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 the ‘Sweden’ Category

Snuggling Podcast #8: Free Booze and Naked Animals

Saturday, June 14th, 2014
Naked penguins

Filthy naked animals.

In the eighth episode, Karin reveals having spent an entire evening enjoying free booze while looking at pictures of naked animals. Disgusting! We also find out why Scott hasn’t sorted out the sound clips he promised for this week’s show. It’s because he hasn’t had enough time in his busy schedule. Karin’s problem is the opposite. Having too much time on her hands means she ends up busy, busy, busy doing nothing at all.

Also on this week’s episode: finger nail clippers, foxgloves and dachshund heels, dry pancakes, a very mild case of World Cup fever, and why you should (or probably should not) watch the Bee Gees’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band film.

Duration: 30 minutes

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Snuggling Podcast #7: Snuggling with Rachel Matchett

Saturday, June 7th, 2014
3 apples tall sounds about right.

3 apples tall sounds about right.

Meet Rachel Matchett, the first ever guest on our new feature called Enemy of the Week! Rachel stands about 3 apples tall, has the body of a 16-year-old, and can hold her liquor better than the rest of us. She brought cake and cava to the Snuggling With The Enemy studio session – cheers, Rachel!

Before snuggling with Rachel, Scott and Karin talk about the risks of sharing images on social networks, the origin of the high five, moody German music, Scott’s parents’ 50th wedding anniversary, and about whether it’s possible to be happy and satisfied with your life the way it is without the need to find partner to share it with (it’s not).

Elbow swinging!

Elbow-swinging action!

Duration: 36 minutes

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Snuggling Podcast #6: Held Up By the Stockholm Marathon

Saturday, May 31st, 2014

So yeah, these fitness buffs kind of got in the way of this week's episode.

On their way to the recording studio, Scott and Karin are surprised to see that their route is blocked by tens of thousands of people running in the Stockholm Marathon.

By the time they finally are able to sit down and begin recording, much of the day has passed and the episode is painfully behind schedule. The episode includes treats such as an audio surprise, a discussion about voice-overs, and a new song Scott recently released with Julia Lind (iTunes, Spotify).

Episode 6 ends up as a condensed smörgåsbord of odds and ends!

Duration: 19 minutes

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Snuggling Podcast #5: Karin Plays the Recorder

Saturday, May 24th, 2014

Karin with handwritten sheet music and a shiny recorder!

The fifth episode offers an aural treat in the form of a descant recorder played by our very own Karin! The intro theme song gets a jazzed-up baroque interpretation and England’s theme tune, Country Gardens, is treated to a well-deserved touch of woodwind. Staying on the musical theme, the hosts discuss Twitter trolls and why James Blunt’s response to them is beautiful.

Also on this week’s show:  ANOTHER apology to a cat, a living nightingale, listener feedback from a spam robot, an impersonation of Karin’s mother, and Scott’s brilliant business idea of selling espresso capsules at work.

Note to our non-Swedish listeners: This episode contains a re-enactment of a phone call between Karin and her mother Astrid in Swedish. The role of Karin is played by Scott (hence the poor British accent), and Karin plays her own mother. Here is a rough translation:

Astrid: Hello, this is Astrid.

Karin [in a terrible British accent]: Hello, this is your daughter, Karin. ‘Ello guv’nor!

Astrid: Oh, hi! What do you want?

Karin: I’ve eaten a bird in… [ giggles] I saw a bird… iin… the forest. And I… recorded the song… on my mobile! Do you know anything about the birds?

Astrid: I know everything about the birds!

Karin: I’d love to shall I send it to you, so that you can listen to it.

Astrid: OK then! Bye, darling daughter!

Karin: Bye! Bye mummy!

Duration: 32 minutes

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Snuggling Podcast #4: Double-spaced Bananas

Saturday, May 17th, 2014
Australian Banana Girl

The so-called Banana Girl.

Scott and Karin announce the launch of and make some corrections from last week: they apologise to The Hört, to a couple of cats and to all the people of China. Karin finally keeps her promise of being funnier on the show by telling a joke that Scott doesn’t get, and Scott returns to the topic of the pen from outer… Zzzzz.

They move on to discussing typewriters v. computers, and philosophize on the reasons why it’s become so difficult to get round to actually make notes in your note books. Also on the show: Double spaces after periods, The Australian Banana Girl, the bipolar weather of Stockholm, the ABBA Museum, why you should not treat Karin to peanut butter ice cream – and an extra special theme song for Sweden!

Duration: 30 minutes

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Snuggling Podcast #3: The Licorice Episode

Saturday, May 10th, 2014

Licorice from Iceland

In the third episode, the podcast gets a brand new introduction from Kevin the Charismatic South Carolina Presenter and officially changes its name to Snuggling with the Enemy. Scott and Karin dissect topics ranging from a hole in Scott’s shirt and how it got there, to fan mail and antiquated web browsers, to a pen from outer space and bloody Alexander Skarsgård.

Also on this week’s show: the Swedish TV license fee and why you should pay it, sex toys, cold turnips, Marilyn Manson and the full ingredient list from a packet of Icelandic liquorice. Plus the usual squabble over British v. American pronunciation AND a live report from the highly scientifically educated zombie apocalypse!

Duration: 33 minutes

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Snuggling Podcast #2: Bad Parenting Darby Spectacular

Friday, May 2nd, 2014

Good parenting

This week Scott and Karin discuss the joys of watching horses die at the Kentucky Derby, bad parenting, how they sometimes dress the same (in Scott’s opinion) and, of course, heroin.

The episode features mint juleps, Kurt Cobain, Peaches Geldof, café crushes, and the feeling you get when a shop assistant comments on the amount of unhealthy food you’re buying. Plus, England gets a new theme song!

Duration: 28 minutes

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Snuggling Podcast #1: The Frank & Ashley Show

Saturday, April 26th, 2014
Frank and Ashley

The temporary name for our show – before we thought of something better.

In the pilot episode of their program – which doesn’t actually have a name yet – Scott surprises Karin with a theme song and a temporary title for the show. They discuss online dating, how to take a better selfie and why you should avoid doing both.

Duration: 32 minutes

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Kentucky’s Bourbon Royalty Visits Sweden

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

I recently had the opportunity to meet a true Kentucky legend right here in Stockholm.

Though he’s not a celebrity in these parts, everyone where I’m from knows the name Fred Noe. Better still, most people know the name of his great-grandfather, Jim Beam.

As the seventh-generation distiller of the family-run Jim Beam distillery in Clermont, Kentucky, Fred Noe is both a living piece of Kentucky history and the foremost face of his family’s company, founded in 1795.

Summoned to the Castle

The evening was a special opportunity for members of the Stockholm press to mingle with Mr. Noe. The small gathering of about 15 people included journalists from food and drink magazines, restaurant trade papers, as well as a couple people like myself who are enthusiasts of both writing and drinking.

The mingle was held in Stockholm’s Vasastan neighborhood, right around the corner from where I work at Bonnier Magazines. It was hosted by Beam Brands and their Scandinavian distribution parter Edrington.

I walked a few blocks to Edrington’s offices, then took the elevator up to their beautiful top-floor space, where each attendee was individually greeted at the door and introduced to Fred Noe. This was a real thrill for a Kentucky boy in Sweden.

Everyone chatted for a while, in English of course. Mr. Noe said his Swedish wasn’t very good. I have a feeling he hasn’t learned much more than “skål” (cheers).

I asked him if he was a fan of Louisville’s basketball team or Kentucky’s. He’s a Kentucky fan. I excitedly said, “right on!” Then I quickly confessed that I would have said “right on” no matter which answer he gave. I don’t really care too much either way. (This meeting, by the way, was before Louisville won the national championship a couple weeks later.)


The room we gathered in is a lounge, outfitted with a large, natural wood dining table, a view over Vasastan’s rooftops, and a minimalistic bar stocked with an unrestrained collection of Beam Brands’ products.

After a short greeting, we all gathered around the table for a light meal of Kentucky-style food. Miniature barbecued hamburgers were on hand as well as a delicious corn-mash soup. This small meal warmed us up for the main event.

Fred Noe, whose full name is Frederick Booker Noe III, walked us through a bourbon tasting of seven different Beam varieties.

It began with the most uncomplicated type and proceeded toward the more complex. So at the beginning we had a taste of Jim Beam’s white dog – white dog is the bare, raw, un-aged liquor that comes straight off the still – and ended with the taste that has been most tampered with, Jim Beam Honey.

White Dog

White dog is a strong, clear alcohol that has never been in a barrel. Most distilleries don’t sell their white dog, nor do they allow the public to taste it. But with the growing interest in bourbon over the past few years, it has become more common for distilleries to take some off the still and share it, mostly as a novelty or for guests in their visitors’ centers.

Another Kentucky distiller, Buffalo Trace, comes to mind as one which has bottled their white dog and brought it to market.

Most people would find this beverage undrinkable. White dog is undilluted and doesn’t have the warm, woody flavor that bourbon has after spending years inside charred oak barrels.

Buffalo Trace’s white dog is just what you would expect: it’s an incredibly potent 125-proof (62.5% alcohol) monster that is both sweet and hairraising.


You’d think that a guy as steeped in bourbon culture, who was born into it and has spent a lifetime enjoying it, would be at least a bit immune to its pleasures.

This is not so with Fred Noe. He seems to enjoy bourbon as much today as anyone who isn’t a part of a seven-generation bourbon dynasty.

In addition to waking us through the varieties of bourbon that were presented for us, he spent a little time discussing the evolution of the family. Mr. Noe himself started working in the lowest ranks at the distillery decades ago, working his way through virtually every job on site in order to learn every detail of the process.

Fred’s son, having just graduated from college, is now working on the loading dock, helping to bring deliveries of ingredients into the warehouse.

Getting used to it

There were a couple things I liked about Fred Noe that left an impression on me during the evening.

First, as the standard-bearer of one of America’s most legendary alcohol-producing families, I had expected him to be the type of guy who would have a high tolerance for alcohol.

To the contrary, Fred had been out with some bartenders and PR people the night before and started our event by saying that he had a really bad hangover.

In the same way Swedes don’t get used to the winter cold, bourbon distillers like Fred apparently haven’t gotten used to the intoxicating effects of their own products.

“It’s your bourbon”

The second thing I liked was that Fred is not a bourbon snob, as one might expect. He didn’t advocate drinking it straight or neat or undilluted. In fact, he spoke to the versatility of bourbon as a straight drink and as a component of other drinks.

“That’s the thing about bourbon,” he said, “mix it up any way you want to. It’s your bourbon, drink it how you like.”

I liked this a lot. Some people are purists and advocate for always enjoying bourbon straight or on the rocks.

Personally, I’m as big a fan of straight bourbon as I am of mint juleps, bourbon sours and pretty much any other way it can be mixed. Most often, for me, it’s a bourbon and Coke.

It was good to hear from a bourbon professional that he didn’t look down on any of the varieties of ways that anyone drinks the drink.

The Devil’s Cut

One of the high points of the bourbon tasting was the opportunity to try several varieties which aren’t available in Sweden. A 90-proof, rich, woody one called Devil’s Cut was one of these.

Devil’s Cut is a unique bourbon made from a “proprietary process that actually pulls the rich whiskey trapped inside the barrels’ wood after they’re emptied,” they say. “We hold this barrel-treated extract until it develops the proper balance of bourbon notes, and bottle at 90 proof.”

After the bourbon tasting, I had the opportunity to chat a little more with Mr. Noe, which was a riot.

He loves talking about his friend Kid Rock who is sponsored by Beam. Apparently, Mr. Rock was responsible for giving Devil’s Cut its name.

Fred made my night by personally giving me a neat glass of Knob Creek’s Single-Barrel Reserve which is still unavailable in Sweden.

This bourbon has been out for a couple years in the US and has been one I’ve really been looking forward to trying.

It was spectacular. And potent.

Laid out on Knob Creek

While I was enjoying it, Helena reminded me that my band Metroschifter released a song a few years ago called “Knob Creek” that mentions bourbon. Fred asked me to made a note of this so he could check it out on iTunes when he got back to the hotel. Yep, Fred Noe has an iPad.

If there are bourbon celebrities, Fred Noe is definitely one of the big stars. So it was a big thrill to meet him – here in Stockholm no less – and to have the opportunity to get a firsthand presentation of some of Kentucky’s famous flavors.

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Historic Stockholm Imagery

Sunday, March 24th, 2013

I have recently become addicted to a website called Stockholms Källan.

The site is an amazing treasure trove of historical images of Stockholm. You can search by names or locations to find old photos and documents relating to whatever you’re interested in.

This image is from a 1960’s short film called “Ditt Stockholm” (“Your Stockholm”). It is a melodramatic public service film made to discourage people from littering and vandalizing in the city.

I found it wildly entertaining, not just because of the old timey views of the city and the people, but from the perspective of Swedish filmmaking and its characteristic qualities of sparse timing and minimalism.

Here’s the film. Enjoy!

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