Sunkit Rocks as it Enters Third Decade

Science fiction writer and club regular Ahrvid Engholm usually reports his activities to a close circle of friends. Here is his story from Sunkit’s 20th anniversary, which we’ve been given kind permission to share.

The coolest music club in Stockholm celebrated its 20th anniversary last Saturday. I didn’t know about it in 1996, but came there in 1999 and have since missed perhaps two club evenings.

I’m of course talking about Sunkit. It has nothing to do with the Sun. The Sun doesn’t shine in the Sunkit domains. The name comes from the Swedish ”sunk-igt”, approx ”trashy”, and it is the club that plays ”incredibly strange music”.

Here are some examples:

  • The worst and funniest entries in the Eurovision Song Contest, including the local Swedish selections. Here we can hear about Genghis Kahn (German entry, 1979) or how Christer Sjögren promises I Love Europe.
  • Of course the cheekiest songs from so called ”dance bands”, eg songs like Here Comes Mårtensson (who has won on lottery and gets totally drunk every evening) or The Moustache (about how someone with hair on his lips get all the girls).
  • Songs about religion or moral issues, like You can hit on girls without booze (”Man kan ragga brudar utan sprit”).
  • Sports songs or songs promoting different cities. My favourite is Södertälje, the Swedish city know as harbouring more Middle East refugees than the entire United Goddamn States.
  • Tunes about food, horses or other unexpected things.
  • Cover songs, famous tracks sung by people who can’t sing.
  • Strange sounds (singing?) by people who are clinically mad.
  • Songs about sex. The True Master here is one Johnny Bode, eg Jerk me off with white gloves.
  • Songs by Thore Skogman, the Swedish artist known to be the most prolific ever, rhyming on everything.

There is more, but I think you’re getting the idea by now. And Saturday April 2nd Sunkit celebrated its 20th anniversary. The club used to be on every month in the cellar of The Olsson Brothers but is now the first week every quarter of the year in Mosebacke. The anniversary was in an annex called Kägelbanan. It was said that they had sold 250 tickets the day before, and the place was more or less full.

I arrived there with pals Martin and Anna-Lena and met Victoria outside the gates. She earlier made a documentary about Sunkit. The film was also shown, early this evening, while people were arriving.

Most of the regulars were there, not Dan E but of course Dan S from Luleå (who every Sunkit takes the 500 miles trip southward just to be there). We saw Trampe, Camilla and Calle, Grosshandlarn, Åsa, Jaan, Monica (the blind girl who enjoys listening to the incredibly strange songs), Erik, Jenny and Hampus (who BTW by the Sad Puppies affair that he decided to go to Midamericon this year) and many others.

The evening was of course lead by the two Sunkit founders and DJs, namely Burt von Bolton and New-Magnus Nilsson. The first hour was filled with ”new2 strange music, which I didn’t care too much about, but soon the loudspeakers were filled with all the classics. You can find a good sample here:

About half past nine, the Sunkit All-Stars band entered the stage, and did many of the Sunkit classics live. It’s a great band (rumours have it they are known as the Tony Clifton band in civilian life) that really rocks! They made great versions of the Sunkit songs, so great that you actually forget that the songs are silly. Like (in my translation):

Do not trust girls
They look cute and nice
But you’re playing with gun powder
Do not trust girls
What they do and say
When they have their cuddly talk
And they fill you with their lies

It of course become very much sing-along. And the girls (don’ trust them!) actually sing along in the above most enthusiastically. The ”secret” is that Sunkit is irony and satire of the deepest kind, twisted 3-4 turns so you don’t know where you are and your brain simply capitulates.
The band had several guest artists, including buddy Trampe who sang the computer song:

Computer, computer, computer, is a nifty thing
A hard drive is inside, it has a little memory
which contains many files

He finished it going down on his knees and turning it into almost a punk track.

Burt took part in some songs, playing cucumber… Even Magnus entered the stage and did this famous sports song:

Sweden, Sweden, our heroes come home
Sweden, Sweden, with a five o’clock flight
With yellow and blue bruises on every limb
But hey have brought home the gold medal!

Another guest artist was Janne Svensson, famous for ”The South Side Song”, which he – he told us – composed 41 years ago. It’s a tribute to the South Side district of Stockholm (where Sunkit takes place) known as ”Söder” (”The South”). This district used to be for the lower classes, artists, bohemians and the like. Now it’s more for upper middle class. A majority of Sweden’s media people seems to live there, folks who can afford the extreme apartment prices, the ”environmentally conscious” who drive their gasoline-thirsty SUVs to the green recycling stations. Mr Svensson played his balalaika, to much praise from an enthusiastic audience (he gave a repeat performance too), and sang:

Then we go home to the South
To our sisters and brothers
We were lost for a while
In northern Hagalund
But now we go home to the South

The biggest sensation was something else. You know about Eric Clapton, a great guitar player. There’s an even greater one in Sweden, by the name Janne Schaffer. He’s been playing with eg ABBA and has had local mega hits with Electric Banana Band.

Suddenly he was called up on stage. Yes, he’s been on Sunkit before but I didn’t know he was here this evening. And he was asked to play… air guitar! That is, as you might now, when someone makes movements in the air pretending to play a guitar.

One of the greatest guitarists in the world (I’m sure he is!) and he was pretending to play the guitar…

That was a great Sunkit moment!

My friend Martin took a video of it, and I told him he should put it on Youtube and he’ll get a million views. (Martin has BTW recently been mentioned in the foreword to the Oddest Book Title winner 2016, Too Naked for the Nazis. He helped the author with some research and said: ”For this reason I’m thanked in the foreword, to my surprise together with Queen Elizabeth.”)

Another celebrity there that night was Magnus Carlson, from the band Weeping Willows, and Fredrik Lindström, who I managed to have a chat with. He’s well-known from TV, doing his own shows and presently referee in Swedish TV:s biggest quiz show, På spåret (”On the track”).
In this show he has mentioned Sunkit songs a couple of times, so he knows about Sunkit. But he told me that this was actually the first time he was physically present.

I have another episode in memory, concerning the singer Jan Johansen (who has competed for Sweden in the Eurovision Song Contest, so he’s well-known). This was from my first years on Sunkit, probably the beginning of the noughties. The DJs had just played a terrible cover version of superstar Carola‘s hit Främling (”Stranger”, Sweden’s 1983 Eurovision entry, finished third). I made some comments about how terrible it was, and Mr Johansen turned to me and said:
”Carola is my friend. Don’t say anything bad about her, or I’ll punch you on the nose…”

My nose stayed untouched, though. I had just commented that non-Carola version of the song, which I explained.

A lot of dancing broke out. We have for instance the famous Sunkit snake. You grab the shoulders of a person in front of you, someone grabs your shoulders, etc, and we all form a big snake that wriggles though the floor.
I took a lot of pictures, of which some may end up in my little EAPA zine. (You should join the oldest electronic APA in the world, BTW. Mailing 144 is just out, and I can give you details. Minac is just 1 page every second month.)

Talked a lot with eg Hampus and Dan S, and Dan’s friend Robin bought me a beer (and a ”shot”, some booze that tasted like medicine – BTW Martin, Anna-Lena and Hampus were also beer providers, so thanks you all, from a poor starving author!).

The Sunkit evening was drawing to a close. It always ends at 1 am, which is the traditional time for Swedish joints to close (but some of them have licenses to 3 am or even 5 am). At that time we all form the famous Sunkit ring: you spread your arms over the shoulders of the nearest suspect and we form one big ring (sometimes several rings) and then we sing along to the Lasse Berghagen song:

It’s the end, it’s the end, it is over now
My love is leaving you
I’m free and now I understand
You never knew me

A super evening! It was so great that we couldn’t let it stop just yet. So a bunch of us went to Kvarnen (”The Mill”) nearby which was open to three (if I remember Martin, Anna-Lena, Camilla, Calle, Dan S). There was a line outside, but it went reasonably fast. The surprising thing was when it closed. There was a waiting line to get out… The first time I’ve seen such a thing!

Should you come to Stockholm, don’t miss club Sunkit, which is on Södra Teatern every first Thursday of January, April, July and October. It’s a blast!

Sunkit – a report

The notable journalist Ahrvid Engholm, a Sunkit regular since several years, shares his personal experience from an evening at Sunkit.

Sunkit is the name of the music club run every first Monday of the month by Burt von Bolton and New-Magnum Nilsson, in the basement of the Broderna Olsson garlic restaurant in Stockholm. The name comes from "sunkigt", which means approx worn down, trashy or so (it has nothing to do with the sun, a kit or sinking). There they play music that’s so bad or strange that it’s (unintentionally) funny.

Every Sunkit Monday is full. I often see science fiction fans there (like Martin from Kapten Stofil, and others may turn up too) among all the others, and we have our regular gang standing in a corner discussing strange things and singing along as a particulary popular tune starts up.

The evening of December 5th, 2005 I first saw Martin (he and I exchanged some DVD films for mutual borrowing) and Trampe (who borrowed my VHS of that obscure Swedish sf film I was leg stand-in in). Shortly Rosalba turned up, and Lejde (who said the regular Dan, who seldom missed Sunkit, was too broke and tired to come), Adrian (he’s British), and a few other hangarounds and friends. Since I’ve been going to Sunkit for many years I tend to know some outside our group too, at least by sight, like The Architects or the Norrkoping guy or Marina who used to do the Fantasy Festival.

Sing along is one of the points of Sunkit. The audience of perhaps 150 people (the basement isn’t very big) know the 50-100 most popular tunes by heart. The evening usually starts with 1-2 hours of new discoveries, and later comes the old favourites. The crowd drinks beer (I had Coca-Cola left over from a preview of a film I arrived directly from) and sings and dances along. It’s the songs that makes it work.

What is the Sunkit music based on? Or "sunkedelic" music, as some prefer to call it. The issue and the club was dealt with early Monday in TV’s Good Morning Sweden, where the Sunkit fan Anna-Lena Lodenius – once my journalism teacher, btw – talked about sunkedelic Christmas Songs, something she collects and plays as DJ on the Sunkit Xmas shows.

There are several sunkedelic genres:

  • The so called dance bands that tour the Swedish countryside. They are an endless and rich source of stupidity, like The Moustache about this guy who tries to hook the girls but is beaten every time by the guy with a moustache, or Here Comes Martensson (based on Let’s Twist Again) about this guy winning the lottery and having such a party at the hotel the police carries him away, not to forget the classic What Do You Have Under the Blouse, Ruth?.
  • Individually very creative songwriters. Few can match Thore Skogman, who can literally do lyrics out of anything and always uses the rhyme that first pops up in the top of his head, or Lasse Holm, responsible for the Pizza Song, many Eurovision classics, sports songs etc.
  • Sports song is a rich source. Popular this evening was for instance the national Swedish ice-hockey team singing
    OK, now we’ve got them, no we’ve got them
    So fight on, and don’t let go, you Mother Svea’s best team!
    Most teams and sports have their incredibly strange songs.
  • General PR songs and theme songs shouldn’t be forgotten. Cities and towns often feel it is absolutely unavoidable to hire some rhyme-hack to create a PR song. My favourite city song is
    Most people in Sodertalje are born in Sodertalje
    Some have moved there
    But some have moved away

    The RFSU song is rather enjoyable (to the tune of YMCA by Village People) telling everyone the joys available from the National Association for Sexual Enlightment, which can actually turn you into a "Kamasutra fanatic".
  • The Eurovision Song Contest is a gold mine, or rather the Swedish runner-up contest. A total classic is opera singer Loa Falkman’s The Symphony, with lyrics telling us a symphony will bring us together as one people.
  • Children singing are an endless resource. We have eg It’s so sweet to to talk to a horse or Mom, come and wipe me – I’m finished.
  • Sex is not to be discounted. Dirty song albums were sold through ads in the nude girls magazines in older days. One master of this genre was the illustrious Johnny Bode who probably forever will be remembered for his Come and wank me off with white gloves.
  • Various other sources. Like people who really think they can sing, but can’t, but as the rest of the world won’t recognize their genious they go ahead and pay for a record themselves. Or well-known tunes in other languages, like Yellow Submarine in German or disco hits in Finnish (Kung-Fu Fighting strikes me). Has anybody heard Any Women can be a Lesbian?

This is just to give you some understanding of sunkedelia. Or rather, if it can be understood is in doubt – but you can at least recognize it, enjoy it and sing along.

Me and Martin discussed Johnny Bode and I hope to later borrow his biography. Bode was a real scoundrel without any ethics whatsoever; he joined the Nazis during WWII but then tried to cheat even them. Trampe tried to sell his idea of a sunkedelic band and noted a known Swedish fan whose father was in that porno flick had made inquiries about it. Rosalba, that lively Italian (living in Sweden since many years) enjoyed the Pizza Song (I learned that a bussola is a compass), and also told me she had extra-work as cleaning lady for the SF Bookstore in Stockholm. An interesting newcomer was Stefan, who does independent TV documentaries. He had lots of stories (you sort of half shout some sort of dialogue between and during songs) and said he had access to unique material from the big SVT company archives, like the national idols and entertainers Hasse & Tage’s attempts in English (Martin wanted a copy and I hope to be next in line for that.)

On Sunkit you tend to get a lot of gossip, that is – gossip about entertainers and showbiz from many decades ago!

There have been Super Evenings on Sunkit; we all remember when Martin let lose his Casanova genes and had all the lovesick girls surrounding him. (My report from that became legendary.) I was a bit tired and went home before twelve (Sunkit closes at 1 AM, always with Lasse Berghagen’s syrup-sleazy It’s the end, it’s the end, it’s over now), but it was a nice Sunkit evening. Until then I had sang along until my voice simply gave up, but stayed away from the crowded dance floor. It was so crowded that if the ladies came any closer to the wall where our gang was positioned, I’d have to report them for rape.

Finally a warning: If you dare to challenge your estethics and taste by visiting Sunkit, it will take you a couple of tries to get the hang of the place, before you know what it’s all about and you start to learn fragments of lyrics for the sing along.

By Ahrvid Engholm

The Quest for an Unholy Grail

This is a lecture held by Magnus Nilsson at RanCon, a science fiction conference at Tre Backar, Stockholm September 6, 2003. In the audience were the conference’s guest of honor, author Robert Rankin.

(Sorry, music samples are unavailable.)

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let me start this speech with an introduction to myself and my affiliation with the subject matter.

My name is Magnus Nilsson and I have run a music club in Stockholm for nearly eight years. The club is called Sunkit – which I guess is equal to a misspelling of the word crappy – and we are devoted mainly to the genre known as incredibly strange music.

But what kind of music is fit to be labelled with such a loose concept? What is referred to as incredibly strange can range from space age pop and exotica to camp or pure crap.

The origins of incredibly strange music can be found in the explosive market of the vinyl record, the LP, in the late 50’s. As always, the United States was a huge market for any new sensation and – for some reason – the album format boosted a never ending flood of records for any – absolutely any – situation in life. You could find titles such as Folk Songs for the 21st Century, The Singing Psychic, Music for Bachelors and a whole series of Music for Gracious Living. Politicians tried to reach the young by recording covers of Bob Dylan hits (good luck!). Every TV-host in America made at least one album and every celebrity of any kind presented some unlikely project, like boxing champion Muhammad Ali – who propagated for good dental hygiene.

Some of these records were big hits. But a majority of all these true experimental albums of the late 50’s and early 60’s ended up in surplus stores and flea markets. Eventually, they were re-discovered by youngsters in the 80’s – fed up with the charts, with ordinary music or simply just curious for something new, or old'¦ or rather – strange.

But hey, what’s so great about crap records anyway?

To start with, the best – or weirdest – records are not crap at all; they are like those amazing accidents that lead to new inventions. They turn your thoughts and imagination upside down. Incredibly strange music is by mere accident an art form with its own concept of quality and beauty.

I would like to stress that, even though I take this music lightly, this is not a laughing matter. I really dig the music, not all are good but everything is interesting and sometimes it tells you a whole lot about their time and about people’s dreams. This music is as much "bad" as it is "good", such as the movies of now famous Ed Wood Jr.

Anyway, Sweden never really got infected by the album craze. We’re not such a big market and we followed the United States much slower in those days. Even if you can find pretty heavy albums, you have to look in another direction to find samples of Swedish incredibly strange music.

We are millions who share the same dream, to perform on stage or on record with the music we like the most. I myself have spent some misfortunate years in rehearsal studios, small venues such as Tre Backar and an occasional visit to some recording studio. But looking back, it seems that most time was spent sitting in some bar dreaming about the Mayor Label Angel coming down from heaven picking us up to top the charts of the world.

This never happened. And yes, we are millions who share the same fate.

One solution is to do it yourself. And this has become a genre in itself, called vanity pressings. The concept is simple: if you’ve got no talent (or nobody understands your talent) and you can’t get a record deal, you can always pay for the recording yourself.

Vanity pressings and demo tapes are the main source of Swedish incredibly strange music.

These recordings seldom got any major distribution, in the ordinary sense, but some reached the ears of collectors and got copied over and over again and thus got distributed anyway. Often without the knowledge of the originator. I am certain that the main audience for these tapes were jaded musicians, playing them in touring buses. Even some of the most mainstream bands have recorded covers of these infamous classics.

As early as the late 60’s studio musicians sometimes, on a dull day, arranged auditions with the most abominable artists just to add new items to their collection of oddities.

This first track I’m going to play actually resulted in an album, called The Entertainer, issued in 1977. Stig Hallén is believed to have been a fairly anonymous guitarist in some pop group or possibly a studio musician, but the need for new "talent" in the field of light popular music at the time made record companies try-out nearly anybody who had some looks and a stage experience to become the next big thing.

The studio engineer noticed Stig Halléns talent anyway. He let the tape roll during the entire session, capturing all mistakes, burps, incredibly bad excuses and funny lines – such as the legendary "raise my ears", meaning "turn up the volume in my headphones".

Stig has no problem with mixing singing and comments to the producer, quote:

There are details from the past
That nobody forgets
Raise the mic a little bit
A little, a little'¦
There are the things that you used to like

[ Stig Hallén: Höj mina öron, 06:12 ]

This recording made Stig Hallén a legend in his own time, even though his fame is as an underground icon. Hopefully, some day Stig himself will step out of the closet and receive his well-earned ovation.

Another cut from the classic tapes, spread from fan to fan since nobody remembers when, is Mona L Olsson.

Very little is known about her, but its no wild guess that some friend of hers persuaded her that "you’ve got such a great singing voice, Mona, you should send them record companies a tape and you’ll end up a star!" Even though her fate is sad – she died a couple of years ago, apparently schizophrenic – the outstanding qualities are apparent: her assault towards the tape recorder is hilarious, her total lack of musical understanding is amazing and – at the same time – she improvises with great gust yet some strange form of refinement. A Sergeant from Agadir, as we are about to hear, could have been an actual Swedish evergreen from the 40’s.

[ Mona L Olsson: Furir i Agadir, 01:50 ]

Mona tells the story of how she travels with friends to Agadir in Morocco, meets a native sergeant and immediately falls in love. This is a wonderful story, especially since it is halted by pauses where Mona hesitates – hum, what will happen next? Quote: We'¦ sssssspoke about writing a letter.

Another classic is Anna-Lisa Ingemanson, who not only issued her own albums but also performed live. She even made it to a legendary TV-show in the mid 70’s, a one-night stand with the most bizarre Swedish artists at the time. Take my word for it, they were really something.

Anna-Lisa was dressed in white lace, her face zinc white and in company with her white poodle (who was totally terrified). Anna-Lisa made her dance routine and constantly kicked the poor poodle.

She once performed – with her poodle, of course – at legendary soul club Zanzibar at Ritz in the mid 80’s. She turned up with a cassette recorder with her music, claiming that her piano teacher wasn’t allowed to stay up that late'¦ She sang out of key and her dog howled along for some 30 minutes, to a crowd anxious to dance to 70’s soul and disco music. The club host got death threats that evening.

Anna-Lisa ran a pedicure parlour here in Stockholm, and it is likely that she died this spring. This sample is a tribute to Stockholm, The Venice of the North.

[ Anna-Lisa Ingemanson: Stockholm, Nordens Venedig, 03:50 ]

The only Swedish incredibly strange artist who has made it in any way outside our borders is Eilert Pilarm, an oddjobber from Husum near Örnsköldsvik in the north of Sweden.

He has spent some years in mental hospitals, his illness making him believe that he actually was Elvis Presley. Nowadays, he is feeling fine – even though he’s still on medication – but he admits that he’s got two faces: one on the outside, and one inside the skull – the face of Elvis. "I can never get rid of that", he claims.

It takes a lot of courage to perform when you know your weaknesses, when you take the risk to be ridiculed. Eilert must do what he’s doing, no matter what.

Eilert can’t sing, he has very little understanding of music and sometimes you wonder if he knows English at all. But those are mere details; the reason why Eilert has been elected Britain’s most popular artist and has performed in front of adoring fans in Nashville is apparent: Eilert does not impersonate Elvis. Eilert does perhaps interpret Elvis. But the Eilert Pilarm brand is something else; he takes an Elvis song and creates something new.

It might be the case, that it’s not necessary for Eilert Pilarm to record any more than say five Elvis songs. It is the concept, the idea that makes him interesting. But I think that Eilert has taken his act a little bit further with his new album, Forever, where he dares to sing more powerful than before – even though his comp is pretty stiff (and has always been).

[ Eilert Pilarm: I can’t stop loving you, 03:52 ]

In the early 1990’s the Swedish Post Office Administration arranged the competition The Rock Championship. As everyone was invited to send in their demo tapes, they had to have someone sorting out entries that didn’t fit. This person was fortunately a friend of mine and he worked at a recording studio at the time. So he listened briefly to all entries, and saved a crisp copy of the ones that he knew would interest us at Sunkit.

It took us more than 10 years to figure out that the bizarre recording – referred by us as Maybe Jailhouse Rock – in fact was Eilert Pilarms first recordings. So everyone who thinks that the Eilert Pilarm that we now know is bizarre, should take a close look at his first attempts.

[ Eilert Pilarm: Maybe Jailhouse Rock, 01:57 ]

Now, you might think that this could be just about any distorted mind with a microphone and a guitar with stainless strings. Another sample from the same tape takes away any doubt: this really is Eilert Pilarm. I want to thank my colleague Burt von Bolton for filtering these tapes.

But the thing with a song such as the latter, Maybe Jailhouse Rock, is – would Eilert admit this is him, and would the composer admit this is Jailhouse Rock?

This is Kiss Me Quick from the same tape:

[ Eilert Pilarm: Kiss Me Quick, 02:08 ]

I thank you for your patience and welcome you to learn more about our strange universe. Our website is www.sunkit.com and we run the club every first Monday every month around the year at restaurant Bröderna Olssons. You’re most welcome!

Thank you!

By Magnus Nilsson

Eilert Pilarm – a fool such as I

Sunkits vän Magnus Sandberg gick och såg Eilert Pilarm i sin hemstad Gävle. Fascinerades och skrev. På engelska. Alltså: Eilert Pilarm live på Heartbreak Hotel i Gävle den 8 mars 8 2001.

Eilert Pilarm-posterI was looking forward to the concert this night, Eilert Pilarm was about to sing, and I have enjoyed his off beat interpretation of Elvis‘ wellknown repertoir for some 5 years. I have never seen him perform live. The concert was starting at 11 pm, at the Elvis-soaked ”The Heartbreak Hotel” in Gävle, Sweden. This is the place to go to if you are middle aged and like to dance to fifties rock and schlager. I have been there a few times before and it is quite amazing, no hostile atmosphere as the places with younger crowds in this town can have. Often very drunk guests, but big smiles and a companero approach. I drank a bottle of red wine to my dinner, just to get me in the right mood.

In the taxi I was adviced to buy rave music, the driver was playing some of that techno I can’t stand, and it was a little annoying. I told him I was going to see an Elvis impersonator who sang quite funny, but he did not get it, instead he complained about the places in the town, that there were no places for rave’s anymore. I was glad when I got out of his car.

The ticket was about $8, nothing to complain about, and I instantly felt that this was going to be a special night because IT WAS CROWDED. The middle aged seemed to have stayed home, and instead it was people in their twenties there. Eilert Pilarm may have gathered attention from a whole new audience since he started to show up on the commercial television doing advertising playing himself for the Kelda company. I stood 30 minutes and waited to order a cider, the personel had T-shirts with Eilert Pilarm prints, made especially for the evening, and I thought for a while that I skould ask them how much they costed, but I choosed not to. All of a sudden I heard the wellknown voice of Eilert and when I turned around the small stage with the dance floor was very crowded, I did not see Eilert, but I knew he was somewhere in that mess performing.

I lit a cigarette and started to move forward into the crowd, while paying attention to the peoples faces and words. Only happy smiles to my surprise and an occasional ”he is sooo bad.. It’s incredible” or ”he is so funny!”. While coming close enough so I could see him I parked myself at one of the loudspeakers, the volume was quite low so it was not painful. A little lowdown was that he performed with a prerecorded tape, but he sang for real. There was something about his eyes that hit me, he was enjoying himself bigtime! His eyes shined like stars! The crowd pulled out their hands towards him wanting him to touch them and so he did between the songs, to their joy. I noticed some affacionados that smiled towards me, like they were saying ”is it not great?”… ”he is for real!”…

Are You Lonesome Tonight, Blue Suede Shoes, Don’t Be Cruel and Hound Dog was among the songs he sung, now for those of you who have not heard him I can tell you that he doesn’t know how to speak English, he just tries to sing the same tones as his beloved Elvis does, and sometimes he gets it all wrong. But that only makes it better, of course. Then he started singing Blue Hawaii and I screamed like all the others ”YEAH EILERT EILERT EILERT”. I noticed that the people behind me, who was merely laughing at first was all exitement now. HE HAD US ALL UNDER HIS SPELL!!!

Pretty soon everyone was dancing like Elvis himself was on stage, and there was a real loving feeling in the air. Some of the elder ones looked really nostalgic, liked they missed their youth. I think it went on for about an hour, he delivered the classics from his CDs, and even some stuff that I did not know about. Suddenly it was over, but we wanted more, so a lot of screams later he came up on stage and performed a very touching version of A fool such as I. The words hit me and I felt a sadness, but not for long, Eilert was really happy this night and he made us all feel a little better, and I left the place while he was doing his last number. I walked home in the darkness, bought a hot dog… Everything was back to normal again. But the memory lives on. A memory of an honest man doing his best. He is very touching and people feel that this guy does not fool you like many of the other artists performing nowadays. Eilert Pilarm is something else.

Av Magnus Sandberg
© Magnus Sandberg, 2001