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Monthly Archives: February 2011

Dans le Noir – Scandi Style

February 22, 2011 | Leave a comment

It was an eventful day at SK yesterday.  No power at all.  We were in darkness.  In fact, most of the street was left powerless for a long, long time.  Hours (felt like days).

We all lost power just as lunch time got busy.  We had thought that people might decide to leave and pop back to the office, but iphones finally proved useful and people started using them to light up their plates to see what they were eating.  Keep calm and carry on indeed.

So, we popped some candles on and kept going.

We’d like to feed back to you that there was some exciting reason for the power cut, but sadly, “some substation has fried itself” doesn’t sound exciting in any language.

We’re happy to report that power is back on and that we are armed with a bunch of powercut-puns for the a-board.

Ask the Scandies: What is Icelandic beer day? Why?

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Imagine a world without Carlsberg: Probably the scariest thing in the world to imagine for some people.

That’s just what life was life on Iceland up until 1989. You think that is a long time ago? It’s not: it was the year of the first poll tax, Batman was in the cinemas and the Berlin Wall fell. That’s when Iceland legalised beer.

The Icelandic prohibition started in 1915 and while most of the prohibited stuff was legalised in 1935, beer remained prohibited until 1 March 1989 (since then, known as Beer Day).

So far, so fair. What most don’t know is that the reason the initial part of the ban was lifted in the twenties was because Spain refused to buy the Icelandic fish unless they could sell their wines in Iceland. The reason the Icelandic government only legaliszed spirits in 1935 and not beer was out of the argument that “beer costs than spirits and people will drink more, thus leaving to more depravity”.

Join Iceland on a rúntur (pub crawl) on 1 March.

Ask the Scandies: Why is Schlager so popular in Sweden?

February 1, 2011 | Leave a comment

Eurovision season is well underway in the Nordic lands right now.

Norway, Iceland and Finland are all set for the final rounds of their selection process, while Denmark will be having just one night of fun later this month. However, there’s one country where the event is taken more seriously than anywhere else: Sweden.

You won’t find Melodifestivalen, the festival that celebrates schlager, mentioned in any guidebooks. But it’s an integral part of Swedish culture. For six weeks a year (starting this coming Saturday), a huge part of the nation gathers around its TV screens to watch the phenomenon known as ‘schlager’ unfold. Schlager is pop music – but better. Schlager is shameless. And always involves a key change.

Melodifestivalen is the World Cup, the Olympic Games of schlager.

Everyone wants to be involved. Everyone.

Schlager is not cheesy [writer’s opinion. ed]

The biggest schlager star of all is Carola Häggkvist. The next time you come into Scandinavian Kitchen, ask your Swedish server to sing you a song. We guarantee she or he will sing this:

YOUTUBE http://www.youtube.com/embed/tRN49SHQEKE

Carola is a schlager icon. You may remember her from her Eurovision appearance. Or the other appearance. Or the other one. Three times.

This is how special she is.

Another schlager icon is Kikki Danielsson. Here is Kikki. She gets good vibrations.

YOUTUBE http://www.youtube.com/embed/bAK8FJH5eXY

Here is Shirley Clamp. Shirley is schlager.

YOUTUBE http://www.youtube.com/embed/uwTMLtVdHgE

Now you know what schlager is, you will have a deeper understanding of the Swedish psyche. For, despite jantelag and liberalism, there is a special place for schlager. Even in Jonas. He just likes to keep it hidden.

Today, a Swedish journalist is arguing in Svenska Dagblad LINK http://bit.ly/gUZTRI that many schlager stars feel a sense of shame, which is why so many people love them. They share that shame.

This is, of course, nonsense. We love schlager because of the key change. No shame there.

However, there’s another, even deeper reason. Melodifestivalen happens in winter, when it’s dark. So, you see, schlager brings light. It harks back to the pagan days of waiting for the spring to arrive.

That’s how important schlager is.

Is that the smell of Västerbotten…?

Post by David Jørgensen

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