It’s beyond coincidence that Esa Pekka Salonen and I left our regular jobs at the same time -- he as conductor of the LA Philharmonic, and I as, as (oh, pardon, something caught in my throat. Back in a second).
Where was I? Oh yes, we’ve always had much in common. We both have a penchant for jeans and ski sweaters. We both, at some point in our artistic journeys, played the clarinet. We also have a cute little way of tossing the hair out of our eyes so that it just falls back in the eyes again. Then you get to do this flirty little toss-fall, toss-fall, toss-fall … until someone slaps you.
My dad never considered Finns true Scandinavians, unless it was convenient. For example, Matti Ensio Nykänen, the Flying Finn of ski jumping, was; the drunks who passed out and died of hypothermia on Helsinki streets were not. Einojuhani Rautavaara was, the Takkenuns weren’t… I could go on, but for heaven’s sakes, name a few famous Finns off the top of your head, and you can guess into which category they fall.
But back to Esa, there’s also the cheese thing. We both eat it. Wish we could have gotten together before he left LA. Split a Limburger. I have a taste for stinky cheese. Cheese that smells like three kinds of hell inside a dead cow’s stomach that has been wrapped in rotting tuna and left in a South Florida morgue where the air-conditioning is on the blink. Never mind about that. Concentrate on the taste – stinky cheese is wonderfully creamy and nutty and pungent.
And while I’m confessing peculiar tastes, might as well admit to blood sausage. For the uninitiated, blood sausage is exactly as it sounds; you eat it hot with melted butter. And unless you want neighbors to say you have terminal gingivitis (or worse), brush your teeth before taking that evening walk.
I have many questionable tastes. In animals, in decorating, in cheese, in men;
many of which should be enjoyed far away from home. Once they get in the house, you have to rebuild. Or move.