The time has come for me to introduce you to a couple of very important concepts in Norwegian culture. Vorspiel and Nachspiel. These are in fact German words – I don’t know why – but they describe the first and third phases of a night out in Norway. Vorspiel means the “before party” and nachspiel means the “after party”. In between, you go out and buy expensive beer in a bar, concert venue or club. Perhaps that’s the origin of these essential parties: they reduce the price of going out in the most expensive land on Earth.
Okay, here’s how the weekend works. Friday night: vorspiel. Sit down in some chairs. Have some beers.
Then at about 11pm it’s time to go out. Go to the cash machine. If you’re hard of hearing there is a minijack so you can stick in your headphones.
Take out your money. Camera wobble.
Then you go out. I didn’t take any pictures of that because it’s not important. No what’s important is…
The nachspiel! Sit around drinking with people you don’t even know.
Test your drunkenness. Which of these three girls isn’t a twin?
Party till 6am.
The next evening, it’s time for the Saturday vorspiel. Another apartment. Some food, beer, wine.
And this is Torstein, a master of the vorspiel and especially the nachspiel. What’s he doing over there? Let’s move in for a close up.
Aha, he’s mixing drinks. Vodka. The broccoli is not strictly necessary.
Come 11pm, we all go our separate directions to different events.
At 3.20am I am in a bar that’s closing, and I get the predictable text message from Torstein: “Nachspiel?”
Then I organize that.