Ear: Guitar

Yet another peculiarly fascinating competition took place in Finland last weekend: The Air Guitar World Championships, held in the little town of Oulu, where the event has been held for the last 24 years, Yle.fi reports (bit.ly/Ouluplay).

The winner was voice-over actor Rob "The Marquis" Messel (robmessel.com), reportedly from Portland. "I'm honored, and I'm just stoked," he told Yle. He is pictured, courtesy of Eeva Riihelä/Lehtikuva via Yle.fi, and inset, from the AGWC video (bit.ly/AGWC2019).

But wait: Rob Messel's website and Twitter feed (twitter.com/robmessel) both say he's from Vancouver, Washington. Well, the Ear couldn't resist writing to him to offer congratulations … and to ask him where he's really from, and what the competition means to him.

"I do, in fact, live in Vancouver, Washington," he clarified, "but developed the habit of saying Portland when I travel, so as to not be confused for a Canadian :)."

"The purpose of the air guitar world championships is to unite people from all countries in the spirit of world peace," the new champion explained. "If you're holding an air guitar, then you cannot hold a gun at the same time."

"It's an art form, and it's a fun spectacle, but this message of peace is what means the most to me," he added, "and what I want to share with the world, especially being a veteran of the war in Afghanistan."

Elleda Wilson is an editorial assistant for The Astorian and author of the award-winning In One Ear community column. Contact her at 971-704-1718 or ewilson@dailyastorian.com.

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