Saturday, August 04, 2007

Two more days of Stockholm Pride

Here we are two days on and it is Saturday, the day of the Parade through the streets of Stockholm. The promised fine weather has still not arrived but there are still a few hours for the clouds to break and for the sun to come through. A strange thing was that I had noticed from the glass lift down from the tenth floor that there was a great break in the clouds and the sun was shining over Western Stockholm, but a half an hour later, after breakfast, it was this which had disappeared, not the clouds. A pity.

Well, Thursday was Schlagerkväll, which means Eurovision and there was an all-evening concert down at the Pride Park, the high point of which was due to be Marija Serifovic, this years winner. However, before that we were treated to a boy band on the small stage who sang, amongst other songs, The Worrying Kind, this year’s Swedish entry from the Ark, before attention turned to the main stage. Here we were treated to an almost never-ending stream of blond Swedish women singing to a backing track of their past Eurovision songs (many of which, I assume had not quite made the final choice as the Swedish entries, as most of the songs were unfamiliar. These women would have their counterparts in Dutch people’s culture as well, to some extent, but here instead of Mokumse liedjes of love and heartbreak, many of these tunes were very much up-tempo Eurovision songs.

A few of the women were not blond and a few even were man, and a couple more even were men dressed as women, but it was all pretty well much the same. There was a great atmosphere and the audience was packed. There was Sonia and Silvia and Sophie and Suzie, their first names saying enough to identify them to their appreciative public. I was very happy to see Imaani from UK from 1998 when she just lost to Dana International in the last round of voting. Where Are you Now was the song, sadly the last decent song which the UK has sent to Eurovision. Further, there was Silvia Night from Iceland from last year and a pink feathered DQ from Denmark, singing his own Drama Queen and a lady from Belgium, who went down very well, but I have no idea who she was. Anyway, sure enough, we ended up with Marija coming on looking so much like a butch dyke, with her baggy grey T shirt over some baggy jeans and her deliberately unstyled hair. She let rip with Molitva, traditional style, before giving us a bonus English language uptempo version of the song, which, unfortunately had lost most of its power from its translation from the original Serbian..

Time at the end to visit our bar outside of the Park, where I was lucky enough to bump into the singer from the Backroom Matches, from the previous day, and even had the courage to chat to him and tell him how much I enjoyed his performance. A pity that Fred was in such a hurry to get inside, otherwise we could have chatted some more.

Yesterday, was a wettish cool grey day, perfect for visiting museums, which is what we did. A pity that we chose to visit the outdoor museum of Skansen in the afternoon when it actually rained almost all of the time, instead of the indoor Wasa Museuem which we visited in the late morning. A magnificent museum dedicated to displaying the whole remains of Gustavus Adolphus’ biggest battleship, which in 1628 met a similar fate as would meet the Titanic, when it sank on its maiden voyage in Stockholm Harbour. The ship was rediscovered in the 1950’s and after about thirty years, it was finally brought to shore and restored and housed in its very own museum, almost intact. One of the best museums I have ever visited, I think, with all sorts of displays and films and so on, and of course, the ship itself. Absolutely massive, yet it was easy enough to see why it might have sank, being not all that wide and too top heavy.

Skansen is an outdoor museum showing off old houses and so on from the Swedish countryside, together with various local animals such as otters, elk and reindeer (not seen). It is just a kilometer or two walking distance from the centre of Stockholm, on a rocky outcrop on one of the islands, yet it seemed as if one was miles away in the countryside, there being so much space and views out over the countryside. In this respect Stockholm gives the air of being very spacious, there being parks and trees and open spaces as well as the water, everywhere.

It seemed as if the organizers of Pride might have had an inkling that the weather would not be so good on the Friday as they had made very little effort to organise anything nice. Instead we had to put up with about three different performances of radical queer and lesbian groups from America and Canada on the main stage, before finally the transvestites were given their turn to inject some glamour and a light touch to the evening.


Blogger MAS said...

I wonder who this singer (Backroom matches) was? I left to Vancouver the day after so it couldn't have been me. I know that. HUGS

12 August, 2007 22:18  
Blogger Charles Roffey and Fred O said...

Ha ha! It was the one with the beard... but I thought you guys were great... I can send you some photos if you like... a pity you had to leave so soon. Hope you are having fun over there in Vancouver. C. xx

12 August, 2007 23:35  

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