Introducing…Runar Sögaard The Local's weekly look at the high priests of Swedish celebrity. This week in a belated Easter celebration, we jump into the pews with socialite preacher Runar Sögaard

Who is he and why is he famous?

Runar Sögaard – more commonly known as Runar – combines life as a Pentecostal preacher with his tireless duties as a Stockholm socialite. Explaining his hectic schedule, he once said that if Jesus were alive today he would hang out at Spy Bar.

What’s Spy Bar?

You really do have the memory of a dipsomaniac gnat. It’s an inner city watering hole for the in-crowd. And presumably they are all despicable sinners, which is why people like Jesus and Runar are needed there. It’s a sort of calling.

Well, it sounds divine. But what does Runar do when he’s not at this Spy Bar place?

He shoots deer from his bedroom window. Or at least he did in 1995. This rather eccentric practice led to him having his hunting licence revoked, but he later got it back.

Oh good. No more licence trouble then?

Well, there was actually. He was caught speeding in 1998 and had his driver’s licence taken away.

Sounds like a tough period for the preacher man.

It was. And it got worse. His 10 year long marriage to Carola , the Eurovision Song Contest star, went off the rails in 2000. They later divorced.

That’s rough.

Yes, but that’s not the end of it. Some extreme organizations called for him to be executed a while back when he referred to the prophet Muhammad as a “confused paedophile”. He later issued an apology to all Muslims.

Goodness. Old Runar doesn’t make things easy for himself, does he?

He certainly doesn’t. Another example of which is when he claimed to be spiritual advisor to a slew of major stars. But people like Sting, Robert Downey Jr and Matt LeBlanc all denied being his customers.

Oh dear, how embarrassing. Hopefully things are going a bit better for him now.

They are indeed. He recently heeded the call of his homeland and has agreed to sit on the jury for the Miss Norway beauty pageant.

He is a true martyr, isn’t he?

Yes, he is positively saintly. And as if to prove the point, he peddles a line of jewellery called Miracles 4 Me.

It’s always nice to have something that miraculously rakes in the cash. But what would he do if placed in a real dilemma? Say, for example, if he was asked to wed a couple of these Spy Bar people naked on a beach.

Where’s the dilemma? As a matter of fact, he is facing that decision. Remember Bingo Rimér ?

Sweden’s answer to Hugh Hefner? Of course I do.

Great, the haze is lifting. Well, Bingo wants to reaffirm his vows with his good wife Angelica and has said that he would like Runar to do the honours. The glamour photographer has however stipulated that he intends to marry on a beach and in the nude. Guests would naturally also come dressed in their birthday suits?

And would the minister also be expected to defrock?

But of course. There is no news yet as to whether Runar is going to perform the ceremony. But by all accounts he is back out and about with the glamorous and good. Preaching to the converted.


Is Elijah Wood in Sundsvall and what is he doing there?

It is not that Sundsvall is not a nice town. It is just that it is not normally the place where Hollywood stars go for a night out. So rumours that Elijah Wood was visiting the town quickly went viral on Thursday.

Is Elijah Wood in Sundsvall and what is he doing there?
The main shopping street in Sundsvall. And Elijah Wood. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT & Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP

The 35-year-old actor of Lord of the Rings fame was reportedly spotted visiting restaurant 'Tuppen' in the central Swedish town, which posted picture evidence on Facebook and Instagram late on Wednesday.

News of the unexpected celebrity visit quickly dominated local news headlines in Sweden, and was picked up by some of the national newspapers too, with growing excitement on social media. Several newspapers even asked readers to call them if they had any more information about the visit.

“Starstruck at Tuppen. Celebrity visit in the shape of Elijah Wood himself from the Lord of the Rings. Thanks for the visit!” wrote the restaurant.

Not everyone was convinced that it actually was the star, however, and some speculated that it could just be a lookalike or a clever PR trick by the restaurant itself to attract more visitors.

“I think it's fake. They had a customer who looked like him and wanted to joke,” wrote one person on their Facebook page. “Is it fake or is he looking for the ring in Sundsvall now?” wrote another.

Wood, who's currently starring in BBC America series Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, visited Stockholm last month to perform at the Södra Teatern venue with his friend Zach Cowie as DJ duo Wooden Wisdom. His film production company SpectreVision, of which he is a co-founder, helped produce Swedish 2013 science fiction movie LFO.

With a population of some 50,000 people, historic sawmill town Sundsvall is the third biggest town in Sweden's northern region Norrland and Sweden's 21st biggest town overall. It is home to one of the campuses of Mid-Sweden University as well as Sweden's first-ever international casino.

Sundsvall's nearby island Alnön was recently voted one of the most beautiful places in Sweden. Restaurant Tuppen is one of a number of restaurants in the town. It opened in May this year and aims to serve locally produced meat and fish.

The reason behind Wood's supposed visit to the town was not immediately known, but it would not be the first time an international celebrity has fallen in love with unexpected places in Sweden.

Last year US-Haitian rapper Wyclef Jean revealed that he wanted to move to Sandviken outside Gävle. British actor Hugh Grant recently bought a house in Torekov, southern Sweden. And rapper Kanye West paid a visit to the rural town of Älmhult to convince its Ikea headquarters to let him design furniture.