Pensioners to recruit ageing Swedish rockers

The Swedish Pensioners Association (Pensionärernas riksorganisation - PRO) wants to cast off its "stuffy" image at the Sweden Rock festival, in a recruitment bid to set up a rock music subgroup of new members.

Pensioners to recruit ageing Swedish rockers

“We want to be in tune with the times,” local coordinator Ann-Kristin Erlandsson told The Local.

The pensioner admitted that she herself was not a rock chick, instead preferring the Beatles, but that she may dust off an old leather jacket and rip a hole in her stockings to fit in.

Rock heavy-weights such as Kiss and Europe will lead an all-star lineup of bands, including Survivor and Skid Row.

Erlandsson and 30 colleagues, meanwhile, will take turns trying to recruit new members at the four-day festival in Norje, in the southern Swedish county of Blekinge. Erlandsson said that a survey at her organization’s national office showed that almost half of the rock festival goers were aged 55 or above.

Sweden Rocks festival organizer Martin Forssman told the TT news agency that the age spread was a bit wider than that, with an average age of 37, but that they were expecting rock enthusiasts in their sixties to also attend the June 5th-8th event.

“But the PRO crew are more than welcome.”

Erlandsson remained upbeat about the recruitment drive.

“We have to reach out to people born in the 1940s who are about to retire,” she said.

“I’d be delighted if people formed a “PRO Rock” group within our organization,” she said, adding that it was time to dust off their stuffy image.

“What you hear is that PRO, all they do is drink coffee and eat biscuits,” Erlandsson said, adding that there would neither be coffee nor biscuits at the stand they have been allocated at one of the entrances to the festival area.

“We’ll grab them as they go in. I want the end result to be a PRO rock association,” she told The Local.

“That’s our goal, and you’ve got to have a goal in life.”

Ann Törnkvist

Follow Ann on Twitter here

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Elderly Swedes arrested in Thailand for playing bridge

A game of bridge had an unexpected ending for 32 club members in Thailand, including three Swedes.

Elderly Swedes arrested in Thailand for playing bridge
Stock picture of playing cards. Photo: Ingvar Karmhed/SCANPIX

The bridge enthusiasts, the majority of them retirees, were arrested in Pattaya, Thailand, on Wednesday for the possession of too many unregistered playing cards, the BBC reported on Thursday.

The members of the bridge club were arrested under a law from 1935 that states that no card players are allowed to possess more than 120 playing cards at any given time.

Gambling is strictly forbidden in Thailand and police are cracking down on all games in which they suspect the nation's laws are being violated.

Although no money was found to indicated that the elderly bridge players were gambling, they were all arrested and held in custody for 12 hours before being released on bail on Thursday.

According to Thai news site Pattaya One, more than 50 law enforcement officers stormed in on the bridge club and seized computers, cards and a book containing bridge results. 

AFP reported that the 32 foreign nationals arrested included 12 Britons, three Norwegians, three Swedes, two Australians, a German, a Dane, a Canadian and a New Zealander.

All those arrested where fined 5,000 baht, the equivalent of around 1,200 Swedish kronor ($140).