Zemlor, and Måns

Our travel plans for March caused me to be wittier than ever. Or, at least, Daughter appreciated my wittiness more than I had dared to expect.

We wanted to return to Sweden, to see what a property-free existence might be like. We wanted to eat semlor – the Swedish Lent buns we love. And Daughter wanted to see Måns Zelmerlöw in concert. All three things serendipitously coincided mid-March and off to Gottenburg we flew. (Yeah, I know. It’s not spelled that way, but the airline didn’t know any better.)

We had two potential concert venues (close to what we know), and we chose Åhaga in Borås, which I’d heard so much about but never been to. Åhaga is an old steam engine repair shop, more recently made into a lunch restaurant and an events venue. School Friend first accompanied us to lunch on concert day, so we could case the joint. And a very nice joint it is, complete with indoors steam engine and outdoors waterfall. We were able to see the stage being set up for Måns.

After lunch we popped across the car park to buy some food, and more zemlor, at the ICA-Maxi supermarket. Daughter pointed behind me as we were nearly done. ‘It’s him!’ she whispered. And there was Måns, pulling his own midsize shopping basket, no doubt full of whatever makes a concert tour on a touring bus more bearable. We opted for discretion. Måns deserved to be allowed to shop alone. And had we pestered him, no doubt more people would have noticed.

With our haloes intact, we queued to pay just ahead of him, before going home to the airbnb and stashing our semlor in the fridge for some post-concert munching.

I was mostly along for the ride. Måns seems like a ‘nice young man’ and I don’t mind him. But on the other hand, he’s not really set me alight with his singing either.

But you know what? Seeing him live makes a difference. And from what others have said, including the reviewer from the local paper, it appears that his record company has not had his best interests in mind. Måns usually comes across as a very decent person, but a somewhat vanilla singer.

Yes, I know he won Eurovision in 2015. That sort of proves the point.

The concert was good, and I liked his singing. By the look of things, most people in the audience more than liked it, and that’s as it should be. The pared back style suited him. And it is almost criminal that there wasn’t a ‘CD’ to buy. By which I mean, some kind of new concert album with the new Måns. The second encore was Heroes, and I was sure nothing could follow it. But Måns sat down and sang something a lot less rousing to finish off, which was even better. That, and the a capella piece the group did earlier. The small ‘eight-year-old accountant’ he described his younger self as has come a long way. Let’s hope the record company knows what to do now.

‘Lov’ is the Swedish for school holidays. Semlor are the buns. And Måns Zelmerlöw is Måns Zelmerlöw. Together they make for a ‘zemlelov.’ (Did you know it’s possible to eat one every other day?)

(Photos shamelessly stolen from Helen Giles)


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