Friday, July 21, 2006

Friday, July 21st, 2006:
Beaches and shy people in Helsingborg

What I think:

You know, five years ago, if you'd have told me that there are beaches in Helsingborg, I would have strongly recommended that you invest in a cerebral enema. I mean, of course I could believe that there are beaches (I know that Sweden is by no means landlocked), but beaches on which people sit to tan themselves? Pull the other one. Sweden is a cold Scandinavian country.

Soon after I moved here, I learned otherwise. Summers can get quite hot here, and Helsingborg does indeed have beaches. On some days, you could even be forgiven for thinking that you're on a tropical island paradise. Full of Swedes. Hhmm...OK, perhaps not paradise, but nevermind. The point is that there are beaches and they rival many of the world's finest beaches (like that one near Newcastle in England, for example).

There's also a green area by the sound (kind of a grassy beach, if you will) called Gröningen, which roughly translates to "The Greeny" (no nasal references here). It's a place where people can sit around, have a picnic or barbecue, play football (International or Yank) , drink beer, play guitar and/or bongos, and generally have a merry old time. Boy, this is a pretty educational blog, isn't it?

Anyway, I went there with my Yank friend yesterday. I brought my guitar, and he brought beer. We just sat around for a couple of hours people-watching, chatting, drinking, and I strummed a bit. It was a nice chilled way to spend the early evening. Here's a photo of Gröningen (you can see Denmark on the horizon):
A bit later, Yank gets a call from a friend who says that he and a couple of others are having beers at Hamnkrogen ("harbour bar" - which we call "Circle Bar", because it's sort of a round pavillion-type thing). So we finished our beers and headed there.

We sat in the outside terrace bit and drank more beers with a few Swedes, one of whom looked like this:

To be fair, he did look much more relaxed after his visit to the toilet.

Here's one of me looking slightly concerned
about the amount of beer I'd consumed so far:

While we were sitting there, who should come up to us but Benny. You may remember Benny from my post on March 15th. He was present at the stabbing of the burger (but has been cleared of any involvement in this heinous act). We chatted for a few minutes about Simon's wedding, exchanged recipes, discussed the best fabric softeners on the market today, and generally had a good gossip.

Benny mentioned that a friend of his, whom I had met a few days previously, was inside, but didn't want to come out because he was afraid that I would mention him in my blog. Can you imagine? How shy is that?

Well, as tempting as it is, I can totally respect his wish for anonymity. I will not mention his name. But I couldn't resist running in and snapping a shot of him:

He's the one in the black t-shirt and the sensible haircut,
sitting next to the guy who looks like a criminal.

In summary, I think that Sweden's beaches should get more worldwide publicity. They're a virtually unheard-of national treasure. I also think that the citizens of Helsingborg must learn to be a lot less reserved and shy; they should never be afraid of appearing in harmless blogs about their fine city. It's time that the Swedish government did something about it. That's what I think.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Friday, July 14th, 2006:
Mormons in Helsingborg

What I think:

The other day, I had arranged a little business meeting at
the Charles Dickens pub, during which we discussed many important issues. The business at hand: drinking beer. Oh, and we also discussed something about mortgages or something.

The value of my flat has gone up considerably over the past year or so, and I'm thinking about doing a bit of financial consolidation to un-dig my current grave; the grave having been partly dug by my beer-drinking business. I liked the irony of choosing my local pub as a meeting place for this discussion.

While we were sitting outside, I noticed a couple of Mormons walking back and forth, trying to strike up conversations with people. I like Mormons. In fact, I was baptised Mormon (later to have an Anglican Confirmation and come pretty close to having a Bar Mitzvah - I'm not joking). Mormons dress like those guys you find in hotel lobbies who are there to help you carry your bags to your room. They seem like very friendly and helpful chaps.

But I thought that Mormonism was strictly a North American thing. Oh, how wrong I was. Look at their website. It appears that they have (am I still allowed to say "we have"?) churches all over the world - even Russia!

In any case, while I was sitting there, outside a pub in the south of Helsingborg, discussing the prospects and possibilities of beer number four, these well-groomed young gentlemen accosted a dreadlocked Rasta guy and had a five-minute discussion with him.

What were they talking about? I wish I could have heard their conversation. Could these Mormons have been trying to enlist him as one of their own? Could they picture him wearing a bell hop outfit? Could they see him with the standard-issue haircut? What do you think they were discussing?

"Ganja? Errm...yeah, I think I met him once."

Mormons seem like very nice, well-mannered, and friendly people, but they do not belong on the streets of Helsingborg, especially when important business meetings are taking place. It's time that the Swedish government did something about it. That's what I think.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Tuesday, July 11th, 2006:
Embarrassment in Helsingborg

What I think:

Oh, Lordy. When I went to my local (the Charles Dickens pub) the other night, I was informed that they'd caught me on camera "performing" at the Open Stage night that took place on June 22nd, and published it on their website.

I've only just viewed/heard it, and I don't mind telling you that if I was the type to get embarrassed, I would be, but I'm not, so I'm not. But it is truly one of the worst things I've ever seen or heard.

I will not make excuses and try to describe how drunk I was. All I will say in my defence is that they chose the two songs that I did the worst. OK, maybe my version of "9 to 5" wasn't that great either, but I think it was probably better than "Smelly Cat" by Phoebe off Friends.

OK, so here's the link anyway (scroll down a bit, click on "Marc", and turn the sound down; it ain't pretty). Just remember that I didn't have to mention this at all, and you wouldn't have been any the wiser, so please refrain from littering this post with comments about how crap it is. I know it is, that's precisely why I'm sharing it. It's my way of attacking "art" (which in itself can be a form of art, if you want to get pedantic about it).

Just have a laugh and forget about it. Yes, I know; I should really have stuck to my dream job of being a bitch-slappin' slave boy, but there you go.

You'll notice from all the background chatter that not many people attend these evenings for what's going on on stage anyway. I wish people would pay more attention to those devoted performers who play their hearts out. It's time that the Swedish government did something about it. That's what I think.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Thursday, July 6th, 2006:
Helsingborg Dreamin' (about bitch slappin')

What I think:

Well, there I was. I'd finally fulfilled my ambition of being a bitch-slappin' slave boy in the heart of beautiful downtown Vilnius, specially selected from a panel of super agressive Lithuanian prostitutes, one of whom looked suspiciously like Simon Cowell.

I considered it to be quite a tough competition, even though I was the only contestant on "British-Canadian Bitch-Slappin' Slave Boy in Lithuania Idol". Time after time, I thought that I'd be voted off after a mediocre performance.
But after just a bit of training from professionals, I came across as a natural. They showed me the ropes, and I instinctively knew how to use them.

When the final decision came though, I was elated. I wanted the moment to last forever. I was to work in the most exclusive clubs in Vilnius, and service the most demanding bitches.

I would start on Friday evening at 9:00 p.m. and work until 10:00 p.m. on Thursday evening. I would have a total of four dinner breaks - with local snacks consisting of fried bread with mayonnaise, garlic and cheese - all provided. I would also get a break on Monday, and be allowed to sleep for six hours.
It all seemed too good to be true.
Alarm clocks should be banned.

Actually, there's been quite a bit happening in my life at kind of a personal level - and I'm not the kind of blog-boy to share deep & meaningful issues with the world, so I'll just have to leave it at that.

Although I can't promise to continue the mayhem and idiocy that is this blog as often as I'd like to, I do hope you'll keep tuning in, just in case I manage to write some stuff. I will try to get here a lot more regularly, but with the way things are just now, I'm not so sure that this will be feasible.

I'll consider appealing to the Swedish government to see if there's anything they can do to help. But I'm not holding my breath; they've been useless so far.

Watch this Base for more info.