In a fit of nostalgia, I started listening to music from the early 90’s while doing the dishes… It doesn’t happen very often but when it does, I’m usually home alone!! I bought a couple of albums a few years ago which are compilations of music from 1975-1983, 1984-1989, and the one I’m listening to now: 1990-1994 (for the Swedes: Absolute music compilations)… If you are the same generation as I, you will smile when reading the following “hits”:
- No limit – 2unlimited (Dutch dance music, was it really considered techno??)
- Take a chance on me – Erasure (British gay dance version of Abba’s old song)
- In command – Rob ‘n’ Raz (oh sweet 18-years’ discos, more about that later!)
- This is the way – E-type (together with the above R&R; the two BIG Swedish dance acts in the early 90’s)
- It’s my life – Dr Alban (the dentist from Nigeria who turned singer when he came to Sweden! You must all remember “Hello Africa”!?)
- Somebody dance with me – DJ Bobo (Swiss dance act)
- Life – Haddaway
- Justified & ancient – KLF (Brits, they were weird, but my brother liked them!)
In Sweden there are different categories of discos for different ages:
- Högstadiedisco (Secondary / Junior high school discos)
- Gymnasiedisco (College (UK) / High school discos (US))
- 18-års disco (discos for those over 18)
- 20-års disco (for those over 20)
The day you turn 18 is very important as you can go to the cool places where they serve alcohol, but they still make a distinction between the two ages of 18 and 20, and very often between girls and guys! So much for being an equal society, but you will often see “girls 20, guys 24”-signs in front of clubs.
In the south of Sweden there was not a huge choice for 18-year olds in the early 90’s – either you could go to Jägers, or some other disco situated in an obscure place in the middle of a forest or in a small village somewhere. Not very practical if you didn’t have a driver’s license or your parents didn’t want to lend you the car… Then there were the discos in the towns: Chrougen and CC House in Lund and Metropol in Helsingborg, Strands in Landskrona. You still needed a driver’s license, a designated driver and a car!
My two best friends Å & L and I had an unforgettable last night in Chrougen before it closed down in February 1994 (for the students in Lund, it’s nowadays known as Tegnérs but in the 90’s it was Chrougen, the coolest place to go for the ones not having started university yet). We almost didn’t get to go because there was a snowstorm (doesn’t happen very often in Skåne, the southern-most region of Sweden) and the parents were not very happy about having us out driving… But we insisted and in the end Å’s father went out test-driving with her to see if it was possible to go and we got the green light to depart! The same evening I had the first and only personal dedication on the radio, an Ace of Base-song, I never understood if it was supposed to be ironic as it was well known that I hated Ace of Base!!
Afterwards we needed to find new venues for dancing, and we headed up on the west coast to Helsingborg & Landskrona together with our friends Persson, Jönsson, Nilsson and Ebbesson. These guys always called each other by the surnames and a few times they would get confused when us girls spoke about them using their first names! We lived farthest away and had a car (L’s old orange Opel Kadett) so we picked them up along the way – Jönsson lived by a “tractor triangle” (i.e one of those big reflecting triangles you have on the back of a tractor) down a dirt road (it was the only way to see where the road was in the dark).
Twice a year there were the big school discos, the inspark (“in-kick” at the start of the school year) and the utspark (“out-kick” at the end of the year, before the summer holidays)! They were usually held at Jägers (Jägersbo, not to be confused with Jägersro which is a horse racing track) and our parents would drop us off as the organised buses were usually full of completely drunk teenagers. On the posters announcing the parties, there was always a small disclaimer saying “Ulrik in the bus: 500 crowns” – as first year students we didn’t understand why Ulrik would have to pay more than the others, but then somebody explained that it meant puking! Our parents were usually horrified when picking us up at the end of the night, as there was always a fight or two, some unconscious kids, police cars and ambulances! We always tried to explain that [most] fights occurred outside the disco and we never noticed anything inside…
JaCal wrote yesterday about the high school graduations in Sweden – it’s something that has to be experienced! Around the beginning of June the cities are full of excited 19-year olds wearing white caps (the girls also wear white dresses) singing the “student song” Sjung om studentens lyckliga da’r (Sing about the student’s happy days) or just the very simple Fy fan vad vi är bra (Damn we are good).
I have now calmed down and listening to La ballade des gens heureux , but that’s a completely different story!