This is not a political blog but following five days of riots in Stockholm, I have one small comment to make- I think immigrants in the city should be integrated more and not all live in the same suburban pockets.
A few days ago, I attended a Viking Club dinner (no, I am not kidding and no, not everyone had two horns on their head). It was in fact a salubrious affair held in the very grand and elegant Carlton Club in St.James’. The Carlton Club is a conservative club and our dinner was presided over by portraits of Thatcher, Cameron and Churchill (a notably good one of Churchill). Ironically enough, when Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister, the club did not allow women members so they rather swiftly had to change their rules.
It was, I believe, the first time since the 1920s that Bärsärkar & Vikingar (literally translated as Berserkers and Vikings) allowed women to join in one of their illustrious dinners. BV was founded in London in 1885 and is a mens’ only club; nearly all the members are Swedish with a few other Scandis thrown in, and they meet six times a year for a big, ceremonial dinner in one of London’s many beautiful buildings; they eat well, drink lots of snapps and sing heartily. The society has rankings- you could be a herdman (quite senior) or a träll (ie a serf and rather less senior…); you get medals according to your rankings. All a bit bonkers but fun! I was a norna to my husband- I gathered from the well-informed Danish chap next to me that norna is Old Norse for woman of your destiny (It could be worse). I had a good night and hope that this inclusion of women at BV will become an annual thing.
Went to have a look at COLLECT, the art fair for contemporary objects, held at the Saatchi Gallery at the weekend. Thirty two galleries from all over the world are exhibiting glass, ceramics and jewellery amongst other objects. Two Swedish galleries, Blås&Knåda and Sebastian Schildt+, both based in Stockholm, are represented.
I particularly liked the botanical illustrations on handblown sheet glass by Ulla Forsell at Blås&Knåda. She had sold eleven out of a total of thirty six on the opening night, so I was clearly not the only one who liked them!
Sebastian Schildt+ has some gorgeous modern silverware. One artist, the Finnish Ru Runeberg had made fabulous silver insects which can be used as olive oil pourers or salt and pepper pots. Being solid silver and handmade, they were unfortunately a bit out of my price range. I had a long chat to Runeberg who was extremely friendly, and he expained that each insect he creates is completely unique. The insects are very anthropomorphic; I loved a girl with long flirtatious eyelashes and a boy with big google eyes- great dinner party conversation!
COLLECT, The International Art Fair for Contemporary Objects runs at the Saatchi Gallery, London until 13th May.
Just been browsing the Ole Lyngaard website. This Danish, family-run jewellers, founded in 1963, has created some gorgeous, soft, feminine pieces using gold, semi-precious stones and soft, calfskin leather, amongst other materials. Nature seems to be an ongoing theme and the designs are fesh and original. Helena Christensen is currently modelling for them and she looks stunning in the jewellery (having said that she looks stunning in most things). I’ve got my eye on the beautiful filigree ‘lace’ rings, and it being the year of the snake, am also rather partial to a gold snake ring…
Happy Valborg! The First of May is an important date in the Swedish calendar- winter is officially over and spring is welcomed. On Valborgmässoafton, the eve of Valborg ie 30th April, Swedes literally burn out winter by having huge bonfires and celebrate the start of spring with much merriment involving a lot of booze, dancing and drinking songs.
I went to a rather civilized Valborg celebration last night, organised by the Anglo Swedish Society, at the Savile Club in Mayfair. We couldn’t really start having huge bonfires in the heart of London but we did enjoy a lot of champagne and schnapps plus a good dinner in the beautiful eighteenth century ballroom. We were entertained by some highly talented young musicians and everyone got very into the singing (half my table was English so there were some extremely dodgy pronunciations of the classic Swedish drinking songs); we welcomed in the spring in a hearty manner which seems to have been highly successful given the very sunny weather in the UK today. The Swedes are brilliant at marking the seasons of the year with celebrations and I am grateful to them for coming up with Valborg at some point in the Middle Ages.