olle bergman

April is the kindest month

T.S. Eliot claimed that April was the cruelest month, but as I watch the façades of the Belgrade buildings I realise that I—being a very heat-sensitive person—was lucky to be here during spring. On the houses here, air conditioning units are clinging like the many breasts on the chest of Artemis. (Blogged from notes 2014-04-18)

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That living room feeling on Knez Mihailova

Today, I gave a lecture at the Scandinavian department at the Faculty of Philology. The spring evenings on the big pedestrian street Knez Mihailova has a living room atmosphere to them. Just join in and feel at home!

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Work, work …

So, I really have a nice place to work here on Mise Vujica 7: space, light, solitude, silence. No local things that disturb my concentration, but through the email distractions keep pouring in which remind me that I have a personal and professional life in Sweden as well. I counted 37 outgoing emails with different subjects this day. Where was I … oh yeah, I am a Writer in Residence …!

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At Idiot Bar by the Botanic Garden

Halleluja, jag är frisk igen! (‘Halleluja, I am well again!’) sang the Swedish singer-songwriter Cornelis Vreeswijk once. (If you think that is an odd Swedish name, it is; Cornelis was Dutch but became a renewer of the Swedish song craft.) This title comes to mind every time I lay off the burden of a bad cold or a lumbago. It's ok to be in Serbia in the spring feeling sick, but it sure is great being here healthy and strong! And that is how I finally feel after a lazy weekend. Friday was sunny and lovely, and I had two great meetings. Then I decided to let Saturday be my resting day....

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A black guitar to keep me company

A flat without a guitar is an empty flat. I am also used to bring along my guitar to parties, dinners and events. Sometimes I unpack it, sometimes I don't – it depends on the circumstances. But I am always a little sad if there is a splendid opportunity for some improvised music performance, but no instrument is at hand. Therefore I made a long walk on Thursday night from Bulevar despota Stefana looking for either of two music stores. Music Center on 27. marta 39 I just couldn't find (I found out later that it was hidden in a yard among the tall Tito era houses). Hence, I went looking for Mitros...

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Understanding Serbia is like reading a mystery novel

I had some fantastic conversation yesterday, discussing Serbia, Belgrade, food, traditions, politics, culture, street smartness. I also learnt to find my directions in the city. How to follow Bulevar despota Stefana between my apartment and the city center, and about other important streets like Takovska that becomes Kneza Miloža when it crosses Bulevar kralja Aleksandra. How to recognise landmarks like the TV house, the National Assembly or the National Theatre. I saw thousands of Serbians go around their business in streets that were bristling with activity late in the evening. And during...

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Leaving Sörmland with a terrible cold

Skavsta Airport, 8 PM Viruses has a way of turning us into earthbound creatures, more engrossed in our state of health and the frustration of our impaired capabilities than in thinking, observations, analysis and learning. Nevertheless: it has begun. And like always before a journey to a place that seems foreign to me, I turn to Gunnar Ekelöf to channel my feelings: Som vore det sista kvällen före en lång, lång resa: Man har biljetten i fickan och äntligen allting packat. Och man kan sitta och känna de fjärran ländernas närhet, känna hur allt är i allt, på en gång sitt...

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