Monday, January 28, 2008

Who's fooling who?

OK so I have been reminded that my name is still here as an author. I've been way slack on writing anything since... oh God knows when. In my defence I have only been in Sweden for about four weeks of the last five months having travelled round the world at least twice. There is only so much you can take, even in business class. Do not fly KLM from Stockholm, it is a fucking appalling lounge. On the other hand watching the women queue for a toilet in the lounge at Beijing is funny when the snobby tarts deliberately ignore the little Chinese cleaner trying to point them to the other women's loo. And I did manage to get some culture, among other things the apartheid musuem in Johannesburg is powerful and going to the DMZ in Korea is a must do, even stepping over the border to the North in a room with South Korean guards is psychologically interesting. I did make it back to NZ briefly but did not manage to meet up with the people I wanted to, but apparently came withing spitting distance of Cactus Kate and Whaleoil having a VRWC drink at the viaduct.

And next week I'm off again, to Europe and North America. So there is fuck all time to write anything that isn't a project plan or strategy report. The job is interesting, I get to meet a lot of unique characters and of course I get a lot of money. If one thing was hammered home to me when I came back to NZ (apart from the fact that NZ drivers are fucking terrible) is the sad truth that I would never get a job equal to my talents. My OE has really become my life. Sorry Inland Revenue.

So in lieu of anything meaningful let me instead recommend some culture from the (currently surprisingly warm) north. If there is one thing that Swedes do well it is music. Must be something to do with all the programs on TV here involving singing or talking about singing. Or all the singing they do when drunk. So here is my favourites of the moment:

Sahara Hotnights. Music varying from rock to punk. Been together since they were teenagers so there is quite a lot of music from them. Oh yeah, and they are hot. Tonnes of vids on you tube. Some older punky style in Alright alright. Then they tried to break through in America but didn't quite succeed somehow, with a bit of a change in style in Cheek to cheek. Oh and Visit to Vienna but the video is a bit naff. All good though.
"I hate England," bassist Johanna Asplund says. "It's crappy in every way. I'm going to write a whole book about hating England."

Marit Bergman. Solo artist with a variety of songs and my general favourite. Some very typical Swedish pop style (do not anyone dare mention Ace of Base!) and a very good artist. Favourite is Adios Amigos because it is so damn happy. And the video of the depressed Swedish winter shoppers watching a couple of colourful chicks running around is classic. Also Eyes Were Blue is a much more downbeat but compelling song, with a weird video that must have been filmed in Stockholm as well.

Then there is Hello Saferide. A very folky type of music with pretty but short songs. Also the only artist I've heard include "alta vista" in a song and actually be referring to the search engine. You here some of the typical elements of modern Swedish folk style that turns up a lot of other places too. The lyrics of My best friend no doubt have puritans spinning in missing the point.

Finally Anna Ternheim. A little like Hello Saferide but more up-tempo. Currently Girl laying down is a favourite.

There's something strange about the accents that Swedish singers have when doing songs in English. They are all over the place even from song to song. Must have something to do with where they went to school and what TV they watch.

There we go! We'll see how many more I manage in 2008.

No comments: