• Sweden edition
 
The Local Interview
'Sweden felt like East Germany in 1983'
Colin Moon in action on the public speaking circuit. Photo: Colin Moon

'Sweden felt like East Germany in 1983'

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

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)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Getinge Floods
Swedish floods spread wider as rain continues
Photo: Anders Andersson/TT

Swedish floods spread wider as rain continues

UPDATED: The flood in southern Sweden spread further on Wednesday, with forecasters predicting rain all week. With the defence minister on the scene, officials have warned that up to 8,000 households risk evacuation. READ  

Top ministers count cost of 'less secure world'
Photo: Maja Suslin/TT

Top ministers count cost of 'less secure world'

Foreign and Finance Ministers Carl Bildt and Anders Borg held a press conference on Wednesday to discuss how Sweden was being affected by a "less secure" world, and how it would foot the bill for a growing influx of refugees. READ  

Volvo profits saved by Chinese devotion
Volvo Cars chief executive Håkan Samuelsson. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Volvo profits saved by Chinese devotion

The now Chinese-owned Volvo Car Group announced a return to profits on Wednesday - thanks to the Swedish brand's popularity in China. READ  

Ikea founder gives giant donation to hometown

Ikea founder gives giant donation to hometown

Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad donated a gift to his hometown on Wednesday to the tune of 53 million kronor ($7.7 million). The cash is to be used for developing the area. READ  

Police hunt masked thief after Stockholm fire
Photo: Fanni Olin Dahl/TT

Police hunt masked thief after Stockholm fire

The Slussen tunnel in Stockholm began billowing out black smoke on Wednesday afternoon. Police believe that the fire was connected to an attempted robbery earlier in the day. READ  

Elections 2014
Parties duel as refugee costs rocket
Photos: TT

Parties duel as refugee costs rocket

Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt and opposition leader Stefan Löfven clashed on Wednesday after the Migration Board asked for more money to handle Sweden's influx of refugees. READ  

Introducing: Sweden's five minority languages
The Sami in northern Sweden. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Introducing: Sweden's five minority languages

Did you know there are five official minority languages in Sweden? The Local's Isabela Vrba finds out what they are, how they're protected, and what rights their speakers have. READ  

Swedish docs puzzled by deformed penis trend

Swedish docs puzzled by deformed penis trend

More and more Swedish boys are born with deformed penises, and researchers are uncertain exactly what's behind the increase. READ  

The Local List
What Sweden means to you in just one Tweet
Photos: Shutterstock/Imagebank Sweden

What Sweden means to you in just one Tweet

The Local Sweden has been asking readers to squeeze their view of Sweden into just 140 characters or less. Here's what you came up with up for #SwedeninaTweet. READ  

Sweden and the Bronx
Swedes celebrate 375th anniversary of the Bronx
The Bronx. Photo:Shutterstock.

Swedes celebrate 375th anniversary of the Bronx

What do the Bronx and Sweden have in common? More than an affiliation with the Yankees, it turns out. And one small Swedish town is about to make that abundantly clear. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Society
Did you know the Bronx in NYC was named after a Swede?
Politics
"Iraq reminds me of the Yugoslav wars. It's the same story."
Society
Swedes slam Danes for 'racist' art
National
Majority of Swedes favour more or just as many refugees
Society
Lock your bathrooms: Swedish toilet invader on the the loose
Blog updates

17 August

Sea Fever (Around Sweden in a kayak) »

"I’m going to keep this post short and sweet as its not something I take any pleasure in writing. After much deliberation I have made the heartbreaking decision to abandon my trip after 1200km due to reoccurring injury. It is not a decision I have made lightly and it is one that has been truly devastating..." READ »

 

17 August

St. Louis strong (Blogweiser) »

"It’s typically a bad sign when my hometown makes news in Sweden. St. Louis was in the headlines here a few years ago when a tornado struck the airport. The city also caught attention after a politician talked about ‘legitimate rape’. Now, shooting and riots this week in Ferguson, a part of St. Louis, are..." READ »

 
 
 
Politics
'Assange will not leave until safe'
Gallery
See more images from the southern Sweden floods
Sponsored Article
Find out what gives this Swedish school executive appeal
Society
Serial chicken smuggler caught at Norway border. Again.
Society
This gold coin may be the key to solving a Swedish massacre
Shutterstock
Lifestyle
The Swedish mentor (and why you may need one)
National
Food agency warns girls: 'Don't eat stinky fish'
Politics
Reinfeldt calls for tolerance to refugees
Gallery
People-watching August 16-17
National
Sweden celebrates 200 years of peace
Society
Top ten literal Swedish words
Politics
'Terror training should be illegal': Liberal Party
Gallery
Swedes talk about 200 years of national peace
Politics
Islamic extremist shakes Sweden with TV threat
National
Teacher fined for 'Hitler salute' in German class
Politics
Swedish politician proposes ban on begging
National
Swede asks for epidural and gets disinfectant
National
Swede reports 'expensive' sex to police
Education
Sweden plans to scrap SFI for adult education
Skatteverket
Sponsored Article
Introducing... ID cards and permits in Stockholm
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

675
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se