Stockholm Syndrome

I recently bought new glasses. I’ve worn contacts for years but I decided that it was high time I invested in an alternative option. OK, Yes. This feeling was not unrelated to advancing senescence. So, I bought these rimless things made of utterly non-biodegradable super titanium kryptonite or somesuch. My optometrist assured me that they were totally au courant – and charged me several hundred bucks to prove it. Everyone told me they looked great. Then, at the December meeting of the NSW Ministerial Advisory committee on HIV/AIDS and Related Diseases (of all places) some tactless pox doctor (aren’t they all?) observed that my glasses made me “look like a Swedish biochemist.” Bjorn Lomborg is Danish. I know of no hot Swedish biochemists. I wasn’t flattered. Till tonight


Has anyone been following the excellent BBC “history of popular music” thing on our ABC? Tonight was the last in the series and it was revelatory. It turns out that ABBA were a kind of Scandanivanian Thatcherite revolution in bad Gary Glitter drag. Their former producer (wearing glasses alarmingly reminiscent of my own) painted a grim picture of a pre-ABBA Sweden where record charts were banned because they might make less successful artists feel bad. He claimed that Swedish popular music largely consisted of “communist folk songs” – “Drive with me to Uppsala in my environmentally friendly, community owned Volvo my love (if that’s totally OK with you)” – kind of thing.

Then ABBA burst into glory – via the unforgettable Waterloo – in the Eurovision Song Contest, in Brighton in 1974. According to the producer, the first question put to them at the press conference in Stockholm upon their return was an utterly outraged one; surely they were aware of how many people had died at the battle of Waterloo? What were they thinking of to sing such a song? They – intoxicated with success – apparently told the reporter to get a big reindeer and raced off to record Dancing Queen. And nothing in Sweden was ever the same again. Indeed, for Sweden, it was kind of the Lycra, Sequins and Bad Hair Revolution, pre-dating the Velvet one in Prague by over a decade. “We have record charts now” the producer concluded in an almost animated way.

Bjorn, Benny, Agnetha, Anni-Frid – thank you for saving Sweden. And for making me feel good about my glasses.

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21 Responses to Stockholm Syndrome

  1. yellowvinyl says:

    gosh, Troppo really is doing the collaborative blog thing it won an award for today! good stuff – great to read posts from Ken, Wayne & Geoff!

    (and Scott and Don yesterday…)

  2. yellowvinyl says:

    ps – that Abba story explains “money, money, money, must be funny – in a rich man’s world” :)

  3. Bill says:

    So where can we see a picture of your glasses?

  4. Dave Ricardo says:

    2 points

    1. Johnny Howard wears rimless glasses.

    2. Anni-Frid is Norweigian.

  5. Ken Parish says:

    And Bjorn Lomborg isn’t a bio-chemist. He’s a statistician from memory. But it’s still good to see Geoff breaking his posting drought.

  6. Rex says:

    There comes a time in every man’s life when to persist with contacts is to delude oneself.

    Far better to accept the decline in occular clarity, and be out and proud of the affliction, than continue pretending to be twentysomething. Especially since those crows feet and bags under the eyes are somewhat obscured for the wearer of spectacles, making them look ironically, younger.

    The greatest advantage however of specs is the wisdom they immedietly grant the wearer. Many’s the time where I’ve been sloppy drunk, and taking a vital pee at the foot of the Anzac memorial, when I’ve been approached by foreign tourists and asked whether the birth of the nation can be considered to have occurred on the fields of Flanders.

  7. Geoff Honnor says:

    “Johnny Howard wears rimless glasses.”

    Dave, we’re talking state-of-the-art, you-can’t-bend it, titanium kryptonite. He’s got the ones you get from the Chemist.

  8. Homer Paxton says:

    It’s a honnor to have you back Geoff but I can’t see the point of your column.

    I wouldn’t thought BI -focals was your go.

  9. Geoff Honnor says:

    “It’s a honnor to have you back Geoff but I can’t see the point of your column.”

    It’s OK Homer, there isn’t a test or anything.

    The logic is tenuous I grant you but it was inspired by this view that ABBA had initiated cataclysmic sociocultural change in Sweden by winning the Eurovision song contest – which is kind of funny. It also gave me a chance to roll around in the revelation that Sweden had once forbidden record charts because of the unhealthy competitiveness it might engender.

    Finally it gave me an opportunity to shed my Swedish biochemist comparison blues by pointing to the fact that a bloke who looks like someone nurtured in the bosom of post-ABBA cultural libertarianism was possibly a bit of a spunk.


  10. Homer Paxton says:

    Geoff, having glasses, can’t see the point.

    Always remember I am a very funny guy

  11. Martin Pike says:

    Mate, as a 4 eye, I have 2 words for you on the rimless option:
    John Howard.

    Seriously, they can work on some, but the trick with picking glasses is hard to find- it is an opto like my old one in London, where they have a digital camera and a screen so that you can put 6 on in a row then see yourself side by side with them on.

    We often assume that glasses will look inherently dorky, and so are attracted to the minimal model. But sometimes a prominent style can actually enhance your image.

    Besides, as the lads on queer eye would explain, a little rim can be good for you.

  12. David Tiley says:

    Licking glasses is a sex act?

    Thinks: don’t mention hearing aids.

  13. Paul Kidd says:

    “I seek leave to make a personal explanation, Mr Speaker…”

    1. It wasn’t “some tactless pox doctor,” it was me.

    2. It wasn’t “the December meeting of the NSW Ministerial Advisory committee on HIV/AIDS and Related Diseases,” it was a jolly AIDS-Inc. Christmas lunch party held at Geoff’s house.

    The Chrissy party was held on the same day as the committee meeting, and Geoff was flitting between the two engagements, so I can understand the confusion there. But “tactless pox doctor”? I’d be affronted if it weren’t unsettlingly apt.

  14. Geoff Honnor says:

    Right! And I’m unfairly blaming Robert Finlayson! Thank you Paul. The comment about incipient senescence is obviously all too true. BTW, if you haven’t been already there, visit my good friend Paul’s near peerless blog – “Buggery.” As you might have deduced from the title, Paul is a keen Philatelist.

  15. Homer Paxton says:

    Philatelists should be stamped out

  16. Brian Bruers Eagan says:

    SURELY you jest? There weren’t record charts in Sweden before ABBA?? Perhaps I’m being thick and literal-minded..but are you really quite serious?

    I know next to nothing about popular music in the Scandinavian countries during the 1950s and 1960s. How would I find out about it, I wonder?

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