Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Sweden

I'm now on the plane from Gothenburg to London, flying over the Northern tip of Denmark at the moment. No the plane doesn't have wireless (I wish), but I'm just writing this offline and I'll publish it when I get home. The Gothenburg conference was very fruitful, I made a lot of contacts and it gave me a clearer picture of our magazine's ideal target audience, which will be helpful for the conference we're planning on organizing in San Francisco early next year.

Gothenburg itself was nothing special, pretty small. It is the second biggest city in Sweden, but I guess that's not saying much. One amusing anecdote from the conference, during one of the main sessions someone's cell phone went off, and I think they get the prize for the most embarrassing ring tone to go off at a very bad time. The speaker was in the middle oh a rather passionate speech about IP reform when all of a sudden a blaring police siren went off somewhere in the room. Everyone looked around a bit confused, thinking maybe it was a fire alarm. Then a familiar tune started, and I realized it was, I kid you not, the theme song for the cartoon "Inspector Gadget." It begins with a police siren. And I thought my ring tone was embarrassing! (It's Mason's Exceeder).
Ok so my take on Sweden is these people are frighteningly attractive. I mean, you always hear that about Sweden but it's startlingly true. And it's not because they're all blonde or something, because they're not (although a LOT are). They just all look like models. The men, the women, the babies, the dogs. This particular conference was at a university so there were lots of students around, and there were also students from this IP school attending the conference. And I mean literally, they looked like the came straight out of an Abercrombie catalogue. And they were business students, studying IP monetization of all things! I thought they looked quite out of place. I mean I hate to play into the whole idealization of Nordic features but Jesus! I've never seen so many good-looking people in one place. So when you live in a country like that, is there a higher bar for attractiveness? Do people who would be pretty in England suddenly become baggably ugly in Sweden?

Interestingly, I didn't find this to be noticeably the case in Denmark, perhaps because there are so many tourists in Copenhagen. But what was true about both countries is that people's English is absolutely perfect. Everyone speaks it and many of them sound completely American or British (it usually depends on where they did their studying abroad). I mean many of the people I've talked to the past week, I wouldn't know they weren't British or American unless they told me. I think one reason this may be the case is that they don't dub over their English TV and movie programming like they do in Germany, France, and the rest of the larger countries. They use subtitles, and most people's English is good enough where they can turn them off or ignore them.

So all in all it seems like this trip was a success, I made it through without any major disasters, just losing my sim card and my ipod USB cord. The former's going to be a real pain, I hope it doesn't take them a long time to send me a new one. I lost it because I had to take my monthly TMobile sim card out of my phone and put my old Virgin one in, because TMobile wouldn't activate my ability to roam because I have no UK credit. On one hand I'm glad the roaming wasn't activated because that means noone can find my card in Germany and use it and rack up outrageous prices (I'm waiting till I get back to cancel it). On the other hand, if my roaming had been activated there would have been no need to take the card out of my phone in the first place. So bascally, fuck TMobile.

I'm reading an International Herald Tribune now, apparently Jerry Falwell died and Paul Wolfowitz resigned. I've been quite out of the loop the past 2 weeks. I'm looking forward to getting back to business as usual, although I may have to go to Oslo for a conference on June 4th. Really I think I'd prefer not, I'm Scandinavia'd out! I don't want to see another blonde for awhile.

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