Penny Lane and Abbey Road are all very well, but they don’t take me home. The most successful pop group in Sweden (not counting ABBA, naturally), Gyllene Tider wrote the song Harplinge, which is their way home from Halmstad to Harplinge. And that makes it very nearly mine.
The Gyllene Tider boys are all a few years younger than me, so we never overlapped in any schools that I’m aware of, and because they were so young (hah) I never paid much attention to them as their popularity and fame grew. It wasn’t until twenty years later that I finally listened to anything of theirs, so there is some truth in the saying about prophets and home towns or whatever.
The local paper, Hallandsposten, printed the words to a new song, Harplinge, when it was time for a Gyllene Tider revival, and it didn’t seem to be available on any of the albums I found. I asked the then very young Son what one could do about this lack of Harplinge and the brat duly downloaded it for me. (I’m sure it is my only music download, not paid for, and I’m very sorry. But GT are a lot richer than I am.)
The words of the song describe the journey from Halmstad town to the village of Harplinge, ten miles away. Through town, up the hill, past the airport, along the tree lined road, past the old doctor’s house, past the farm, through Gullbrandstorp village, along the straight bit of road where you can finally overtake the tractor and past a countryside primary school. Then, unfortunately, GT turn right towards Harplinge, where I will go straight ahead to Haverdal. But it’s more or less the way home from school.
Mother-of-Witch was acquainted with Mother-of-Lead Singer, and Mother-of-Drummer cut our hair and Father-of-Drummer repaired the car. And I was still as scornful as you can be when you’re a little older and so much more sophisticated.
Sitting in exile as I do, it’s wonderful to have a part of my daily past immortalised in a song. Especially when done in the local accent.
By now, the road building frenzy in Sweden means that the way home has been almost completely rebuilt and re-routed. So, pop song becomes history. Fast.