Sunday, November 04, 2001

So we spent last night with The Boys - A.'s boyfriend the photographer, the music producer and the t.v. producer. The hit of the evening was definitely the water pipe purchased from Beirut Cafe on Friday by the husband in honor of our quitting smoking. This water pipe comes with strange apple-scented tobacco pellets that throw off sparks like a tiny firecracker when you first light them, and the smoke itself is curiously benign. Although the whole smoke-on-the-water thing gave me some weird uncontrollable flashbacks to the drug-hazed days of my last two years of high school. Well, maybe not real flashbacks, but close enough. Yee-haw.

We got to hear about how the music producer got his start - he was 14 and took the train into the city from suburban Sollentuna and saw these boys breakdancing at Sergelstorg and after watching for three hours, he told them he wanted to be their manager. ''They went through all the one-crown coins and ten crown notes and shit that people dropped, and I got 10 percent of everything'' - and other exploits of his early youth - ''I was coming home at like 7 or 8 or 9 from some fucking party one night when I was 18 and I saw Expressen and on the cover there was some shit in big fucking letters about these guys who ripped all these teenagers off and I bought a copy and I looked inside it was all pictures of, like, me but with my face covered by a black dot and shit.'' He explained to us that he hadn't ripped anyone off, but he signed some paper for someone else who did rip everyone off. ''I never trusted the media after that,'' he said.

He also talked about how it shocked him when he went to Africa for Unicef. It was because one of his stars is involved with Unicef. What disturbed him was how he had always thought of them as the good guys but here they were, spending a lot of money entertaining them when the people in the surrounding villages were so desperately poor. ''And they had all this data, how many children, how many had HIV, how many died. They knew every fucking thing about statistics,'' he said. It made him feel that they were doing just enough to help a bit, but not really more than that. He wondered if they were really just trying to control the population.

''That sounds like a conspiracy theory,'' I said. Not that they probably aren't trying to control the population. I just don't believe it's a conspiracy. And of course I'm used to thinking of Unicef as some great benevolent organization as well.

''Yeah, maybe,'' he said. I guess I can't be too hard on anyone for believing in some conspiracies because in fact some very underhanded things have happened that I would say fit into the category of conspiracy. Besides, I like this guy, he's funny and he's smart and some of this stuff he's just throwing out on the table just to get us all talking at the top of our voices.

And thus began a long evening of talk about America, money, who runs the world, and other things. ''Like the fact that the U.S. is more like a big corporation than a country,'' the music producer said.

And of course this quickly degenerated into a discussion of what the hell is going on with this so-called war on terrorism, and what's going to happen next and why. It's amazing how a night's entertainment is no longer complete without touching on the topic, no matter how frustrated everyone feels afterward.

Me, I don't know what the hell I think anymore, other than not really trusting people to do the right thing.

The Swedish word for the day is samtal. It means conversation.

- by Francis S.

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