Driving down to London from Edinburgh takes shit loads of time, the train though, 5 hours sharp. Sat next to a woman who randomly had a brother in Sweden. See! God puts us right where he wants us. Coming back to London after just a few weeks absence with abstinence felt good, memories were still fresh enough to keep me in a positive spirit. I moved around a bit with my newly found friend, did some jazz clubbing at Ronnie Scott’s in Soho accompanied by another good pal, a steady Chianti of course. Whatever your taste preferences, when there’s a Chianti in the wine list, head straight for it and you won’t be disappointed. Same goes for a jazz club, it should always be a first choice of club options if available. In Sweden, we lack this and we mourn accordingly.
My new host Rob had just spent a few weeks in the states and was greatly influenced by the south- and mid-western Mexican influenced cuisine. Combining the typical British cheddar with top notch Tabasco we formed a European Breakfast burrito, which apparently was a standard meal in areas close to Mexico. Hey! I’ll buy it any day, beans and cheese, man, I look forward to indulging in an all new food culture next year. This thing about white guys eating chilli though, seems like it has grown into a phenomena the last decade or so. Is this all Jackass’ fault? Eating enormous portions or eating something too spicy to swallow – what’s the deal? Rob had spent the last year building up his resistance so he would actually be prepared to eat Britain’s most spicy burger – a burger that sent people away in an ambulance. Hence, the studio he worked in was crammed with empty Tabasco bottles. I still don’t get it, it’s like a pre-historic instinct letting the primitive alpha male feel good about himself. I can accept some spice, but this thing about eating things that’s neither good for you or to you. Food is such a brilliant experience in itself it shouldn’t be misused to prove people haven’t developed squat in 50 000 years. Aight, I’ll drop it, let’s move on.
After London we did the tour around south-eastern England, Isle of Sheppey turned out to inhabit so much history from different periods I could gladly have stayed there for weeks. But that’s just England for you. As a historian there really is too much to see, touch and feel there. Compared to Sweden, so much is still intact from centuries down. In Canterbury they live in houses today, built before the city of Gothenburg was even founded. The cathedral of Canterbury must have looked utterly ridiculous to a medieval traveller from the countryside. No wonder you got religious (if you weren’t already) after seeing that huge, beautiful building, in the middle of nowhere, completely surrounded by walls and ditches. THOU SHALL NOT PASS!
I loved driving around the British countryside, the architecture is just like you expect from a movie set. It’s hard to imagine what it’s like in reality after only experiencing Britain through Midsomer Murders and Monthy Pyton. But yeah, it’s like that with all places of course. When I was in Jerusalem I couldn’t stop saying the name over and over again, a name of which tales have been told all through my childhood. Jerusalem and Bethlehems real existence was hard to grasp after being told of Jesus and God and Joseph and Mary and three kings and stuff about stars and shepherds. Even harder to imagine these cities divided by politics and war, occupied, burnt, rebuilt, massacred and rebuilt for a thousand years. British history is not as old as Jerusalem’s but the presence of the past is constantly there in a completely different way than it is in Sweden. I think it’s a classical division between culture and nature. People visiting Sweden is mostly here for the nature, and travels lot more and lot further into the deep nowhere than we Swedes do. We don’t really see the forest behind all trees. (Is that an expression anywhere else than here?) It says a lot. We are not an old culture, which implies that we’ve managed to keep a lot of nature intact. And yes, I can imagine we actually got some awesome sights if I just learn to see it again. Being Swedish, I have a hard time appreciating forests, lakes and fields. Growing up so close to Canterbury, Rob really didn’t notice the beautiful architecture of the city. I long for cities big enough to blow my mind, or volcanoes and Himalayan sized mountains. Again back to chasing the new, the fresh, the constant need for unseen impressions. Ah, a hypocrite for life! Sweet hypocrisy! I can both eat and keep the cookie, I can both run and chase at the same time! Peace – that was last weeks philosophy. LET’S GO!