Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Hoodie Story

Being a musical fan for over six years, you're bound to amass some souvenirs. That's what has happened to me, at least: slowly but surely, my apartment has turned into a musical shrine.

I have folders full of souvenir programmes and shelves stuffed with cast recordings. My walls are covered with theatre posters. Once, I even commissioned handmade little dolls of my favourite musical characters – Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Utterson from the first Finnish production of Jekyll & Hyde – from a talented online friend.

Precious, are they not?

However. These are all nice things to own, fun stuff to decorate my apartment with, but no more than that (maybe apart from the dolls, I think I would save them if the house was on fire). The most important thing in theatre is of course the experience itself. The performaces, the music, the stories told onstage... Everything else is extra. If I had to choose, I'd much rather spend my money on a new theatre ticket than any trinket from a souvenir stand.

Except for the Rocky hoodie.

I went to see Rocky the musical with no high expectations, looking forward an entertaining performance and nothing more. Killing time in the theatre's foyer before the performance, I took a look at the souvenir stand. Overpriced t-shirts and silly keychains shaped like boxing gloves. Who needs any of this! Nothing here for me.

After the show, I was too excited to think about anything as mundane as purchasing merchandise. The show had blown my mind. I was bursting with joy and excitement and also happy about getting to stagedoor the stars – something a Finnish theatre fan doesn't often get to do.

But rushing happily towards the stagedoor, something displayed in the souvenir stand caught my eye. A black hoodie, with the musical's logo printed on the back in a different shade of black. Quite stylish for a souvenir... and at 40 €, worth a ticket to a Finnish musical performace. Quickly, I told myself I had been spending more than enough money during the trip already, and besides, I have a closet full of hoodies back home. Then I left the theatre for the stagedoor.

Getting to meet the show's leading actor Drew Sarich cleared the hoodie out of my mind for the night. But in the morning, I remembered it.

During the next two days, me and my travelling companion Lida walked in parks, went to The International Maritime Museum, watched the Hamburg Pride parade and visited the huge fairground Hamburger Dom. All this time, the hoodie haunted my mind. Hardly an hour passed without me thinking about it, no matter where we went or what we did.

Watching this sunset from our hotel room
window could not distract me.

In less than 24 hours, the piece of clothing turned into a burning obsession.

I tried the money approach. I told myself I would regret it. I could buy a musical ticket with that money back home. Or two perfectly fine new hoodies from some clothing chain. I reminded myself my credit card balance was in the red already.

I tried the fashion sense approach. Who wants to wear a black hoodie when all the colours of the rainbow exist! Besides, the letters on the back will fade away, probably in the first wash.

I even tried talking sense to my suddenly obsessed brain. Would I really want to walk around advertsing, of all things, Rocky the Musical? Boxing, sports movies? Totally not my things. It would just attract weird looks.

No use.

After a day, I thought about the hoodie four times more often than I thought about the musical itself.

After a day and a half, I cracked.

I told my friend Lida – using, angered at my own lack of self-control, rather more colourful language than I usually do – that I was going to take the underground to the theatre. The Sunday matinee had just started, so the souvenir stand should be open, during intermission at least. If I had to, I would sit on the steps outside the theatre until the show was over. I would not return without a Rocky hoodie.

I went to the theatre.

The following discussion in between me and the theatre's doorkeeper, an older gentleman, ensued:

Me: “I saw this show two days ago and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. So I would really want to buy something to remember it by. Does the souvenir stand open soon?”
Him: “Have you been having nightmares?”
Me: “What? No! I meant that I loved the show.”
Him: “Are you serious? This show is trash."

A moment's pause.

Him: "But the souvenir stand does open in twenty minutes."

I have never regretted a purchase less.
P.S. Listen to my favourite song from Rocky the Musical.


  1. This has sometimes happened to me on It's a lovely feeling. Living in 28 m2, there are limits to how much you can have shelves to stack programmes in and how many posters and postcards and flyers you can have on your walls, so I'm trying to remember my physical and financial limits. Trying to.

    I must say the 'Bissig' t-shirt of the Vienna Tanz der Vampire production has been of really good quality, though, both the material and the text.