Stockholm

You’d think I’d be mildly depressed after losing two bottles of Zubrowka in 3 hours. A bad omen maybe. A sense of forboding may overcome me. But only if I was another man. I had an awesome time. A mere few days which were off the chart despite very little of note occuring.

Marcuz’s comment about being the token white boy still makes me giggle. Sitting in a nightclub, getting in free due to Marcuz’s old bouncing profession, perched on the top table watching the dance floor, holding on as the music pinged around us, Marcuz turned to me and thanked me for being there. After all, if I wasn’t it would simply look like 3 Arabs guys staring at the girls shuffling around their bags. I had never been the token white boy before. Or even conceived the role.

However it concised what surprised me by Stockholm: it’s multi-culturalism. Or the lack of blonde haired Swedenishness. Even more ironically only one of the guys was of Arab descent. Marcuz is half Ethiopian-half Swedish, another guy was full Persian while the only Abie was from Iraqi stock. All were born and grew up in Sweden. They were Swedes. Just of the modern variety.

I had picked an odd weekend to arrive in Stockholm. It was mid-summer, the biggest celebration bar Christmas. A lot of Stockholm’s white population had left the city to visit family in their home towns. The centre had an eerie feeling. Tourists snapped away but most shops were closed, the June weather was overcast and threatened to drizzle over the imposing Grand Palace. It imposed but fairly to impress. It seemed functional, grand but boring.

Marcuz lived south of the centre in a cute and mildly flamboyant apartment, decked out with Africanism, The walls were painted with a pale brown. Portraits hung of African Savannah. Tribal masks guarded the toilet. Marcuz bounced to fund his Masters in Social Anthropology. He had just come back from Palestine, acting as an border monitor. His insight into the world and encouraging words on the subject added fuel to my pire. Marcuz also had an interesting sideline in football hooliganism and an extensive book collection on the subject. I never felt in any danger in his presence though.

His previous career literally opened up all nightclub doors. Marcuz knew every bouncing crew and was particularly close friends with Andy, one of the crew managers. Andy, though not officially allowed to work anymore on the door, was full of banter and made me feel very comfortable. Like meeting the transsexual Clebson on the train to Poland in 2006, this was a weekend of being part of the crew, watching them work, chatting, laughing and drinking with them. I loved it. Arriving at nightclubs and simply strolling in past the long lines of short-skirted blonde girls and escorted in, with handshakes, smiles and free drinks all night can’t fail.

I don’t think I really learnt much about Sweden in general or Stockholm in particular. But Marcuz introduced me to a slice of life for which I am grateful. A slice of humanity and a shitload of beers. Southside 4eva!!

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