As we sat last evening drinking beers up at Mosebacke, looking out over the Baltic and the city of Stockholm spread out below, the drunken woman next to us pestering us in her slurred Swedish, M. the T.V. producer told one of his music video stories:
A Swedish back-up singer favored by a number of Swedish - and non-Swedish - popstars was signed by a small but prestigious Danish record company. M. was asked to produce the music video. He went down to Copenhagen and met with the record company, shaking hands all around and getting his moderate budget.
"She's very special," the record company executives said to him. "She'll be a hit with the gay club crowd in Spain and Germany. But she wants to do her own clothes and makeup, so just let her."
Uh, okay, M. thought.
So he and the back-up singer flew to California, where he collected an American co-producer among other crew members, and they went on to Las Vegas. M. didn't explain to us how he found all the various American crew members, but he did say that he thought that the American co-producer was probably not just a producer, but a serial murderer-rapist as well.
"I can't explain, " M. said. "He was just kind of scary in a serial murderer-rapist kind of way."
The husband and I nodded.
Once in Las Vegas, after a few problems with the co-producer, the production ended up in a suite in a big hotel. And the makeup artist and seamstress that M. had gotten, just in case, "collaborated" with the back-up singer and her, uh, artist friend in doing the makeup and clothes for the video. "It came out beautifully, all things considered," said M. "The shots were great and it looked fantastic."
After some scrimmaging, M. managed to wrest the film out of the American co-producer's hands and bring it back to Sweden and get it edited.
They showed the rough cut to the back-up singer. They touched up the film and magically got rid of the wrinkles and lines on the face of the back-up singer. At last, they sent the finished video down to Copenhagen and got their paychecks.
And then they heard nothing. For weeks and weeks.
Finally, curiosity got the best of M. He called the executives at the Danish record company and asked if they were happy with the video.
"She's fat," they said to M., their voices incredulous.
Well, yes, M. thought. Hadn't they actually met her before they signed her?
The Swedish phrase for the day is ...och det spelar ingen roll ändå om hon ser ganska tjock ut, eller hur?. It means ... and it doesn't matter anyway if she looks fat, does it?
- by Francis S.