Swedish Saturday

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Stockholm - the town hall is located in the centre of this photograph.
Stockholm - the town hall is located in the centre of this photograph.

Sweden was, once again, the recurrent theme in my life today.

The day started off simply enough with breakfast at the nearby “Book Cafe”. I’ve been there before on several occasions, but it’s normally quite busy, because the food is very good. Today, we were lucky enough to score an outside table where we watched the passing parade of Surry Hills on a Saturday.

Across the road, the crowds continued to line up at the Bourke Street Bakery, which I’ve previously described as the only place outside of the former Soviet Union where people line up to purchase bread.

Back at the “Book Cafe”, we sat around for an hour or so enjoying the coffee, the juice, and their tasty breakfasts. Patrick and I both had the poached eggs, fetta, and avocado on sourdough toast which had a delightfully salty taste to it, thanks to a little added sea-salt. Excellent. Sam had an omlette.

After a late breakfast, we wandered around Surry Hills for a while, before preparing for a mid-afternoon viewing of Melodifestivalen, the Swedish heats leading up to Eurovision.

“It’s better than Eurovision”, a few of us agreed as we watched the first and second heats.

There’s a fair bit of musical variety in the heats, and yet somehow the Swedes manage to choose a similar song every year. Apparently, they’re a bit worried about their lack of success in recent years, and so have introduced an International Judging Panel which seeks to have a little broader input into the selection proces.

This year we had a new host who was like a combination of Gretel Killeen and Julia Zamira in presentation style.

We had a great afternoon. Graeme and Grant came along. And later we were joined by “Facebook Friend”, Louisa who I’ve made contact with through a common love of Eurovision and Melodifestivalen.

And if three four hours of Swedish pop music wasn’t enough, we then headed off to the Academy Twin for a screening of the Swedish movie, “Patrik 1.5”, as part of Mardi Gras Film Festival.

It’s such a beautiful movie, all four of us found ourselves a little bit teary. The film beautifully combines some very funny moments with that raw, often melancholic sensitivity you often find in Swedish films.

The plot concerns a 40-something gay couple living in a small community – “it’s like Edward Scissor-hands”, Graeme commented – who decide to adopt a child.

But although the Swedish laws allowed adoptions by gay couples, there just weren’t enough Swedish children available, and no other country was willing to allow an inter-country adoption by a gay couple. “We’ll have a Swedish child or a Danish child then. Well, not a Danish one…”, one of the guys joked.

Anyway, it’s finally announced they have a child in the form of Patrick who is aged 1.5, though of course, it turns out he’s really actually 1.5, he’s actually 15, and from a quite troubled past.

Beyond that, I won’t give away too much of the plot-line.

As I mentioned, we all really loved the film. In some ways, it’s heart-warming in the similar kind of way of as “Sa som i himmeln” (As It Is In Heaven”, in that it combines happiness and sadness. The characters are all totally believeable, and you could imagine yourself either being them, or at least knowing them.

From there, we headed out for a bite to eat, and then a spot of dancing.

I knew the DJ was known to playing the occasional Swedish pop track, and tonight we weren’t disappointed. In the midst of the more obvious Swedish references, such as “September” (“Cry For You”) and the song by “Pink” (“Sober”) (the video for which prominently features the Stockholm town hall, located in the centre of the above photograph), he’s also been known to play the occasional more obscure Swedish number, I told Patrick.

With not too much encouragement, he wandered up with a hand-written note, requesting a bit of BWO (“Bodies Without Organs”).

The night thus ended on the dance floor with the strains of “you can dance all night with the bourgeoise, yeah yeah, lay your love on me”. last year’s entry by BWO at Melodifestivalen ringing out.

There was a lovely amount of symmetry in the day, don’t you think?

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