Thursday, August 02, 2007

Stockholm Pride 2007 begins...

Stockholm Pride 2007, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

The little summer holiday can now begin. I have finished my three days of work at the Stockholm office and have just written up my reports so am free to join Fred in sampling the delights of Stockholm. Ironically, we have moved out of the city centre to a hotel in Solna, which is quite near to where the office is. It is a lot cheaper than the hotels IN the centre and is, by far, the best hotel we have stayed in. A nice large-ish room on the tenth floor with a view out to the east, from where we could watch dawn breaking already at about 2 am! The beds are comfortable – although a double bed in Sweden means two single beds put together and the breakfast was wonderful.. lots of different sorts of bread and fresh fruit, including delicious fresh raspberries and some rather sharp tasting black currants, along with the usual hotel fare of hard melon chunks, sweet water melon and pineapple.

Fred is back under his white duvet while I have been finishing the reports and editing the photos for upload to flickr.

Last night was the first day of Stockholm Pride. It is in a park, behind metal fences, as if we are animals in a zoo, a bit off-putting at first, but once inside, it was really quite good. Fred had been along during the day when he was able to share the compound with about fifty not-so-lipstick lesbians, but it was a lot busier in the evening, when we went after grabbing a delicious and not-too-expensive pizza and beer at a nearby restaurang (as they are known here).

Unfortunately, we timed our entrance to coincide with the performance of a young rock chick in a red dress and a guitar playing terrible American sounding soft rock, but things could only get better, as they did, especially when a local hip hop group, the Backstreet Matchsticks (?) took to a stage and started rapping away in Swedish. A very handsome singer and some nice humour. Very good. After this there was a major performance by some obviously famous Swedish pop group, with a dreadful looking singer (looking like the Dutch magician Hans Klok) with a squeaky, whiney voice. That said, the electronic music and songs were very catchy and the lighting was excellent. The evening finished off with some very energetic African dancers on the small podium where we had been drinking our beers.

We were able to reflect that the so-called gay capital of Europe, was having its Pride celebrations this weekend, where there would be little more than the same old tired canal parade and a few bars selling drinks outside for a couple of nights, accompanied by the odd drag queen performance on stage (not quite that bad). This was a lot better.

We are not sure exactly how much we like Swedish people as a whole. They seem to be well educated, well organised but lack a bit of joie de vivre and humour. They will only cross roads at a zebra crossing and only when the light is green. They have an annoying habit of getting in one’s way, having about as much awareness of other people as Dutch people, barging and pushing past, and we have noticed that every time we want to go through a door, there is always someone coming from the other side who wants to get through first. They’ll not wait. Otherwise, the very many immigrants here seem to be well integrated, speaking perfect Swedish with a perfect Swedish accent and they look quite affluent. Not too many headscarves.

As for dress codes, they seem to be very individualistic, trying to create a unique image for themselves and in this way they contrast very much with the Dutch who tend to dress and look much of a muchness. Even older people refuse to be bound by convention in their dress sense. Sometimes, it is taken to extremes, with some very odd types to be seen walking around, but very few look at all aggressive or nasty. In fact, we have not seen any signs of aggression and we have not seen hardly any graffiti, which is great.

It has turned a little bit cloudy today, but warm enough for shorts and T shirt. A nice day to walk around town, better than taking a boat out to the archipelago. In fact, Fred might have had the best of the weather these last three days. Anyway, the day promises to end well with Eurovision night at Pride, where we have been promised a visit by the very-great-but-not-lesbian Marija Serifovic!


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