I was born in the year 1971 in a town nearby Helsinki, called Vantaa, although not with that name at that very time. Vantaa was still quite a peripheral suburban area of Helsinki, now it is a rapidly growing city of some 190 000 inhabitants. Having lived in the capital area of Helsinki for the whole of my lifetime and the greatest part of the last fiveteen years of it all alone, or more exactly, with cats and now, more recently, the last two years also accompanied by a lady who also have become my lawfully wedded wife. My family has consisted practically of my father and three stepbrothers, my parents having divorced when I was 6 years old. I have compensated this lack of family ties with a large network of friends. The person of Marco Michael Perukangas cannot be fully understood unless it is not approached through its main activities and subjects of interest, even passion.
I was grown up in quite a non-musical family. Despite that, music has not only been my main hobby but an integral part of my life since childhood. The decisive experience was to see the partly fictional Milos Forman -movie about W.A.Mozart, called Amadeus. Since then, the so-called classical music rapidly has taken over, putting all other musical genres aside. Some jazz has crept in more recently, due to influence of some friends.
I would describe my relationship to music that it includes all other approaches to music expect playing or singing myself or studying musical theory. Everything else belongs to me. My attitude to music is an outsider's view (although a devoted and an aware outsider): musical work is for me like a painting. I watch it closely, even dwelling into its world. But as I have never painted, I am an outsider or an accidental tourist who has had the fortune to have a meaningful encounter with it, maybe transformed by it.
What is, then, this "everything else"? My approach to music has been both pragmatic but also theoretical. I am a devoted collector of recorded music in quite a non-systematical way. I also consider myself as a kind of a amateur music journalist and a bureucrat of music. My master's thesis was an attempt to analyse the semiosis in the text of music journalism. In a layman's word: to analyse the relationship between the music itself, the text written of it, the journalist and his/hers imaginational readers. There are also some sketches to study this even further, to expand this notion of sociality in the world of music; I would like to figure out, what is all about to go to a concert. Is the private consuming of music, namely collecting recorded music, also a social venture?
I have had the fortune to work in one of the foremost music institutes at the university level, Sibelius Academy. Having had some previous experiences of working with artists, it is not usually dull but there are a few setbacks. Working in the administration of Les Beaux Arts requires abilities of a simultaneous interpreter but also of a pointsman; one has to possess a great vision in order to understand the ingredients of being an artist but also has to have a great stamina when one tries patiently to explain that 3 pounds is necessarily a greater sum of money than 2 pounds.
It seems obvious and something that one may almost take for granted that in the public feasts of sports rock music is roaring from the loudspeakers, giving added rhythm for the athletes and entertainment for the spectators. Classical music belongs to the world of feminine sports, such as figure skating, gymnastics and dance. Although the worlds of classical music and the world of masculine sports (e.g. football, boxing, icehockey, motor sports and perhaps athletics) do not have a positive correlation, there is a surprising connection in the way they are treated in the newspapers. Sports pages are greater in number than those that are devoted to music and sports make greater headlines, that is to be made sure. But what is common is that sports journalist also is describing something that has already happened. Sports journalist is also sort of a critic of a performance. The sports journalist has as the starting point the result that is already known by him (seldom her) and gradually he reveals the reasons that lead to the outcome. The reader who has not been "there" is told by the journalist that Arsenal beat the hapless PSV Eindhoven because Henry netted twice and it all started when Gilberto scored the fastest goal in the history of the tournament. And the one who had the fortune to be there as an eye-witness, he/she (again usually he) may check it out in the newspaper, that what he saw was real, according to an expert exponent of a media institution, that is a sports journalist.
My personal experience of sports is somewhat similar than that of music. Running is easier than playing the piano, although those with physical disabilities may not agree with me. I am enjoying physical exercise for the sheer experience without having any spesific goal-setting. My best achievement in sports has been the 19th place in the Finnish student Marathon championship 1999. I have also played some basketball and football, lacking the competitive cutting edge. I exercise mainly because it feels good.
The main point of me is not fully grasped if one is unaware of the fact that I happened to learn to read at the tender age of three. Since then, I have read through practically everything within a three-year-old´s reach in his father's bookcase. Having sooner and later also realised how to write myself, I have grown up with textbooks and all sorts of statistics. Literary activities of my own started from a sort of comic books, later there have been very few genres that have remained unscatched by me. As a thorough linguistic person, my scientific approach has been permeated with the notion as the man being a communicative creature and the messages, even the ways and forms of saying also bearing a message in themselves. And as a thorough scientific person, I am also trying to live up to this very notion, although not everything can be enonciated.
The venture of science has been my cup of tea, even without the milk. I have been sort of a passionate but amateurish astronomist, paleonthologist, meteorologist and zoologist. That said, periodically. My scientific breeding was given a form and name by sociology, which I studied at the University of Helsinki since 1992 up till 1998, also doing some philosophy and social psychology. The borderlines between those sciences - if they are sciences at all - are somewhat undefinable, and my everlasting desire to study has mainly been maintained by teaching some courses of philosophy at the Helsinki Polytechnic. I have also been approved as a postgraduate at my university, but in the course and also curse of short term employments, concentrating into the research has not always been the top priority.
I have been editor-in-chief in one school paper and also in the paper called "Linnake" (Fortress), which is the paper published by the Suomenlinna Fortress Artillery, where I did my military service. I have also been around in a couple of student papers, both as an active writer and also as a member of the editing board. The Helsinki Student Housing Company also used to publish a paper called "HOAS-asukas"; it was practically for two years a two-man-venture by a friend of mine and myself. The favoured genres were sports stories, music, political essays and interviews. Later on, I have published some articles in a few Finnish non-referee papers and been the administator of several blogs on green areas and involved with some blogs on Green politics.
I have also tried my luck with poetry and aphoristics, and there are some sketches for a yet unpublished pamplet with a friend of mine, where we a trying to tackle the present Finnish society from different perspectives but similar backgrounds and sometimes tackling even ourselves. Still, it remains unclear, whether the world is yet to see the best of me. Or not.
Being largely an anti-social kid, a hermit with all the books and writings and dreams of mine, there has although been an on-going albeit an undercurrent desire to hang along with humans, albeit accidentaly. I joined the Finnish concervative party youth society and became a chairman of a small local youth organisation, being also a candidate for municipal election in 1992. I was there at the very forefront of the few crazy or brave pioneers who took the initiative to take Finland to the EU. The rest is history.
As I started to study sociology at the university level, my former political background soon seemed somewhat artifical to me and I was disturbed by the very lack of intelligence in the political life, too often compromised by the sheer, crude facts of every day party necessities. At the university I had found people with the same orientation, although not necessarily with the same background. I switched political parties as smoothly as I switched girlfriends, let alone jobs or underpants. I was an on-and-off student organisation activist for a few years before I had to concentrate to my studies. Organisational activities seemed to transform in the 1990s from party societys of carrying piles of beer bottles to more or less business and profit orientated organisations, and that requires a great deal of time. But at least this procedure of organisational activities have transformed into a much more outgoing and confident person and my old man has no need any more to be concerned about my lacking life outside the very walls of my room.
Quite recently, and merely by accident, I have become not only an activist but also an active activist. My main concern during the last two years has been to preserve to Central Park of Helsinki from threats of all kind. In the process, I have joined the Green party, being now the treasury holder of a local organisation. Accident and calling, they are the two sides of a coin; now as an old and wise man, I could see it happening. People who become doctors or musicians are used to apologise that it was something unavoidable, let alone politicians, who are labelled as pathologically sick or at least lacking a life.
There are just a few pieces of a good advice I can recall. My father urged me to have a girlfriend with a social orientation. Nevertheless, I took care of my secondary socialisation by myself, no girlfriend was needed. Then my wise old teacher used to say in Swedish (the Finnish French in Canada, our second official domestic language in Finland) that "det är bet som sker". The meaning of this is the saying "shit happens" reversed. Third good piece of advice was given by a senior scientist, who told me to "kill my darlings". No shotguns are needed for this procedure, not even words, but I interpreted this as having the ability to be courageous enough to leave all the bad habits behind and to make major decisions. The big decisions - concerning work, significant others, studying opportunities - are usually quite painless, plain and simple. There are usually just two options: take it or leave it. One has to consider all the known options available and try to be aware of all possible outcomings, but once the decision has been made, it is the only way around. It has to be. Or at least, it has to feel like that. Choosing between dozens of beer qualities in the pub is much more difficult.
Aki Riihilahti is a Finnish international football player currently plying his trade in Sweden, but having played for several years for Crystal Palace. He is perhaps better known for his website filled with homemade philosophy which is absolutely hilarious stuff. and for his column in London Times. I would like to see myself as a post-reneissaince version of Aki Riihilahti in the fields of critical, reflective and researching journalism.
Ilkka Hakalehto was - he is still alive, you know - a Finnish politician of the 70s and 80s who is best known for his critical attitude towards the more authoritative politicians in the Helsinki municipality but also for his lack of co-operation. I would like to see myself as a positive version of Mr. Hakalehto, willing to break taboos, challenging those in power, asking difficult questions with undesirable answers. Later on, he made himself a laughing stock for god-only-knows-some-thirtyseventh time - by being a candidate for president in 1994 with a monomanic agenda, accusing the EU for all the wrongs and misgivings in the universe - but I will forgive him for that.
Let us not mention the personal level, as I would also like to be surrounded by some significant others and to be in a decent physical condition and in some mental state.