Golden times indeed

Every news outlet's culture pages have for weeks been congratulating Swedish band Gyllene Tider on their almost ridiculously successful summer tour. It's probably time The Local stepped in and related the hysteria.

Once upon a time in the eighties Gyllene Tider, which means ‘Golden Times’, was a teenage band, with a sound that was even then a bit retro. Gyllene Tider broke up, as bands of teenagers tend to, but never really disappeared. Per Gessle, the singer, even managed true international stardom with Roxette.

Last year Gessle released a wildly successful solo album. And finally, this summer, Gyllene Tider is back together and on a tour that has sold half a million tickets already. Let’s remember that only about nine million people live in Sweden and take a moment to reflect on how many of those Swedes are singing along to Gyllene Tider this summer.

The tour has been as big as could have been hoped. Preparations were extensive: everyone ran out to buy the new album so they’d be able to sing along to the new songs, and Sydsvenskan reported that Per Gessle had highlights put in and spent the spring in a tanning booth in order to look summery enough for the tour.

Everyone loves Gyllene Tider these days. The original fans have kids of their own now, and their kids love Gyllene Tider too. Sydsvenskan called Per Gessle a “man for all ages,” saying that while the music he plays caters to the tastes of an eight-year-old, adults love him because “mothers and fathers recognize a nice Swedish dad when they see him”.

24-year-olds bring their picnics to the concerts and live out the dreams demonstrated primarily in beer commercials. It seems that, above all, there’s a particular Swedishness to Gyllene Tider that everyone needs these days. Göteborgs Posten’s reviewer speculated that, in both lyric and tune, Gyllene Tider manages to evoke warmth and the Swedish summertime; that, basically, people like songs about swimming in the ocean and loving each other.

But there’s bad news on the Swedish music front this week as well, unfortunately. Beloved television game show/bingo game/lottery/variety program “Bingolotto” has been overhauled, to the dismay of those who watched it for the music.

“Bingolotto” somehow turned itself into a major stage for live music on Swedish television with Swedish stars and up-and-comers lining up to perform on the show. Hold that snigger – David Bowie and Dolly Parton have Bingolotto’d too. Those days are, sadly, over.

First, venerated program leader Lasse Kronér left the show. Then we found out that the Swedish director for Novamedia, the Dutch company behind the show, was out as well. Leif “Loket” Olsson (the original bingo caller) is running “Bingolotto” for the moment, but in the autumn Gunde Svan will take over as program leader, as part of an effort to steer the show in an entirely new direction.

For those who haven’t kept up on their Swedish celebrities, Gunde Svan is sort of the Björn Borg of cross-country skiing, and he’ll be leading the show as it turns away from music and towards a relationship with sporting life, reports Aftonbladet.

Finally, it seems that Sweden’s summer festival season has not gone off entirely without hitches. Dagens Nyheter’s review of the Irish festival in Mullsjö was mixed; festivalgoers seemed pleased and the music and dancing had some high points.

But Aftonbladet was somewhat tougher in its reportage; their article was titled “Irish festival in Mullsjö became a catastrophe” and noted that, due to low attendance, the artists weren’t paid. Seán Cearrúláin, the festival’s organizer, apparently needs to find a way to pay out about 200,000 crowns from his own pocket. Cearrúláin said that while he perhaps had taken on a bit much, he had a plan in place to pay all the artists. It will, however, take some time.

Gyllene Tider tour dates:

8/6 Jönköping

8/7 Göteborg

8/10 Västervik

8/11 Eskilstuna

8/13 Sundsvall

8/14 Skellefteå

8/17 Oxelösund

8/18 Halmstad

The new season of Bingolotto starts on August 29th on TV4.