Tag Archives: Vi

Happy Birthday Vi!

The young Witch found Vi magazine pretty boring. It was the kind of thing old people read. I wanted colour and fun and Vi didn’t offer much of that. But that was OK. Old people need their stuff, too.

‘Everyone’ around me had it. I can’t say they subscribed, because Vi was (is) the Coop magazine in Sweden. Back then, you collected your receipts and handed them in for your annual membership dividend, and on the envelope you could tick if you wanted Vi. That’s why Mother-of-witch and all her siblings and the neighbours and everyone in the whole world read Vi.

As I got older I, too, caught the bug. I was older quite early, in my late teens. I liked the recipes and the knitting patterns and stuff. (Let’s face it; I was boring.)

At the age of 21 I spent a year at the University of Sussex, and my – own – subscription to Vi followed me there. You can’t go for almost a year and not read Vi! One of my fellow students found out I had Vi there, and I can still recall the pitying look she gave me. (Her name is long forgotten.)

It came with me to Brighton once more, when the Resident IT Consultant and I moved there. More need for recipes, and for generally keeping track of what went on in Sweden and in the world.

I did have to give it up for a while, in more recent years, when I felt the annual subscription (no longer available by ticking anything at all) with postage abroad became a bit steep. School Friend gave me hers when she was done with them. But it’s hard to go without your own, so I’ve been back as a subscriber for some time now. When the bill comes, I simply close my eyes and pay.

Cover of Vi, June 2012

And now, today, Vi is 100 years old. Everyone I know does not read it any more, but those who matter do. As for the Retired Children’s Librarian who needs to be frugal, but who likes crosswords, I send them to her.

No need to pity me. Vi is what keeps me vaguely informed both about the old country, but also about the rest of the world, when the British press forget that there are more places than the UK, and maybe the US.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

(I like the cover above. It features former party leaders for Labour, Communists and – I think – Greens. These ladies enjoy each other’s company, and are not above posing in this royal fashion, and one of them brought her toddler with her, because it was her day to look after her. And there is an article about eating porridge.)

Today

So, how are we? All present and correct?

I’m not one to buy into this end of the world stuff. I had actually managed to escape the latest ending of our world until quite recently, when I read in Vi magazine what was happening. Their reporter had been to France and was amused by the restaurant he came across, that offered a spectacular last night meal with entertainment.

Perhaps he has not read Douglas Adams? I suspect the restaurant people might have, unlikely though it sounds.

But it set me thinking apocalyptic thoughts. There is Tim Bowler’s Apocalypse; bleak, but not quite the end of everything. (Unless I got it all wrong?)

There is/was – or maybe not – Nicola Morgan’s novel which tried to be Apocalypse, but changed into The Passionflower Massacre ( a much better title, now that I stop to reflect) in deference to Tim.

Most likely there are apocalypses everywhere with our taste for dystopias and horror. (Quick search in online shop only netted a couple more, surprisingly.)

Some years ago the Resident IT Consultant returned home and mentioned he’d seen a film while away. I asked what film. He said it was called The Day Before Yesterday. Or something. Personally I find his a more interesting title than The Day After Tomorrow (which is what he did see.)

Let’s get on with today…

Hello, is anyone there?

Anyone at all?

Maybe it was a mistake to set this blog post to appear automatically?

Quality?

I was going to begin by saying that you mustn’t all start writing romances after this blog, but then I thought that if you did, I’d most likely find myself reading some very good romances some time soon. (Well, not soon soon, publishing takes time. But soon.) It’s not the genre that is bad, it’s the quality of the writing. Just as I have a fondness for opera singers singing popular songs, really. It’s supposed to be really dreadful that they do, but I like popular songs, and I love them being sung by someone who really knows how to sing. Take Pavarotti singing Ti Adoro. Wonderful!

Anneli Rogeman who is editor of my favourite Swedish magazine Vi usually writes good editorials, commenting sensibly on whatever topic she has a go at. I tend to agree most of the time. I was just a little disappointed with her latest editorial, where she attacks light reading.

At least, I think she is. In the summer I blogged about what Swedes were reading, and mentioned the latest publishing phenomenon, Lars Kepler. He’s a pseudonym. Now he has been outed, and Anneli Rogeman is disappointed. Lars is in actual fact two very ‘proper’ authors, married couple Alexandra and Alexander Ahndoril (yes, really!), about whom I know virtually nothing, living in exile as I do. But they are good, I understand that much. Good as in serious, and promising to reach greater greatness in future.

Or they would, had they not stooped so low as to write for the man in the street who has little interest in literature. She moans that now we will lose years of real books from them, as they’ve been contracted to write eight books. But surely, they have the right to write anything they like? This way they will provide reading material for many more people than their ‘proper’ writing would. That’s not a bad thing, I feel. I don’t know what this Lars Kepler book is like, but assume it’s a well written novel; that they have written lighter, not badly.

AA and AA stand to make a lot more money doing this. I can see that this would be attractive. But it seems this is to be sneered at. You have proper literature for the few and possible financial hardship, versus ‘rubbish’ and authors who are well off. Hm. Tricky.

Apparently there are five reasons for writing under a pseudonym, according to Anneli Rogeman. To get read at all, if you’re a woman, say. To attract curiosity and attention. To joke with the establishment. To avoid ruining your ‘proper’ writing. To simplify your own name.

Bo Balderson

The reason I got a little incensed with the editorial was that an old favourite of mine was listed under the second reason, and was rubbished by Anneli Rogeman. I now feel that my earlier fondness of and appreciation for Bo Balderson* has been ruined in my mind. His crime novels from forty years ago are only mediocre, it seems. It was just the fact that none of us knew who BB was that made people buy the books. Really? I read them because they were funny, and I enjoyed them. The mystery was fun too, but even now that BB has been found to have been a mere primary school teacher (and I expect my Vi to be less scathing on the subject of being a ‘mere’ anything), I still like him. I wished he’d turn out to be King Gustaf VI Adolf, but this is OK.

OK, so let’ move back from mere school teachers to potential Nobel prize winners; they are still allowed to write what they want. And if they do a light genre well, then that is good and will give pleasure to many. Maybe one day they will sink so low as to write for children. No, surely not…

(*Footnote – Bo Balderson wrote crime novels about a sleuth who just happened to be a government minister. He was really only an affable, wealthy man with about 14 children, but he accidentally became a minister because his galoshes were too large. He is assisted in his sleuthing by his long suffering school teacher brother-in-law; a man with bad nerves. At the time almost every public person in Sweden was suspected of being Bo Balderson. I really favoured the theory that it was the King.)

Hej och välkomna!

And in order not to confuse the regulars or to spoil any new readers, that’s likely all the Swedish I’ll offer today. The witch has been chosen as blogger of the month by that trusty old magazine Vi, which I mention every now and then, in their book magazine ViLäser. One has to admire their superior taste, and their courage in plumping for something so foreign as one of their own blogging in English. But Swedes are a linguistic lot, so I hope this will work out well.

bookwitch

I did realise the other day, that in my eagerness 28 months ago to remain fairly anonymous, I might have overdone things ever so slightly. No name (but by now most of you know what the civilian witch is called), no geographical clues as to where she stores her broomstick (much) and no way to contact me other than by commenting and ‘screaming’ for help. Ever an unhelpful soul, I like it that way.

So, a few facts; I’m Swedish. I’ve lived in England for over a quarter century, and yes, that makes me really old. These days the broomstick cupboard can be found in Stockport, which I generally explain as Manchester’s Mölndal, if you think Göteborg. It’s famous for hats. Like Alice’s Mad Hatter, hat makers went mad because they were poisoned by something in the hat making process. Very nice.

I drive my family mad. They are the Resident IT Consultant, who despite being born in Scotland can say ‘koav’ which is halländska for korv (sausage). It’s Offspring, consisting of Son and Daughter, who these days are so old that I find myself borrowing other people’s children for author interviews whenever necessary. Their bookish exploits get milked for all that they are worth on these pages. Son is a Philip Pullman nerd on the highest level. Daughter loves several authors, and to prevent you all having a fight, I won’t mention names. But you know who you are.

I mostly write tongue-in-cheek comments about book related things, do reviews of books and interview many of my beloved authors. Bookwitch set out to be about children’s books only, but there is a fair amount of crime in these parts, too. My list of Aspie books has suggestions for books for readers with Asperger Syndrome.

Last but not least, little sister CultureWitch goes on and on about all sorts of things that are not books.

ViLäser