Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Like A Good Neighbor, Stay Over There

Took a stroll throughout more of Södermalm to places that Fernando likes to go to.  A mountain down the street and around the corner had a nice cafe waiting at the top and an open pavilion just on the edge.  In the 20s or so it used to host a lot of dance parties.  After that made our way down to this large castle that used to be an asylum.  Now it's an assisted-living home... I guess it could make sense, in a creepy way.  There's a rumor they used to practice lobotomy in the 1920s as well. FFFUUUUNNNN. Anyhow, came up back around to the river again - on the other side this time towards more modern, geometric architecture. aka spankin-new-homes.  They kind of seemed almost dorm like. inbetween all these sharp apartments were bakeries, gyms, restaurants scattered about.  Not to mention some sweet sunbathing and bench areas on the water.

View from a lil mountain around the corner

Asylum turned assisted living home

Abandoned greenhouse

The comfiest bench

Free boat taxi across the way

Did I ever mention Fernando or his neighbors? Well, he's 32, and an ex computer game designer person, also fluent in duck.  Til he quit that and became a tattoo artist, for the last couple years.  Just not too long ago him and his girlfriend got themselves a studio - she's a graphic artist - and he gets to finally kick up his own business in a couple days.  It's totally rad to see someone pursuing their dreams, and they're beyond stoked.  It almost makes him want to move out of this apartment and just live in the studio.  His left neighbor is ridiculously loud - the scratchiest loudest voice, it amazes me that she could hold onto the phone for so long because she is so old and tiny.  But apparently, a long while ago she got into a fight with her sister and hit her with a wrench getting blood all down the hallway - to which Fernando demanded she clean his doorstep.  Cross that neighbor off the friendlist.  And the neighbor to the right, they used to be alright having wine here and there til he would just pretty much revealed himself an alcoholic, and would run into the door thinking it would be unlocked for his wine drinking pleasure whenever.  Yelled his head off and well, no more wine time for him..

Had reindeer for dinner with pasta, zuchini and bell peppers.  It was really tasty, and of course strange because I don't usually eat it, but definitely lean for a darkish meat... but like I've said. I'm no food expert, but it was really good.  I did have to balance out the taste with some soy sauce. 

Realizing Fotografiska was just around the corner and down the hill, about 15 minute walk, I checked out the Helmut Newton Exhibition.  Displayed was a collection of his various works from erotic, portrait, fashion.  All very loud with a presence.  I admire how he says "The perfect fashion photo, doesn't look like a fashion photo, but more like a film still, or a portrait or a keepsake photo – somehow like anything but a fashion photo".  

Some other exhibits I slid through was projections by Motohiko Odani, a japanese contemporary artist, and  Håkan Elofsson.   Vinyls set on fire while playing, and documentary-esque photos of the poverty in Bombay.


Helmut Newton

Helmut Newton

Helmut Newton

Motohiko Odani

Håkan Elofsson

“What the hell am I doing? Thirty years of photographic ethics hit me in the stomach. I’m sitting in a taxi with the window open, searching intuitively for events in the ongoing day-to-day life. I’m mulling it over while I freeze the moment, questioning my method, myself as a photographer and as a human being. Who am I, sitting in a taxi, photographing the poverty of Bombay? They can’t defend themselves against my camera. I deprive them of the last thing they have, their integrity. When you are poor you are transparent, both to the public and to the authorities. I feel a pang of guilt. Christer Strömholm and Anders Petersen taught me to take responsibility for my images, to stay at shooting-distance. But this is the only way of presenting an honest and true picture of everyday life here in Bombay. From an expressive point of view it was very liberating to get a sense of the situation and follow my feelings. The camera doesn’t have time to rearrange reality; it’s there, in the moment.”

As huge as Helmut was and as hypnotizing as Motohiko's vinyls were, Hakan's had to be my favorite. I sat there the longest at the end of the photos, where a large projection the size of 3 walls played in black and white of the people of Bombay.  Street photography / documentary, whichever you want to call it, that's what I like to see.  Not even all of it was in focus - it's that much in the moment.  No one asking "Is this a picture" or even asking "Can I take your picture?".  When people stop asking so many questions or hesitating, that's where the most honest interactions take place.  And by honest, I guess I mean the most plain, and simple.

But altogether, really enjoyed the exhibits.  They were all different, and the way it was all displayed and everything was clean and open - if that could make any sense.  Maybe I have just chosen to felt overwhelmed when there's no freaking space, but here it was more comfortable and I could take all the time in the world. Nap on this ridiculously comfortable looking couch chair thing here..

Finally, had to give in and get my boots fixed.  The soles were flapping off and I could feel little pebbles trying to stab my feet through lack of it.  Found a skomaker down the way, and even he deemed my shoes totally screwed & hopeless.  I was desperate though, anything, glue? Something to make it last at least another week pleasssseeeee.  Picked them up today, with some new soles for 300 kr,aka 45 USD.  MIRACLE! Do yourselves a favor and check your shoes before you go anywhere miles away.  

Christer, the jolly skomaker

Thank you Stockholm.  For your convenient little sitting areas, and your beautiful people every which way I look.  The way that 80% of society is either wearing a helmet and/or heels when biking, and how confusing your country's currency is.  Because for 300 to equal 45 makes my head spin.  Thank you Fernando for translating every word for me and helping me learn the Swed ways.  For showing me around and cooking for me!  Now, off to Brussels.


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Some Swedish Basics

Yesterday we took a nice long walk along the edge of Sodermalm.  Boat creepin as we went, til a dirt trail where people were strollin/running/biking as well.  The trees would have either fallen into the river or been split somehow, and continue to grow out of the water.  Marsh-like.  There, Fernando told me a sad sad story of his bike getting stolen because he wanted to test Stockholm's kindness.  After 4 days with no chain it disappeared into oblivion. I smacked him upside the head. "YOU DIDN'T FUCKING CHAIN IT?!" Well... now I gotta admit I JUST noticed that half the bikes I have drooled over so far in fact don't have chains.. woops. But still. 

Vacation homes

Lil reggae cafe set up

Passages to an underground city...? hehehe

Our view - on some rocks - where we decided to drink our boxed wine

The park just behind us across the path

Max - the Swedish equivalant of McDonalds :P had to, and it actually was very good. AND came with cucumbers 

Following some gypsies

Old Town

The walk home

Ran into some gents who gave us this (literally ran into)... complete with chocolate flavored papers as well. How nice right? 5g for 600kr, you can go ahead and convert that... not to self incriminate ourselves, just sayin... Swed dealers are quite nice... and very smooth


Tubed cheese with shrimp 

Swedish bread with said-cheesey-shrimp spread

Monki, one of my favorite magazine's retail stores.  Found it by chance, and I was in heaven.

Mangle Vintage

The nicest girl worked here. Chatted a bit til some small explosions went off from the large parade of people coming down the street chanting - there was a big game vs a team from S. Sweden beginning in a couple hours.  The polis were going to have their hands full later that night.

Leftovers for dinner

Early morning

Some Skansen history of old Sweden

Traditional Sammy: cold meatball on bread with radish pickle and lettuce

More grassy dwellings


When in Skansen...I ate some moose 

Some more important things I learned other than traditional eats, snacks, weed prices, and bike etiquette was of course, some basic words for my sorry ass:

Thank you = Tack-so-mycket (tax-so-mee-ket)

Sorry = ursäkta (uur-sheck-ta) as in, sorry I suck and can't speak Swedish

Welp, that's all for now!