• Sweden's news in English

'Some middle-aged men choose a Harley, I chose a nose clip'

Peter Vinthagen Simpson · 8 Dec 2010, 10:58

Published: 08 Dec 2010 10:58 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

"I had been working in film for a while on international projects. I met my partner while I was travelling around working for the Discovery Channel and moved to Sweden one summer. I thought I had landed in paradise, but hadn't really considered the consequences," Williams, a Welshman who moved to Stockholm a few years ago, tells The Local.

The film starts with a scene of Williams teaching an unruly school class with a voiceover telling the viewer: "I'd thought that learning Swedish would help me get a job, like the one I'd left in Britain."

But Dylan Williams found that his career was left on the back-burner as he became a father and focused on learning the language, finding work wherever he could.

"Things started to go a bit slower for me professionally. We had a child. I got a job in the rubbish tip. Spent time working as a care worker," Williams says.

Despite learning to speak Swedish fairly quickly, Williams tells The Local that finding a purpose and fitting in to his new homeland was proving problematic.

"I realised that there was a lot more to fitting in – and by that I don't mean hanging around with a networks of expats who sit around and complain about Sweden."

On the advice of his Swedish language teacher, Williams decided to join a club and came into contact with a group who were keen to develop their synchronised swimming team.

"I had never thought of myself as a club person before and I was not even aware that it was a male sport. But I was a good swimmer and my teacher told me that club life was key to fitting in."

Williams took the plunge with the group of 13 other late thirty-somethings and formed what became the first all-male synchronised swimming team in Sweden, The Stockholm Art Swim Gents.

Short of male role models the team, which prefer the term "art swim" to synchronized swimming, turned to artistic consultant and trainer Jane Magnusson, who also works as a freelance journalist and penned the script to Allt flyter (Everything floats) - a 2008 feel good comedy which explored a similar theme.

The Gents took their first official bow at the 2004 Hultsfred Rock Festival, with two performances in Lake Hulingen, while Morrissey performed on the main stage of the now defunct Swedish music festival.

"At first the lads were mucking about. But then it was decided that we needed a constitution and a structure and so a meeting was called and the club was formed, officially," Williams says.

The film charts the team's progress from being Sweden's only all-male art swim team to competing at the World Championships.

"We though we were the only team in the world, but found out later that there were several other teams and that's how we ended up in these world championships," Williams says, adding that on a personal level it provided a platform for his breakthrough in his adopted homeland.

"It has opened up so many doors for me. In that I met very like minded people who worked in all kinds of areas. People who would probably already have been my friends had I been Swedish."

The film is a personal story about one man's integration into a new homeland, but it is also very much a tale about masculinity, social interaction and growing older.

"You get to a certain age when it becomes difficult to meet people. I didn't have a job, and it gave me my chance to create my own little world in Sweden, independent of my Swedish partner," he says.

Story continues below…

The film has gained exposure at a number of international film festivals and Dylan Williams tells The Local that while it is a documentary and audiences seem to respond to the "humanity" of the film, they enjoy a laugh at the sport itself.

"It is film about how to deal with a new identity – being a father, with all the pressure to be 'duktig' (responsible), but still wanting to have fun."

"Some middle-aged men choose a Harley, I chose a nose clip”.

Män som simmar is showing at cinemas across Sweden and at film festivals from Belgrade to Damascus, from the US to the UK.

More information can be found (in Swedish) here: Stockholm Art Swim Gents

Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

16:00 December 10, 2010 by JulieLou40
Why is this news now? I saw this programme a good 7 or 8 months ago.....
Today's headlines
Hundreds protest Swedish asylum laws
Around 1,000 people protested in Stockholm. Photo: Fredrik Persson/ TT

Hundreds of people on Saturday demonstrated in Stockholm and in many other parts of the country to protest Sweden’s tough new laws on asylum-seekers.

Dylan removes Nobel-mention from website
The American musician has more or less responded to the news with silence. Photo: Per Wahlberg

American singer-song writer Bob Dylan has removed any mention of him being named one of this year’s Nobel Prize laureates on his official website.

Refugee crisis
Asylum requests in Sweden down by 70 percent
Sweden's migration minister Morgan Johansson. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

Sweden received 70 percent fewer requests for asylum in the period between January and September 2016 than it did during the same time last year, the country’s justice and migration minister Morgan Johansson has revealed.

The unique story of Stockholm's floating libraries
The Stockholm archipelago book boat. Photo: Roger Hill.

Writer Roger Hill details his journeys on the boats that carry books over Stockholm's waterways and to its most remote places.

Refugee crisis
Second Stockholm asylum centre fire in a week
The new incident follows a similar fire in Fagersjö last week (pictured). Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Police suspect arson in the blaze, as well as a similar incident which occurred last Sunday.

More misery for Ericsson as losses pile up
Ericsson interim CEO Jan Frykhammar presenting its third quarter results. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

The bad news just keeps coming from the Swedish telecoms giant.

Facebook 'sorry' for removing Swedish cancer video
A computer displaying Facebook's landing page. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

The social media giant had censored a video explaining how women should check for suspicious lumps in their breasts.

Watch this amazing footage of Sweden’s landscapes
A still from the aerial footage of Sweden. Photo: Nate Summer-Cook

The spectacular drone footage captures both Sweden's south and the opposite extreme, thousands of kilometres north.

Sweden could be allowed to keep border controls: EU
Police ID checks at Hyllie station in southern Sweden. Photo: Stig-Åke Jönsson/TT

Sweden could be allowed to keep ID controls on its border with Denmark beyond the current end date of November, following discussions among EU leaders in Brussels last night.

Why women in Sweden will work for free by November
File photo of a woman working in a Swedish office. Photo: Anders Willund/TT

A new study into the gender pay gap suggests Sweden still has some work to do.

Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Here's where it could snow in central Sweden this weekend
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
7 reasons you should join Sweden's 'a-kassa'
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
People-watching: October 20th
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
People-watching: October 12th
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
Sweden unveils Europe's first elk hut
People-watching: October 7th-9th
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
Missing rune stone turns up in Sweden
Nobel Prize 2016: Chemistry
jobs available