Tuesday, 7 July 2009
My good friend, Svein Sivertsen died peacefully on the night to July 7th. He had been battling with cancer for a while, and lost.
We first saw each other at a Neil Young concert in 1993. He was wearing a John Lennon t-shirt, and I was wearing a Rubber Soul t-shirt, so we noticed each other. The next evening I phoned him, because I wanted to ask him to start writing a bit about The Beatles for the Norwegian Wood Beatles Fanclub I was running, he had been a contributor in the early days of our fanzine and I needed new input. We discovered that we had both noticed each other the previous night, without knowing who we were. We had a good laugh about that.
He started writing articles again, and we became fast friends. He used to celebrate the Beatles' birthdays by throwing parties at his house and I made an effort to join him for at least one party for each member of the band. He filled his house with Beatle people, making Linda's veggie meals, playing music, having quizzes, showing Beatles films and documentaries and a high point of every Beatles party was a well prepared lecture either by the host or other Beatles experts. When I called it a day as fan club president, he became my successor, and made a good job at it. In 1996 he and I and two others made a pilgrimage to England, where we visited old Beatles movie locations, sought out their old private residents and celebrated Beatles Week in Liverpool. Nearly a decade later, Svein overcame his fear of flying to join me and another friend in New York to take in the Beatles sites and to see Paul McCartney at Madison Square.
Svein specialized in one of the stranger sides of Beatles collecing, he collected cover versions. That was a result of the meagre years at EMI in the seventies and eighties when no interesting Beatles material was released. Of course, he also collected Beatles and solo-Beatles CD's. He had abandoned vinyl when CD's came along. Another of his passions were books about The Beatles, and he had quite a collection. When he got ill he re-organized his collection and read more Beatles books than ever.
He was always a man with a great sense of humour and he would laugh a lot at himself and other people's strange obsessions. He believed that Beatles fans are able to take themselves a lot less serious than fans of other bands or pop stars.
Another of his facets was that he liked Madonna, and about a week ago he text messaged me and revealed that he had bought ticket's to Madonna's concert here in Norway on the 28th of July, and he hoped to bring his family both to the show and to take them on a railroad trip to Hamburg after that. He was worried that he was not in a good enough shape to realize these plans.
Sadly he wasn't. The last thing he asked for was that something should be played to celebrate Ringo's birthday. He left behind him his life partner, a daughter, a son and a grandson. And a big gap in my mind. I'll take his advice and have a good laugh at myself every now and then.