Mark Majzner: ‘I like to stand up to the establishment’

At the end of a long day, there’s nothing quite as perfect as a tall glass of wine to help you unwind and relax, says wine connoisseur Mark Majzner.

Originally from Australia, the businessman-turned-blogger traveled the world running a classical music record company before settling in Sweden eight years ago as a “love refugee.” Since then, he has founded the famed Australian Wine Club, which now has a following of 52,000 members, and he is continually working to progress the public’s outlook on alcohol consumption in Sweden.

“The politics of alcohol and how people consume alcohol are two different things,” explains Majzner. “Alcohol consumption has changed hugely. It’s not just getting drunk on vodka on a Friday night. There’s a large number of people with a more Mediterranean lifestyle – having a glass of wine with dinner, matching wine and food – and wine interest is increasing in Sweden.”

But sky-high taxes on alcohol hinder people from enjoying this simple life pleasure, he says, as the government hopes that exorbitant taxes will deter buying.

“They think they should protect people with an alcohol problem and restrict the rights of all people in Sweden to practice healthy consumption,” explains Majzner.

Still, he hopes his efforts with his blog and wine club will soon change this – and they already have. The Australian Wine Club is the first legal alcohol delivery company in Sweden and the largest competitor to the state-owned Systembolaget. Monthly delivery services allow members to enjoy everything from a robust Chardonnay to a fruity Gewürztraminer, without needing to leave their homes.

“My blog an interesting insight into wine, alcohol politics, running your own business, and life in Sweden as an expat,” says Majzner. “It isn’t about tips on what wine to drink or to advertise my wine club. It’s a unique insight into life in Sweden. It’s provocative and funny. I like to stand up to the establishment.”

Majzner lives near Stockholm with his wife, Johanna, and their two children.

Read Mark’s blog: Wine Freedom

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Swedish actor behind viral blog beats cancer

Swedish actor Fabian Bolin, 28, who has appeared in several UK television shows and US movies, has announced to the world that he is cancer-free, just over a month after he was diagnosed.

Swedish actor behind viral blog beats cancer
Swedish actor Fabian Bolin. Photo: Instagram with permission of Fabian Bolin

The actor and model started the blog on July 1st, just days after being diagnosed with leukaemia – a blood cancer which develops in bone marrow.

“There is a risk that I will not survive,” he posted in both English and Swedish.

But after weeks of gruelling chemo therapy doctors at the Karolinska Institute near Stockholm have revealed that Bolin is expected to return to complete health, the actor told his fans.

“We have just found out from the doctors at Karolinska the following: my entire blood system, and my spinal chord system, is now free from blood cancer. Just to be 100 percent clear to all of you, my beautiful angels: I have survived and killed my cancer,” he wrote in this latest blog entry.

However, the actor is not yet at the end of the road to full recovery. He is set to undergo chemo therapy until February 2016 to ensure the cancer stays out of his system.

“Imagine the feeling in your heart when you've run up a long hill. Have you ever tried that? Or if you've ever been at a gym, if you've done a really hard cardio session. Now, think about how hard the heart beats. If you want to know how I feel, then add about five times to that heart feeling,” wrote the 28-year-old in the blog post published late on Tuesday.

Bolin's heartfelt blog quickly went viral in July after being picked up by several Swedish and international media, including The Local.

“I feel so utterly sad and confused right now. I feel like it's unfair that I should have to go through this hell of a treatment, after fighting so hard to reach this stage in life and be on the cusp of fulfilling my acting dreams. But, I will not give up,” read one of his earliest entries.

The star is best known for his role as Philipp in Swedish film Snabba Cash in 2010 (released internationally as Easy Money) and Snabba Cash II (2012), his first major parts after quitting a previous career in banking.

He has spent the past few years living in London where he's played small roles in British reality TV show Made in Chelsea and the recently released UK web sci-fi show Kosmos.

READ ALSO: Swedish hunk pens emotional cancer blog

Reacting to the huge social media stir surrounding his blog, he told The Local last month: “the response is the best and most powerful experience ever”.

“I’m in shock but in a good way. It wouldn’t have been possible for all these people to come together without social media. It’s amazing to see how many wonderful people there are out there.” 

Thanks to his contacts in the film and television industry, Bolin said at the time he had already been approached by production companies who are keen on turning his story into a documentary and added that he had received support from many fellow actors, including other Swedes he worked with on Snabba Cash. 

“I decided to let people follow me on my journey from beginning to end and this enormous response makes me feel so empowered,” he said.

Update: In 2019, Fabian Bolin founded the app WarOnCancer together with Sebastian Hermelin to improve mental health for everyone affected by cancer.