Psychobilly Bands Indecent Stage Act Makes National Headlines

Multi Climex

The pre-sex performance Multi Climex in 2008 was just one of the lot. (Photo: Nalle Westman)

By NALLE WESTMAN

Finnish psychobilly bands seldom rate a mention in newspapers – if ever, but this week Multi Climex, a powerhouse trio from northern Finland, is the hottest topic on every paper in the country, on account of their “lewd and indecent” stage conduct last friday at Sandels Rock festivals. The bands sex performance was cut short but yielded a police investigation. No matter what the outcome of the investigation is the band certainly gained free publicity, and is now known all over the country. Even bad publicity is good publicity.

Multi Climex

The band vowed to keep on shocking the audiences in the future too. (Photo: Nalle Westman)

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It Was Almost 41 Years Ago Today (And The Madness Keeps Going On)

Abbey Road crossing

The Cover staff re-enacting the famous album cover shooting session. Thanks to the miracles of PhotoShop the staff of two multiplied to six.

By NALLE WESTMAN

On August 8th 1969 photographer Ian Macmillan shot the famous cover of The Beatles’ Abbey Road -album, the Fab Four crossing the street in front of their recording studios. Little did he know that the image would be repeated forever by other bands and to a great annoyance of the local residents, the fans.

The residential street of Abbey Road in St. John’s Wood, London, is one of the most unattractive areas in London – there’s no cafes, bars, shops, galleries or anything special, but the tourist keep coming just to take snapshots of themselves crossing the most famous zebra crossing in the world. Cover went to take some snapshots too.

We arrived early in the morning – more or less hoping to be there before the tourists arrive, but that dream died immediately. There they were. Occasionally just a handful of them, but most of the time too many people pacing back and forth the crossing that we decided not to try our own shooting session at all. After a brief moment we were rather fascinated by all the silliness of these visitors and just observed. Two middle-aged Italian ladies taking pictures of each other crossing the street defying the heavy traffic on the road – one of them crossing the street the wrong way (from right to left) and the other shooting the picture from the wrong side of the crossing (Abbey Road being actually behind her back). We finally did our own brief shooting session in the middle of all this and made a composite picture from 16 different pictures cropping out the tourists and the result is this image featured above. Mission accomplished.

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Defying the Law of Gravity

The Cover editorial staff defying the law of gravity

By NALLE WESTMAN & LEA METTOVAARA

The Cover editorial staff decided to defy the law of gravity and succeeded. Here’s a few photographical evidences to prove that it can be done.

The Cover editorial staff defying the law of gravity

And here’s how to do it: by using the shutter speed of 1/2500 second we were able to freeze the leaps and the continuous shooting mode was a must to capture the right moment. Comfortable shoes are also very handy.

The Cover editorial staff defying the law of gravity The Cover editorial staff defying the law of gravity

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Recommended by the Saint: The Volvo P1800

Volvo P1800

TV-series The Saint made the P1800 the 60s icon. (Photo: Nalle Westman)

By NALLE WESTMAN

The classic image of Roger Moore driving his white Volvo P1800 sports car in the 1960’s ITV mystery spy series, The Saint, endures even today. The series helped to make the P1800 the 60s icon.

In mid-1950s the Swedish car manufacturer Volvo was pushing itself into the sports car business. Their first effort, the P1900, an open fiberglass body two-seater, launched in 1956, failed miserably – only 68 cars were sold before the model was killed off the next year.

In 1957 the company designed a new sports car model P1800, then only known as prototype P958-X1. The man behind the project was an engineering consultant to Volvo, Helmer Pettersson, who’s son Pelle Pettersson designed the car. In December 1957 Volvo negotiated a deal with the West German car manufacturer, Karmann, to start the production of the car in Germany, but in February 1958 Karmann withdrew from the deal under pressure from it’s most important customer, Volkswagen. Other German companies were contacted but eventually it was a British company, Jensen Motors, who made the deal with Volvo. Finally in September 1960 the car buying customers got the first glimpse of the Volvo P1800 when it rolled out of the assembly line.

The four-cylinder 100 hp engine, B18, which was actually developed from the pre-existing B36 V8 engine employed in Volvo trucks at the time, gave a top speed of roughly 110 mph (177 km/h). So the car wasn’t no road burner, but the engine did have dual SU carbs. It’s rear drum brakes and live rear axle meant that the car handled and stopped more like a conventional sedan than a sports car. As a stylish touring car, Volvo proved it’s worth. The 2+2 seater was supremely comfortable and it’s roomy trunk made the vehicle surprisingly usable for an attractive sports car.

Volvo P1800

The design of the P1800 saw only minor changes between years 1961-1973. (Photo: Nalle Westman)

In 1961 ITV laid plans to produce a TV-serie, The Saint, based on Leslie Charteris’ novels, with Roger Moore to play the lead character, Simon Templar. Naturally the cool spy needed a cool ride, so production supervisor Johnny Goodman went for a look out. Two new cars were introduced at the Geneva Motor Show that year, a Jaguar E-type and the Volvo P1800. Jaguar was first offered the opportunity to provide an E-Type for the series but declined. When asked for a P1800, Volvo jumped at the chance which led to an increase of sales of the P1800 and the creation of a 1960s’ icon –  a of total 47 492 cars were produced between the years 1961 and 1973.

The Volvo Car Corporation supplied the “The Saint” television producers a total of four P1800 models for use on their show. Roger Moore liked the car so much that he got one for his own personal use. The series ran from 1962 to 1969 and the car played a prominent role throughout the entire run of the show.

Roger Moore

Roger Moore liked the car so much that he had one for his personal use too. (Photo: Nalle Westman)

Jensen had problems with quality control, so the contract was ended early at 6,000 cars. In 1963 production was moved to Volvo’s Lundby Plant in Gothenburg and the car’s name was changed to 1800S. The engine saw several minor updates through the years, and in 1970 a fuel-injection was added. Now the engine produced 130 hp and had a top speed of 120 mph  (190 km/h). Four-wheel disc brakes were also added this year. In 1972 came the last model, the 1800ES station wagon, but only 8 000 cars were produced before the model was killed off. For the last model year, 1973, only the 1800ES was produced and the production of the first real Volvo sports car ended on June 27, 1973.

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Pieces Of My Life.

Elvis' sunglasses

(Photo: Nalle Westman)

This is THE YEAR of Elvis exhibits. It seems that to commemorate Elvis’ 75th birthday every museum and gallery curator from L.A. to Esher has decided to have their own Elvis exhibit this particular year. Everything from Elvis’ personal belongings to some never before seen photos are making the rounds – even Elvis’ bible got it’s own gig.

Elvis exhibition

Alfred Wertheimer’s Elvis ’56 photos are on heavy rotation this year. The Smithsonian’s traveling exhibit of Elvis photos (56 images in total) under the banner Elvis at 21, has so far visited The Grammy Museum and The Boca Raton Museum of Art and is currently on display at The Museum of The Shenandoah Valley in Winchester through October 10th. The Wertheimer pictures were also on display in January at The Proud Chelsea Gallery in London. This was the first time the Wertheimer pics were hung on the walls of British gallery.

Another photo exhibit Elvis: Grace & Grit is on tour too, displaying rare and never seen before pics of Elvis from the CBS Television Photo Archives. The exhibit opened at Petaluma Museum in April and  recently relocated to Stax Museum in Memphis where the pictures will be on display until October 16th.

Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC has it’s own Elvis exhibit One Life: Echoes of Elvis, through August 22nd.  The exhibition explores the image and story of Presley since his death. On display are works of artists like Ralph Wolfe Cowan and Mark Stutzman (the Elvis Stamp artist).

Another Elvis exhibit in Washington DC is at Newseum, through February 14th, 2011. The exhibit highlights feature rare photographs and original newspapers and magazines covering Presley’s career, Elvis’ 1957 Harley-Davidson motorcycle, The “American Eagle” jumpsuit and cape and the 1969 gold-and-diamond belt among other things.

Elvis Presley: Fashion King, is one of three new exhibits to open at Graceland in 2010, and will be open through March of 2012. On display Elvis’ cloths an accessories.

The most obscure one was Elvis’ bible on display in May at Christian Resources Exhibition, at Sandown Park in Esher, UK.  The Museum of the Bible display featured bibles owned by famous people. How Great Thou Art.

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Under the Shadow of the Fading Red Star

Soviet era Tallinn

By NALLE WESTMAN

Tallinn, the capital city of Estonia, look more and more like a modern western world city each day with new skyscrapers rocketing up to ruin the skyline, trendy bars competing the customers, and new luxury boutiques selling rags to people who can’t afford them. It’s almost impossible to believe that it was less than 20 years ago that this city was under the Socialist rule and part of the mighty USSR. After Estonians regained their independence in 1991, the Tallinners have effectively erased the history of the occupant. The Lenin statues are junked now, but still quite a few reminders of that era excist. Cover Pictorial  went to take a closer look.

Linnahall

The front steps of the Linnahall

In front of the port of Tallinn stands a huge slab of concrete which resembles a WW2 V2-rocket launchpad. The V.I. Lenin Palace of Sports and Culture, as it was known in the old days (later renamed Linnahall), is a concert hall/ice rink in rather neglected condition. It was built for the 1980 Moscow Olympics when Tallinn hosted the sailing events, but after only 30 years of existence the building is ready to get razed down.

Linnahall

The overuse of concrete was typical for the Soviet-era architecture.

Linnahall

Patarei prison

The last prisoner left Patarei in 2004.

Only a few minutes walk from Linnahall is Patarei Prison Museum (2 Kalaranna). You can hardly call it a museum – it’s been left as it is. This former sea fortress, built in 1840, served as a Soviet-era prison and was notorious for its remarkably poor conditions. Here you can experience the horrors of the Soviet-era prison life at it’s worst; dark rooms, moisty walls, the funky smell of mold, and, to top all that, the excution room where the last death penalty was carried out in 1991.

Patarei prison

The execution room. The hanging pit on the floor is partially covered but still visible.

Patarei prison

The KGB Headquarters in the Old Town (1 Pagari) was the place that perceived enemies of the regime were interrogated and either shot or sent to Siberian work camps. The Estonian Ministry of the Interior moved on the premises after the Soviet rule ended.

KGB headquarters

The former KGB headquarters.

Soviet Navy Offices

The former Soviet Navy offices building (at the corner of Suur-Karja and Vana-Posti) still sports the old Red Star motif on it's roof.

Kino Soprus

Kino Soprus

The former Friendship Cinema, Kino Soprus (8 Vana-Posti), was built in 1955 in the traditional Soviet-era style, complete with columns and some Red Star motifs. It’s still in use as a movie theater. On the same square, right next to Soprus, stands the former Soviet Navy offices building.

Kino Soprus Red Star

The only building in Tallinn with a spire and star at the top can be found at Tartu Maantee, across the road next to Stockmann department store. Ironically this place is now a casino.Naval Officers Club

The Naval Officers Club (5 Mere Puiestee), was built in 1952 as a recreational club for Soviet officers. The interior sports propagandistic design elements. It is now home to the Russian Cultural Centre.

To round off the tour, take a visit to residential suburb of Lasnamäe, the workers paradise dormitory for 100.000 people. This predominantly Russian concrete jungle was built in the 1980s and it has more inhabitants than Estonia’s second-largest city, Tartu.

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The Twilight of the Classic Cruise Ships

ss Rotterdam

Ss Rotterdam, now a floating hotel in Rotterdam harbor. (Photo: Nalle Westman)

By NALLE WESTMAN

For ocean liner aficionados this summer is the last chance to spot most of the pre-1980s cruisers on duty. On October 1st 2010 the new SOLAS 2010 safety regulations will force most of these beauties into retirement.

The complete set of SOLAS regulations is highly complex but among the major points in the latest rules are requirements to remove all combustible materials, installation of low-level lighting systems, smoke detectors, sprinklers, fire detectors and fire alarm systems in all accommodations and service areas.

Ocean travel

The pleasures of the ocean travel. (Photo: Nalle Westman)

To fulfill SOLAS 2010 the estimated capital expenditure for these older ships is around 5-20 million USD. In most cases the conversion of the +30 years old cruiser exceeds the value of the ship, and owners may choose to scrap them instead.

ss Rotterdam

The gangways of ss Rotterdam. (Photo: Nalle Westman)

Holland-America Line’s famous transatlantic passenger ship ss Rotterdam of 1959 found a new lease of life as a floating hotel/congress center/maritime museum in Rotterdam harbor this spring after 5 years of extensive restoration. The original 30 million euros restoration budget eventually mushroomed to whopping 210 million euros. To remove the asbestos alone was a huge task.

ss Rotterdam

Ss Rotterdam is berthed at the end of Katendrecht, right next to it's old Holland-America Line pier. (Photo: Nalle Westman)

Cunard Line’s Queen Elizabeth 2, which retired from service in 2008, faces uncertain future. The ship was sold to investors from Dubai with an intention to become a floating hotel like ss Rotterdam, but due to the global economic crisis the whole project has been put to hold.

Kungsholm

Kungsholm still sports it's sleek lines. (Photo: Nalle Westman)

Kungsholm Kungsholm

Swedish American Line’s last transatlantic passenger ship Kungsholm of 1966 operates these day’s under the name Mona Lisa.  The ship has similar plans for the future as a floating hotel and maritime museum in it’s old home port Gothenburg, Sweden, but Mr Lars Hallgren, the initiator of the project to save the Kungsholm announced in June that it’s not going to happen due some political stiffness of Gothenburg City Hall. The time is running out.

ss Stockholm

Ss Stockholm, launched in 1948, is one of the oldest still operating cruise ships. Stockholm gained a notorious reputation by sinking Andrea Doria in a collision in 1956. It's most likely going to be scrapped after this season. (Photo: Nalle Westman)

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