Last night as I was leaving The Liffey pub, the band was playing “Take Me Home, Country Roads.” I don’t know how many years it has been since I have heard that song, but it instantly transported me back to the US. It reminded me of my friend Ted who loves John Denver, as well as my cousins Kara and Kristy who were born in West Virginia. And finally, it reminded me of my Dad who played John Denver on his turntable. I felt warm and fuzzy and left with a smile on my face.
Then as I walked into the Gamla Stan (Old Town) subway station to come home, a street musician was playing ABBA’s “Thank You for the Music.” Just as quickly, I was back in Stockholm.
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Last night, we went to the Nick Cave concert at China Teatern, an intimate and beautiful theater in central Stockholm. The Australian rocker has just released a novel titled The Death of Bunny Munro. So the night was set up in a unique combination of book reading, q&a with the audience and music. Nick played the piano and just had two musicians with him from his band the Bad Seeds – one on guitar, one on drums, percussion and sometimes the guitar and violin as well.
After a campy 1950s style movie about door to door salesmen, Nick launched the night with a reading from his novel. Bunny is a philandering salesman in search of a soul and the book is deliciously detailed with his debauchery. Readings from the book were interspersed with classic Cave songs. In between songs, the lights would go up and Nick answered both serious and irreverent questions from the audience ranging from how is your relationship with God to do you like cock to will you marry me. Nick was in fine form and his responses were: 1) Not good. 2) Why do you ask? Sometimes. 3) Well I am already married but maybe we can work something out. One lucky Swede even asked for a hug and got one.
The format of the evening was just as intimate as the setting and it felt like I was in a 1920s salon in Paris. The casual mood made it seem as if you were just hanging out with Nick in your living room. Someone even asked him if he wanted to go back to his place for beers.
It was such a great twist on a conventional concert or book reading. What a great night.
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We finally saw Män som hatar kvinnor (Men who Hate Women) last night. This Swedish film is based on the Stieg Larsson novel of the same name – the English translation of which is The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo – and it has sold millions around the world. This book is also the first in a trilogy of books called the Millenium series.
Robert and I loved the books, so we were eager to see the movie. And while it is sometimes hard to like a movie based on a book you love, we were not disappointed overall. From the start, the music sets up a feeling of tension that builds throughout the movie. The cinematography is beautiful, particularly in the countryside outside of Stockholm where a good part of the action takes place. And it was fun to see Stockholm streets and subway stops that I know so well. I thought Noomi Rapace played a great Lisbeth Salander, much like I had imagined her. But I was not quite as convinced of Micheal Nyqvist’s Mikael Blomkvist. I thought his character in the book was much better described and more likable. Nonetheless, the movie is well worth seeing if you can find it in your part of the world.
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