Gentlemen’s club with traditions.
Waiting to get invited might take ten years and the elegant dinners (white tie, please) fill up in an hour. Timmermansorden, a secret society that dates back to the 18th century and is based in Stockholm, is a coveted club to be a member of. Discussing politics is forbidden, as is mentioning the society’s secret rituals to outsiders. “The ceremonies offer stillness and contemplation,” says bank profile Christer Villard. Few have heard of Timmermansordern, it somehow rests in the shade of the Freemasonry. But it is a society that has around 1,300 members, or brothers, from the upper middle class. Most of them are businessmen, lawyers, engineers, doctors, or pastors. You have to be at least 23 years of age (but not more than 50) at the time of entrance and must be recommended by two sponsors. They use the same kind of ballot voting as the Swedish Academy. Once you’re in, you’re in for life. Many people mention the first-class dinners as reason enough to become a member. Eriksberg Catering och Festvåning (they also claim the Royal Court, and the Swedish National Defense on their list of clients) takes care of the food. Getting a ticket to one of the bigger dinners, is like lining up for a popular rock concert, the tickets are gone within an hour. The most attractive dinner is the lobster dinner, which takes place in the fall. The Timmermansorder was created by Georg Hinrich Barfod in 1761. Like most societies from that time, it was based on Christian views, and the name (timmerman means carpenter) refers to Jesus Christ, who indeed was a carpenter. The society is not open for women. “We’ve kept the same traditions for 250 years,” says member Gunnar Telerud. “And I don’t think that will change.” The society’s brothers are divided into twelve degrees, and each time you pass a new degree, there’s a ritual. “At the ceremonies you have a chance to really examine yourself,” Telerud continues. And many of the members speak about how the old-fashioned rituals, with their strong symbolism, contrast to the daily reality of things. Like the Freemasons, the Timmermansorder is often accused of drinking blood, sleeping in coffins and eating small children. Says member Lars Gårdö: “It’s a bit fun that it’s so secret and everybody wants to know what we’re doing, but I can assure you there are no skulls or anything like that.” The order resides at Eriksbergsparken in Stockholm and has no lodges elsewhere.
Getting hitched in 2009?
Summertime means the beach, sailing, grilling, and the ocean… it also signals wedding time. In Sweden, nine out of ten weddings take place during summer. And not all of them are white. Meet Kid Engfors, who is about to say “Yes” to Angel Motander. When Angel came home one day, she found her boyfriend standing in the hallway with a large sign that said “Do you want to marry me?” “I have my sunglasses on,” Angel said. “Because if you say ‘No’, I’ll probably start crying.” But Kid didn’t say “No” and now they’re in the middle of planning their summer wedding. They’ve collected money in a joint piggy bank, and in the kitchen it hangs – the wedding gown to be. It’s a big puff of white tulle and lacquer. Kid has been working on it for months, since she couldn’t find the dress of her dreams in a store. And Angel likes kilts, so he will be wearing one along with high-topped boots on that special day. “We’re a bit different and not very traditional. To us making our own wedding and making it our way is very important,” says Kid. “Scotland the Brave” will be their wedding tune, and they will get married outside of Västerås and have about 80 guests. “I am crying, that’s how happy I am to get married to Angel. I will need lots and lots of waterproof make-up for our wedding day!” Kid is 20, Angel is 25 and they live with their two children in a row house. They’re both currently looking for work.
A fragrance from times passed.
The Swedish clothing company Odd Molly, has branched out. They’ve now created a skin care line for your body, which includes soap, shower gel, bubble bath, body lotion, body butter, body oil, foot cream, hand cream and a lip balm with names like “My skin loves me”, “My body loves me” and “I’m in heaven”. Cotton and silk are two ingredients, and the products come wrapped in shades of pink and purple with old-fashioned prints. And the scent? Odd Molly’s skincare products smell like soap, real nice soap, the kind you never really use but put in the top drawer to make your clothes smell lovely. For this line, Odd Molly has been working with CCS (Clean Chemical Sweden), a pharmaceuticals company that also develops and produces skincare and dental products. The products, which will be available in August, are made in Dalarna. For more information: www.oddmolly.com
Full speed ahead - a day with Caroline af Ugglas.
Swedish singer, artist and chorister Caroline af Ugglas participated in and almost (but not quite) won the Swedish Eurovision Song Contest this year with her song “Tror på dig”, which she had co-written with husband Heinz Liljedahl and Mattias Torell. Now she has a new CD and a summer tour ahead of her. Dagens Nyheter spent a day with her. Caroline af Ugglas lives with her husband Heinz and their three children north of Kungsängen. Af Ugglas begins her day at the stable with the horses. Then home for a shower. “I just recently learnt how to use make-up, and I am not very good at it, but I have age spots and want to be kind to others! And I am not an artist for nothing!” After breakfast consisting of avocado, knäckebröd, tomato, mango chutney and sweet chili and a cup of coffee, af Ugglas has a telephone interview. While she answers questions (live for radio), she fixes the coffee, whipping the milk with a champagne beater. It’s something of Pippi Långstrump in af Ugglas, she too has odd colored socks on. But she is also down-to-earth, harmonic, and insightful. “Being bitter doesn’t work for me,” she says in the interview. “If you get everything you want all the time, then eventually you come to think you deserve it that way. Not winning the Eurovision, coming on second place, is just like winning really, except you don’t have to sing in Moscow!” At 1 p.m. af Ugglas and her husband are stuffing a minivan with instruments – they’re on their way to a choir practice on Stockholm’s Söder. And then, in the afternoon, it’s time for a magazine shoot. Caroline af Ugglas doesn’t want to wear too much make-up and the clothes she has picked out for the shoot are clothes she found around the house earlier in the morning. Then afterwards it’s finally lunchtime. “The usual,” af Ugglas says and the waitress knows exactly what: A big sushi and sashimi, chased with a Coca-Cola and a cup of coffee. And then it’s time to lead Kör för alla. “I want a lot of ‘go’ in this song,” she says to the choir (consisting of 600 middle-aged women and a few men). “Focus and be as cocky as you possibly can!” It’s over 8:30 p.m. already, and af Ugglas is hungry. “Oh for a sandwich with butter and honey! And some Gruyère cheese.” But she has to get back to feed the horses first, and she has to pick up her children who have been staying with her parents. Finally the children are in bed and Caroline goes through her book keeping with Heinz. At 11:30 p.m. it’s her time for bed, too, and she sets some time apart for prayer. “For me it’s important to turn the prayer, of whatever you want to call it, inwards. Think about what kind of person you are, how you would like to be, and remember to be grateful. You are your own best deeds, not your bad thoughts.” She falls asleep before she can listen to her new audiotape, “Om Jesus” by Jonas Gardell.