r…. only 10 days left to Christmas and I will be in Marrakesh. Before take off was it time for some quality time with my friend Iris. She had bought tickets to a Christmas Classic concert with our fantastic controversial opera singer, Richard Söderberg together Arja Saijonmaa. 2 hours of Christmas music .. isn’t really my thing, but I gave in.
The concert was scheduled for 7.12 … so we met up for some great food first and when we came to Helsingborg Concert Hall we found out that it had been cancelled because of sickness. No notice what so ever from the venue. Very poor, but we got some good food and a glass of wine out of it.
So now on passed Monday were the concert on again … so more great food, wine and … concert.
Helsingborg is the closest city to Landskrona … 12 min by train. Helsingborg is the busy connection to Denmark, with ferries coming and going every 10 min. More regular than the local buses. Only 20 min journey, Denmark visible from Helsingborg. A very nice city … and in all it’s Christmas lights – just magnificent.
We enjoyed great hospitality and food at one of our favourite waterholes in town – INOM. A very popular small intimate restaurant halfway between the central station and the concert hall. I had deer filet and a lovely chocolate cake for dessert.
7.30pm it was time for the concert. It was a lot of Christmas song, most of them … foreign (English), but also some of our own classics. There are some Christmas songs I just love … it’s not that I don’t like the songs, it’s that I start hearing them in the middle of November and absolutely everywhere. Not much of it.
In overall the concert was good .. and had a great balance of great jokes and seriousness with a dazzle of opera.
Our Richard is gay … and of course, he made jokes about that … and that some people can’t stand him because of that. Richard is born in 1975 and even before he had finished his studies he had made opera debuts on stages in Denmark, Sweden and Germany. After this he has continued his opera career at both smaller and bigger opera houses and today sings in Europe, US and Africa.
Rickard is known for his work on LGBT ( is an initialism that stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) issues. In the summer of 2013 Söderberg wrote an article where he demanded that the Swedish Embassy in Moscow would raise a rainbow flag during the Stockholm Pride festival. After some pressure on social media, Söderberg was invited by Swedish UD to come to them to discuss the matter.
Rickard and his spouse are forced to live under a protected identity for threats and hate. This happens here in Sweden where same-sex marriage has been legal since 1 May 2009, following the adoption of a new, gender-neutral law on marriage by the Swedish parliament on 1 April 2009. I’m so ashamed .. !!!
Arja Saijonmaa is a Finnish singer, political activist and occasional actress. She studied at the Sibelius Academy and earned a Bachelor of Arts at the Helsinki University. She made her breakthrough as a singer in Sweden. The Swedish version of “Gracias a la vida” (Jag vill tacka livet) of the Chilean composer and singer Violeta Parra become one of her greatest hits. She sang this at our assassinated prime minister Olof Palme’s funeral in 1986. Palme had been a close friend, and his widow wanted Arja to sing at the funeral.
Arja has a great musical breadth, which included interpretations of Mikis Theodorakis and as well as classical music. In total, she has recorded 35 albums. She has recorded songs in many different languages, including Finnish, Swedish, Norwegian, Spanish, Italian, Greek, German, French, and English. During the time when there was the dictatorship in Greece, she was very involved in the country’s cause, which she describes in her book “A young naked woman”.
Arja has been around so longer than I have … born 1944 – and are still the same classic beautiful lady and her voice is strong as ever.
It was a very pleasant evening and I enjoyed the 2 hours … but it’s enough for this season … and I walked back to the station in the moonlight doing some window shopping.
A little story about the founder of Stena Line, Stena Allan Olsson, and my employer for many years … now dead since 3 years ago. We were opening the route Victoria, Vancouver Island to Seattle and there was going to be a big staff party the evening before the launch. He came down to see us working away with the launch party in the afternoon and before he left he wished us all a gay evening and one of the staff shouted back to him: Only 30% of us, Sir!!!!!!!!
“If homosexuality is a disease, let’s all call in queer to work:
‘Hello. Can’t work today. Still queer.”