Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Blue on Blue

With your sheets like metal and your belt like lace
And your deck of cards missing the jack and the ace
And your basement clothes and your hollow face
Who among them can think he could outguess you?
©Bob Dylan, Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands

Today I saw a dog with blue eyes. His master also had blue eyes. Here they are.

The photo was taken at Gamla Stan Stockholm, the old town. I'm sure this was once a very interesting place. Nowadays though, it has a sleazy theme-park feel to it. Full of tatty souvenir shops and 'pubs' catering to lost Irish wannabes. Not my cup of tea.

But still it's worth a trip, and not just for the people-watching. Today I visited Gamla Stan - for the second time, intent on seeing what the island really had to offer. And I found one place - not to say there aren't others.

But should you ever be in Stockholm, do take the time to visit the Nobel Museum. As well as the standing exhibits - the history, past prize winners and so on, this year there's a poster exhibition on freedom of speech. I will not even begin to go into it here - suffice it to say it was compelling, subtle and intelligent. I was privileged to see an excerpt of the late Theo Van Gogh's documentary, "Submission" which portrays violent treatment of women in Muslim society.

After the Nobel Museum, I decided to just wander. Gamla Stan is tourist-infested. But ... there's more to it, if you take the time and energy to blot out the tawdry tourist shops selling plastic Swedish flags.

Look at this man, having a smoko on a break from working in an Indian restaurant. Or this young woman, on the steps of the Nobel Museum.

Stockholm has its image. It's an image of self-sufficiency, and if not a complacency, something antiseptic and Abba-like in its blond-on-blondness.

And dare I say? An obviousness? Has the icon become the image, if not the message?

I close today's blog with some obvious images. All cities have them. Perhaps Stockholm's are just ... a little more obvious?

Blonds and bikes

A Big Bag

Going up?

To Consider?

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