Monday, July 17, 2006

[The Life of Shaun #58] Inte blå hunde, Rosebery Court and The Simpsons

I just spent a lovely weekend in the ancestral country of both Ikea and my mother, Sweden, in beautiful Stockholm. It is, of course, the capital of Sweden, very old and the largest city in Scandinavia. It's got lovely colourful buildings and is built over a series of 14 islands, so there are water and bridges everywhere; quite aesthetically pleasing. I was visiting my friend Stefan, whom I know from my Paris days - we were in the same French class (as well as my sister, Lisa) with Madame Cho at La Sorbonne.

The agenda was usual - discussion, food, drink, repeat. I've been to Stockholm once before, with Russ in 2000. I liked it well enough then, but enjoyed it a lot more this time. One, there were no expectations, and two, it was all on its own, rather than one of ten cities squished into four weeks. Also we chose better gay bars/clubs, which can make or break a visit to a city.

I noticed one thing though between my visits - there seemed to be a lot more ethnic people than I remembered. This is good; Sweden needs immigration and it realizes that, so they're opening their arms. It's great, as elsewhere it's adding colour (literally & metaphorically) to Swedish life and helping out their economy and very generous social system.

So it was a great weekend, I met nice people and am looking forward to going again. Oh, "Inte blå hunde" was all the Swedish I can piece together from the words I remember from my trip; it means "No blue dogs." Not very useful, but fortunately everyone in Sweden speaks English, so I was free to tell them a variety of blue things I didn't want, or even no dogs of any colour that didn't suit my fancy.

In other news:

We signed our lease for another year today! So we'll be here in Clerkenwell, where we're so happy, for at least one more year. Nice, since we just got the key! We also managed to secure a commitment for new carpet for Natasha, and there was no rent increase; we're very pleased, obviously.

And as a sign-off, they took a little dig on E4 tonight... they were introducing The Simpsons episode where they legalize gay marriage in Springfield and the tagline intro was "Next, Springfield comes out of the closet and enters the 21st century." Brilliant.

Proud to be half Swedish,
Shaun

--~--~---------~--~----~------------~-------~--~----~
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "The Life of Shaun" group.
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to The-Life-of-Shaun-unsubscribe@googlegroups.com
For more options, visit this group at http://groups.google.com/group/The-Life-of-Shaun
-~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---

Sunday, July 09, 2006

[The Life of Shaun #56] L'Italia Bella

Well, it's over -- Italy has won the world cup (for my American friends and family, they have this little soccer match here every four years and all the Europeans get very swept up in it). I was rooting for France before, mainly because I have amazing respect for Zinedine Zidane, the French captain. He's an amazing player; does incredible things with the ball (even me, a complete amateur can recognize it), one of the most respected players in football history, and, above all, he's a gentleman.

This was Zidane's last game before retirement, and the media has been full of lyrical waxings about him and his history, and telling Cristiano Ronaldo to look to him as an example. But then - shockingly - in the second overtime Zidane was sent off with a red card for head-butting an Italian player! What the hell?! How can you be about to retire, in your last and most important game, with two billion sets of eyes one you, and you head-butt another player in the chest?! It's so... dirty. My (limited) world view of soccer was shattered in that moment, and I was then behind Italy to win.

The hotter, and tonight, more sportsmanlike, team won, bringing much joy to our heavily Italian neighborhood - the horns are-a-honkin' and the people are-a-cheerin'.

Very disappointed in Zidane, happy for a deserved win to Italy, and very surprised to be a football fan,
Shaun

--
Shaun Coley
scoley@gmail.com
http://www.friendster.com/profiles/shaunism
London, UK
--~--~---------~--~----~------------~-------~--~----~
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "The Life of Shaun" group.
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to The-Life-of-Shaun-unsubscribe@googlegroups.com
For more options, visit this group at http://groups.google.com/group/The-Life-of-Shaun
-~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

[The Life of Shaun #54] England is crying

I now know the pain of being English.  As all my friends outside of America, and none of them in, know, England lost to Portugal and was eliminated from the World Cup.  The game took place in the middle of Europride, held in London this year, and I took my leave from the festivities along with my friend Alister and watched amongst my compatriots and lived the national experience.
 
I have to say, I've gotten swept up in the World Cup - it really has been fun.  There's no equivalent in America; there, some people love baseball, some (American) football, some hockey...  there's no overwhelmingly obvious consensus about one game, and one game only, that really matters - The Beautiful Game - and, nearly universally, everyone cares about it (though not all to the same extent).  So the whole mood of the nation swings with the pendulum of England's success and failure on the pitch, and it really was fantastic, as a new immigrant, to be part of that.
 
An interesting observation for an American: the English are so pessimistic about their team.  England won most games (it just takes one loss to be eliminated past round one), but all along the way the fans were deriding the team's performance, technique and chances.  In America, we back our teams 100%; even when they, frankly, suck, we're shouting "Go team, go!  USA!  USA!"  And, admittedly, as someone who never embraced American patriotism fully, that never sat well with me.  But seeing this opposite approach, I am for the American way for once.  I don't see how England could win with this rather rampant lack of enthusiasm and support.
 
All that aside, it's time to move on.  Tonight is Germany vs. Italy, I am supporting Germany.  A group of us are meeting at Santoré on Exmouth Market to watch.  Then to the next match where, for once, all of England will unite in support of France to cheer them on to victory over those dirty, swarthy, cheating Portuguese.
 
GO TEAM GO!
 
Cheers,

--~--~---------~--~----~------------~-------~--~----~
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "The Life of Shaun" group.
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to The-Life-of-Shaun-unsubscribe@googlegroups.com
For more options, visit this group at http://groups.google.com/group/The-Life-of-Shaun
-~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---