After yesterday’s talk of blazing churches and blood-drinking vegetarian Black Metal rockers coming out of the closet, I thought it was only fair to gain a bit of perspective, add some nuance to the stereotype. Norway is, above all, a peaceful and tolerant place.
So I thought I should tell a story about how Black Metal has come to affect my own daily life.
As this school year progressed, it quickly became clear that the new teacher in charge of my youngest son’s class was not working out. There were many unpleasant incidents, at least by the usual idyllic standards of a nice Norwegian suburb. Comparing notes, it became quite clear that many of the children, particularly the boys, felt singled out and intimidated, and were clearly losing their enthusiasm both for school and for learning.
Strange as it may seem, kids in Norway by and large like to go to school, so this was serious business. Especially since at the grammar school level, they tend to have the same teacher for several years as their primary educator.
Matters came to a head, and the problem teacher stepped down just before the end of the year. An interim replacement has restored the original enthusiasm the class had, and managed to show that a teacher can be strict but fair, and not frightening. I have heard that parents are already trying to propose to the headmaster that this substitute becomes the group’s full-time teacher for the final years of their time at the grammar school.
I have purposely been quite vague about the details here, not just because I want to avoid identifying the teachers involved, but it also occurred to me that this pedestrian story of suburban conflict and resolution might be embarrassing for at least one of the characters concerned.
Because you see, our new teacher is a member of a successful Black Metal band. And while the parents here would like the headbanger to take over at once, he can only do a short stint since he has a music scholarship to use up now, and while I don’t know the details, I presume this means some kind of state money to develop Black Metal talents.
From what I have learned, it seems that the band has a loyal following and a breakthrough could be around the corner – which would be a blow for the Norwegian education system. But I don’t want to soften the man’s image at what might be a critical career moment, just in case he may be considering the blood-spattering route.
Norway – there’s more here than meets the eye.
Vreid in action.