Tag Archives: Gyllene Tider

I was trying to have my hair cut, when

the fans phoned. I’ve never forgotten the constant ringing of the bloody phone, but assumed it was ‘normal,’ somehow. And here I discover in this morning’s television interview with Gyllene Tider’s Per Gessle and Micke Andersson, that it’s not been commonly known… According to Micke his mother was furious. No, more like annoyed, I’d guess. Siv’s too nice to do furious. She had to hire someone just to answer the phone, because it seems the fans didn’t want to book themselves in for haircuts.

Sorry about the interview, by the way. It’s in Swedish. But you can still enjoy it. Per looks a little wrinkly, but Micke has his parents’ good looks. (I know, because he posted a photo of them on facebook last week, and they haven’t aged at all.)

I was too cool back then to have much interest in Gyllene Tider. And it’s weird to think they are now breaking up for the last time (?) and will set out on their 40th anniversary tour this summer. I suspect I will miss it, just as I have all the others. I don’t do crowds well, nor standing for hours.

I – almost – share their accent, and I believe them when they say that they were always a ‘good’ band. It’s what happens when you have cows outside your house.

Gyllene Tider

We met by Picasso

It felt like something straight out of a Gyllene Tider song. I did wait by Picasso, and we were indeed in the same small town Per Gessle sings about in Småstad. That’s because singer Lena Andersson and I grew up in the same small town as Per, and my suggestion that Lena and I should meet by Picasso was more a matter of practicality, than me being clever. It’s a big statue, there are seats to sit on (I am old) and it’s across the street from the church café that I felt might be a good place for some ‘fika.’

And had it not been for my plumber who phoned me on my mobile to ask where to send his invoice, then the local radio station would have lost its star turn for the day. Lena is back in Sweden this summer to stage a come-back, and she has been interviewed by everyone, everywere. During two months she will have covered great parts of the country and she will have sung in lots of places and been interviewed in many more.

So while I was spelling my address out to the plumber, Lena got her phone out and looked at text messages – as you do – and discovered that she needed to get her skates on to get to an almost forgotten about live radio interview on time. In fact, she couldn’t make it to the original venue (her parents’ balcony), so quickly switched to a nearby park, as she’d cycled into town.

Luckily we had drunk our tea and coffee, and eaten.., well, never mind what we’d eaten, and chatted about being foreigners where we live and about coming ‘home’ and whether our husbands are tidy men when left on their own. (No comment.)

I had forgotten to ask Lena if she could bring a copy of her new CD Open Your Heart when we met, but luckily she did anyway, and I’m listening to it as I write this. (I’ll tell you more about that later.) Her voice hasn’t changed much from the days of gospel singing over the skipping rope in the late 1960s. Neither has she, which is nice.

Halmstad Library, Lena Andersson on the radio


When Daughter got off the train in Halmstad on Friday night, half the town (a mere 20,000 to be truthful) was there to meet her. There were fireworks. The police were out, directing traffic and closing off lanes. People were happy, and wandering all over the place. Even the weather was nice, and warm, considering it was 11pm. Still almost light, too.

She’d been travelling for eleven hours by then, and was more than pleased to be getting off the train, seeing as half of half the town seemed to be wanting to get on. I expect it got crowded for a while there. We eventually managed to squeeze our borrowed Saab out of the parking slot we had miraculously found right outside the station (only possible because the big American classic car took up so much space that no one else had attempted the squeeze. The Resident IT Consultant had to breathe in to get out), and it only took half an hour to leave town, as opposed to the normal five minutes.

Gyllene Tider, Halmstad

It wasn’t only Daughter’s arrival that caused the mayhem. The primary reason for the other 19,998 people was the Gyllene Tider concert, a stone’s throw away from the station. Personally I’d been hoping for more concert to be left when we arrived, as it would have meant not only quieter streets, but I could have listened in for free while waiting. But we met the Hot Dog Man as we approached, so worked out it was all over now.

There was piped Gyllene Tider music on offer, however, and the fireworks display was pretty good. The station was long closed, but its café was open, as was the Seamen’s Church along the road. It was not our normal Halmstad at all. I doubt I’ll see the like of it again. (Although, the next concert is on the 7th of August.)

Gyllene Tider, Halmstad

Not sure if the concert dates were known (to me) when Daughter booked her travel tickets. No matter; we couldn’t/wouldn’t have attempted the concert anyway. I feel sad to have missed it, but standing up for several hours with 20,000 happy fans is not my idea of comfort.

Sommartider hej hej, sommartider, hej…

Trying to Skype it

If the Stones can play Glastonbury, then Gyllene Tider can play Allsång på Skansen.

I put the laptop in front of the television, so it too could watch Allsång. (Actually, it was a feeble attempt to make it possible for Daughter to watch from afar. Via Skype. But it didn’t work.) I had to enjoy Måns Zelmerlöw all by myself, and couldn’t help wondering if his prattish fall off the stage was a re-enactment of an earlier, genuine fall. He didn’t seem to enjoy it.

Allsång på Skansen, Gyllene Tider

His childhood stars, the old men of Gyllene Tider were there. As I said. They are all a few years younger than me. Micke Syd now looks like his Dad. (That’s not a bad thing. Just a reflection on how life goes on.) Anders no longer has to sleep with Per when they go on tour. And Per thinks composing songs is a doddle, ‘it usually goes quite well.’

We had a choir, and we had a brand new 15-year-old, Zara Larsson. She looked so nice that I sincerely hope she won’t be as successful as Carola who came after her, wearing a dress worthy of some US television star. She has been around for so long – 30 years – that her old hits are now Allsång songs.

I kept staring at the people in the audience, who from what one hears will have been there since early morning. Do I know them? Are they famous? Or do they simply look like typical Swedes in some way? Speaking of which, I am not xenophobic, but do feel this programme is best suited to have Swedes performing. Passenger was their first foreign guest, and I’d never heard of him. His song was all right, even if his voice was a bit odd, but I’d rather he’d not been there…

GT returned with a medley, which was a little Flickorna på TV2, some more Juni, juli, augusti, and all of Sommartider. And the weather was sunny, and all was perfect. I even switched to the online second half, so heard a bit more GT. (They’re playing locally next week, but with no ticket I’m unlikely to hear them.)

Måns Zelmerlöw, Allsång på Skansen

I’m always struck by how everyone sings at Skansen, and how they seem to enjoy themselves. No one is too cool. By getting up at the crack of dawn, you too could sing live – and out of tune – on Swedish television.

And one of these days I will not find the word ‘husband’ strange when I see it rolling in the credits. It means ‘house band’ so means backing musicians. But I suppose a husband comes in handy for all sorts of things.

Being Per Gessle

That’s Att Vara Per Gessle. I looked to see if the book by Sven Lindström has been translated, but it seems not, which is a shame. On the other hand, maybe too few people around the world would want to read such a tome. To be honest, I don’t think I would have, had it not been for the shared connection of Halmstad as home town.

Halmstad isn’t all we share. Looking at the class photo from 1968 I felt it could have been mine, and whereas I didn’t wear glasses back then, Per could have been me. We lived near each other, but there is two and a half years between us. Like me, Per seems to have started school a year early. His handwritten list of LPs could almost have been mine.

But that’s where the similarities stop. Reading Att Vara Per Gessle is hard at the best of times, simply due to its sheer size. Beautifully designed, every page looks like the cover of an LP. The paper is thick and heavy, and the almost 300 pages take time to work your way through. Personally I’d have found it easier without the design, but there is no getting round the fact that it looks good.

So, I’ve been at it a few years now, reading in fits and bursts when I felt up to balancing the book. It’s so full of facts, that you occasionally need to distance yourself from too many numbers. Per is a fanatic who keeps track of everything, and the book is much the same, complete with a CD.

I have enjoyed it enormously. It’s both interesting to see all that goes on behind the scenes of success, as well as a ridiculous feeling of pride that a local boy made quite so good.

The book has everything, from Per’s early years at home in Halmstad to his current – rather fancier – home in Halmstad. See, he went far, but he didn’t go too far in the geographical sense. That’s nice. You can be a small town boy and an international star.

I knew Gyllene Tider as an even more local boy band, from Harplinge. That’s when I paid any attention to them at all. The fans phoned the hairdresser’s where I was having my hair cut, asking if the hairdresser’s son (drummer) was at home. Annoying, I thought.

After that I was half aware of Roxette, Per’s group with Marie Fredriksson. And by the time he started on his solo career, Offspring were interested in him and his music, so I was almost not behind at all.

Suffice it to say that I had no inkling that there was so much work behind something ‘simple’ like a new album, or a tour. To this non-musical music listener the background information has been a real eye-opener. Also realised I’ve only listened to a fraction of Per’s music, so might have to look into some more now that I know where it’s come from.

This might be a ‘warts and all’ book. I don’t know. There are plenty of warts, but it may not be all the warts. It’s reassuring to see that not all was rosy, and it’s salutary to discover that things went wrong, too.

Per Gessle and Sven Lindström signing Att Vara Per Gessle

Fun and informative, and for someone from the same time and place it’s much more than the rise of a star. (Just wish my childhood memories of Per’s hotel could have been left in peace.)

And I have considerably fewer tracks on my iPod than Per has on his.


A song about a rather inept yokel by the name of Börje (from Hishult, southern Halland, Sweden), sung in the local accent, is an unlikely track for me to develop a real fondness for. I blame it on exile. It makes you softer than you’d expect. It’s because, deep down, you miss all the ‘awfulness’.

But HishultaBörje isn’t awful. The tune is good old Swedish pop/rock, sung by Gunnar Bringman, who has a pleasant enough voice. And a heart-tugging sort of accent for someone with a past in Halmstad. Because I’m willing to bet that accent isn’t Hishult, but unadulterated Halmstad. Close enough.

Singing in a south Swedish accent came into fashion in the 1970s, but then it was mostly the Skåne accent of Hoola Bandoola Band. I think this is the only Halmstad accent song I’ve come across. Gyllene Tider don’t count.

The inept yokel is a careless driver, gets breath tested by the police, is not exactly a hit with the ladies, runs late, lives with his old mother, plays bingo, wins a forklift truck (!), speeds with the truck, is breath tested again, loses his license, has a heart attack and dies. Poor Börje.

The much repeated line of ‘fy fan va’ barnsligt’ (damn, that was childish) has some poetic charm. Really. And when poor Börje has finally died, the recording ends with Gunnar laughing and making a comment about it being a weird ending for a song.

Börje isn’t my cup of tea as a person, but the sad tale takes me down memory lane. And then there is that accent. One that I carefully removed as soon as I left town, but which still makes the heart beat fonder, or whatever cliché makes sense to use.

Have no knowledge about Gunnar. He may be local, but I’d never heard of him. My track turned up on a Halmstad CD collection, but the pirated downloads are all over the internet if you look. (I didn’t suggest that!)

and here is the song

Maybe I should have added the song itself, last week?

Here is Harplinge, but without any live footage of the boys.

If you want to sing along, the lyrics are on the screen.

The road to Harplinge

And here is the map. Avoid the yellow road.


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.