The easter holidays gave us a few days off to visit old friends and family in Lisboa. Dinner parties become so much cheaper in the local joints, and you can wash the food down with abundant wine without the need for declaring bankruptcy. Of course then you have to dissolve the thin film of oil that coats your oesophagus with aguardente, but by then, your senses have been numbed enough that you tolerate it quite well.
Lisboa has a knack of surprising us with semi-secret places such as Park, a lounge bar sitting on the terrace atop a multi-story parking lot, right in the middle of the night action. The elevator was broken, so a 5-story climb up the emergency stairs was just the thing we needed to digest all the greasiness from the dinner.
The price of the booze was above average, still, it was a privileged view over Lisboa by night coupled with some fine music. I was beat after 15 minutes, but the girls they just kept going for what seemed to be hours.
Taxi rides home in Lisboa are a lottery. You get all sorts of taxi drivers: grumpy, happy, drowsy, political, racist, eloquent, nonsensical, you name it. Very few are women, and this was one of them. She regaled us with stories and anecdotes of her years as a taxi driver and as a Lisboeta. The most impressive memory was of the fire in Chiado in the 80s, where she was working back then. Something I was not around to witness, but was indeed one of those dramatic events that determine a turning point in a place.
On the 5th of may, the public edibles initiative Fruktsam held its first public presentation, starting off with some delicious hand-prepared jams and pestos made with hand-picked fruits in and around Lund and continuing with a presentation by one of its founders – Teresa Rauscher. She explained the fundamentals of the initiative – a project that encompasses locating, picking and preparing public edibles such as fruits, herbs and nuts. For that, they provide different tools and data, such as a harvest calender, a harvest map, a fruit-picker and many more stuff. They also hold study circles to discuss and share information about fruit and stuff.
Representing the city of Lund was Karl-Oscar Seth, who explained how the Kommun deals with public edibles nowadays and how can Fruktsam cooperate in the effective management of these precious (and widely undiscovered) resources in a win-win-win outcome (Fruktsam wins, the Kommun wins, the community wins, yay!).
Kim Nicholas finished with a scholarly look at the issue, presenting her own research on urban food forestry, and how can such initiatives as Fruktsam, help to bridge urban ecosystems and food production, taking advantage of already existing urban food-producing areas, creating tools and infrastructures to aid the planting, the mapping and the harvesting of public food.
About a year after our first visit to Göteborg and to our favourite persian family, we were back again, and again for just one weekend.
Persians host people like the portuguese do: welcoming booze, loads of food and that warm familiar feeling of organized chaos.
Our persian/swedish/portuguese guide and friend took us to an iranian pastry shop, but it had little to do with Iran these days, except maybe for the staff. It was gleaming with those rich coloured pastry that Sweden has gotten us used to. Lots of berries, lots of sugar, lots of cream, yumminess in a slice.
Gothemburgians, like most swedes, lie under the sun as much as they possibly can. Here, they do it in the sloped shores of the canal, in a park where the city walls once stood, with warm coffee, food and drinks.
The sunny sunday took us to the house of a couple in the family in Lerums Kommun. Alsjö lake lies just by it. There, the neighbourhood is organized around the lake instead of a network of roads. The neighbours must agree on any construction or action that might compromise the neatness and the health of the lake. It’s the commons, an old kind of appropriation that still has a lot of significance around these parts. After a delicious bolognese we were on our way back to the south.
A surprise knocked upon our door: a comic book festival was happening in Stadsbiblioteket in the first weekend of our exhibition. So, just a few meters away from where we’re sketching and showing up our stuff – and in the same building – conferences about comic books were being held, a fanzine market was bustling with activity, battles between comic authors were raging! Such a happy coincidence!
The fanzine market was female-dominated. I guess the comic book guy archetype is quickly fading out. There was also a lot of manga-inspired comics, and quite a lot of comic porn! One group in particular drew my attention: Think Ink – a band of five girls who get together to make comic books. I bought one of their fanzines called The Art of Fika, a compilation of stories that revolve around fika – the legendary swedish habit of sitting down with, friends, coffee or tea and stuffing your face with yummy pastry. It seemed such a cool concept to draw stories around such a simple theme. And the artwork is pretty amazing!
On saturday a battle took place between four comic book authors. Energized by music, the artists would do a sketch based on a theme chosen by the audience. The themes that the authors had to negotiate with – fantasy, fishing and (my favourite) alcohol and dystopia – were fertile ground for the artists to harvest some pretty cool drawings in the five minutes they had. The fun bit was that they could also interfere with each other drawings.
On sunday, Holger – who is a skilled networker – had some conversations with the fanzine girls. He even got his manga portrait done in a sketching duel with one of them. Watching over was another girl, a shy teenager, with an impressive talent, who confessed her dreams of becoming an illustrator.