every now and then. It's like he has reverted back into a cocoon. But perhaps it's not as depressing as it seems. Because when he's lying there in the dark, something happens to him. - Wouldn't it be nice to sit down now? - No, but lying down would be nice. Its 13 years since we first met. I've always wondered what become of him. I didn't even know he had moved from town. It's like he always waited for something. Better days. That the road would become more accessible. I don't know. I remember he said he would create his own way of supporting himself. He wanted above all to be free, and who doesn't. We were all afraid of finding ourselves living a boring life, and had to be careful not to make the wrong choices and get stuck somewhere. ...and I just realized that it should be boring, but strangely enough it isn't. No matter how much I try to bore myself, I'm never bored. I'm actually totally busy, all the time. - Have you felt very sad, when realizing that you're stuck and that the back is so bad that your freedom has become limited? - Yes, I thought I would feel like that. But I didn't. If you've got music, you've really got everything. You don't care if you've lost a foot, or any of that crap. I haven't gotten a depression due to my condition. It was simply just a statement. Apparently, things didn't get better but so what. It is what it is.
- Isn't there any advantage in your life due to the fact that you don't have to deal with all the things outside that people struggle with? - That I don't have to... yes, perhaps to a certain extent. But it's not worth it. I would rather be healthy and with responsibilities. Actually, I really would, yes. - But back in the day, when you were healthy and had responsibilities. You were living a life that was quite similar. - No, back then I was bicycling all year round and I had been both here and there. That's something that hasn't been possible the last seven years. I used to be able to go wherever I want, but now I can't bike. No, it's a great big tragedy, but that's the way it is. - Would you prefer being the caregiver, rather than the one receiving the help? - Yeah, I probably would, actually. The thing about mobility, yes, I mean, perhaps I didn't use it to its full extent, but it's still a hassle being tied down. - What do you think you would have done in your life, if this hadn't happen? - I guess I would have been on stage, being a musician. That was the original idea. It still is, it's just that I'm pushing it ahead of me. Certain events forced me to postpone it, and it doesn't really matter if it gets done when I'm seventy. - Who are the people visiting you? You must need a break every now and then. - Yeah, that's the important thing. Getting out once a week. Then my dear old mother visits about once every month, being motherly. - How's her health? - She's in excellent health, considered her health. She's 83 years old and going strong. And to trudge from the city. I don't know how things turn out when you get old, whether or not you walk around waiting for death. Do you often think about death? - Yes, I do. I've always done that. - Yes, suddenly you're closing in on fifty, and you start to feel that time rushes by. It's hard not to feel like Hasse finally defeated the dragon, and that he now has gotten what he wanted; the right to completely decide what to do with his own time, without the demands of other. But the price is enormously high, and this is hardly the life he wanted. - The future used to be better.


S/T was released as cd-demo 2004 and vinyl 2018.


released January 1, 2004


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