Comeback for Abba-Agnetha. Orrefors closing. Michelin star to Aquavit in New York. Racist threats against theater in Dalarna. Gas stations refuse Roma.
Comeback for Abba-Agnetha
Agnetha Fältskog is recording new material for the first time in eight years. According to Aftonbladet, the daily, there’s a new CD coming out and that the former Abba star is working again is confirmed by her spokesperson Staffan Lindé. “I can only confirm that she’s in the studio again, but I don’t know what music she’s working on. I am not a part of her creative team.” Lindé refers to producer Jörgen Elofsson for that, though he is not sure he’ll be producing the new album. Elofsson has written songs and produced music for, among others, Britney Spears, Westlife, and Kelly Clarkson. It was also Elofsson who wrote “When you tell the world you’re mine”, which was performed by Björn Skifs and Agnes at the Swedish Crown Princess wedding in 2010. Agnetha Fältskog came out with a number of solo records during the 1970’s and 80’s. Her latest album came in 2004: “My coloring book”, after 17 years of silence.
Production at famed glassworks Orrefors and Åfors are either closing or being sold. The New Wave Group and Orrefors Kosta Boda (OKB) are initiating negotiations with the union about an extensive action. “The decision was taken this past weekend,” says Jenny Sundqvist, Press Officer at Orrefors Kosta Boda. “It is extremely sad. 130 employees, that’s half of all employees, will be noticed.” The cost for the restructuring is estimated at 212 million SEK ($31,739,091). The New Wave Group intends to concentrate the production to the glassworks in Kosta. Also OKB will get a new Managing Director, Magnus Andersson, who will take office on November 5. According to the financial advisor for the New Wave Group, Lars Jönsson, it is not impossible for a new owner of Orrefors and Åfors to continue production, though on a considerably smaller scale. “There might very well be lesser actors taking over and then there might be possibilities, perhaps mainly in Orrefors,” he says. “There’s a hope that a new business will commence in these localities, but on a lesser scale.” When the New Wave Group according to the plan, concentrate their production to the glass works in Kosta it means that the business will buy glass production from another maker. “We will decrease our costs quite a bit by not having a production,” Jönsson continues. “Then we will also better accommodate economic downturns and upturns.” The change does not necessarily mean that production is moved to a low-wage country. There are many glassworks in Europe as well, and there is, according to Jönsson, still no timetable for when they now announced changes to be implemented. But it is in any case the last in 2013. Jönsson does not exclude that the plan be implemented before year-end.
Michelin star to Aquavit in New York
Swedish restaurant Aquavit in New York City received its very first Michelin star on Tuesday. Though in the US, the Michelin stars don’t mean as much for business as they do in Europe, it’s of course still a great honor. “It’s a dream in our line of work to receive a star from Michelin. It’s greater than any other distinction,” says Aquavit founder and main owner Håkan Swahn in a press release. Aquavit first opened in 1987 by Swahn and restaurant legend Tore Wretman. Swedish hotel king Bicky Chakraborty was also one of the initiators. The restaurant quickly established itself as the best Scandinavian restaurant outside of Scandinavia. “We couldn’t receive a better present for our 25th birthday,” Swahn continues. But the Michelin star isn’t the first award for Aquavit. New York Times ranked it with three stars during five consecutive years until 2010, when it was demoted to two stars. In 2006, New York Magazine called Aquavit one of the ten best restaurants in New York. In Sweden, Aquavit New York gained reputation mostly through famous chef Marcus Samuelsson’s cookbook “Aquavit and the new Scandinavian Cuisine”. Current chef Marcus Jernmark came to Aquavit in 2009, and has built a young, talented team of chefs from several countries apart from Sweden. Jernmark received his training in Grythyttan, Sweden, and was previously the chef at the Swedish Consulate General in New York.
Sollentuna first with delivery
People in Sollentuna, north of Stockholm, will be the first to enjoy Systembolaget's new home delivery service, which will commence in November. It will be a trial run with deliveries of beer, wine, and liquor, according to a report by Ekot in Sveriges Radio (Sweden’s Radio). After Sollentuna, similar trial runs will take place in Johanneshov, Bromma, and Nacka – all located in the greater Stockholm area. Ssytembolaget will eventually offer home delivery in six counties, though which ones has not yet been decided. The issue with home delivery of alcohol has been a political one where the Swedish government has been divided. The Center Party was against the proposal and has advocated a restricted alcohol policy. Systembolaget is a government owned chain of liquor stores in Sweden and the only retail store allowed to sell alcoholic beverages that contain more than 3.5% (by volume) alcohol.
Racist threats against theater in Dalarna
Dalateatern has received a large number of racist mails and comments aimed at the production of Strindberg’s “Hemsöborna” (“The People of Hemsö”), which is currently touring Dalarna. According to daily Dalarnas Tidning, the racist comments have been written on their homepage in the space for comments. They are aimed at the theater but with a focus on the actor Måns Clausen, who plays the lead as Carlsson (played by Allan Edwall in the popular TV-series of “Hemsöborna” from 1966). It is Clausen’s dark skin color that have spurred the racists to react. “Along with comments on blogs, there are over 100 contributions of racist character, aimed at the theater’s management. We are being held responsible for having given the part to an actor of another ethnical background. These people don’t like that,” says the director for Dalateatern, Gugge Sandström. The threats have been reported to police and the theater has handed over the e-mail addresses of the commentators.
Gas stations refuse Roma
Many Swedish gas stations discriminate against Roma who want to rent cars. This according to a study conducted by Ekot (a Swedish radio news broadcast).
“You feel violated against, and it’s incredible that people can look you straight into the eye and lie,” says Pirjo Lindström, who participated in the study. In the study a woman in traditional Roma clothing would enter a gas station and ask about renting a car. If she was denied, a reporter was sent in. On 22 out of a total of 65 gas stations, the reporter was allowed to rent a car, though the very same personnel had told the woman in Roma clothing that they had no cars for rent. Studies were conducted all over the country, among other cities Stockholm, Göteborg, Malmö, Sundsvall and Piteå. Ekot chose to investigate Statoil and OKQ8, since they often rent our cars under their own management. Christian Wallén, who has worked on gas stations for ten years, told Ekot that he feels the discrimination is deeply rooted.
“There were instructions to the employees that this was how to behave,” he says. “There was a certain structure at the station that you had to keep to.” Wallén says he has experienced problems with Roma renting cars, but that there’ve been incidents with other customers as well, and that the discrimination therefore has to do with racism. Ola Enquist, director of Swedish Statoil’s stations and Göran Lindblå, managing chairman at OKQ8 told Ekot that discrimination will no longer be an issue at their gas stations.
Aquavit in New York City receives its first Michelin star. The restaurant opened in 1987.
Dalateatern has received racist threats after they cast Måns Clausen in the lead of Strindberg’s “Hemsöborna”. The production is currently touring the province of Dalarna. Above a scene from the play with Clausen and Susanne Hellström.