• Sweden edition
 

Snuggling With the Enemy

My Fake Magazine of LIfe in Sweden – by Scott Ritcher, American publisher of a real magazine called K Composite

Archive for October, 2012

Stockholm has one Halloween store

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

As we’ve discussed in previous years, Halloween in Sweden is not what it is in America. But it’s getting there. (See Halloween in Sweden, 27 October 2009)

I’ve noticed an increase in the excitement and decorations for Halloween just within the three autumns I’ve been living in Stockholm.

The city has one main store where people go to get costumes and supplies. The store, located centrally on Drottninggatan, is called Butterick’s.

Butterick’s opened there in 1903 and is now a 3-story complex which begins at street level and goes down two more floors.

The place is a madhouse in the weeks leading up to Halloween and even has a line queued up outside. A guard at the door lets more people in as other people leave.

A line of people waiting to get into Butterick’s on 30 October 2012 The terrifying ghost above Drottninggatan in front of Butterick’s

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Tihi och touché

Sunday, October 28th, 2012

Two can play at that game, Madeleine. Your move, Princess.

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Still playing hard to get, eh?

Sunday, October 28th, 2012

This is the second time that Princess Madeleine has gotten engaged since I moved to Sweden. And she still hasn’t called me. Not once.

Not a “Welcome to Sweden” or a “I like you.” She never even picked up the phone.

Still playing hard-to-get, eh? Well played.

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The Wig Party

Saturday, October 27th, 2012

Enjoying Helena’s wig party with Iida. How ya like them chops?

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Still got it!

Saturday, October 27th, 2012

Lookin’ good at Helena’s wig party… and friendlier than Strindberg.

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Details in a Singer's Voice

Saturday, October 27th, 2012

20121027-122318.jpg
Last night I bought some nice headphones and for the first time in years, I really felt what the sound of music can do to my insides. (That’s a medical term for a person’s guts and butterfly box.)

Late in 2000, I began shedding my belongings to live in different cities. Along with my belongings went my stereo equipment and speakers. Records soon followed.

When I arrived the following year in Providence, Rhode Island, for a two-year stint, I had a period of trouble finding work. One by one, the used CD store around the corner became the inheritor of my collection.

A Reasonable Approximation

At the time, I had a bubbly, translucent iMac on my desk, so I dumped all my music into it before selling the discs.

As a result, much of the old music I still today have today has been with me in the digital form of bits on hard drives and iPods since then.

All those songs were scanned in at 128 Kbps more than ten years ago. My music collection has been a virtual one.

Sometime in the mid-2000s, back in Louisville, my last pair of nice headphones met their demise when my friend Sarah fell on them. I forgave her, but aparrently I didn’t forget the accident. I didn’t replace them.

So for the past six or seven years, when I haven’t been in a recording studio, I have been listening to music through small speakers and super-portable pocket earphones of the iPod in-ear type.

Recently, after borrowing a few listens on my boss’ AKG headphones, I realized something significant had been missing from everything I had listened to for who-knows how long. I resolved to remedy the situation.

The Hunt

I visited a few stores in Stockholm to test drive a variety of headphones. If you can imagine what super-minimalist Scandinavian furniture stores look like, well, Swedish pro audio boutiques look even more like sets from futuristic movies. They’re clean, white, polished spaces with crisp lighting and little in the way if unnecessary details.

Monday night I finally broke down and went home with some headphones in a bag.

They’re not the world’s most expensive headphones but they weren’t cheap. I spent 1700 kronor on them, about $260.

Most of the stuff in these stores is labeled with price tags that cause hiccups.

Coming to Life

Upon arriving home, I plugged the new headphones into my iPhone just to give them a quick “line check” (that’s music business talk for a quick test to ensure the equipment is working, as opposed to a “sound check” which actually evaluates the quality. Stick around me, you might learn something).

The line check floored me.

A random song was selected by the “shuffle songs” feature on my iPhone, and the Phil Ochs song it picked, recorded more than forty years ago, never sounded so fantastic to me.

I ended up sting in front if my computer for a while trying to listen to something of everything I love, and everything I had loved in the past.

As the songs passed through me in unbelievable clarity, I began to feel alive. The inside of my chest felt like I was 17.

They say you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. But if what you’ve got is slowly taken away over a period if years and replaced by a decreasingly accurate version, well, then you don’t really know what you had until you find it again.

Whether it has been Phil Ochs, Nina Persson, Elvis Presley or Jerry Lee Lewis, I haven’t really been hearing the true voices if my favorite artists for years. I feel like I’ve only been hearing a general, rounded average of what these great voices sound like. Now I’m actually hearing the grain and the detail again.

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Details in a Singer’s Voice

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

20121027-122318.jpg
Last night I bought some nice headphones and for the first time in years, I really felt what the sound of music can do to my insides. (That’s a medical term for a person’s guts and butterfly box.)

Late in 2000, I began shedding my belongings to live in different cities. Along with my belongings went my stereo equipment and speakers. Records soon followed.

When I arrived the following year in Providence, Rhode Island, for a two-year stint, I had a period of trouble finding work. One by one, the used CD store around the corner became the inheritor of my collection.

A Reasonable Approximation

At the time, I had a bubbly, translucent iMac on my desk, so I dumped all my music into it before selling the discs.

As a result, much of the old music I still today have today has been with me in the digital form of bits on hard drives and iPods since then.

All those songs were scanned in at 128 Kbps more than ten years ago. My music collection has been a virtual one.

Sometime in the mid-2000s, back in Louisville, my last pair of nice headphones met their demise when my friend Sarah fell on them. I forgave her, but aparrently I didn’t forget the accident. I didn’t replace them.

So for the past six or seven years, when I haven’t been in a recording studio, I have been listening to music through small speakers and super-portable pocket earphones of the iPod in-ear type.

Recently, after borrowing a few listens on my boss’ AKG headphones, I realized something significant had been missing from everything I had listened to for who-knows how long. I resolved to remedy the situation.

The Hunt

I visited a few stores in Stockholm to test drive a variety of headphones. If you can imagine what super-minimalist Scandinavian furniture stores look like, well, Swedish pro audio boutiques look even more like sets from futuristic movies. They’re clean, white, polished spaces with crisp lighting and little in the way if unnecessary details.

Monday night I finally broke down and went home with some headphones in a bag.

They’re not the world’s most expensive headphones but they weren’t cheap. I spent 1700 kronor on them, about $260.

Most of the stuff in these stores is labeled with price tags that cause hiccups.

Coming to Life

Upon arriving home, I plugged the new headphones into my iPhone just to give them a quick “line check” (that’s music business talk for a quick test to ensure the equipment is working, as opposed to a “sound check” which actually evaluates the quality. Stick around me, you might learn something).

The line check floored me.

A random song was selected by the “shuffle songs” feature on my iPhone, and the Phil Ochs song it picked, recorded more than forty years ago, never sounded so fantastic to me.

I ended up sting in front if my computer for a while trying to listen to something of everything I love, and everything I had loved in the past.

As the songs passed through me in unbelievable clarity, I began to feel alive. The inside of my chest felt like I was 17.

They say you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. But if what you’ve got is slowly taken away over a period if years and replaced by a decreasingly accurate version, well, then you don’t really know what you had until you find it again.

Whether it has been Phil Ochs, Nina Persson, Elvis Presley or Jerry Lee Lewis, I haven’t really been hearing the true voices if my favorite artists for years. I feel like I’ve only been hearing a general, rounded average of what these great voices sound like. Now I’m actually hearing the grain and the detail again.

Report abuse »

Tihi och Touché

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

Two can play at that game, Madeleine.

Report abuse »

Still playing hard-to-get, eh?

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

This is the second time that Princess Madeleine has gotten engaged since I moved to Sweden. And she still hasn’t called me. Not once.

Not a “Welcome to Sweden” or a “I like you.” She never even picked up the phone.

Still playing hard-to-get, eh? Well played.

Report abuse »

Time for church 

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

Time for church 

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27 July

Approaching Stockholm (Around Sweden in a kayak) »

"I woke up in the comfort of my own little cabin on Eva and Rolf’s boat, it was 7:30am and I was feeling a bit groggy after a couple of beers with all the lovely locals the night before. The previous day had really taken its toll on my body and I was very stiff and..." READ »

 

24 July

Sharing our Pride: Celebrating Love & the LGBT Community! (Stockholm in my American Heart) »

"It’s mid- July in Stockholm, and with much of the city on vacation, things can seem a little quiet – the streets, the bus, and the grocery store. One thing that has not paused for a summer break, though, is preparation for Stockholm’s Pride Festival, which will take place from July 28 to August 2...." READ »

 
 
 
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