Archive for August, 2012

Today was the last chance to visit Teknikland, a large military museum outside of my home town Östersund, for the season. It is a fantastic place to visit and you can spend hours at this location looking at military equipment dating far back and up to the present. The years of the cold war are especially present, a time when Sweden had one of the largest air forces in the world in case of conflict with the Soviet Union. Östersund had three regiments back then, infantry, artillery and air force. Not so anymore, our idiot politicians have seen to that (leaving mid-Sweden undefended, how stupid can you get?).

I have been to this museum, located by an air strip, three times and have taken quite a lot of pictures. Planes, vehicles, guns in all sizes – the lot. I recommend a visit if you travel through these parts next season.

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My Xena adventure

Posted: August 17, 2012 in Magazines

 It has been 10 years now since the publication of my fourth issue of the Xena/Lucy Lawless fanzine (The Unofficial) LUCY IN THE SKY. The run ended in 2003 with the fifth issue.

I really had a blast creating these and the team involved was quite phenomenal, and international in nature. The covers had art by Patricia Parker, every issue sported a Xena cartoon by Scott King, fans from all over the world contributed with articles. In this particular issue, the big article was how two major fans (Deb and Wendy) travelled to New Zealand and walked in Xena´s footsteps – or rather, to many of the locations seen in the show. Very detailed with around 90 pictures – many in full colour – certainly one of the best articles that ever went out within the publication. Hell, they even met Lucy Lawless herself on that trip!

The publication lasted three years and the fact that it existed was highlighted in a number of swedish media outlets, including major newspapers and TV weeklies. I was interviewed several times. It was clear that Xena had many friends within the swedish media. I know that there was a publication, by fans for fans, over in Germany as well. In the States the official fan club had their excellent publication (The Chakram) and then there was the official magazine that went out for a while. It was good to be a fan back then.

When Nikki Stafford put together her book “How Xena Changed Our Lives” (ECW Press, 2002) I had a chapter in it about my fanzine and the swedish scene. Several of my buddies who used to contribute to LUCY IN THE SKY were also in it. I must have done something right.

In the end, support dwindled and I decided to end it. But even then I was busy writing a detailed book about the show (with complete episode guide) along with my friend Eva Hamberg (now Eva Svartkrut). I tried very hard to sell it to a swedish publisher but with no luck. Nobody has ever (to this day) published such a book in Sweden (or Scandinavia) so the publishing houses just could not get their their heads around it. It is very frustrating to read that the work is very good but.. (and then comes the excuse). I published the guide through four magazines (later on) instead, not quite the same but at least it saw the light of day. I guess I (or we) could still publish a book some day but not through a publishing house. Maybe a small independent run of 100 copies or so. I can see that happening some day, when RETROFUTURE is over.

My little Xena adventure was a very positive experience. The fans of Xena are some of the loveliest human beings you can imagine. From New Zealand the response was a quiet one, I only got a thumbs up from Lucy´s agent on a couple of occations. No interview was offered or could be set up. To this day I wonder how the people behind the show looked at the “Xenaverse” out there. Still, they had a show to do. On a personal level, by chance, I could compare this with the DEEP PURPLE FOREVER magazine. Did many interviews with guys from Deep Purple and the surrounding musical family (Whitesnake, Rainbow, Sabbath etc). Probably one of the reasons I felt that LUCY IN THE SKY was done.

In any case, a splendid time.

Got to love the Pulps

Posted: August 16, 2012 in Books

When I was a kid there were loads of paperbacks on sale everywhere you looked, with juicy covers and quite frankly, some of the best cover art that I have ever seen (to this day). Naturally, I started to collect and although the scene hit a brick wall in the 80´s and vanished one can still find loads of these books in second hand stores. So the collection is still growing.

Seen here are some that I have collected over the years (six rows squeezed into a shelf), but I have more. The majority of these titles are classic Pulp (Carter Brown, Nick Carter, Mack Bolan, Hank Janson etc) but there is also some westerns and some science fiction. I also have a huge war collection.

I spoke to a swedish translator once and he told me that some of the swedish books had to be cut back as far as the number of pages go. Hard to know which ones though if the job is done properly. Still, great covers.

Also, Pulps are supposed to be some kind of second rate culture but I absolutely protest this notion. Some of these very books are still for sale today (some authors will never go away) but with terrible covers. The original idea, to package these books with colourful art with curvy chicks and a hint of deadly sin to boot, was far superior.

It still exists, but it is all nostalgia now. Nothing wrong with that though.

S/S Thomée

Posted: August 15, 2012 in General, Jämtland (County), My photographs

I was lucky enough to be at the right place at the right time in july last year when I happened to be on a bridge when an old steamboat called S/S Thomée passed by beneath it. Got a few decent shots of it and I really like this one. Look at the guy sitting on top of the roof, that kind of nails it.

Thomée was built in Motala in 1875 and has been in traffic on Lake Storsjön in my county Jämtland since 1880. It is 27 meters long and 4,85 meters wide. It can take onboard 130 passengers.

This image is printed in colour at the back of RETROFUTURE 5, coming in from the printers in a few weeks time.

I am not a professional photographer and I only own a small Sony digital camera that is quite good for my purposes but not for live gigs. Certainly not from a crowd in motion. Still, one or two shots will be OK and this one of Tarja Turunen and band bowing to the audience at the Rockweekend festival in Sweden (2010) is one of them. I just like the Monty Python vibe it has. Clearly a band having fun together.

I have seen Tarja three times with Nightwish and twice on her own. I consider her a real star, way ahead of the competition.

Really looking forward to the upcoming DVD-release “Act 1” due out in a couple of weeks.

I saw Over The Rainbow at the Rockweekend festival in Sweden in 2010 and tried out my little Sony digital camera in a livesetting for the first time. Got a few decent shots but most came out out of focus. Sadly, I never filmed any of the show which was actually really quite good.

Lets face it, Ritchie Blackmore will never play his Rainbow hits again so Over The Rainbow was probably the closest thing to a reunion that we will ever see. Jurgen Blackmore did a decent job of it, in fact I would say that it really was like watching Rainbow again, 95% perfect. Good choice of songs to, the band kicked off with “Tarot Woman” which Ritchie would never have done.

Sadly, I hear that Over The Rainbow has been buried as a project and I have to say that this is rather sad news. Had they captured a show like this on film and released it, it could have taken off.

Also, with the talent involved, they should have been able to come up with a decent album themselves.

Still, I was lucky enough to see them. Fair enough.

This old japanese vinyl bootleg is probably my most beloved collectors item. Recorded in Japan 1975 with Tommy Bolin on guitar it was released with the rather embarrasing title “Get It While It Tastes!” by the culprits behind it. Not the greatest title ever but that cover is quite nice, that is a picture of the japanese tour programme photographed on a table. Not a bad idea.

In any case, I managed to get David Coverdale to sign it when I met him in 1981 and he obviously reacted to the title as well.

I do recall ordering this through a friend of mine (from a source in Japan) and the price was quite high, but as a major fan back then I just had to have it. I think it was worth it in the end, which is rare for bootlegs.

Those were the days.