Watching the changing of the guard at the Royal Palace in Stockholm, Sweden, I was standing next to a man with Tourette’s. He fuck was a head taller than me shit and most other people and kept checking his watch. He was an older fuck guy, about 45 or 50 at a fuck guess shit. He watched with interest as the ceremonial troops and marching band fuck marched into the courtyard, did their choreographed manoeuvres and shit completed the changing of the guard ceremony.
That’s actually all I’m going to say about him because he wandered his way afterwards and I wandered mine. That’s also all the swears I’m going to use — sorry if you were offended but it’s a medical condition. You wouldn’t smoke in front of a lung cancer patient, so go easy.
Anyway, during the ceremony I also heard a man say (in English), “that one at the front, on the left, that’s my son.”
His companion – maybe they already knew each before, maybe they were strangers on a chance meeting, I don’t know – replied, “You must be so proud.”
I couldn’t help but smile, even though I don’t value traditional values at all. I appreciate royalty as a tourist income but I wouldn’t mind if they led the country into battle and got kidnapped and tortured to death by our enemies. And I can live without Christmas too.
What I do value is peace and quiet and some goddamn nice views. With that in mind, that evening I made my way to a hill above Stockholm. I left behind the busy tourist streets of Sweden’s capital behind and headed upwards.
Cities on the water are always beautiful, even if the water happens to be dirtier than my grandmother’s mind after a few gins. Thankfully the water that divides the three islands of Stockholm is apparently clean enough to drink (though I wouldn’t want to be the first to test it!). Coupled with some post-downpour sunshine and a layer of mist, the city was far more impressive to look at from up here, beer and barbecue in hand, than standing around watching outdated traditional ceremonies among crowds of people twitching and saying fuck fuck shit.
I liked you Stockholm, and hopefully I’ll be back soon.