• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3

'Sweden felt like East Germany in 1983'

Patrick Reilly · 14 Feb 2014, 08:37

Published: 14 Feb 2014 08:37 GMT+01:00

Colin Moon is one of a kind. But don't take my word for it, that's what the Londoner says himself about his latest book 'Swedes@meetings.se' which has just hit the shelves. 

"There's nothing else like it out there," Moon tells The Local with a chuckle about his new tome, which reveals Swedes' bizarre obsession with attending meetings.

The 56-year old is engaging company as he gives The Local an exclusive one-to-one about his three decades living the Scandinavian dream... or something like that.

The Local: So Colin, how did you end up in Sweden?

Colin Moon: Well, it was quite a few years ago and, no, I didn't come for love. That came later. When I first arrived I got a job teaching English as a foreign language as those were rough times for teachers back in England. I believe that was back in 1983.

The Local: What was Sweden like then?

Colin Moon: I knew nothing about Sweden and, to me, it felt like a communist country. I'd been to East Germany before and Sweden felt similar as you only had two TV channels. You couldn't do this, you couldn't do that. It's changed... a bit.

The Local: After teaching you branched out to do what?

Colin Moon: I started doing sales training and doing presentation techniques with companies all over the country. After a few years it was suggested to me that I should consider public speaking.

The Local: Which has turned out pretty well I'm told?

Colin Moon: It has indeed. I've done public speaking engagements with most of the big banks and Volvo plus many other companies. In 2012 I was the Årets Talare (Business Speaker of the Year) which was a great achievement considering Swedish isn't my native language. I do the public speeches in English and Swedish, so I was rather proud of myself...especially considering I knocked the spots off the competition!

The Local: After 30 years in Sweden, how has the country changed in your view?

Colin Moon: Back then Sweden was a very arrogant country. There were monopolies on everything. I remember TV ended at 10pm and you couldn't buy beer in the supermarket after 8pm as they thought everybody would go out and get drunk.

Now things have changed, especially since joining the EU (in 1995) so it is more open and the supermarkets are a lot better; they used to be dreadful.

The Local: Sweden is being love-bombed by your native country with Michael Booth's book (The Almost Perfect People) and a television series (Scandimania) generating a lot of interest in the UK. The Brits seem to think Sweden is the greatest place on earth. Do you agree?

Colin Moon: It depends on who you are speaking to. When I was last in England I told a guy in a pub that I lived in Sweden and he was 'RAWR Sweden Wow' acting like a randy teenager. Of course you hear all the old arguments about child care and paternity care which, of course, are great perks.

On the flipside there is a certain schadenfreude from the Brits when things go wrong in Sweden. For instance, the riots in Husby last year and there is a sense 'oh you aren't so perfect after all' sentiment. 

Story continues below…

The Local: Just like Booth you have a new book out yourself. Go on, get the plug in!

Colin Moon: I began writing books some years back. My first one 'Sweden - The Secret Files' did well (it sold over 200,000 copies) and I've written several since. The new one 'Swedes@meetings.se' is my take on this Swedish obsession with going to meetings and how come the Swedes continue to outperform most other industrialized nations.

While it's true that I do tease Swedes a bit, it's done in a respectful way and with love in my heart. The Swedes can take a joke. People all like to think they are a bit weird and wonderful.

The Local: So at the age of 56 are you planning to remain in Sweden or are you pining for Blighty?

Colin Moon: Sometimes I get a bit homesick like when the Olympics was in London in 2012. But no, I've got the summer house in Sweden and I'm building a pond so I reckon I'll be relaxing by the pond in the years to come.

Colin Moon's new book 'Swedes@meetings.se' is available to buy now.

Patrick Reilly (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Swedish ex-prime minister Thorbjorn Fälldin dead at 90
Fälldin in 1981. Photo: TT/FLT-PICA

Thorbjorn Fälldin, the former farmer who became prime minister in Sweden's first non-Social Democratic government since World War II, has died at the age of 90.

Swedish police fear serial rapist on loose in Malmö
The attacker is thought to be in his mid-twenties and had been seen riding his bike in the area prior to the incident. Photo:TT

The rape of a 14-year-old girl in Malmö has led police to conjecture that there may be a serial rapist operating in the southern Swedish city.

Stockholm Pokémon hunter impaled on metal fence spike
Another Swede playing Pokémon Go in Stockholm. Photo: Izabelle Nordfjell/TT

He tried to climb a fence to find more Pokémon.

Video
When Alicia Vikander taught us to put our pen in the bottle
Swedish actress Alicia Vikander and US talkshow host Jimmy Fallon. Photo: Tonight Show/NBC/Screenshot

We're not even sure if that's a euphemism or not.

Muslim man fired for not shaking women's hands
File photo of people shaking hands. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

A man is suing a local council in Sweden after he lost his job for refusing to shake hands with female colleagues.

Swedish bus driver who hit asylum seeker: 'I'm not racist'
The story has grabbed global headlines. Photo: Nobina

A Swedish bus driver caught on camera beating and kicking an asylum seeker has for the first time spoken to media.

Stay out, the water's filthy! Germs ruin Swedes' swims
Seagulls only.

Fancy a dip? If so, you might want to keep your mouth shut.

Man kicked off flight from Sweden over 'Isis tattoo'
A Norwegian plane at Stockholm Arlanda Airport. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

A flight from Stockholm was delayed on Thursday after it was claimed that one of the passengers had an Isis flag tattooed on his arm.

Homes
In pictures: Are Swedes falling in love with colour at last?
What happened to the Swedish greyscale? Photo: Linda Åhman

Antonia Wiklund of Houzz.se investigates why the Swedes are abandoning their sleek and clean interior design for vibrant colours.

The Local Recipes
How to make Swedish cold poached salmon
Cold poached salmon. Photo: John Duxbury/Swedish Food

Poached salmon is a Swedish summer classic. Food writer John Duxbury shares his recipe with The Local.

Sponsored Article
Gran Canaria: Where Swedes go to work (and play)
National
Watch this Swedish weather host leave his fly open... on live TV
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
The Local Voices
'I fled war in Syria. I never expected to be beaten in Sweden'
National
WATCH: Asylum seeker brutally beaten by Swedish bus driver
Blog updates

14 July

Boris Johnson: why Britain’s new foreign minister is cordially loathed (Globally Local) »

"There are lots of things to say about Boris Johnson, Britain’s new foreign secretary. He is…" READ »

 

11 July

Swedish quizzes (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I have created some quizzes you can take online to test your Swedish skills. Here…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
5 reasons you should try dating with The Inner Circle
Technology
Why everyone is talking about Sweden's GTA pride parade
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
National
EU hits truck cartel with record price fixing fine
Society
OPINION: Why Sweden is the most extreme country in the world
The Local Voices
'There is equality in accommodation in Sweden: Everyone is suffering'
Sponsored Article
What can newcomers learn about Sweden at Almedalen?
Gallery
Property of the week: Gräsö, Östhammar
Sponsored Article
Five easy ways to travel more often
Gallery
People-watching: July 15th-17th
National
How to make sure you're not caught out by Sweden's old bank notes
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Business & Money
Why Sweden has been named the most innovative country in Europe
Sponsored Article
'Sweden's Lauryn Hill' touches the country's musical soul
National
Terror attack: what should you do?
National
French expat on the moment he was assaulted by a Stockholm bouncer
Technology
Gunman? Nah, smartphone Swede
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
The Local Voices
'If the war in Syria ended today, would you go back?'
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
The Local Voices
‘I feel like I’m living in a grave!’
Sponsored Article
Local guide: the best of Berlin
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Sweden's Princess Victoria celebrates 39th birthday
Sponsored Article
Why you need a EuroBonus American Express Card
Gallery
People-watching: July 13th
National
Swedes discover surprise mountain
Politics
What Sweden's home secretary thinks of Britain's new PM
Gallery
Property of the week: Smedjebacken, Dalarna
The Local Voices
'Even xenophobic Swedes can be polite’
Politics
WATCH: A very Swedish take on Brexit...
National
Swede's fury at Daily Mail's Bråvalla 'lies'
Gallery
People-watching: July 8th-10th
National
Sweden and Denmark trolled each other on Twitter and it's hilarious
The Local Voices
'The best time to be smuggled to Europe is August 20th, 2015'
National
ANALYSIS: Why Swedes are talking more about immigration than before
National
Watch Icelanders cheer their Swedish hero coach
The Local Voices
Swedes: Stop obsessing over your material life and start talking to strangers
3,336
jobs available