After ten months in Sweden, the horrible realization that Columnist Katherina Riesner knows very little about Swedish pop culture has led to an active dive into the best – and worst – of Swedish TV and music.
It was Easter Sunday and I was having a real smorgasbord with some of my Swedish friends when it hit me; or better said, when it was pointed out to me. I know next to nothing about Swedish pop culture. Sure, I have listened to basically ever Abba song when I was younger and, yes, the lyrics to Loreen’s Euphoria are forever burned into my brain. But what kind of knowledge have I gained while living here? What Swedish TV shows and movies have I watched in the last ten months? What Swedish music have I listened to?
The answer is: Not a whole lot. While I was pretty excited to watch some Swedish TV at the beginning of my stay, the beast that is Netflix keeps me occupied with an entertaining mix of American and British TV these days. Personally, I was a big fan of the Swedish adaptation of “Married at First Sight” (“Gift vid första ögonkastet”) but unfortunately there has not been a second season yet. Apart from the occasional show on SVT and a guilty pleasure “Paradise Hotel” binge-watch once in a blue moon, my TV and movie consumption is, like it has been for years, strictly Anglophone.
The lack of knowledge that revealed my utmost un-Swedishness, however, was in the musical department. I had never heard of Veronica Maggio and this, apparently, is a deal-breaker. How could I not? Easy. No one had pointed out until that point that I should know her. Since then I have made a conscious effort to consume parts of Swedish pop culture on a daily basis so that at the next party I can sing along “Jag kommer” or “Hela huset”. In my defense, though, apart from some musicians, Swedes themselves do not seem to be too infatuated with what is produced in the entertainment industry in their own country.
As a German I can identify with this feeling. For someone moving to Germany, it must be equally difficult to find pop culture that is specific to this place. Still, it would be nice to be able to relate to your new home on another level – through the eyes of a movie director or the ears of a musician. This is why I will keep digging for some cultural gold, while being well aware of the fact that you have to sift through a whole lot of sand before you find it.