posted on June 1, 2012 at 2:20 am

graven imaged

in nordic graveyards where heroes are buried

gardens of the long gone dead

that sorrowful northern light

a single bird song in the twilights that linger on

oh this is as lonely as you can be

this is somewhere different

this cold cold water clear and under the bridge

old peasant types up against the nouveau riche

theres this lovely smell in all the shops and malls

the bathrooms all look the same no matter where you go

the lollies oh so good believe me

everything here in sodermalm is kinda top notch i’d say

and prices too

soder is like paddington in sydney i guess

you know that art cool expensive part of town that once was working class

anyway a pair of shorts on sale was about 200 bucks

(glad they was on sale …imagine the full price….!)

i eat at a veggie place called chutney on katarinabansgatan

that might be misspelt …..i apologise

the food is good and the atmosphere is….

its like being in someones cosy house

conversation is low

they have settees with red velvet cushions

theres interesting art and eastern religious figures on wall

there is NOTHING like this in sydney

the food a bit pricey but youd pay this at home too

everything is kinda top rate

thats hard to explain but australia and england are more shoddy

of course the reverse side of non shoddiness is its more straight too

but the swedes are kind of dependable people

not given to hysterical rubbish

(unless young blokes who are extremely drunk)

swedes are tending towards calm reason and fairness

even the many swedish dealers thieves and prostitutes

that i become friends with in my darkest days on earth

they were reasonable dealers thieves and prostitutes

they did what they did but it had a kind of layer of sordidness removed

the swedes do not think like us

many make the mistake to think that they do

but they do not

in some ways elektra and miranda are aliens to me

they see things from a point of view that is in their genes

you can maybe acquire a little if you live here

i already had grokked the nordic mojo when i was a kid

man i loved my norse mythology like a rabid fan

boy those stories seemed so familiar to me

they werent mythology to me like some dusty scholarly thing…

full of betrayal lust trickery and intrigue

people look here for the real genesis of tolkien and game of thrones

and you see the characters in norse mythology

well they are so fucking scandanavian

the gods and goddesses

they way they see n do things

its a fatalistic almost hopelessly sad feeling

oh yeah of course mr i bergman got it on film

but i feel it at every moment of every day

that longing

my longing to stay here much much longer

can you imagine i have 2 swedes of my own for daughters

they fascinate me

i see all members of both parents faces sometimes flash across them

some incredible computer figured out all the best DNA we had

chucked it together and produced them

but they are their own girls

they have gravitas

and they have that same skandic thing

that sad detachment

that reminds me of the elves in lord of the rings

the swedes are a handsome and beautiful lot

girls in fishnchip shops whod surely be models somewhere else

guys at starbucks who look like every rockstar ever but with blond dreads

serving coffee

no ones even looking at him

if that guy lived in sydney he’d be the lead singer of some newtown band

for sure

its overcast and coldish

this will make the swedes sad if it keeps up

these people need their fucking summer

and its a bummer if it never comes

sweden in summer is the nicest place on earth i swear

if you can get in with some swedes (or turnips ha ha)

and you get out to the summer house in the country

man after youve wound down you will love it

often with no electricity

candle lit meals outside in the daylight lasting till eleven

swimming in the cold brown lakes

the profound and holy silence of the gods forest

to me the archetypal swedish type is max von sydow in seventh seal

a handsome tragic uncomplaining doing his best to keep his head

cautious and alarmed by extreme behaviour

a little skeptical but underneath that sometimes

a desperate search for spirit

but the swedes are tuned into the weather

and some are tuned into a quite otherworldly gracefulness

until smoking drinking and eating rather lots of meat ruins it for them

oh and smoking loads of cigs and drinking lots of milk and cream

but by and large the people look younger than elsewhere

i guess thats the cold and long winters which preserve

personally sweden makes me feel very cosy and safe

although i know that is an illusion

it is the most sane place (in many ways) that you  ever go to

they look after people here children old people migrants everybody

its not like it used to be

but humanism certainly prevails

it isnt about a bunch of power drunk fatcats at the top

its different here although

they have a silly royal family

the princess christened her daughter

and the papers recounted every last detail

going over n over pathetic little snippets about shoes and bibs

and all these other royals from europe in medals n stuff

medals for what?

the king has been quite a naughty boy too

with a penchant for very rocknroll kinda things

strip clubs popsingers wild parties

how can ya take a king like that seriously ?

seriously if i was the king i wouldnt do stuff like that

he doesnt deserve it .hes a real twerp

kick em all out (but you’d decimate tourism !)

i reckon its day will have to come

swedes following their nose for progressive socialism

will one day ask the royal gooseballs to stand down

maybe a grandson of mine will marry a future princess

or a granddaughter will marry a norwegian duke

then i’ll be all for it! yes sir!

of course i’ll be the old guy in the admirals get up n medals

hanging around at weddings n things in europe

and spending christmas with the aga khan

 

 

if i had to leave australia then i would live here

it is still a very sane and civilised country

 

 

 

 

39 Responses to “scan d’ knavia”

  1. avatar
    BROKEN TOYS AND HEROS | 1 June 2012 at 3:20 am #

    Thanks for the visual tour King Kilbey….
    Hahahahaha…that does have a nice ring to it…

    It’s raining buckets upon buckets here in Chicago…
    It’s chilly and damp, and only 72+ hours ago it was
    96F degress…
    Your the traveler of time and space sire…
    and soon you will embark on that long flight home…
    It’s been a real treat to live a bit of Sweden thru you…
    But soon reality sets in with the sounds of my home…
    Chicago- the greatest city on Earth !!!
    (impartial to my grand opinion, for those who have never seen
    her…she sparkles from being unlike any other American city…
    prestine skyline on a lake of velvet blue glass…
    so clean it amazes me each day as millions pass by…)
    Nothing like my home, nowhere on Earth…
    and a history like a fairytale of wind swept stories…
    Please come all…and visit anytime you like…
    Simply the best !!!
    (of course my humble opinion)

    Daz

  2. avatar
    hippy | 1 June 2012 at 3:37 am #

    Steve I like your poetry blogs but I like these “slices of real life” with your gift for descriptions. It’s like you’re really there. Sweet blog today.

  3. Jmb066
    Jmb066 | 1 June 2012 at 7:10 am #

    Steve,

    I was thinking the same thing as Hippy here, always love your poetry and the images they convey. I really enjoy your slice of life descriptions as well. Sweden is on my top 10 list to visit and hope to get there soon, I feel your description today even moves it up on my list. I am sure it is bittersweet for you to be there. You lived there awhile and always have a reason to go back to see your daughters. I am sure you miss the crew in Australia as well. It seems from your post despite the circumstances this trip was just what you needed. I wish I were there now to see you and Marty play together, anyway thanks for the tour of your Sweden and get home safe.

    Take Care,

    Jason

  4. avatar
    KevG | 1 June 2012 at 7:18 am #

    Beautiful and sad, and elegantly and lovingly so. This must be one of my favorites of all your posts. Thank you.

    I agree completely about von Sydow in Seventh Seal, which on many days is my favorite film ever (for entirely non-film-school reasons). What a grounded, human center he gave to the whole fantastic proceedings.

  5. avatar
    Anonymous | 1 June 2012 at 7:57 am #

    The summer house and the coffee shop boys make me want to run away from home.

  6. avatar
    colette | 1 June 2012 at 8:09 am #

    Thank you, sounds a very desirable place to be. I mean if there are trade offs against that kind of cold, it must be good! But I haven’t heard it from such a perspective before and the perspective is well matched to the subject matter/setting 🙂 Hope you will not feel too ‘culture shocked’ when you return. If I were king I wouldn’t be king. Apparently she can be king according to MWP but I still wouldn’t be, not literally anyway. Related more vaguely, I always loved looking in Georg Jensen windows. And that Pandora jewellery you see advertised everywhere now and of which I’m not a collector, well originally apparently the idea came from Scandinavia, Troll Beads. I don’t own any but I checked them out and they do look much more original than the copies. To me. Just saying.Yes, hope to visit one day. In the meantime I must read some Tolkien.Been saying that for years. Maybe I’m more interested in the modern Scandinavia.

  7. avatar
    Once | 1 June 2012 at 9:38 am #

    I was born in the wrong country. I’ve known it for a long time. But I suppose it’s because I have something to learn.

    America has no soul.

    America is a fucking checkbook.

    Don’t talk to me about “freedom”.

    Remember this?

    “Give me your tired, your poor,
    Your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free,
    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
    Send these, the homeless, tempest tossed,
    I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

    Now, the edict is – keep ’em out.

    Now, the edict is: MONEY IS EVERYTHING.

    No lamp, no door. Just one big fucking corporation.

    I weep for us all.

  8. avatar
    Once | 1 June 2012 at 9:45 am #

    I was born in the wrong country. I’ve known it for some time, but now figure that I just have something to learn.

    America has no soul.

    America is a fucking checkbook.

    And don’t talk to me about “freedom”.

    Remember this?

    “Give me your tired, your poor,
    Your huddled masses, yearning to breath free,
    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
    Send these, the homeless, tempest tossed,
    I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

    Now, the edict is – “keep ’em out”

    Now the edict is – MONEY IS EVERYTHING.

    The lamp has gone out, the door has closed, and you’d better be ready to lie and deceive for your cash…cuz that’s the way, hon.

    I weep for us all.

    • avatar
      bigbopper | 1 June 2012 at 5:26 pm #

      America bashing is so chic. You will reap the benefits of her fruit while bad-mouthing her very existence. You could not, and would not, ever leave her. I weep for America. The most free melting pot of humanity ever assembled on the earth and her children have turned their back on her.

      • avatar
        Larry Smith | 2 June 2012 at 3:54 am #

        Well, I admit I bash America. Yes I live here and enjoy the fruits but how in the fook does that not give me a right to complain? The love it or leave it attitude is a chickenshit argument. If I am really free here, then I have a right to talk shit. The people who shout down dissent have no idea what a free country is. If our founding fathers were to think that way, we would still be flying The British Flag over this land.

        It is this rising tide of ignorance, blind acceptance that our systems should never be changed or we might become “socialists” (oh shudder, how horrible that would be!), the fact that people have become so incapable of critical thinking that channels like Fox news can manipulate peoples emotional centers to get them to lash out against others for daring to think another way. The fact that the right wing got hijacked by religious zealots whom offer no real alternative to the Democrats except to naysay everything a Democrat would propose. The Democrats are too scared to be bold enough to call them out, and their own corruption undermines any high ground they could take. All of this shit is not the America I want to live in. For caring and daring to speak out for the past 10 years I have been told to love it or leave it, I have been called a commie or a socialist and I have been told I am throwing my vote away by blind Democrats who think alternative parties are the devil (they could be our salvation if people grew enough balls to vote their hearts instead of thinking “who can win”). I know other people who have spoken their minds and have been beaten down.

        Sorry, I am not proud, yet here I stay for now. DEAL WITH IT.

    • avatar
      Anonymous | 2 June 2012 at 2:42 am #

      So leave then. If you hate it so much why are you here? You obviously haven’t traveled much.

  9. avatar
    Once | 1 June 2012 at 9:45 am #

    Sorry if that’s a dupe…computer issues…I liked the 2nd one better, anyway…

  10. avatar
    Ingrid | 1 June 2012 at 9:55 am #

    Hey SK, maybe thats partly why the country is how you’ve described it, (especially how you say they look after everybody there, – and that “humanism prevails

  11. avatar
    Ingrid | 1 June 2012 at 10:18 am #

    Hey SK, thank you for this little glimpse into what sounds to be an extraordinary and delightful country. Perhaps because Sweden has a royal family (with all its shortcomings) is the reason that they look after people there – and that “humanism certainly prevails”. Instead of feathering their own nests for short term gain, (like our politicians here) they are more interesting in preserving a culture for future generations. I don’t know if thats the reason but thats my theory.

    Enjoy the rest of your stay there, I imagine it would be quite hard to leave.
    xxx

  12. avatar
    Ingrid | 1 June 2012 at 10:38 am #

    Hey SK, thank you for the glimpse into what sounds a delightful and intriguing country. Maybe it is because Sweden has a royal family (with all its shortcomings) is the reason that they look after people there – and that “humanism certainly prevails”. Rather than feather their own nests for short term gains (like politicians here) they want to preserve their culture for future generations. I don’t know if that is the reason, but its my theory.

    Enjoy the rest of your time there. I imagine it would be hard to leave.
    xxx

    • avatar
      Ingrid | 2 June 2012 at 10:29 am #

      I didn’t mean to double post this, I lost the first one so I thought it vanished into the ether. Anyway apologies

  13. avatar
    Peter | 1 June 2012 at 7:11 pm #

    Hello! Great post. As a swede living right near Katarina Bangata it´s fascinating reading a non-swedes observations on my native country and my city. There are few misconceptions, especially in the comment. Sweden is NOT a country interested in preserving a culture for future generations. Maybe this is changing now, but not in a good way (an extreme right-wing party got 5% in the latest parliament referendum and they are growing in the polls). Sweden is instead a country with an extremely modernistic and rational view on almost everything. An example is the city of Stockholm itself which almost got totally demolished in 60´s and the 70´s. We are lucky to have some houses from the 18th century left at all. The original plan was to totally eradicate the Old Town (with houses from the 16th and 17th century), fortunately this never happened. The same thing happened in most swedish cities. The royal family is an anachronism in a country where the national holiday (June 6) is not celebrated at all, most swedes doesn´t even know why it´s celebrated. As for peoples good looks…I think it has more to do with peoples expectations. I see just as many handsome folks in Barcelona as in Stockholm. It is very clean, though…

  14. avatar
    Ryan Murdock | 1 June 2012 at 8:05 pm #

    jeez man, are you sure you aren’t a travel writer? i really enjoyed reading that. you captured the spirit of place beautifully.

  15. avatar
    Linjo | 1 June 2012 at 8:18 pm #

    Wonderful blog Steve. I savoured every line. Yes the Scandinavians are such handsome people. I remember travelling in the outback in the early 80s and feeling so ordinary in their midst. Wonderful that they are such calm and peace loving people when their ancestors were so violent in their quest for gain. xxx

  16. avatar
    andy | 1 June 2012 at 10:05 pm #

    messsers daves m.and oto, brian h and i would most likely be kicking our heels around central stockholm right now were it not for the insane air fares!
    enjoy!

  17. avatar
    Peter | 1 June 2012 at 10:15 pm #

    Hello! Great post. As a swede living right near Katarina Bangata it´s fascinating reading a non-swedes observations on my native country and my city. There are few misconceptions, especially in the comments. Sweden is NOT a country interested in preserving a culture for future generations. Maybe this is changing now, but not in a good way (an extreme right-wing party got 5% in the latest parliament referendum and they are growing in the polls). Sweden is instead a country with an extremely modernistic and rational view on almost everything. An example is the city of Stockholm itself which almost got totally demolished in 60´s and the 70´s. We are lucky to have some houses from the 18th century left at all. The original plan was to totally eradicate the Old Town (with houses from the 16th and 17th century), fortunately this never happened. The same thing happened in most swedish cities. The royal family is an anachronism in a country where the national holiday (June 6) is not celebrated at all, most swedes doesn´t even know why it´s celebrated. 

  18. avatar
    Anonymous | 1 June 2012 at 11:07 pm #

    nice wrap SK

    (I wouldn’t be banking on medals and finery though
    if the royal family lasted long enough to marry into the kilbey family
    dear old Grandad would surely be its undoing)

  19. avatar
    narelle | 2 June 2012 at 12:42 am #

    very lovely read Steve
    and….”the conversations are low”…bliss
    I guess we wear our sun baked, deep fried skin
    good point about being able to eat out at a place that is relaxed…and has good food
    if such places do exist there’re well hidden in Sydney…Melbourne comes close
    back in the seventies I has a job cooking in a great vego restaurant at Coffs…have no idea how I did it as I was self taught and pretty young
    boring bay (Byron Bay) was almost all vegetarian eateries…but along came the eighties and that was that…wholesome food outlets dwindled
    anyhow, thanks again for sharing…it is an amazing world…so much beauty

  20. avatar
    Boriah | 2 June 2012 at 1:03 am #

    Have a nice time with Marty tonight. About Sweden…I wanna marry a swedish woman, I still can make it. Northern european countries = most beautiful women.

    Hugs.

  21. avatar
    pennybridge | 2 June 2012 at 1:44 am #

    Vår kung Kalle: ett skämt (degenererad?)
    Vickan och Danne (en vanlig Svensson): omåttligt populära
    Vår monarki lever på konstgjord andning
    Men till nobelprisutdelningen får de gärna återuppstå.

    Loveliest swedish word (my opinion): fridlyst
    ugliest: kräkas
    funniest: kackerlacka

    Thank you for today’s blog, have(if not nice then at least) safe journey home.

  22. avatar
    Larry Smith | 2 June 2012 at 3:30 am #

    I want to live there. I can not identify with my own country(USA) anymore. The people are so angry, murderous, rude and unaware of the privilege they have in this world. I want to cry at the rising tide of ignorance and how some even take pride in being rubes and indigents. I can hear the old American battlecry of ignorance “Love it or Leave it!” to which I have an answer: I’m working on it.

    • avatar
      Linjo | 2 June 2012 at 7:37 pm #

      Larry I am currently reading the Thomas Harris trilogy, Red Dragon, Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal. Hannibal said to Clarice that she was a rube. I can’t remember ever hearing that before and now see it again in your comment. Funny that. Linda

  23. avatar
    Anonymous | 2 June 2012 at 4:58 am #

    Sweden may be a happy place, but they have nothing of substance coming from that country.
    I guess the choice comes down to this:
    Continue to be a Capitalist Country, and the leader of the free world.
    Become a Socialist country, where the citizens are enslaved to to the government, as the government provides everything.

    Choose wisely.
    USA

  24. avatar
    Ellen | 2 June 2012 at 5:15 am #

    Love this entry. I’ve never visited Sweden or that region of the world, but after reading your description, I’m intrigued.

  25. avatar
    Brien Comerford | 2 June 2012 at 9:34 am #

    Sk is indisputably the most famous vegetarian in Sweden when he visits.

  26. avatar
    Lady Di | 2 June 2012 at 11:51 am #

    SK Rocks Vivid!

    Amazing installation sk, beautiful visually and aurally.
    I saw Miranda’s name and yours of course, but I probably missed some.
    Would love another look, time permitting. Congratulations to you both, great job!

    Love Di

  27. avatar
    Steven Krut | 2 June 2012 at 1:48 pm #

    You like Sweden for pretty much the same reason I liked The Netherlands when I lived there – the sanity, the sensation of not being besieged by ignorance, the joy of being surrounded by people who actually know how to find their own country on the map. Lots of insanity in the U.S. these days. 😛

    Hey, I’ve been enjoying those two songs you provided for download. Thanks! I can’t wait to hear how your remix changes them.

  28. avatar
    Peter | 2 June 2012 at 6:25 pm #

    “Sweden may be a happy place, but they have nothing of substance coming from that country.
    I guess the choice comes down to this:
    Continue to be a Capitalist Country, and the leader of the free world.
    Become a Socialist country, where the citizens are enslaved to to the government, as the government provides everything.
    Choose wisely.
    USA”

    Why are you provoked by this blogpost? Are you under the impression that Sweden is a socialist county? Sweden is oe of the most liberal countries in the world, both economically and when it comes to freedom-of-speech. Nothing of substance? Do you mean in the form of ideas or in the form of export goods and innovations? Natural resources?
    If so, I suggest you do a little research.

  29. avatar
    alien visit | 2 June 2012 at 7:53 pm #

    just got back from Vienna, Austria, lovely place, would love to summer in europe, winter in florida.

  30. avatar
    hellbound heart | 2 June 2012 at 8:37 pm #

    If I could live anywhere I’d live in Scotland…….wild and ancient and beautiful…..
    <3

  31. avatar
    hopalong CAcity | 3 June 2012 at 9:42 pm #

    ‘gotta be where you are…

  32. avatar
    Anonymous | 4 June 2012 at 12:06 pm #

    Great post, I’m intrigued also and wonder how it compares to Switzerland. And if Steve hates the US…..I’m hoping you head back this way soon.


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