Musing on Swedishness. Unsorted and more a babbling brook of consciousness than a stream.
Fälldin has recently died and I’m in Gotland for the first time in 30 years whuch makes me feel I have been in Sweden for a very long time.
I remember orange and cream diesel trains trundling around the countryside and seeing recently scrapped trams in Malmö.
Getting pretty stamps at the post office when you paid money into your post office savings account.
Having a little book for each account where the amount deposited or withdrawn was written in by hand,
The little box on the top of the TV to let you see TV2.
Exotic carriages from foreign railways going to Moscow, Berlin, Rome and Hoek van Holland.
Systembolaget closing on Saturday for reasons of alcohol policy.
Feeling guilty about goiing into ICA instead of Konsum and wondering how much longer privately owned grocery shops would survive.
Domus, Konsum’s department store with its infinity symbol.
Getting your personal documents from the church-run parish office.
Paying bills at the PO.
Getting paid 1600 after tax and thinking it was a fabulous wage by UK standsrds (life disabused me quickly here).
Sitting in bastus pretending I was enjoying the experience (eating “lutfusk” (white stockfish) ditto.
Experiencing the cradle to grave feeliing of social democratic dominance reminding me of the German SPD in its heyday that I’d read about and not like our paler weaker more defensive Labour Party.
Public telephones that took 30 öre for a local call.
Feeling emotionally hijacked by my Swedish teacher when she had her class sign a Get Well card for Evert Taube (he died so he didn’t)..
Being irritated at the expression “Our immigrants” (this before I got to know and love “our Swedes”)..
Gustav VI Adolf’s death.
Seeing the beginning of the end of the anything goes attitude to sexuality (at least provided you lusted after the opposite sex) when sale of child pornography was made illegal.
Being asked by a social worker if I needed money for anything else and feeling that life in Sweden was very calm and protected compared with the Darwinist rough and tumble of North London.
It’s been a long.time and I still feel I have one foot in and one foot out of the culture. This despite almost becoming a national institution as the person who has been here for the longest period (soon anyway….).
I’m obviously suffering from chronic exile fixation and need national therapy.