At Large Seen in Stockholm
posted by January 7 at 23:16 PMon
1. The buildings: They aren’t the spindly, spiraling towers of the southern Gothic, nor the blocky confections of Amsterdam, but something in between. All European cities have architecture from the 14th century rubbing up againt 21st-century post (or post-post?) modern contortions of sheet metal, but in Stockholm, the transitions seem weirdly smooth, as if the medieval Swedish builders already felt IKEA quickening in their designs.
2. The rockers: They really fucking rock. Holy Ghost Revival and Clorox Girls were both well-received (the latter is wonderfully happy, dancey punk music, the former is a bit of a baroque-glam-metal spectacular that somebody here described as “Shakespeare meets Rock & Roll High School”) and the club they played, Debaser ( it’s Pixies-themed, with heavy emphasis on Doolittle and drink names like “Monkey Gone to Heaven”) was hopping.
3. Sticker number one:
More dead cops.
4. Sticker number two:
Missing: Dawit Isaak. Swedish citizen and journalist imprisoned in Eritrea without trial since 2001. Please direct appeals to the Eritrean embassy in Stockholm. +46(0)8 44 17 170.
5. The people: They really are beautiful—all of them. White and black, young and old, Turkish taxi drivers and the lone Asian geezer I saw walking through old town, carrying a shopping bag. Must be the water. That, or they round up the ugly people at night and execute them. This is socialism, after all.
6. Sticker number three:
You are not your job,
Your not how much
money you have
on the bank…
There’s a whole genre of stickers specifically aimed at tourists—they’re in English in all the scenic parts of town and Swedish in all the residential neighborhoods, like where our host, Johan, lives and near his band-practice space, an old bomb shelter with carpeting, recording equipment, and a squeeze-toy of Osama Bin Laden holding a machine gun.
Next stop, Link°ping, sister city of Palo Alto, California.