The brilliant podcast In our time is on a summer break. How rude. What am I supposed to listen then? How will any housework get done?
As can be expected with my somewhat terrier like personality I have since discovering that podcast listened through a sizable share of their archives. But maybe you haven’t and so you have that joy ahead of you.
They are all worth listening to, many bring up authors or discuss certain works in depth which makes the reading of them more informed. I probably would not have enjoyed or understood Beowulf as well without listening to that episode. Obviously Melvyn Bragg and his guests have made my TBR much longer but worth it. Some scrolling might be needed to find them, the podcast as such is found where you usually find them, it’s a BBC4 production.
These are seven of my favorite episodes in no particular order.
- Robinson Crusoe: I remember reading this books as a child but realize now that it must have been one of those child friendly versions. It was also interesting to hear of context and influences. I am considering a reread.
- Queen Zenobia: A warrior queen that challenged the Roman Empire. Why haven’t you heard that name before? As they conclude in the show; Shakespeare didn’t immortalize her in play that’s why. Fascinating stuff.
- The Talmud: My knowledge of judaism was much improved after listening to this episode and the history of The Talmud is layered. The making of the sacred text over a long time is also the history of the Jewish people.
- Bruegel’s The fight between Carnival and Lent: It’s a joy to listen to a discussion about this painting as the context is given and the details of it explained. And there is a lot going on. Having seen a Bruegel or two in my time I now appreciate them more.
- The Salem Witch Trials: I’ve read and listened to a fair few things on the topic of witches in my time. Maybe Roald Dahl’s Witches is to blame? Anyways this is a very informative episode.
- The Egyptian book of the dead: Having heard it mentioned many times in popular culture, the TV-series Penny Dreadful comes to mind, I hadn’t really understood what the book of the dead was. Now I know. And I’m forever wanting to learn more about ancient Egypt.
- The battle of Lincoln 1217: In this episode there is a mention, however brief, of a swashbuckling apostate monk by the name of Eustace. Truth is stranger then fiction.
Are there any podcast that you would like to recommend? My ears are open to suggestions as I will have to clean,iron and do dishes as usual during summer and I need something to entertain me when I do.
With in the span of about a week I went to the Nautical museum and the Museum of Ethnography. The are neighbors, I should have just done them in one fell swop. Although I didn’t have the time on my first visit and I did get some exercise walking there. There are a few more museums in the vicinity although not part of the “free admission”-decree so I won’t bother ( the museum of Sports anyone? If it’s not free I’m not touching that place with a stick).
This is a classic excursion for schools, I remember having been more then once during my school years and a few times after that too! They’ve had some really cool exhibitions like one about Voodoo that I much enjoyed. They also have some wonderful objects like fabrics and bowls in their collections and nowadays they are put on displace like a cabinet of curiosities. I can ogle for hours, almost pressing my face to the glass to get a good look at them, and they are impossible to photograph well with a phone.
As I understand it, this is now part of the permanent exhibit. Another thing that has been there for years is the Japanese tea pavilion. I think such a thing would make more sense at the museum of South-East Asian art but here it is. And lovely at that, placed in amongst the greenery creating a calm surrounding for it. I’ve menat for the longest time to visit and take part in the tea ceremonies that they host there but not yet. One day I’ll manage (however I have been a part of a tea ceremony but that was at the British museum).
And there are bits and bobs of other things, some Native American headdresses, a kimono or two, that sort of thing. It feels like the museum is in transition; from an old narrative of “we just view things” to a greater realisation that what you see depends on who you are. It must be a tricky path bringing collection like these into the future. I’m not expressing novel ideas here, I guess a fair amount of literature in the discipline of sociology is devoted to it.
The current temporary exhibit is one about values and norms, focusing on the LGBT community. It is directed, I would imagine, to school children and as that it is probably very good. A reasonable and pedagogical introduction to a topic that can be difficult to talk about. I had a look at it and then went back to drooling over luxurious fabrics.
The restaurant and the shop are both good.
And that’s that. I can tick it of my little list and move on. Not all museum visits are life-changing and not all blog-post are good. Done is better then perfect.
Things mentioned in this post;
The museum of Ethnography
In my effort to visit all the museums in Stockholm that have free admission I took a detour one day and went to the Maritime Museum. I really have no business in that part of town and as someone who’s interests in the maritime is limited to sailor caps, I’m not sure what I was doing there.
I have been once before actually; they’ve actually had free admission for a long time (their own initiative) and there was an exhibit about “Sailors and sex” that I went to. A very good exhibit actually about how human relations are onboard a ship, about prostitution in ports and also what happens when the sexuality isn’t of the norm i.e. female sailors or the belonging to the LGBTQ community. I remember a nice arty movie by British director Peter Greenaway. No such luck this time.
The temporary exhibit is about how people like to get portraits of their ships. #shipfie if you like. It did nothing for me. Taking a tour of the permanent collection is fun though; they used to make actual models of all the ships in the navy, some of them quite big and there is the story(and a part of a replica) of an 18th century yacht that belonged to the king.
In short; the best parts are the bistro and the shop in my opinion.
Things mentioned in this post;
The Maritime Museum
To know me is to know that I’m constantly looking at my phone. It’s embarrassing actually, I’m addicted. The photo above is my currant screensaver; with this depressing weather we are having it’s nice to have something cheerful to look at. What else is of interest on my phone?
- Instagram; No surprise there. I love Instagram and it is the best place to find me.
- Sleep cycle; as a chronic insomniac I have to say that this works for me.I’m not worried about the numbers and I don’t check the stats as it were gospel; as long as I stick to “sleep-hygien” as it is aptly called I sleep fairly well. It isn’t full proof but the function that monitors your sleep and sounds the alarm, during a window you specify, when you are at your “lightest” sleep cycle does ensure I’m more alert during the day. The path from sleeping to awake is the shortest possible,making it easier.
- Mindfulness; tried this last year but it’s only now that I’ve gotten into it. There are several around but I downloaded(and payed for) this swedish version in 2016 and I’m keeping it. Not a cure for everything but a little breather.
- Messenger; I have no love for Facebook but the messenger app is brilliant. I’ve basically stopped texting people.
- WordPress; As a blogger I try to keep up with comments, with varied success, and for that it works really well.
- Goodreads; My least fave of these. I’m sort of starting to regret ever getting it as it is yet another platform to keep up with. If I did it just for me I could just as well have stuck to my reading journal.
- Spotify; this is also pretty self explanatory. I like a bit of music sometime but if you subscribe to Spotify to check out spoken content like audiobooks etc. which can be found there.
One of the clearest signs that spring is coming to Stockholm is the age old debate of which will be more popular on social media this year; The blossoming cherry trees or people taking photos of the blossoming cherry trees? All of Stockholm turns into “basic bitches” this time of year ; the cherry trees in Kungsträdgården is the equivalent of taking pics of the florist at Liberty in London; blantatly obvious but also pretty damn beautiful. Basic is the new black I guess. I point this out as I myself to more then one pic of them as I passed them on my way to The Museum of far eastern antiquities (or Östasiatisk museet as we say in swedish).
The museum is located on Skeppsholmen so just a short walk from Kungsträdgården, it’s worth walking that way to get a feeling for spring, preferably reciting some Bashō on the way.
So I will admit I visit this museum fairly often, primarily because they have a great gift shop. I’ve bought so many presents there it’s silly. I also have my eye on some jade accessories for myself because after a cold spring like this I feel my M.O is “treat yo’self”. But I digress.
The museum also have some really nice collections; I usually focus on the Chinese porcelain which despite being hundreds of years old feels very modern( which is obviously because many ceramists look to those for inspiration) and they are very pretty. There is also a small section with Japanese clothes and objects that I recommend. The problem here is that I think the Ethnographic museum got the best stuff(they have the Japanese tea house amongst other things). I’m currently semi-obsessed with the hallway that is lined with Chinese books. I haven’t seen it before but it inspires me. I have no idea what kind of books they are but seriously I don’t care at this point.
I will also say that they have a lovely restaurant and I noticed they have rehung their lamps(but I’m a sucker for a red lantern). There is something about having a multitude of lanterns that just works. I saw something similar at the central station earlier this year and the vegan restaurant Lao wai has long had their ceiling filled with rice lamps. In addition to the jade jewelry I will take this into consideration.
Things mentioned in this post:
The museum of Far eastern antiquities
There is a Josef Frank exhibit at Arkdes, and I should go. But I’m reluctant.
Josef Frank, for those who are not familiar with the name, was an Austrian architect and designer who in 1933 fled the rise of Nazism and ended up in Sweden, which led to a hugely successful collaboration with the Swedish design company Svenskt Tenn and it’s founder Estrid Ericsson. Svenskt Tenn is synonymous with good taste here(without being bland and boring), and the vivid textiles patterns created by Frank are indeed a continuous delight.
So it’s no surprise that the museum for architecture and design are having an exhibit further exploring Frank’s works. The reason why I’m probably not going is that another museum had an exhibit about svenskt Tenn and Estrid Ericsson (so not exactly the same) but it did feel like I had paid to just visit the store. I fear the same thing would happen again. Especially as Svenskt Tenn itself are the holders of the archive and keep reissuing prints or using their showroom to highlight certain patterns and tell their story; like they are currently doing with Baranquilla; a pattern created between 1943-45 and named after a port in the Caribbean. They are having actual guided tours in the showroom. Really Arkdes? You want me to cross the stream to get to water?
Svenskt Tenn doesn’t only have stuff of their own design, they also have a selection of fabrics,design and ceramics by others that go well with their style but it must be said that it is very much a look of it’s own. You cannot open a shelter mag without seeing at least one home that has mis-matched Svenskt Tenn- cushion in a white sofa; patterns Josef Frank ultimately goes best with other patterns by Josef Frank.
However it is a nice shop to browse and be inspired; they pay attention to detail and always make sure that everything is lush and inviting, and not necessarily something you have to sell your soul to be able to afford. Somethings come with a hefty price tag absolutely but there are plenty of reasonably priced items also.
But it is THE shopping destination for a certain class of people and that, in combination with it’s rather posh adress, can be intimidating at first. Their tea salon upstairs is very nice although afternoon tea can get crowded, and I haven’t tried their tea cocktails yet sadly. So there is every reason to visit and make a thing out of it when you do.
Basically I’m telling you to treat the place like a museum with free admission ,albeit one that has the best gift shop ever.
Things mentioned in this post;
It was about time the weekend started, it’s been a long week( but then again I say that every week).
At least I have been pleasantly entertained, by both books and things coming through the “buds” in my ears; I finally got around to listening to S-town, the latest audio adventure behind the people who created This american life and Serial.
I’ve listen to This American life on and off for a few years and I was obsessed with the first season of Serial; it was such a game changer and just about had me in a conniption fit of excitement every episode. The second season was alright I thought, but no more than that. And now this; S-town, as in Shit-town,Alabama; the home of John B. Macklemore. It’s seven chapters(episodes) and they all went up at the same time. I’ve held off listening to it because of time constraints and I wanted a few reviews before diving in. When I did start listening though? Barely stopped. Almost 7 hours all in all and I gobbled it up in three days. It’s safe to say I got nothing else done.
What’s it about then? A supposed murder. A man that is larger then life or at least larger than his small southern hometown. A friendship. A mystery, or in fact several. In short its a story of a life and of life, all centered around John B. Macklemore. I thought of Stoner more than once but that could also be because I’ve been reading Augustus, also by John Williams.
One thing about John B. Macklemore startled me a bunch of times; he’s a horologist. On some level I know that it’s an actual term for someone who is a master in the art of measuring time. But I’ve been ruined by the works of David Mitchell and always think that horologists are reborn souls( although there is something of Marinus over John B. Macklemore I think. Or maybe I’m just craving another book from Mitchell that I’m imagining things). The point is that S-town is really good and worth your time.
And my next book just had to be The watchmaker of Filigree street; I had been thinking about reading for a while despite different opinions about it, because there are elements there that interest me. So far I’m enjoying it, and it’s at least giving me loads of inspiration in terms of bringing out my old watch necklace(and I have a Margiela for H&M watch necklace somewhere) and drinking green tea. And there could well be a cocktail created in the end as Lent is almost over and I will be allowed sugar again.
Things mentioned in this post;
This american life
Augustus by John Williams
Books by David Mitchell
Margiela for H&M