Door 3: Buddies

During my university years, my student apartment in Helsinki was an old hotel room converted into a student apartment which gives you a good idea of what it was like but in short: it was tiny.

I didn’t need much, though, just my vinyls and an ever growing collection of CDs that provided me with the most of the soundtrack of my life. Also, I had Sky Channel and its music shows so there was always music playing in the background from the moment I got up and grabbed the remote to the moment when it fell on the floor from my hand.

And yet, when I think back to those days, I think of just two songs.

The first one was Elvis’s “Love Me Tender” which I woke up to one night. I’m a pretty good sleeper, and can, will, and like to, fall asleep on planes, trains, and automobiles but that night The King managed to break through into my dream. I don’t know whether I woke up to the first playing of the song, but since I truly am a great sleeper, I’d venture to guess I didn’t.

I do know, though, that whoever the lovelorn student upstairs was, he played “Love Me Tender” at least another half a dozen times, and probably then some, but I fell asleep again.

I used to love Elvis, my first album was an Elvis album, but I have never played “Love Me Tender” since then. It just doesn’t feel the same. It’s not a love song anymore. It’s torture.

However, I’m sure that whoever was playing it did find solace in it because that’s just what music does.

A few months later, a friend of mine called me to tell me he had broken up with his girlfriend, and that he was coming over. And when he did, we, too, played some music.

That was also the time when Highlander had had its Finnish premiere and my friend and I had seen it together in one of the small theatres in our hometown, and we were both equally impressed with the movie “of immortal warriors who can be killed only by decapitation.” What can I say? I was young. (Since I was so impressed, I’ve never watched it again, fearing that it may not have been as great as it seemed. Don’t tell me).

I was so impressed that I even bought Queen’s “A Kind of Magic” album that also was sort of the soundtrack of the movie, with songs like “Don’t Lose Your Head”, “Gimme The Prize”, and “Princes of the Universe”, the official theme song of the movie.

And of course, “Who Wants To Live Forever” which was the song my buddy put on repeat in my CD player. That was the song he wanted to hear over and over again and so that was the song we listened to over and over again.

By the end of the day, I suspected it was the lines “Who wants to live forever? Who dares to love forever … when love must die?” that got to him. What made me suspect it was the fact that he was sitting on his knees on my bed, singing those lines with his arms raised toward the ceiling over and over again.

Gradually, though, as he moved on to other songs on the album, his spirits got better. First there was “Pain Is So Close To Pleasure”, then “One Year of Love” with another Highlander inspired message about living in the moment: “Just one year of love is better than a lifetime alone.”

It’s moments like that afternoon I think of when I think of my buddy. To quote another song from the album:” When you’re through with life and all hope is lost, hold out your hand. ‘Cause friends will be friends.”

Queen – “Who Wants To Live Forever” (1986)


This is the From The Desk of Risto Pakarinen 2017 advent calendar. Behind every door, you’ll find something related to the 1980s.

How does that make you feel?