The New Swans Gazette, issue 4

Issue 2, 2016-02-20

Craiova guerilla-art-movement strikes again
News from Sweden
Film review
Short Stories


Time for the 4th issue of the New Swans Gazette. In this issue we will as per usual have some poetry, some news from Sweden and other bits and pieces. The continuation of the story “The Mechanical Man” can also be found.

In this editorial I will talk a bit about groupings.
It can be religion, the police “we don’t inform about each other” or any other grouping you can think of. They all have the mindset, it is between them, everyone else except us, and us, like it is a war. You can see this same phenomena in schools, with the clicks that forms, cool kids against the not so cool kids, you can see it everywhere.
In Sweden the refugees are bunched into a group, “They are just coming here to scavenge on our welfare”. Before the refuges it was anyone living on welfare or even being on sick-leave, “They are living on my tax money,” and in the future it will be some other grouping we direct our anger at.

This is the most dangerous phenomena I can think of, where you stop seeing individuals and only see the group, convicting everyone in that group based on the actions of a few, that is something that scares me. We don’t have to go far back to see where this mindset will lead us, Germany during WW2, Rwanda or the war in Bosnia.

So when I hear anyone saying, “Look we know how they are,” I will always try to say we don’t. But I am only human, with all the faults of a pattern seeking mammal, so I fall myself in the same trap. But I try very hard not to, which I think we all should do. If someone commits a horrible crime, that person is a horrible person, not the persons whole family or even the whole country she/he is from.

So lets form our opinions about any individual, based on the individual itself, and not based on the group we place them in, just because it is so much easier to judge groups instead of individual.


Craiova guerilla-art-movement strikes again

The 13th of February, the Guerilla-art-movement of Craiova have struck again. This time, as appearing from nowhere, they put up their exhibition at the Teatrul National MARIN SORESCU in Craiova outside hall Ion. D. SARBU.

Headed by Veronica and Xaara they occupied, for a time, three panels and filled them with art in different styles, projecting different ideas.

This writer loves this concept of art not constricted by conventions or other restrictions, just presenting art for the pure joy of it.

The works are intriguing, presented in a scale down way, avoiding all pretensions. They are perfectly situated outside the hall, to get culture from within but also from without the theatre performance.

I do not know how long it will be up, but if you have chance you should really go and see it, before it again dissipates into the shadows, to reappear at some other place.



Is it good, is it bad, is it what

I had a good idea today
at least I thought so
until my conscious asked me
“How do you know?”

Thinking about this for a while
in all honest I did not think at all
had my coffee and sandwich with no other thoughts at all
until my mind asked “Well what is your answer?”

Well dearest meddling brain of mine
what are you talking about
making me forget the idea I had
now I know, that is bad

If I just could remember what it was
that thought I had before
someone interrupted my train of thought
is that no life, or is it what?


News from Sweden

What food do the elderly pay for

In Sweden, if you are a pensioner, you can apply and get food sent home that you only have to heat in the microwave/oven when you can not cook for yourself.. This food you of course have to pay for from your pension, how much you pay depends on your pension and what municipality you are living in. Lately this food has come under criticism because of its lack of taste, bad quality and so on.

In Jönköping the politicians decided to check the food unannounced and after they had eaten they had only praise for the food and quality of it. The problem was that the people responsible for cooking the food made a special menu with ground meat steaks for the politicians but the pensioners got Pölsa (something similar to the Scottish Haggis). Now Pölsa is not a bad dish if prepared correctly but that is beside the point.

To make a special meals for the people who should check the quality just makes this writer questioning what they are trying to hide, and if they did not want to hide anything, why create a special menu.

Short news

  • A 30 year old women died from a stab wound in Säffle.
  • The flue has struck hard this year, requiring more younger people to require intensive care.
  • A 17 year old Swedish girl, arrested in Wien, has been convicted of planning to travel to IS held territory. She got 1 year of probation.
  • The profit for Volvo has increased with several billion SEK.
  • A mother is in court for trying to kill her baby.


Film review

The Wasp Woman from 1959, horror/, directed by Roger Corman and Jack Hill

The plot is thin in this film, but in general it is like this. Starlin (Susan Cabot) head of a failing cosmetic company is loosing her looks. She manage to get hold of some manages to get the enzymes from a queen bee that should stop ageing. Starlin takes it and turns into a homicidal bee woman.

The story is thin, the filming is rather crappy and they had no idea on how to get some suspense into the plot. The special effects are as bad as you could make them in the late 50s. So in short it is a bad film, a B-movie if you will.

However I quite like it, a film to watch and laugh at, especially when the killer queen bee-woman preferred way of killings is just to run at the person and, well that is it. The biggest drawback it has as a B-movie is the bad quality of the film. It is grainy, the sound is bad, so it is a bit of a hassle just to watch it.

The grade can only be the lowest, a 0. But if you are a B-movie enthusiasms like me, then it jumps up to a weak, very weak 2 out of 5.


Short Stories

The mechanical man

Copyright: Magnus Svanström, 2016

Chapter 1 – the accident, continued

Now Mr Aldershoot, you just calm down, your just in a bit of a chock,” the nurse said as the three of them stood me up. With the sound of joints creaking ever so slightly, I watch myself in the mirror as I am being helped to the chamberpot. A face, scared, one eye replaced with a spinning wheel, the other having what looked like a spy glass staring back at me. My had been my legs showed under the hospital gown I was wearing, some copper alloyed supports where my legs had been. We reach the chamberpot, but I don’t urinate, instead the nurse unbutton my shirt showing the working innards of my body. A marvel of cogs, wheels and a small steam powered plant that moves everything. She twists a valve that expels some steaming hot water into the pot.

Look carefully Mr Aldershoot. Every time you feel the need to pass water you do like this. It is very important or you could flood your system!”
“But, what happened, what…”
She doesn’t pay any attention to my questions, just ask if I understand what to do and how important it is.
“Yes, yes, I understand, just take me back,” which they do.

The nurse goes out, and as she does I hear the inner workings of my body, like a ticking clock and then a safety valve releasing steam, the same way some of those calculating steam driven machines do.
A doctor appears and I know he is one, as that is how he introduces himself.
“Hello Mr Aldershoot, I’m doctor Jones, I hear you are up and about and a little bit distraught by your own appearance.”

What happened to me doctor, why did you turn me into a freak?” I need to know what happened, why they did this to me, I feel the anger boiling up.

The doctor sits calmly, he does not get agitated even though I am, and with his calm demeanour I soon simmer down enough to be able to hold a polite conversation.

Well your father arranged this of course, who else but him could have have provide the technology and the money for it.”

My, my, my father did this to me. For gods sake why and where is he?”

…to be continued.


The New Swans Gazette, issue 3

The New Swans Gazette

Issue 3, 2016-02-17

World war 2 chronicles
News from Sweden
Film review


This is the first Wednesday issue of a more normal length. Some short news, a film review and a new standing item, WWII chronicles.

This editorial I will use for talking about the value of people. I know, how can you talk about the value of a person, but the fact it is done all the time. Even so it makes my fingers curl up just putting this in a text format, “The value of people”.

Is it not interesting how often we retract, hid or bring to the breach the word money, whenever something happens that will effect us. “People who are unemployed are lazy, why should I pay for them.” would be a sentence I have heard many times. Already here we have put a monetary value on a person, or even worse on a whole group.

Now I know that things cost money, it is just a fact of life, and there is not enough money to everything we would perhaps want to do. But is it not strange to see how easy Sweden accepted a tax cut that decreased the taxable income to the state with 99 billion SEK (2014) but have such a hard time to accept the cost of refugees. You could convert it into this sentence, “People who have a job are worth much more  than anyone else.”

We might have built a civilization, managed to some degree to take care of those who are not as fortunate as others, but in the finally tally we still think like those early hunters and gatherers that first stepped on to this continent.

A last thing I want to mention is a new report from an economist stating that we need to cut salaries to get more people working. From my point of view this is like trying to squeeze the stone for milk. The problem Sweden has is a lack of qualified workers, and that is also the only area we can compete in, with qualified jobs. Sure lower salaries will probably create some jobs, but it is also a trip down the American way where, in the end, you can not live on minimum wage.


World war 2 chronicles

The plot against Hitler, the 20th of July, 1944

At 12:30, Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, present at a conference

The conference room after the bomb exploded

with Hitler, made an excuse to use the bathroom. There he armed one bomb (out of two), but because of his war wounds, having lost one arm, having only two fingers left on the other one and only one eye, it took longer than expected. The second unarmed bomb he gave to his aid, putting the armed bomb in his briefcase he joined the conference. Placing the briefcase close to Hitler and then after a phone call he left the conference. Someone at the conference moved the briefcase so when the bomb detonated the heavy table top shielded Hitler and many others, Hitler surviving.

Had the second bomb been put in the briefcase it is more likely that, even if not armed, it would have killed everyone in the room.

The assassination of Hitler and the following coup d’etat failed. Even if the assassination of Hitler would have succeeded it is not certain that it would have ended the war then and there.


Where does a thought go when it has been forgotten

I was thinking one day and then I forgot where it was
pondering its absence as did my subconscious
together we tried to find its hiding place
but of course that though also slipped our minds
we are pretty forgetful fellows, my subconscious and I


News from Sweden

Sweden needs lower salaries says economist

The economist Lars Calmfors has in a report stated that the salaries need to be lowered considerably for a first time employment to get more people working. This suggestion has meet opposition from the left, stating that it is same suggestion that the right wing parties have propagated for during decades. Others are looking favourably on the suggestion, stating that it is not a question about high paid jobs vs low paid jobs, it is a question about having a job or not having a job.

Short news

  • 5 people dead in bridge accident in Södertälje. Update: It was the indie band Viola Beach and their manager.
  • 1 person killed in a fight at a housing for asylum seekers.
  • The Swedish Democrats (SD) are loosing voters (-1.6 %) in a resent poll.
  • Ikea gets criticised in a EU report for tax evasion.
  • Man rescued after an avalanche burred him.


Film review

Usual Suspects, a mystery/crime thriller from 1995, directed by Bryan Singer

In the film we follow a number of career criminals that have been involved in a shoot-out. What lead up to that incident is told by the only surviving criminal, the limping Verbal Kint (Kevin Spacey). It turns out there is a mean, a frightening, merciless criminal called Keyser Söze that is behind it all. Who is he, how did Verbal survive and will he tell everything to the police.

One of the best films in this genre, in my opinion anyway. The plot has a lot of suspense that builds up as the plot moves along. It is not really a high tempo film, but that said it never gets boring, you sit on the metaphorical needles all the time. The twist in the end is not constricted or feel false, making that one in itself one of the shining starts among film-end-twists.
The actors are good with a brilliant Kevin Spacey. The filming is good, music appropriate for the story and how it is filmed, and the tempo just right.

A film that must be on everyone’s must-see -list, so it will get 5 swans out of 5.



The New Swans Gazette, issue 2

The New Swans Gazette

Issue 2, 2016-02-13

The Paypal incident
News from Sweden
Film review
Short Stories


So here is the second issue, the first Saturday one, so it a bit longer than I expect they will be in the future. I hope it will have something for everyone. Maybe you can find one or two lumps of coal that at least has the potential to become a diamond, even if it is a small one.

So in this editorial I will talk some about capitalism vs socialism, and yes I am a socialist and proud of it. Don’t let that scare you, I take every ideology with a big pinch of salt.

Why do I call myself a socialist you might ask. Well it is for the simple fact that I see a country, any country’s, first duty to protect the weak and it is the strong that should do it. In other words tax money should flow from the ones that have more to the ones that have less. It is really not more complicated then that. Sure I do see the need for capitalism, it is the fuel for greed and greed is the foundation for the development of new technologies, new medicines and so on. So until we have something better, it will have to do. Now if you let the beast of capitalism run free it will ruin all, except the 1 % that will laugh and say that everything is as it should be. So one have to, really have to, put a leash on it. Have rigid regulation to make sure it does not run wild. The problem we have right now is that the leash has been cut and it is running wild. A few percent or rather 1 percent have as much wealth as the rest of the worlds population. Oxfam have stated that the wealthiest 62 persons in the world have the same wealth as 50 % of the population. Now this can not go on, not if we want to pretend to be a somewhat evolving species.

So let me see more regulations, curb the wild running banks and tax evaders, so we can make this a planet to be proud of, instead of crying us to sleep over the whole mess every night.


The Paypal incident

Have you ever had a Paypal account. You know the time it seemed like a good idea to get one, attach your credit card and go shopping online in a safer way. Or maybe more likely you have a online store, you want to accept credit card payments but you don’t want to put out an astronomic amount of money up front. In comes Paypal, the solution to all your problems, and sometimes it can be just that, a great solution.

However sometimes it can be a nightmare, money dripping away to unknown sources. This is what happened to us not so long ago. So recent in fact that we are still waiting for our refund.

It started one day when we got a email that some money had been used to pay some company in Germany. As we had not used that account for some time, in fact more or less forgot about it, of course we got a bit concerned. Quick email to Paypal and we thought that might have been the end of it, but more small sums were taken from the account. You know those kind of small amounts you easily miss, if you don’t keep your eyes peeled open. So more emails to the Paypal support and for good measure we deleted the credit card from the account. Now that fixed the money vanishing problem, however we still needed to get our money back.
It did not take very long before we got an OK from Paypal, it was some sort of a scam. Problem now is that we have to wait up to 30 days to get the money back.

So what am I saying. Well maybe just this, that Paypal can be a very good solution, as long as you are aware of the risks you might be taking. You never get anything for free, something might seem to be for free, or very cheap, but then you are always giving something else up.

So this is, was, will be, the Paypal incident for some and others will not have any problem at all. So read up what the service can give you, what problems you might encounter, and as the proverb says “Plan the for the worst and hope for the best”, is always a good policy.



The Vase

I sometimes do feel alone, I do
sitting on a shelf, being neglected
forgotten and put away, with only my thoughts
to keep me company.

But when the sun peeks through
the half drawn curtains
then I am the centre piece
the beauty conveyor, that is me.

I sit and glow in the compliments
all my dark thoughts vanished
washed away in the verbal affirmations
for me and my floral situation.

Alas those moments are fleeting
gone as soon as the arrive
and me I am back on my shelf
feeling lonely, forgotten, ignored
with only my thoughts to keep me company.


News from Sweden

Travelling from Sweden to fight for IS (the Islamic State)

The Swedish Security Police (SÄPO) states that they know about 299 persons that have travelled to Syria and Iraq to fight for IS. Of those, 40 persons have been killed and 133 have returned to Sweden. The real fiqure is probably a lot higher.

31th of January 2015, two Swedish citizens, aged 19 and 29, were arrested in Greece suspected of being terrorists about to travel to Syria, to fight for IS. At least one of the men has been convicted of similar crime before.

Last year two men were convicted in Sweden for committing terrorist crimes in Syria. They were largely convicted on a film they had kept in one of their mobile phone, showing them taking part in an execution in Syria. They were sentenced to life imprisonment.

There have been some discourse about returning IS fighters coming back to Sweden, that they are being treated to lenient.

(Life imprisonment in Sweden has no fixed number of years but in praxis it is 20-25 years in prison.)

Suggested longer imprisonment for hate crime on social media

Hate crimes, online, in Sweden has been covered extensively in the last couple of years. Increasing number of hate crimes on social media has occurred, attacking or threatening people among them politicians and journalists. Several TV shows and news articles have covered this topic during the last year. The previous minister for democracy have stated that the sentence for these kind of crimes, against opinion builders like journalist, should be increased. Gudrun Antemar who conducted a Government Inquiry into this issue, states that in reality it could be hard to draw the line, and anyway there are already in place increased prison time for threatening journalists or politicians.

Short news

  • Eight boys, between 14 and 18, have been arrested for a group rape against child (children) in Gothenburg.
  • 1/3 of Swedish students age 15 does not meet the basic requirements in a PISA survey says the OECD.
  • Unemployment among young people are falling in Sweden.
  • The Prime rate in Sweden is lowered to -0.50 %


Film review

Bridge of spies 2015, directed by Steven Spielberg

By Source, Fair use,

The story takes place at the hight of the cold war, end of the 1950s and early 1960s. The main character is the lawyer James B. Donovan (played by Tom Hanks), who gets the ungrateful task of defending a Soviet spy, Rudolf Abel, caught in the USA. He does his job better then expected and gets some flak for defending a spy in such a good way. At the same time USA are conducting spy flights over the Soviet union with the U2 plane. One is shot down and the pilot Gary Powers is captured alive.

The film is centred around James involvement in the defence of the spy, but also in the attempts to do a swap with the Russians, exchanging Gary for Abel.

I liked the film, and how could I not when it is directed by Speilberg, the manuscript is written in part by the Coen brothers (they wrote and directed The Big Lebowski) and starring Tom Hanks.

It does not have that much of a tempo, it is more of a slow building drama than anything else. The story, that is based on historical events, builds in a good a slow pace until the end. You will not see much of shootings and car chases, so if you are looking for that kind of film, this is not the one to watch.

If you want to watch a good and solid spy-drama, that is very good filmed, containing an interesting story, with some fine actors, then I suggest you give this film a try.

Not the greatest film I have seen but it is for sure above the average, so it will get 4 out of 5 swans.


Short Stories

In this section I will write some Serialized novels for you to enjoy. They will run over several weeks and be published in the Saturday issue. This first story is in the steampunk genre and it is called “The mechanical man”. It is based on three paintings I did in the same style. Now sit back, have your hot drink ready and enjoy.

The mechanical man

Copyright: Magnus Svanström, 2016

Charles Babbage managed in 1824 to build his difference engine, a early computer. It was hand cranked at first but soon got steam driven. It speeded up the whole industrial revolution, becoming a mechanical steam revolution, and miniaturized at that. This fuelled other fields like communication, air travel by hot air ships of the sky, zeppeliners, already in the 1850s. This story starts in 1853, the 4th of April, 8.43 in the morning to be exact.

Chapter 1 – the accident

I woke up in a bed, my head hurting, I am warm, blazing hot in fact. I try to focus my eyes but i can’t, everything is blurry. A vague shape comes into my peripheral vision, “Is she a nurse,” I think to myself, but it is hard to think with this splitting headache.
I try to whisper to the nurse that I need some water, she leans into me shaking her head.
Mr Aldershoot, you can’t have water. Don’t try to speak, you need your rest.”
She stands up and says, “I think we need to refill the water tank, and for god sake add some more coal.”
I blink but my eyelids does not close, only a whirring sound increasing in volume and my eyesight goes even more out of focus, then I pass out again.

I wake up again, I don’t know for how long I have been out, but I do feel better. I am still burning hot, but I seem to stand it better now somehow. I again try to focus my eyes and this time it works, my vision goes from blurry to clear, but what is that sound of cog wheels turning I wonder.
The nurse comes back into the room, probably hearing my movement, she leans in over the bed again.

So Mr Aldershoot, you are doing better today I see.” She says it with a smile as she checks something around my upper torso, and then button up my shirt.
Yes,” I reply with a crocked voice.
I need to go,” I look over at the chamberpot standing in a corner. She nods with a understanding smile and shouts for some help. Two other men come quickly and help to lift me up. I must be very heavy, or they must be very weak, as it takes the strength of all three to get me sitting up.

I thank them, and as I do I catch myself in the mirror that is fixed to the wall opposite me, and my mind freezes. The small smoke stacks, the monocular in place of my right eye, and the spinning wheel covering the hole that used to be my left eye. Ropes, chains and pulleys constantly in motion and attached to me. I stare at the person looking back at me from the mirror. Who is he, is he me, what has happened, “WHAT HAPPENED,” I shout at the top of my breaking voice.

….to be continued.