Miscellaneous: January 31st, 2007 by PO
If there are two things Stockholm’s palace guards don’t like it’s 3-year-old tobogganists and young adult male dancers.
The guard at the end of the clip appears to have one bleached eyebrow.
Miscellaneous: January 31st, 2007 by PO
Lee Hazlewood, the man who composed ‘These boots are made for walking’, spent a period of his life in the 1970s on Vallhallavägen in Stockholm.
“I have adopted Sweden, even if I’m not sure whether Sweden has adopted me,” he told Svenska Dagbladet in a recent interview (in Swedish).
Hazlewood catalogued his time here on the album Cowboy in Sweden. Pitchfork says:
… Cowboy in Sweden isn’t some meaningless product of pure whimsy made by an LSD-dosed cowboy bullshit artist. In a weird way, Cowboy in Sweden is actually a minor masterpiece of oddball genius– and damn tough to pigeonhole.
Now the old drifter is running out of time:
Lee Hazlewood is ready to die. Suffering excruciating pain from renal cancer, the reclusive singer, songwriter and producer doesn’t have much time left – a year if he’s lucky. So he has been preparing for what he calls his impending “dirt nap”.
He has decided he wants to be cremated, and to have his ashes strewn on a Swedish island where he composed some of his favourite songs. He has chosen his epitaph: “Didn’t he ramble”, referring to his loner-drifter nature.
Miscellaneous: January 31st, 2007 by PO
For days it was a mystery. People all over Sweden were puzzled by a series of garish billboards bearing the two-digit message ’95′. What could it mean?
There were animate conversations on the metro. It was the last thing people thought about before going to sleep.
Then finally a press release arrived and a nation could sleep easy.
“The mysterious ’95′ campaign that has been on view all over Stockholm for the last week is a pre-launch for the adult community www.nordicadult.com.”
But then it turned out that the teaser campaign was not in fact the work of these purveyors of pornography.
It was an expensive attempt by rail company SJ to advertise a new range of 95 kronor tickets, successfully derailed by a shameless opportunist.
Controversial reverse auction site Bidster has done it again. Back in December young Stockholmer acquired a very nice apartment for 5,383 kronor.
Now, a 34 year old man from Småland (whose residents are known for their love of a bargain) has just picked up a brand new Porsche Cayman for 2,039 kronor. Ordinarily such a motor would set you back 595,000 kronor.
But Bidster’s business model is under investigation by the Swedish Gaming Board, which reckons that it is breaking laws against running lotteries in Sweden.
Unlike most auctions, at Bidster it’s the lowest unique bid that counts. That makes it nothing but a lottery, says the Board.
Nonsense, says Bidster, it’s not luck – tactics are required to pick an amount that nobody else will pick.
Miscellaneous: January 29th, 2007 by PO
Lock up your sons, daughters and family pets. It’s E-type‘s spellbinding dancer Dee Demirbag:
Swedish investment firm Investor has bought a Gothenburg-based healthcare company called Mölnlycke. If you’re wondering what the company does, the description on their web site couldn’t be clearer:
Mölnlycke Health Care is one of the world’s leading providers of single-use surgical and wound care solutions to the healthcare sector.
Single-use surgical and wound care solutions? Otherwise known as ‘plasters’.
It has been statistically proven that the most average Swedish couple is likely to be made up of people called Lars and Anna Johansson.
And they probably live in Hallsberg, Sweden’s demographic mid-point.
But the town of Borås has another claim to fame.
Anna Johanssons in the western town have more orgasms (in Swedish) than women in any other Swedish town.
So maybe Lars Johansson isn’t so average after all.
Newsbites: January 23rd, 2007 by PO
Bee-keeping is not just a hobby. Oh no. In Blekinge in southern Sweden it has just become an integration tool.
Immigrants in the area are being encouraged to to mix with the local honey bunch and engage in some cross-cultural apiculture.
Laila Johansson, who teaches at a local adult education centre, is confident of the project’s success.
“We hope to get many people interested and we actually already have a little group of Arabs,” she said.
Miscellaneous: January 22nd, 2007 by PO
Who are these fabulous people? What are they wearing? Where are they going out? Why won’t they be my friends?
The indispensable stureplan.se has all the answers.
Miscellaneous: January 22nd, 2007 by JS
Monday morning has been brightened up immeasurably by the discovery of this gem of an article about a champion poker player, Simon Mycock.
Cheap, I know, to make fun of a chap’s name, but here at Local Towers we have no problem with enjoying tawdry thrills such as laughing at the fact that “Simon Mycock shriveled and dropped out,” of the Scandinavian Open tournament.
Media: January 16th, 2007 by PO
The Local went to Finland on Monday night to do an interview.
OK, not really. Paul O’Mahony sat in the office and was interviewed via Skype by Finland’s favourite son of Baltimore, Phil Schwarzmann from Radio Free Finland.
Unfortuntately there were some problems with the Skypecasting service and the interview couldn’t go out live.
Then Phil had some other technical problems which led to the mysterious disappearance of the first ten minutes of the interview. That was a shame because we talked a bit about the development of The Local over the years, how far its come since its humble beginnings and more general backslapping.
Miscellaneous: January 15th, 2007 by PO
The New York Times profiles Sweden’s integration minister.
NYAMKO SABUNI would stand out anyway, being tiny, dark-skinned and obviously foreign in a place where those things are still anomalies. But as the recently appointed minister for integration and gender equality, she tends to draw more attention for her unusually blunt pronouncements about the place of immigrants in Swedish society.
Media: January 12th, 2007 by PR
Investment company Obol is in trouble in Sweden for not having the necessary licences to trade here. Not turning up for their meeting with the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority probably didn’t help their case.
Maybe Swedish money news web site DinaPengar.se didn’t think the story was very interesting. Maybe that’s why they spiced up the picture in what, to a native English speaker, is quite a surprising way:
The reference, in case you were wondering what on earth justified such a headline, is to a popular Swedish film from 1998 called Fucking Åmal. Åmal sounds a bit like Obol when pronounced in a certain way. Other than that, quite what an investment company’s licencing problems have to do with teenage lesbian love problems is anybody’s guess.
A Norwegian IKEA ad is entertaining Scandinavians on Bubblare.se at the moment. It certainly casts new light on the oft-quoted Swedish adage that ‘we’re all farmers at heart’. Enjoy:
That prompted us to have a rummage for more humour from the furniture makers of Älmhult.
This one, produced for the German market last summer, was reportedly banned after the Swedes found it insulting:
While nobody should mock midsummer, kids with vibrators are apparently fair game:
And for pure shock value, this short ad will take some beating:
If there’s one thing small-town Sweden is good for, it’s bizarre pizzas.
But the Calzskrove in Skellefteå takes some beating: it’s a burger and chips wrapped inside a calzone. For just 95 kronor you can clog up your arteries for weeks with one of these beauties. They’ll even throw in a coke for good measure.
Aftonbladet has the story, along with images that may be disturbing for readers with a sensitive palate.
One of Ingvar Kamprad‘s more interesting ideas in recent times was to open up an Ikea store in Haparanda, a town perched right up by the Finnish border.
It is now seven weeks since the grand opening and so far the flat-pack concept has managed to pull in hundreds of thousands of punters from Sweden, Finland, Norway and Russia.
On Sunday The Observer published an article detailing the effects that the most northerly Ikea in the world is having on the local economy. Among other things the article claims that since Ikea came to town unemployment in Haparanda has dropped from 10 to 3.8 percent!
Misha Maksimovic drove more than 500 miles from Russia to northern Sweden just to be like the rest of us. Yesterday in a blizzard he drove back again with his Ikea flatpacks, full of excitement that soon a Billy bookcase would be in his hall, a Sultan mattress would grace his bed and his kitchen would carry the Rationell name.
‘Ikea’s arrival in Haparanda is bigger news than the Russian revolution,’ said Maksimovic, a 45-year-old teacher, as he loaded £540 worth of shopping into a trailer hitched to his Lada. ‘The journey is nothing to us northerners.’
Miscellaneous: January 8th, 2007 by JS
The Gothenburg salad bar controversy keeps dragging on. The latest contribution was from employment minister Sven Otto Littorin, who said that the union blockade of the small business was “legitimate”, adding that he “couldn’t see how the alternative could have been better”.
It’s understandable that the new government wants to stay on the right side of the unions, given that it was elected on a centrist platform and that it has already earned the ire of unions for its reform of the benefits system.
But surely many ordinary union members are as appalled by the idea that powerful unions can blockade this small business – simply because the owner and her two part-time employees prefer to talk directly to each other rather than using a union bureaucrat as a go-between.
Unions have a role to play in society, but it feels as though in Sweden the balance is tipped too far in their favour. This was seen before when a building company from Latvia was put out of business after a union blockade was allowed to continue unhindered at a site in Vaxholm – bizarrely, the new government is supporting the union’s case at the European Commission.
While it would be politically impossible right now for the government to curb over-mighty unions using legislation, surely we should at least be able to hope that the minister responsible could show a bit of courage and make it clear that bully-boy tactics shouldn’t have a place in Swedish industrial relations.
Björn Borg has at last found the inner calm that has eluded him since his Wimbledon heyday more than 25 years ago. That, at least, is the impression he gives in a rare interview with the UK’s Observer newspaper.
The article is one of a series on heartbreaking sporting moments. Borg’s does not relate to his dethroning by John McEnroe in the Wimbledon and US Open finals of 1981 but his ill-advised comeback in 1991 (in which he used a wooden racket while kids in school playgrounds were using more technically-advanced graphite rackets).
See the article for more on that. But if you’re in a rush and don’t have time to read it, what’s important is that one of Sweden’s five only living legends (the other four used to sing a bit and now play cat-and-mouse with the tax authorities) is happy again:
‘It took many years to find peace with myself and to find what I really wanted to do,’ he says. ‘I had a lot of choice, a lot of opportunities. I tried lots of things, some good, some bad. It has taken me this many years to get to where I want to be.’
Not only does he live in a nice house in the Stockholm archipelago with his third wife, playing tennis five times a week and coaching Swedish juniors – his underwear business is also doing well:
‘We are now doing unbelievably well,’ he says. ‘New designers, new managers. We are on the stock market in Sweden, in 10 different territories in Europe and the business is huge …’
Sport: January 5th, 2007 by PO
There I was, minding my own business on the interweb, when suddenly I was confronted with The Inner Workings of the Mind of VikingHumpingWitch.
What cunning plans might VHW, a regular contributor to The Local’s discussion page, be hatching far from the forum’s familial glow?
Well, ways to make people laugh as it happens:
A small preamble is required for non-Swedes. This is Sweden’s official World Cup song from the 1994 World Cup in the US, at which the Swedish team made a far better stab at football than at this hideously ill-advised foray into music video. The song was done by 3 reasonably well-respected Swedish pop artistes of the time (I will spare their names since is this not their finest hour), but I can only assume the video was directed by whoever subsequently went on to direct the video to Father Ted’s My Lovely Horse. It has it all: footballers dribbling and laughing, popstars attempting football and laughing, a random shot of the singers inexplicably plonked in front of some unidentified body of water, high-fives, some horsing around involving hilariously tipping a baseball cap over one singer’s face – even Thomas Brolin wobbling about and laughing. It does lack a John Barnes rap but I believe this is compensated for by one of the singers helpfully pointing West to indicate roughly the direction in which America lies.
There’s not much to add to that. Except perhaps the video to the aforementioned My Lovely Horse. Great song, but they’re going to have to lose the sax solo!
Politics: January 3rd, 2007 by PO
As reported earlier, former justice and foreign minister Laila Freivalds has put her controversial 4-bedroom flat on the market.
Large pictures of the spacious pad can be found here.
And if you have 5 million kronor lying around and are interesting in buying, you can find all the relevant details here.
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"Hej! How is your Swedish coming along? I have received many questions on the Facebook page and in my email lately and it seems like a good idea to post the answers here. Enjoy! Question 1 – “får inte” or “måste inte” Could you please clarify for me which is the most commonly used phrase in Swedish for..." READ »