Should We Meet At The Crossroads,
Keep Walking
Don McCracken

paperback due 2020

above image: the sleeve from the first Flycatcher single by Anna-Stina Jungerstam, AKA Nightbird, who appears in the novel.

Don McCracken is a Scottish artist living in Helsinki with his Finnish family. Here, amongst many other things, he runs Flycatcher. He created a stone circle around Helsinki. These stones are natural rocks that were already there – nothing to do with prehistoric man etc. He had heard about the fabled Kristina Bruuk album and wanted to know if each of these stones in the circle could be related symbolically to each of the tracks on this album. His novel is about this.

Perambulation first appeared on the ACT 15 e.p. The video was assembled by Markku Essel from footage shot on the Helsinki Radio Lemuria Stone Circle Drive (ACT 16) by Kevin Pollard

Between Heaven and Helsinki

Kristina Bruuk took her own life on the 31st of December 1999. At the time she was living in Naples, after having moved from her home city of Helsinki some months earlier. Her suicide note was a hand written memoir of no less than 100,000 words.

Kristina Bruuk had been a Finnish singer songwriter. In her early 20s she had been part of the thriving Helsinki scene in the mid 60s, ‘dating’ numerous of the rock musicians, poets and artists of the era. Her own attempts at the time to make any artistic impression seemed to flounder.  Peter Laakkonen, the now legendary Finnish rock star, financed Kristina Bruuk to make a number of recordings. Some of these were released a 7” 45s, but all failed critically and commercially.

After the Helsinki scene stagnated and collapsed she moved to Paris in time for the riots of ’68. From there she moved to Barcelona in the early 70s and onto Oporto in Portugal. There were various other European cities she lived in for short periods. By the late 1990s she was living in Berlin. She was there when the Wall came down.

With each new city she would keep writing both poetry and prose and make a living in whatever way she could. But her various addictions and abusive relationships seemed to have a habit of always catching up with her.

By the late 1980s a new scene had begun to blossom in Helsinki. Within this scene the now impossibly rare Kristina Bruuk singles from the late 60s, had become the ultimate collectable records.  
They were the touchstones for the new young bohemians. By this time no one in Helsinki had any idea of the where abouts of Kristina Bruuk. Most assumed she was long dead. Some Helsinki bands even started to cover her songs.

One of these bands being Dracula’s Daughter, an all female four-piece indie rock band. Dracula’s Daughter successfully tracked her down in Berlin and invited her to return to Finland and sing on some of their own recordings. One of these was a song called Candy. This was subsequently released as a single on the Finish label Kalevala.

The underground success of this record then led to the Kalevala label signing Kristina Bruuk to write and record her own album.  

Although the album was recorded, Kristina Bruuk is said to have fallen out with not only all the musicians on the sessions, but with Hannu Puttonen, the boss of the record label. He had taken it upon himself to pay for her to go into rehab and have a therapy crash course. She walked out of both of these within days of starting.

All plans to release the album were shelved, and Kristina Bruuk soon left Helsinki for the last time, heading for Italy and another ‘new’ life.

That was one version of history.

There is another.

Bill Drummond
Easter Sunday, 2016

(excerpt from Bill’s foreword to Should We Meet At The Crossroads, Keep Walking)