Snuggling With the Enemy

My Fake Magazine of LIfe in Sweden – by Scott Ritcher, American publisher of a real magazine called K Composite

Archive for March, 2011

Säkert! in 3D

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

The most dedicated readers of this space – and you are undoubtedly one of them – will remember that I am a big fan of Annika Norlin’s bands, Hello Saferide and Säkert.

I wrote fairly exhaustively on the topic a while back, when I had a short note published in the Stockholm City paper. And again that same year when I had the opportunity to see Hello Saferide at the festival called Where the Action Is.

Säkert is Norlin’s Swedish language band and Hello Saferide performs in English. So as I explained in those previous articles, Säkert is a band I fell in love with while barely grasping the language. Their record became a reference point for me as I learned Swedish. It unraveled itself before me a little more with each listen.

For the past several years, amid rumors that Norlin was retiring from music completely and shoving off to live in a commune somewhere, it seemed that if she were to continue in the music world, Hello Saferide would be her focus. Her recent tours and records had been with the English language band, and at least to my limited knowledge, Säkert appeared to be a band that had recorded one record – one great record – and left it at that.

Babel in Malmö is an old church

Imagine my excitement upon returning to Sweden last summer and learning that one-album-wonder Säkert had, in fact, released a second album. Who knew? Within a few months of being back, I saw that Säkert was scheduled to play some shows around Sweden. Fucking wow.

This meant, of course, that I would have to make arrangements to see one or more of these shows with my friend Emma from Malmö. Emma had introduced me to the first Säkert album some years ago, long before the idea of living in Sweden was a realistic possibility.

So in March, I hopped on a plane to Malmö to visit Emma and to see Säkert quite literally deliver a perfect performance. Everything sounded exactly as it should. Better even. I love it when bands do something different with their songs in the live setting. Nearly every single one of Säkert’s songs was reworked in some way – arrangements, sequences, instrumentation – several of them resulting in jaw-dropping, head-shaking madness. Emma and I weren’t the only ones in the over-capacity crowd at Babel who looked at each other in disbelief of some of these effortless – and sometime raucous – reinventions.

Last weekend the band arrived for two more sold-out shows in Stockholm. The show for the beer-drinkin’ fans sold out post-haste, but I was, however, able to finagle a ticket to the all-ages performance. Regardless of the awkwardness of my freakish height compared to some of the other attendees, and despite being totally psyched up for the show all day, I have to say that I was totally unprepared for how breathtaking it turned out to be.

Säkert in Malmö (in 2D)

Without rehashing everything I wrote in those previous stories, one of the things about Norlin’s songs that make them special for me (someone who typically doesn’t connect with a lot of music on a regular basis) is that I believe her when she’s singing. I believe that the songs are sincere and that they are being delivered with a level of care that respects their importance as pieces of the author’s heart.

That turned out to be very true at this Stockholm show. As much as it hurt a little, I really loved that I could go to a show and have the material touch me and crush me inside. I could go into more details, but I don’t want to trivialize the experience. So I’m going to keep it to myself.

But enough about me. Let’s get to these crazy pictures.

The gallery of pictures below is from Säkert’s show in Stockholm. The images were taken with a 3D camera and they are reproduced here in red-blue anaglyph 3D format. They can be viewed with standard red-blue 3D glasses (red on the left eye).

There will be increasing amounts of 3D to see in my future articles, so get on board with some specs! If you don’t have any, you can get a free pair a few different ways:

• Buy my 2001 solo album Nashville Geographic. The CD packaging is in 3D and it comes with a pair of glasses. has used copies of it for one dollar.

• Send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to:
Free 3D Glasses
American Paper Optics, LLC
2995 Appling Road, Suite 106
Bartlett, TN 38133 USA
or to:
Rainbow Symphony, Inc.
6860 Canby Ave. Suite 120
Reseda, CA 91335

• Or you can just buy some from Amazon. In Sweden, there are some “fancy” ones available at this link.

See a large version of the 3D gallery at

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The Sun and the Ground in the Same Picture!

Monday, March 28th, 2011

The darkness of the Swedish winter is well-documented. Other than not seeing the sun – or even the clear sky itself because of all the clouds – one can go for months in Stockholm without actually setting foot on the ground.

Now that things are thawing out and the days are getting longer, I was excited to snap this photo a couple weeks ago, depicting one of the first times I saw the sun and the ground at the same time.

Below are some more images collected through the long winter, which we are all very happy is slowly coming to a close.

Snow piled up in Vasastan in January.

Now that can’t be good for the gears.

New Year’s Eve.

Walkway to the Pendeltåg commuter train.

Okay, we get it. There’s a lot of snow.

Icy cold metal sign on the platform at Handen.

Beneath all the snow is generally a super thick layer of ice which builds up through the winter. This picture is from last week. Even though all the snow is gone, the ice remains in a lot of places. Here, some workers have attempted to clear it from a children’s playground.

Chunks of the ice layer which have been removed from a sidewalk.

This headline on the front page of the December 20th edition of Aftonbladet is typical of their reasonable editorial style. It says “Total Chaos Everywhere.” You can’t really go any higher than that.

I suppose they didn’t consider that they might want to leave some room in case something crazier happens in the future. I mean, what are the chances that the Middle East would erupt into riots and revolutions at the same time a tsunami, earthquake and nuclear disaster hit Japan, while Elizabeth Taylor is dying and Charlie Sheen is winning? A lot of snow probably is the worst that could happen.

I especially enjoy how, even though the headline is declaring “Total Chaos Everywhere,” they’re still including the TV schedule for Christmas and New Year’s, as well as pop singer Carola’s tips for shopping. If you survive this insane, overwhelming chaos, and you can still breathe, and there is still electricity and standing buildings, and you’re not busy burying the dead, you might want to catch the Christmas episode of Svensson Svensson.

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