Posts Tagged ‘Stockholm’

Vikingaliv: Return of the Swedish Pagans

Saturday, April 22nd, 2017

Stockholm’s got a brand new Viking museum on the way, set to open next weekend! And it’s about damn time, too. New Viking museums don’t come along often enough, or outside of Scandinavia enough either for that matter, but that’s a separate topic that will only lead to a downward spiral of depression and heavy mead drinking if followed.

So then on that uplifting note…Vikingaliv aims to rectify Stockholm’s problem of not having a full-out museum dedicated solely to Vikings. Its creators are promising an educational experience unlike any other, one based on the latest research to give visitors a complete and accurate representation of the Old Norse lifestyle. It will also have original artifacts on loan from Historiska Museet and a shop and restaurant selling and serving authentic, local goods and food. And being situated on Stockholm’s leafy Djurgården island beside Vasamuseet (17th century piratical-style ship museum) and Junibacken (the ultra hardcore Pipping Longstocking museum), Vikingaliv is set to be in good company.

And for those of us on the wrong side of the Atlantic, at least we have some genuine Swedish pagans from Falun visiting us tonight:

Djurgårdsbron: Where Silent Gods Stand Guard

Sunday, July 19th, 2015

Djurgårdsbron is a bridge in central Stockholm where Freyja, Thor, Frigg, and Heimdall stand guard…silently. Just Like in the song, only minus all the decapitations and shape-shifting into wolf-form. And for some reason Odin is missing from the entourage. But otherwise, just like in the song. And if you cross the bridge, you don’t arrive in Asgard, but rather Djurgården (essentially Swedish for “Animal Farm”…menacing, indeed), one of Stockholm’s many islands and home to, among other attractions, the official Pippi Longstocking museum (also very menacing).

The statues were created by Rolf Adlersparre while the bridge was designed by architect Erik Josephson and built by Carl Fraenell in 1897 for the world expo that took place on Djurgårdsbron the same year. The old-timey photographs look pretty hardcore, but not nearly as hardcore as medieval wolf-men wielding swords and slaying all foresworn enemies in an endless orgy of slaughter and mayhem:

Self-Condemned in the Tunnelbana

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

It’s been a long time coming, but for one small moment of glory (and one day too late to be an April fool’s joke) I have failed at failing: the good folks at Jersey Devil Press have decided not to reject one of my pieces of investigative journalism. They have actually decided not to reject me in the past as well and for this I am grateful and should probably take it as a sign to be more productive rather than lamenting my successes at failing and then giving up at that and deciding to look for a beer instead.

Anyway, this counter-failing deals with the notorious and notoriously attractive Ingrid Törnblom, her exploits in Baltic raiding and slave-taking, her general disregard for me, and my general inability to behave like a normal human being while in her presence. Click the link below to learn more!

Self-Condemned in the Tunnelbana

And while we’re at it, why not check out the earlier pieces of investigative journalism? They’re highly educational and completely factual, especially the part about the hostile leprechaun taking my luggage in the vast mead hall.

Fear and Loathing in Western Sweden

Welcome to the Mead Hall

And on a final note, here is a video that I think really captures the ideals and accomplishments of Ingrid, even if the non-vocalists are a bunch of dudes.

Keeping It Real at Aifur

Friday, February 20th, 2015

Stockholm is a magical place where they have a Viking restaurant and bar that actually strives for authenticity. Normally this kind of thing would be totally gimmicky and feel like a themed version of a Chuck E. Cheese; anyone over age 10 would stand out in a sad way if they weren’t there with a younger family member. Not so at Aifur. At Aifur it’s different. They’ve done their research to make the setting cozy and believable. The staff dress in garb appropriate to the setting and time period. The menu is based on archaeological records regarding the types of animals the Norse ate, and the types of spices they used to make those animals taste better. The drink menu consists of an extensive list of Nordic beers and meads, which alone is enough to make me excited. Throw in everything else I just mentioned, and it’s like Aifur goes to 11 when everyone else only goes to 10.

Check out their “about” page in English for more info:
http://www.aifur.se/en_about.

And below is their booze menu!

Chiseling the Scandinavian Cheekbones

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

So I just gave this website a major facelift, and by that I mean that there is now a very aggressive-looking, native Blue Sheep from Birka hanging out in the background off towards the right (and slightly towards the left as well, but that guy is fainter). If you look closely, you will be able to admire the finely chiseled cheekbones of the individual to the right, which is a trait he shares with the lovely Scandinavian women. You may also be able to see the killer intent in his eyes. I figure he is probably pretty good buddies with the even more hardcore Icelandic Killer Sheep:

 photo Icelandic_Killer_Sheep_zpsc3993d02.jpg

In fact, this guy is so intent on being aggressive that he goes around looking like he should probably stop trying already and just transform himself into a Norwegian black metal band instead. You used to be able to get his mugshot on t-shirts like the one pictured above, but that website seems to have been plucked away by some misguided valkyrie, though the corresponding myspace page still exists.

On a side note, I’m going to make a better effort at updating this damned blog on a regular basis again (as opposed to 1 post every 6 months). I finally got myself dislodged from the bigass boulder that I was living under since last fall and it is good to see the world again. Some sad things happened in that time (Stockholm burned, Boston bombed to name just 2) but some good, exciting things are indeed afoot: Amon Amarth is releasing a new album this month, the days are long, and the Bruins are in the finals. So, skål to summer!

Heimdall Blows

Saturday, November 10th, 2012

When Heimdall blows his horn it can only mean one of two things: the world is coming to a terrible, violent end and you might as well give up on whatever it is that you’re doing because you’re about to be set on fire, or you’re in central Stockholm on your way to Djurgården where, instead of flames, there happens to be lots of trees. I suppose the imagery of both scenarios is pretty cool even though the experiences themselves are drastically different.

Anyway, Heimdall hangs out with Odin, Frigg, Freya, and Thor on the Djurgården Bridge. It’s a pretty a nice bridge, designed by Carl Fraenell just before the turn of the 20th century and therefore is full of pomp and splendor. I like how the photo, taken by J.A. Alcaide nonetheless appears ominous.

Thor Goes Fishing at Mariatorget

Sunday, July 25th, 2010

See that? Thor’s holding his mighty hammer up above his bushy red head, getting ready to bring it crashing downwards into the Midgård Serpent’s godforsaken skull, all because that’s simply what Thor does when he goes fishing with giants. But alas, he isn’t perfect, and he lets this catch get away. Serpents are slippery bastards and giants can never be trusted. …Hail onwards »

Encounter with a Miscreant

Sunday, May 2nd, 2010

This is a little ditty that once upon a time was published by an online literary magazine called Bananafish, but then Bananafish went and suicided itself. It was an unfortunate day because I like people who like me and Bananafish seemed to like me even though I was writing about mead, the violent flinging of bones, and inebriated/hostile leprechauns instead of more standard literary themes such as confused sexuality, the politics of confused sexuality, religion’s role in confused sexuality, sexual inequality and confused sexuality, confused sexuality under the influence of drugs, and teenage vampires/wizards.

Anyway, for those of you who missed it and actually don’t not give a shit, here it is in all its no-longer published glory:

Encounter with a Miscreant

A spare rib struck me in the face, causing me to spill my mead, which not only made me sad, but also made me the recipient of a large number of menacing stares. Before I could even attempt to recover from this public embarrassment, all of the projectiles that had been flying haphazardly across the wooden table just moments earlier started to be hurled relentlessly in my general direction. I needed to remove myself from the fray quickly if I wanted to avoid the age-old shame that comes from being buried alive beneath a pile of gnawed-upon bones.

I remembered noticing a small passageway near the entrance to this grand hall, so I stood up and started towards it.

“Faen ta deg!”

Just as someone shouted this insult, a skillfully aimed drumstick smacked me on the side of the head. It didn’t really hurt, but a bout of laughter broke out among the assembled drunkards just the same. I grumbled and hurried along, ducking into the passageway as soon as I came to it.

Once inside, I found that it was actually a stairwell: narrow and spiraling downward farther than I could see in the poor lighting. Sure, it looked creepy, but I was curious, and I didn’t want to go back to getting pelted with bones again just yet—better to give those guys a chance to forget my unforgiveable spillage first, so I began the descent. The sounds of drunken revelry slowly faded into the background and I reached the bottom several minutes later.

The space in which I found myself was what I had always imagined the hold of a decrepit Lithuanian freighter to be like. The air was heavy with damp and rot and the dim lighting flickered unreliably. The splatter of dripping wetness could be heard in several places, along with some indecipherable creaking noises and phlegmy-sounding coughing. But this was no freighter trafficking forlorn souls across the Baltic to a life of hopeless degradation within Stockholm’s underground criminal network. No, I was underground—literally—but it was deep in the fjords of rural Norway.

A stumpy form lying on the ground near me stirred a bit.

“Ye a banshee?” it asked in a groggy, confused voice.

“What the fuck?” I gasped, the words just sort of slipping out of me. I hadn’t expected the lump to speak.

“Hey, ye bollocksed tosser! I asked ye a feckin’ question. Are ye a banshee or aren’t ye?”

Agitation coursed through the stumpy form as its movements became more intense and it flailed itself into an upright position.

It was a little man.

And suddenly I knew where I was. I had heard rumors about this place. This was the final destination for miscreant leprechauns. A despair-ridden hellhole where all dreams of retrieving that special pot o’ gold have long since disappeared. It is said to be reserved only for the worst of the worst—as defined by the guys upstairs who were busy throwing bones around at one another. But since I’m a cynical product of modern society’s failed system, I appreciated the irony here.

“Well, what have ye got to say for yeself, ye feckin’ tosser?” he asked again, hobbling the rest of the way to his feet.

I snapped out of my daze and answered, “No, I’m not a banshee. I wasn’t even wailing.”

He sighed heavily, “Well then, I guess it was just the hangover wailin’ in me head again.” He looked at the empty bottle in his hand and a tear slid down his cheek. “Be a good lad n’ go n’ fetch me another whiskey, will ye?”

“What?”

“Just a wee drop, laddy, could ye do that for me?”

“No, I think I better not.”

I tried to sound sympathetic, but as soon as the words had escaped my lips he smashed his bottle against the cold floor and started to charge towards me with his new weapon, roaring, “Blarney! Ye fetch me another feckin’ whiskey right now!”

I jumped to the side just as he slashed the air where I had been standing, the force of his effort propelling him into a disgraceful face-plant on the ground. I put my foot on the small of his back, towering above him like a goddamned giant straight out of Jotunheim and wondered why the hell this freak hadn’t been shackled down.

He struggled for a while, and then feebly tossed his glass shard away. I took a step back and allowed him to sit up. Exasperated and weary, he just sat there.

But I had had enough. This guy was a jerk, and dangerous, so I decided that it was time to take my chances with the violent bone flinging again. With any luck, the guys upstairs would have moved on to some other preferred target by now anyway. I edged backwards till I reached the stairs.

“Where ye goin’, tosser?” the miscreant asked, sniffling.

I looked at him, and though I felt some pity, it was outweighed by my residual anger. He had attempted to knife me, after all.

“I’m going to go have some whiskey,” I told him.

Well, I was actually going to go have some mead, but he didn’t need to know that.

Gothic Metal at Millesgården

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

Behold Katatonia’s The Longest Year music video!

It features eerie images of Carl Milles’ sculptures from Millesgården, located on the island of Lidingö, just outside of Stockholm. If you pay close attention, you’ll even notice a replica of his Poseidon, which resides in Gothenburg. And as we all know (or should know, but probably don’t), Gothenburg is the city made so famous by the Gothenburg Sound.

A Midsummer’s Wishful Slaughter

Thursday, August 6th, 2009

Some years ago, back before I had mastered the art of achieving successive levels of personal failure in the “real world,” one of my friends and I went souvenir shopping in Stockholm’s Gamla Stan. We were having a good time until a family of unspeakably obese Americans entered the same store as us and immediately proceeded to bring stereotypical public shame to our shared nationality. …Hail onwards »

Orkanpartyt

Sunday, July 19th, 2009

Orkanpartyt (The Hurricane Party) is the title of Klas Östergren’s contribution to the Myth Series of novels, and it’s awesome. It’s a retelling of Loki’s final act of betrayal, but set in a hellish, future Stockholm (or at least what I presume to be Stockholm, based on the descriptions in the book, especially that of the archipelago). And it features insightful commentary on the cult of reality tv. So far it’s only available in Swedish. 

But here’s a link to some info about the upcoming English-language release from the official Myth Series’ site. 

And here’s a link to Orkanpartyt’s page at the Salomonsson Agency which includes some Swedish reviews (in English).