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In Memoriam: Juice Leskinen
by Oobio
2006-11-30 10:39:47
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Juice is gone.

Well, a couple of decades ago the scary news was released that Juice had a near-death-experience. The stories about his drinking habits (a couple of crates of beer and few bottles of vodka per day) became bigger gossip than his art. Today, the newspapers are listing his diseases, but mentioning merely in a subordinate clause that he wasn't drinking anymore for ten years.

For me, Juice's lyrics shaped a great deal of the way I look at the world today. He was sharp, sometimes almost cruel, funny, compassionate, critical, understanding, ironic in his texts. He saw not only what was going on in his own surroundings, but his concern of the way the world goes touched global politics as well as environmental subjects - the things that nations fight about and for.

I remember how we were sitting with some friends in a kitchen of a suburb of Tallinn, listening to Juice's ‘Musta aurinko nousee’ (‘Black Sun Rising’) discussing and crying about the issue, and also singing along.

And I remember his presentation at the Estonian-Finnish Institute on Harju Street, where he was talking about Finnish identity, smoking continuously and mocking the old ladies who tried to make him talk about Finnishness with pathos. Although, I think he truly was a patriot and was proud of his people.

It seems that in Finland people have a love-hate-relationship with Juice. Everybody knows his songs by heart, but few admit they liked his style of talking about things - too straightforward, too blunt, maybe. In a country, where folks want to be seen as highly sophisticated, it might be difficult to approve a politically and gender-wise incorrect expression. Perhaps that explains, why Juice wrote a song called ‘Eesti on my mind’ (‘Estonia on my mind’).

Nothing human was strange to Juice. And no music style either. Though most of his lyrics are written on the axle of humppa-proge-rock, he tried out even rap (Kekkonen hiihti ja Kekkonen kalasti; Kekkonen skied and Kekkonen fished). Besides Kekkonen, Koivisto and other Finnish politicians, Juice often pointed his sharp pen to the police as well. Maybe the funniest and definitely a nailed-down story told about how representatives of the law enforcement stop a hippy car and demand hemp from the passengers.

My personal favourite of all times is Kaksoiselämää (Double Life): "I don’t envy those/who are made to live a double life/sometimes it feels/I'm not able to live properly even one."

Farewell, Juice!

First published on the Helsinki Times website.

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