For all of their advancement in technology, social issues and equality politics, many Swedes are also hiding a less sophisticated side to their culture. Scratch the surface, and its not far to their dorky side.
I’ve often reflected over this when I go to clubs here in Stockholm. Like many venues around the world, Stockholm nightclubs can have more than one dance floor. The dance floors are often divided into music types, for example, techno, house, pop…..and Eurovision. Usually, the Eurovision dance floor is the smallest one, as the club owners probably don’t want to appear unrefined. But it is usually the fullest of all the dance floors. It is packed with Swedes shaking their stuff and screaching – loudly – to the lyrics of Carola, Conchita and Loreen. It is so unbelievably dorky. And I love them for it.
Let’s change scenario and go to a house party. Hand shaking, polite conversation and rosé wine. All very cultivated. Fast forward five hours when people have knocked down a couple of bottles of plonk. The cool bossa-jazz background music has been changed and a Spotify competition has evolved playing…….Eurovision. Party guests are bopping around to the old-time Euro melodies such as ‘Good Vibrations’, ‘It Hurts’ and ‘ABC’. It is so unbelievably dorky. And I love them for it.
So what’s the deal? Why do the otherwise cool Swedes turn into a bunch of yahoos when they are at parties or nightclubs? Well, maybe in a world of technology, of digital communication, of stress and demands, Eurovision music provides escapism. Its simple melodies and inane lyrics don’t require any effort or thought. The basic rhythms can just wash over you and, for a moment, you can forget the seriousness of the world beyond.
It’s either that or the fact that Swedes are just dorks when they drink.