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Tag Archives: Sweden

Orange Ladies And Beardy Boys

I came back to work last week and two things were immediately apparent.

First, all the orange ladies on the subway. This is a yearly phenomenon – the Swedes returning from their summer-houses, showing off their newly scorched skin. You notice it most on older ladies. Their skin is practically orange, wrinkled and leathery and disturbing. Some of them are so lined they look like fucking Yoda, but, you know, more orange.

While I understand that the Swedes grab whatever sun is going, I fail to see why they would want to damage their skin like this. They lounge around in the parks and beaches, in blazing sunshine and without sunblock, and then wonder why they get skin cancer. Deeply wrinkled, sun-blasted skin isn’t attractive, or healthy, and doesn’t even show status, as summer houses are seen almost as a human right over here.

So why do they do it? Beats me. But if you want to see one, now is the time.

Then there’s the beards. I’m now in the minority at work regarding facial hair. Most men in my office are bearded. It especially noticeable among men in the 25 to 32 age range. Two thirds of them now have beards. It’s like a bloody seventies folk concert.

This thing with huge beards on younger men has taken off to a ridiculous degree in Sweden. It was very noticeable when I went to Herräng dance camp for a week, and saw young men from lots of countries. They were all much less beardy than the young Swedes. It brought home again what a terribly conformist place Sweden can be.

Why is it like this? Because beards on young men is trendy, and Swedes go for trends in the same way that sharks go for icebergs made of spam. They claim to cherish their individuality, which they then express by striving to look exactly the same.

Not the same as each other, mind you. Just the same as whatever subculture they’ve decided they belong to. Be it punks, hipsters, slackers, whatever. You can be unique here as long as you are unique in a very clearly defined way.

Now I’m a big fan of facial hair, but this is all just a bit sad. If you like beards, then have one, regardless of what the rest of the world is doing. Just stop shaving, and presto.

I give it a couple of years. Once the football players start shaving, young Swedish men will shed their facial hair. Beards, after all, can be removed. But I can’t say the same for the swarms of young women with colorful and messy tattoos sleeves on their arms and shoulders. They might have a tad more trouble getting over this particular trend. And let’s see how those things look when they’re pushing 60.

As for the idiots with the discs in their earlobes … well, let’s not even go there.

/ paddy

 
18 Comments

Posted by on August 11, 2012 in Society, Sweden

 

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A Short Guide to Swedish Politics

Politics is only interesting when it’s happening somewhere else, like in Africa, or in a Fantasy novel. But when there is a general election raging, it’s just the most atrocious bore imaginable.

There is a general election brewing in Sweden now and you can’t walk through town for ten seconds without some intense idiot in an over-large t-shirt shoving leaflets at you. So this is probably a good time for a quick primer on Swedish Politics for all you foreigners, or for you Swedes who haven’t been paying attention.

There are two blocks in the running for this election, plus a scatter of smaller parties. The “Alliance” block, currently ruling, consists of the four governing parties – The Moderates, Centre Party, People’s Party and Christian Democrats. The “Empire” block – sorry, the “Red-Green” block – consists of the Left Party (socialists), the Social Democrats and the Greens. Damn, it would be fucking sweet if they WERE called the “Empire” and the “Alliance”. Why didn’t anybody think of that earlier?

The Moderate’s leader, and Sweden’s PM, is Fredrik Reinfeldt, a man who looks like a giant baby. Other politicians of note include the woman vying for his title, leader of the Social Democrats Mona Sahlin, a woman with a speaking voice so boring it could curdle milk and whose deepest, darkest secret is paying for candy on her government credit card.

The Greens, meanwhile, claim that they don’t have “leaders” and insist on rolling out two “spokespeople”, one male and one female, any time they appear on TV. The political correctness of that just makes me shiver and is one reason why, although I’d like to, I just can’t vote for the Greens. The other reason is that they are unrealistic new-age wimps in many issues. However, it must be admitted, their spokesperson Maria Wetterstrand is HOT.

Then we have the hated Christian Democrats. Hated by me, at least. These bozos have the nerve to call themselves “democrats” even though they clearly accept the infallibility and universal dominance of an all-powerful dictator who can never be voted out, will never die, and can do whatever the fucking fuck he feels like with no consequences. In what possible way can these people call themselves “democrats”? Loonies more like.

And they, like all the other parties, have the nerve to refuse to be in the same room as the far-right Swedish Democrats, even though their stance on “values” is actually very similar.

Shit, this is all giving me a headache. I hope it’s over soon. Can’t we just do a game-show where the politicos get put on some island and have to eat slugs and crawl through mud and get voted out until we pick the one who runs the country?

Yeah, let’s do it! Politician Island. Right now.

/ paddy

 
4 Comments

Posted by on September 4, 2010 in Society, Sweden

 

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Words of Fuzzy Wisdom

I purchased a certain product last week and upon this product I found a text.

The text was warm and sweet and diffuse and said nothing whatsoever about the actual product. Classic copy. It also confused the hell out of me. And here, for your delight, it is.

The one who dares to dream, dares to live. Dreams keep us going, dreams have the power to change the world. So go ahead and jump into the river of dreams, dive deep away from the greyness of everyday and free yourself. Remember: you’re innocent when you dream.

Still there? Good. Give your head a shake and read the thing again, if you want. It won’t help.

I won’t go on about the morons who sit around and brainstorm stuff like this for a living. I could, but I won’t.

And I won’t spit fire about said morons stealing a song title from Tom Waits to boost their fucking incomes.

I will just leave it up to you, my dear readers (yes you there, get out from behind that hedge, I see you) to guess on which product I found this text. And WITHOUT googling it, I may add. Or iPhoning it or whatever it is you kids do these days on your fancy compamuters.

So off you go then. There’s no hurry. I’ll be here, quietly fuming.

/ paddy

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Okay then, it’s time to reveal that the product is….

Toilet paper. Nice one Jack!

Here is the website, which make it all perfectly clear…
http://www.lambi.com/unlimiteddreams/

It’s nice to see that toilet paper has nothing to do with arses any more.

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25 Comments

Posted by on February 22, 2010 in Obscura

 

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Broadband to Heaven

Because the Swedish Lutheran church isn’t as intrusive and pompous as other churches, and tends to keep its nose out of most affairs of state, one stops noticing it very much or even taking it seriously.

But now it has brought the full attention of the country back to the fact that it is a Christian church and actually does believe in an immortal entity and his zombie demigod son and all the rest of that inane twaddle, and it wants nothing more that to have the rest of us believe it too.

And it has done this in style with a new ad campaign, visible now in Stockholm’s subways and newspapers.

WIRELESS. Prayer is free; a permanent connection; pray when, where and how you want. Free support in all parishes.

When I see this I have to sit back, take a deep breath and wonder if this can have been designed by adults – actual conscious thinking people – or by a daycare class on a bored Tuesday afternoon. Because this is just bizarre and troubling on so many levels.

The biggest mistake that Svenska Kyrkan have made here is to actual point out the inconsistencies of “prayer” by relating it to actual technology in this way. And so it starts us thinking and drawing parallels. Such as:

Is the flow of prayer constrained in some way? What medium does it use? What if too many people pray, what happens then? Does god stop listening? Is there a celestial server outage?

And do the prayers go into a cache? Is there a prayer browser? Can we save prayers on a flash-drive and retransmit them later? And what file format would they be in? .pry? Or maybe .god?

Prayer, if it needs to be repeated, does not, and never has, actually worked, beyond the personal comfort it might give to some people. It has no effect on the actual material world, as all serious studies to date have shown. You’d be better off taking a walk, or making a cup of tea, or buying a dog.

All we can conclude from this is that Christians are severely deluded individuals, people who would be considered slightly insane, or at least very unstable, if their ramblings were not classed as “religion” and were therefore exempt from any and all rules of logic and behaviour.

The upshot of all this is that because the Swedish church now has to advertise, it means that it is in trouble and can’t get new members. And this cheers me up immensely.

As I have repeated on many an occasion, I don’t have much argument with personal religion or spirituality (other than thinking that you are a bit weird). You can do whatever you want in the privacy of your own head (a courtesy that many religions do not give to us non-believers, may I add). But when you start imposing your power structures and your whiny morals on me, and start interfering with the running of the world because some magic book and/or voice in your head told you to, well, that’s where I draw the line.

So, to summarise: You have an invisible broadband connection to your god? Yes, yes, of course you do. Now just take your pills and everything will be fine.

/ paddy

 
16 Comments

Posted by on February 18, 2010 in Religion, Sweden

 

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