Apologies for Absence

I went over to Stockholm for the weekend, and was effectively offline, since the hotel had no wifi, only a public terminal. It was extremely disconcerting to see how much more standard European the city had become. I found the apparent familiarity just made it feel more alien.

Some of this strangeness is a consequence of being old and rich, or at least solvent. I can now afford one “sm

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2 Responses to Apologies for Absence

  1. Rupert says:

    I’m just back from two weeks on a farm in Speteby, which is roughy equidistant from Katrineholm and Nykoping (one day, someone will have to explain to me how the ‘sh’ sound gets into that one). Usual rural pleasures – showering in the milking parlor, laying seige to the Systembolaget, finding an unusually large number of false morels (in England, they’re dangerously poisonous, in Sweden, uncommonly delicious – which these were, served with bits of a deer that unwisely decided to visit the farm when a friend with a hunting rifle was staying). And getting the back broken of the novel, which at 65k words and steadily climbing exhibits all the horrors one might expect (but does have one pun of which I am unreasonably proud).

    But the feeling of the old Sweden fading away was undeniable. One expat described it as being like the effects of Thatcherism, with the old social contract unlacing and a lot of anxieties and intolerances surfacing. He also had happy tales of neo-Nazi paramilitary gangs robbing a string of banks up north and executing policemen, local burglaries when until recently there were none, graffiti ditto. And Telia had completely failed to provide broadband, and the spring was late.


  2. acb says:

    Has no one explained to you the rules of Swedish pronunciation? They’re very regular and reasonably simple. The vowels are divided into two classes (I can’t remember which is named which).

    In any case, certain consonants, G and K, are softened into a “y” and a “sh” respectively when they come before e ä ö but not otherwise. If Nyköping were, as you wrote it, Nykoping, it would be pronounced with a “k” sound in the middle, just as Ko (cow) is pronounced with a hard k.

    The essential point is that ä is an entirely different letter to A, just E is not just an F with an extra stroke.

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