I was on my way to work. It was a typical March morning in Stockholm, which meant the weather could be snow, or blazing sun, or icy gales, or all three at once.
On trains, I am peculiar, especially in the mornings. Things annoy me and they annoy me five times more than normal. These things include (but are not limited to):
• People eating their messy breakfast on the train • People having loud conversations on the train • People shoving their massive luggage into other people’s way • People putting on makeup on the train • People with awfully leaky headphones
Of these, the headphone leakers are the worse. Yes, I’m sure your music is fun to listen to, but if you insist upon playing it so fucking LOUDLY then use good headphones and not those pieces of cheap shit they gave you when you bought your mobile telephone.
But no. People will play the most appallingly annoying music at full tinny volume, in total disregard for those around them (meaning, of course, me).
So on this particular March day, I was noodling about on my phone, reading news, playing a game, the usual sort of thing, when a man got on the train and sat close to me, wearing headphones. And the air suddenly filled with jazz.
Not good jazz either. Shite jazz, with the same piece repeated over and over. I did my usual scowling but the man didn’t notice or care. Then I wasn’t sure it was him, so I scowled at some other likely leakers in my vicinity, and shook my head, and muttered to myself.
The music kept on going, becoming more and more annoying. So finally, I moved. At which point I noticed that the music, oddly, was now coming from ahead of me, and not from behind.
And it clicked.The music was coming from my own mobile, from a game I had been playing. Luckily I was spared any embarrassment as pretty much everyone around me had headphones on and couldn’t hear a damn thing. The sweet and awful irony.
Note that I didn’t mention dogs on the train being a thing I dislike. I’m trying quite hard to like dogs and so far it seems to be working.
Until someone invents leaky dog headphones and I am forced to go postal.
It follows our hero Ted as he goes to a tattoo removal clinic. The doctor is female and “hot” and Ted feels a “vibe” between them. So he asks her out and she says no. She can’t date him as he’s her patient. Ted asks if she will date him after the treatment. She tells him sorry, but no.
And then THIS happens.
Ted goes to his friends (mixed male and female) to get their advice on how to convince this lady to go out with him. As they discuss it, not one of them says, “Um, Ted, she said no, dude”. Her answer is not allowed to be absolute. Ted is a “nice guy” so the lady doctor must be mistaken. Or married. Or lesbian. Or confused. Hell, there must be SOMETHING wrong with her.
So over the course of Ted’s ten removal sessions, he and his friends plot wacky and hilarious ways to get her to say “yes” to Ted. But they all fail and the bewilderment from Ted just grows. Why doesn’t she want to date him, damn it?
(I could take a very long aside here on Ted’s friend Barney, the loveable misogynist and player, who you just want to stab with an ice-pick. He’s arrogant, sexist and petty and yet they all love him anyway. Good old Barney. You massive, suit-wearing shit.)
Anyway, at the last session, Ted asks the doctor out again and finds the reason she won’t date him. It’s not that she just DOESN’T FUCKING WANT TO, it’s that she is a single mom and has no free time. So Ted manufactures a quick 2-minute date where they dash around town and do some fun stuff. And finally, for Ted’s persistence, she kisses him. Conquest is ON.
This right fucking here, THIS, is the problem with the view of women in culture, media, television, all of it. A woman simply can’t say “no” to a man and mean it. She must be wrong. She must be “convinced”. And this aggressive, objectifying and shitty behaviour slides right by in a “normal” sitcom. It’s everyday stuff. Nothing out of the way. Even the women in the sitcom agree it’s fine to do it.
What sort of a generation of men are we making, feeding them this behaviour as normal? Jesus Christ.
In order to avoid a stroke, I shall now sign out. But first, here’s the closing line of the episode. Hang on to your hats. Ted says to camera, in a voiceover: “And that, kids, is how you turn a no into a yes.”
So I just watched that episode of Big Bang Theory about the One Ring. While it was fun, the description of the male characters’ behaviour as “geeky” came up several times. And it made me realise that this whole “I’m proud to be a geek” movement is really starting to annoy the tits off me. I’ll now tell you why.
A geek is basically a fan of things that aren’t cool. And who decides what is cool? Cool people do and always have done. By calling yourself a geek to somehow “reclaim” that word you are just adding to the idea that there are different kinds of interests – cool ones and geeky ones. And some are more important than others.
When I was in school I got shoved around for liking “stupid” things like fantasy and science fiction. Whereas my thuggish peers who liked football had no such problems. They knew piles of stats, they collected sticker albums, they treated football like it mattered. They even dressed up as the players, cosplay if ever I saw it. For some reason that was all okay. But making a joke about Star Wars was grounds for a thumpin’. Which was odd, as discussing in massive depth some men kicking a sphere around a field was fine.
Football isn’t the only thing. There’s music. Sport. Cars. Soap operas. Movies. Classical Music. Wine. Very rarely if ever do you hear fans of these activities described as “geeks”. Most usually they are “fans” or sometimes “experts” or even “connoisseurs” even when the level of pointless trivia involved is mind-blowing.
A geek is simply a person with a burning interest and unreasonable level of knowledge in some area. That makes you a “something” geek, whatever the thing in question is. You cannot be just “a geek” in the same way that you cannot be “a fan” without first saying what you are a fan of. By buying into this current usage, you are essentially saying – “yes I agree with you that my interest is of less worth than yours but I’m anyway still okay with that, if it’s alright with you and the cool people, sir.”
Well fuck that shit. All interests are just as valid, be they tattoos, curling or Pokemon. If you want to show “pride” then stand up for yourself instead and demand that all interests are taken just as seriously. They are, when it comes down to it, all equally disposable and useless.
From now on, I will call every geek a geek. Sports geeks, wine geeks, opera geeks. Geekery, all of it, and nobody should be offended by it. And if they are, well, tough. I think it’s also time to remove that desperately proud and apologetic “I’m a geek and proud of it!” from your various online profiles. It says precisely nothing. Because we’re all geeks, every one.
(Except for, you know, the poor and hungry. Although they might still like football.)
I’ve always been vaguely irritated by the phrase “vanilla sex” and now I’ve worked out why.
For those of you who don’t ever read anything ever, vanilla sex means “normal” sex. You know, the whole act of putting it in and out and shaking it all about. Making the beast with the two backs. Shagging. Bouncing on the naughty trampoline. And so on.
More precisely though, it means “normal” sex when talked about by people who would really like to point out that what they do isn’t “normal” sex. That the basic act just doesn’t get them off as they are complicated and edgy. Hence vanilla, supposedly the most boring of ice-cream flavours, although personally I find chocolate more boring.
Now everyone may do whatever the hell they like in the bedroom, as long as it’s done between one or more consenting adults. I have no protest there. What bugs me is the vaguely disguised snobbery, the insinuation that my sex is boring whereas your sex is dark and interesting. I bloody hate snobbery. I don’t like wine “experts” telling me how their drink is superior to beer. Or literary book snobs who look down on science fiction because it’s “far-fetched” while reading every unlikely detective story or magic realism novel that exists. Or music snobs who look down their noses at what other people are enjoying, totally convinced those others are “wrong” but don’t yet realise it.
But sex is sex. If some people get off sufficiently on “normal” sex – and there’s a hell of a lot to do in that area – that’s fine. But if your senses have become so dulled, and your excitement pathways so hard-triggered that you can only get off if somebody is dressed like a latex horse, then I think the problem is yours and not mine. (Although, it must be admitted, latex is very nice.)
If you think I’m being too sensitive, think about this. Have you even heard the phrase “vanilla sex” being used by a person who isn’t into kinky sex, or used in a way that isn’t sneery or condescending? I haven’t. People who say “vanilla sex” almost always do it with a slight edge of superiority. They may not say it flat-out, but to them I am boring, and they are not.
Well, if you claim I’m boring, I claim the opposite. I claim my mind is expansive and creative enough to enjoy the feelings and act of sex without accessories, whereas your poor deprived noggin requires props and a lot of effort to feel what I feel. Just because I can get off on the basic act of copulation, and you need props or mindsets, that doesn’t make you more “complicated” than me. It just makes you different.
So enough of the “vanilla”. What I enjoy is sex. What you enjoy is sex with an added layer of mind-games, scenarios and props. So fuck away, just don’t look down on how I do. And let’s all try to live in sticky slippery salty harmony.
Today there’s been a storm in the Swedish media (and most others too) about Ikea. Apparently they’ve been airbrushing women out of their catalog for the Saudi Arabian market. The Saudis don’t like looking at photos of women. Especially not women hanging out at home and having the audacity to WEAR PYJAMAS. The filthy tramps. Pyjamas! What will the children think? Or maybe they’re not allowed to think at all? Phew, close one.
So, anyway, Ikea doesn’t feel it should take any responsibility for the way their oil-rish customers would very much like to shit on human rights. They’re just there to sell furniture, they say. Very nice, Ikea. How useful that your corporate “ideals” are exactly the same ideals that will earn you lots of money. What a very happy accident. Let’s suck money out of a country that oppresses half of its population, while rabbiting on about “female empowerment” in other areas. Areas, by another amazing co-incidence, that will ALSO earn Ikea lots of money. Wow!
Screw you Ikea, you corporate slug with your shitty furniture and your high opinion of yourself, using your power and influence for nothing good whatsoever. Take your carefully constructed “we care” bullshit, insert it firmly into slot B and turn it a full revolution. Either direction is fine.
Click through the photos in the Swedish newspaper (first link above). There’s a photo showing some Ikea designers, and the same one in the Saudi catalog but with the single woman removed. I bet she’s happy about that and can’t wait to work for Ikea again.
But I have a solution for Ikea. Just release the catalog without women or men or any people at all, and instead put all the people on separate stickers. Then we can have a jolly old time putting in people of whatever race, sex, or flavour into any situation we desire. Imagine it! Grinning babies in ovens. A line of men’s heads on the top shelf of a Billy. A woman showing her hair. A scary man hiding under the children’s bed.
And presto – suddenly nobody is offended! Endless fun and chuckling for all! Except for the ones who have to suffer for it, in a country Ikea will do nothing whatsoever to improve. Unless, of course, there’s a profit in it for Mr. Kamprad. Then it’s all steam ahead, and corporate bullshit to maximum. Cash ahoy, mateys!
This enormous cockwallop is the “artistic leader” at Stockholm’s culture centre (big building, middle of town, can’t miss it). And he has decided, in his beardy wisom, to remove all books that have “racist or homophobic” bits. Starting with Tintin.
Well, regardless of your view of Tintin and colonial literature, here’s some news for the sideways-cap wearing wonder. Which, as a “culture leader”, he damn well ought to know. You can’t ban books. I repeat. YOU CAN’T FUCKING BAN BOOKS. This is the one golden rule that we may never forget. You ban books, you’re a fucking dictator, or a fanatic.
However, this dopey-eyed git thinks he can, because it’s all in a “good cause”. He’s doing “the right thing”. Yeah right, like nobody has ever thought that before. And now he’s got his staff running around like his little minions and scouring the shelves for books that don’t fit his fucking defintion of “okay”.
Sure there are racist bits in old books. But surely they have to be written with racist intent in mind to be really racist? And perhaps instead of banning them, we could use these books to start a discussion? Explain to kids: “here’s how things were back then but now we see it like this. What do YOU think?”
But God forbid that people would be asked to decide for themselves. Instead this little hispster emperor will fix it so that no children or parents without money can make up their minds for themselves. Nice one, your majesty.
I have a serious plan to get a bunch of people together, buy all these “forbidden books” and sneak them back onto the shelves, one by one. Because we DON’T FUCKING BAN BOOKS to protect the poor innocent woman and children from their evil ideas. We just fucking don’t. Not now, and not ever.
And, let me add, none of this has anything at all to do with this cock getting exposure for his “music career”. He is a “rap artist” apparently. And I bet he’s just excellent. Really, I do.
My special lady (I hesitate to call her “girlfriend” as she’s not a girl, nor just a friend) is in a bind right now. She’s been renting a flat for 22 years. She’s seen her kids grow up there. Her entire adult life was spent there, every giggle and tear. And now the morons in her building want to buy it out.
Here’s how. By some strange magic, rental tenants in Sweden can sometimes buy the building from the landlords (usually only from the state-owned rental companies). Basically, instead of owning a flat, you now own a share in a building (as nobody ever really owns a flat in Sweden). And those who don’t want to buy, or just can’t, will have to move the fuck out or stay on as a tenant of their previous neighbours.
The plus in buying a flat like this is that you get it well below the market price and make a bucket of money when you sell it. The minus (besides losing a piece of your soul) is that you are now partly responsible for everything going wrong in the building. Every water leak and rat infestation is suddenly your problem. And you get to have lots of meetings with your neighbours. Which, as you can imagine, is a wheelbarrow full of joy.
Personally I would pay good money to NOT have to go to meetings with my neighbours and endlessly discuss washing machines. But that’s just me
People in favour of this process always want to do it for the money, to get a start in the property market. Oh, they’ll give a raft of other reasons when asked. They’ll go on about having more of a say, of getting a better feeling of community and blah fucking arse blah. But we all know the truth, and so do they. They’re doing it for the profit.
This buying-out process is pushed forward, and usually started, by real-estate agents. They’ll convince the saps about how much they’ll save, when in fact only one group is guaranteed to make money during one of these buy-outs – them. The real-estate bottom-feeders make their promises, take their cut, and disappear.
Does anybody really think real-estate agents do ANYTHING for any other reason than lining their own pockets? They couldn’t give a flying fuck if these people pay more per month after the buy-out or not. They want their cut, and then they’ll fuck off, back under their fucking rocks where they belong.
What stuns me about this process (besides the fact that anybody actually believes anything a real-estate agent says) is the following:
People sign rental contracts, knowing them to be rental contracts. It’s not exactly a secret. The rental system had given you, and thousands like you, a place to live when you need it. A chance to start a life in your own apartment. Since private rentals are very hard to find in Sweden, getting a flat through the official queue is often the only solution besides buying. (Or sharing, which Swedes are very reluctant to do.)
And then, having signed a RENTAL CONTRACT on a flat, what do you do? You buy it up and remove it from the rental market. You deny the same possibility to other people that was given to you. And do you know what that makes you? A selfish prick.
I’ve nothing against buying apartments. I bought one once myself, and I sold it again for a profit. The only thing I dislike about the process is giving money to real-estate agents, who should be soundly whipped and rolled in dog-shit at every opportunity.
People in favour of this will go on and on about “buying out my apartment”. And what, surely, can I have against somebody just buying own their own apartment? Hang on, though – YOUR apartment? In what way, shape or form is a rental apartment YOUR apartment? It’s a rental, you dumb shit. You pay the rent, you live there. What in this deal makes it YOURS?
I never want to do this and I don’t fucking care how much I earn. There are a bunch of people who say this too, that they “don’t believe in it” but then go ahead and do it anyway when the chance pops up. Newsflash, people: if you believe in something ONLY IN THEORY then you don’t fucking believe in it at all. Just take the money and run and wipe your arse with it forever.
If people want to buy and sell apartments, fine. It’s a worthwhile investment, I get that. And it’s nice to paint the kitchen whatever colour you like. So by all means, fire away. But if you go into the rental system with the ambition of removing flats from the rental system, to your own benefit, then you are a dishonourable scumbag. You are destroying opportunities for future generations who have one less rental flat at their disposal. People just like you were when a rental flat came along and saved YOUR ass.
Now my special lady is forced to move, while her neighbours face paying the same as they paid before, but suddenly have a pile of responsibility to go along with it. While real-estate agents grow fat, sticky and flatulent on their grimy little profits. Win-win. Except for the rest of us.
Many people appear to think that owning absolutely everything in the world is a solution. While others like me think it might very well be the problem. And I could be wrong here, but at least I’m not a scumbag.
What do you get when you put the most incompetent bunch of idiots ever assembled on a spaceship, and team them up with the most moronic and lazy scriptwriters money can buy? You get Prometheus, is what you get. The latest nail in the coffin of movie science fiction and intelligent cinema. And the latest reason to keep old men away from the good things they made in their youth. At all costs.
This film is a joke. It pretends to be “deep” and “philosophical” but just throws together random and badly thought-out space-movie tropes in any order. None of it makes sense, even in the logic-sparse world of big-screen science fiction.
Every single thing the characters do is unbelievable and stupid. They expose themselves to alien environments and substances at the drop of a hat. They show no curiosity about the things happening on their own ship. They all seem incredibly unsuited to their jobs. They are scared by pointless things, and completely not bothered by, oh, actual aliens.
Two crew members die in the alien structure, and nobody knows about it. Despite having a fucking massive high-tech console with every possible kind of feed. Apparently there’s no “record” function, and the guy on duty heads off for a quick shag. Nobody misses them until the next morning, and still they can’t figure out why they’re not saying anything.
Don’t even get me started on the alien structure’s very handy holographic projector, which replays only scenes that are extremely relevant to the plot, for no fucking apparent reason. Or the “archeologists” who’ve crossed thirty light-years for this mess and decide to take the first night off and hang out a bit. In their bedroom. Or the inane warbling about alien and human DNA being the same, while ignoring the fact that human DNA is similar to that of every creature on the Earth.
I can forgive a little hand-waving in movies, a little glossing-over of plot points for the greater good. But not in every single fucking scene. This movie was one long pointless chore. A chore made much worse in that I had to watch the fucking thing in 3D. And pay 50% more for my ticket for the fucking privilege.
Basically, I require the same from my science fiction movies as from other kinds — that they make sense. Why is this very basic demand so often disregarded? Do they assume we’ll come for the fucking flashy CGI and turn our brains completely off? Just because there’s spaceships and, oooh, aliens? Fuck you Hollywood, you lazy arrogant pricks.
I want to shove a spear up Ridley fucking Scott’s arse for treating me like a moron. That’s what he did with this movie. He charged me money for this dirge and sprayed diarrhea on a screen and said, “Look! It’s an alien, see?”
Don’t see this. It makes science fiction, the most intelligent and far-thinking of genres, into shit pudding. And please, somebody stop that bastard Scott from ruining Blade Runner in the same way by doing a prequel or a fucking remake or whatever the fuck he might be planning. For all that’s good and fine, please stop him. With a crowbar if necessary.
I’ve spent the evening going through the accumulated geological layers of crap in my basement, sorting it into stuff that I need, and stuff I can give or throw away. I am doing this because I am going to leave this area, and move on. I’ll be taking a smaller flat, much cheaper, and right beside a massive forest. In fact, the view from my new balcony will be – forest. No SUVs, no interchangeable blonde couples jogging around, no tossers parking on the bike lane. Just fucking forest.
This neighbourhood has been fine, for the three years I’ve been here. It’s by the water, and modern in a good way, and close to town and forest, plus the people I know in my building are lovely. Except for one thing. It’s too bloody rich. Upper-middle class rich. Soulless people wandering the clean streets like confused zombies with too much cash and no idea what to do with their pampered, self-obsessed lives.
The people living here have too much money, and they just spend it all on shit. Total and utter shit. Like fancier cars. Or new furniture. Or uglier bigger televisions. Or new fucking kitchens.
What’s the deal with kitchens anyway? Why, suddenly, does every moneyed moron have a burning desire to change their kitchen? What the fuck’s wrong with the old one? Is it broken? Does the toaster smell funny? Or is the wall the wrong fucking shade of egg-shell white?
I know the answer. They’ve seen it in some interior design magazine and decided it’s “for them”, the fucking mindless sheep.
Anyway, back to the present rant. The fact that my neighbours have too much money can easily be seen in the “recycling room”. This is where they offload their excess consumables, things that won’t fit in their cavernous basements. And, my God, you should see the stuff they throw away.
Sacks full of designer clothes. Brand new shoes. Electronics. Mobile telephones. Furniture. A few months back, I saw a stodgy pair offload about twenty banana boxes full of nice crystal, and old books, and toys from the 1950s. You could tell it was the contents of an older relative’s house. Their whole life, basically, dumped in a rubbish pile by two unimaginative twits with more money than life-force.
There are charity shops that take this stuff. Lots of them. But my brain-dead neighbours clearly can’t be arsed. Fuck the poor, let them get their own ugly designer shoes and fucking denim shorts.
Today I found a big “fat” television. I actually need a television for my Eurovision party next week, so I took it. It works perfectly. Of course. When I’m done, I’ll put it back. Look, here it is:
See too the other photos I’ve stuck to this article. All taken tonight. And this is just an average Sunday.
It’s very clear that people in this country have too much money, and don’t realise it. They have summer houses, boats, cars, foreign holidays, and still whinge that their taxes are too high. And that they don’t have enough time.
Well FUCK you all. You want more time, work less. Learn to get by on less stuff, and find joy in simple things, and you’ll be a lot fucking happier.
They won’t be happy though, will they? They’ll just be boring and have brightly coloured, fancy, loud and ultimately empty lives.
And if you ask me they’ve made their choice and they fucking deserve it.
I try not to hate people. That’s not a way to be happy. Even though I hold certain views myself, I always enjoy talking to people with different views. Not in order to feel superior by beating them over the head with logic to prove I am “right” (as done by quite a few people I could mention), but because I might gain a new viewpoint, a new way to see the world. And that’s what life is all about, right?
But there’s one group of people that I unreservedly despise. A group that should, with all due haste, be removed from the surface of the planet; scraped from Terra’s boots like yesterday’s dried dog-shit. And these are real estate agents.
To save you reading the rest of this rant, I’ll summarise here: I fucking despise real estate agents. Like nothing else in this world. I hate them, for example, more than fascists. At least many fascists have some belief that they are doing some kind of greater good, as misplaced as it might be. Real estate agents are simply selfish, greedy scum.
Twice have I had dealings with these despicable twigs of humanity. Twice have they tried, in some way, to cheat me. And one time was when the bastard was actually working for me, selling my apartment and getting paid handsomely for his few hours of sweaty-fingered work. He tried to cheat me anyway.
I mean, what do they do exactly? They sell things that there is a huge demand for. And how do they do this? By lying, cheating, and pressing up prices. Are they experts in anything? No. Do they have a special skill that can’t be found elsewhere? No. Are they in any way necessary to the smooth running of the world? No they fucking aren’t.
They go to school too, and fuck knows what they learn there, except to take misleading photos, write deceptive texts and suck money from people. In fact, they seem to exist for two reasons – to push up property prices in any way they can in order to increase their own cut, and to keep prices in general high. Property bubbles are entirely their fault. Okay, them and the banks, but mostly them, the spineless, gutless, soulless, suit-wearing sons of bitches. Useless slabs of flesh, every last one, without exception.
Nobody put these sentiments better than Stewart Lee in his awesome sketch. And who wouldn’t like to batter estate agents repeatedly with a heavy bat? Sounds fucking delightful if you ask me.
Today I read what was possibly the most pretentious, culture-snob hackery I have ever come across. It was a “review” (in Swedish) of the latest Harry Potter movie, a movie I am very much looking forward to. But also a review made by a mental midget who should have his title as “culture reporter” revoked, rolled up tightly and inserted into his bottom.
This guy is clearly from the snob school of culture. These are people who only regard some things as culture, fine things that they themselves once did a fucking paper on in culture-wank academy. You see these people everywhere, and they are almost always being snide about “lesser” cultural things. Things like science fiction, fantasy, or anything they don’t see as “clever” and can’t be bothered to look into because it might somehow demean them to read a book without a pompous “The” at the beginning of its self-important fucking title.
These people irritate the crap out of me. Well let me inform them – culture isn’t what a group of MacBook-owning (and come on, of course they all have MacBooks) and big black glasses-wearing idiots deem it to be. Culture, my snobby mate, is what people actually consume. I would even go as far to say that ballet and opera aren’t culture. They are museum pieces with very limited appeal, only kept alive by huge chunks of tax-payer’s money. Football is more culture than opera (and I don’t even like football). And Star Trek (despite being rather crap) is hugely more culturally relevant than some Nobel prize-winning tosser with his angsty shite that people will only buy because the slab-head won a Nobel prize with it.
Where does this reviewer get off saying that it isn’t important that he’s not seen the other movies? In what other movie review would this be okay? Perhaps reviewing the Kieślowski movies while only having seen the Red one? Or slashing “The Godfather” based on part 3? My arse it would be okay. And so why is it just fine with Harry Potter?
And then he belittles the book’s plot with his “Oh you all know how it goes” bullshit. Because he couldn’t be arsed to read the books or even see the other movies, it’s fine for us to be just as ignorant as he is. And his other point seems to be that you put enough ack-thors in a movie and throw a swanky enough director at it, then even mediocre second-rate shite like, oh, Harry fucking POTTER can look like a “real” movie.
Screw this guy, and the rest of the pretentious self-satisfied culture snobs who decide it’s okay to look down on things because they happen not to know anything about them. And a tip – next time, if you’re going to review a movie then put the fucking work in. If you don’t, then at least don’t bloody tell us in a “I didn’t bother and that’s okay because I don’t need to” kind of way.
And keep in mind that nobody gives a shit who you stood beside at some football game. Yeah?
I am becoming more and more unwilling to speak Swedish in public. It’s getting, by now, to be a bit of a joke.
Today, I took a vacation day and found myself in another city. I went into a café and gave my order to the (young) waitress. I wanted a cappuccino so I said:
“Jag tar en cappuccino.” Which translates, strangely enough, to:
“I’ll take a cappuccino.”
The waitress stared at me as if I’d said “Bestow upon me a codpiece boiled in trench-coat lovely sir lunchbox.”
I repeated the order, in my stupid-person voice, and she got it. Now this would have been a bit amusing except that it happened a few hours earlier in a Subway sandwich butcher’s.
“Lunchmenyn, tack,” I said. Meaning: “Lunch menu, thanks.” This was Subway at lunchtime, where they serve a good many lunch menus. But she stared at me like I was insane. “Which part didn’t you get?” I asked. “All of it,” she said.
Now, my Swedish accent isn’t brilliant, and I do tend to mumble in most languages but, seriously, how can you NOT hear the word “cappuccino” in a customer’s very short order when you work in a coffee shop where cappuccinos are 20% of your business?
This has happened me many times in Stockholm too, many many times. It’s got to the point where I don’t speak Swedish very often any more when ordering things. Speaking English right off the bat always works better, and let me tell you, you get vastly more respect. They pay attention, they are more helpful, and the girls always wink lasciviously (or so I imagine).
So, my standard advice to all English-speaking immigrants who move here is: learn Swedish well. But speak to pretty much everybody in English, because then they’ll all love you and not treat you like a confused moron.