Alexander Gordon Smith

Archive for the Category Sweden


Ugnar i Sverige!

That should say Furnace in Sweden, but as I don’t speak Swedish I can’t be sure! Hopefully it doesn’t say anything rude…

Captain Leif!

So a while back I had the amazing opportunity to visit the wonderful country of Sweden! I was invited over by a great friend of mine, Leif Ahnland, who used to be a librarian at a school in Norwich (my old school). Leif is a writer too, and was in charge of the awesome The Librarian’s Revenge anthology that I blogged about last year. To be honest I was a little nervous of flying, because I HATE planes, but I didn’t want to let that put me off seeing Leif and visiting a country I’ve always wanted to see. So I went down to Heathrow and courageously boarded a big plane and made it all the way over to Gothenburg without so much as a scream or a change of underwear. Are you proud of me?

Beautiful!! (And Sweden isn't too bad looking either...)

Sweden is gorgeous. The first thing you notice when you’re coming in to land is how green and sparkly it is. There are forests and lakes everywhere, and you can smell them in the air – which is just about the freshest I have ever had the pleasure of breathing. Even in Gothenburg, which I think is the second biggest city in Sweden, I felt like I was standing in the middle of the countryside. This lasted for approximately thirty minutes, until I managed to get sun cream in my eye and spent the rest of the afternoon in terrible, weeping agony.

As far as I could tell, this seemed to be Sweden's national dish!

Leif met me in Gothenburg and we hung out there for a while in these amazing public gardens by the river. It was awesome to see him, and we spent a good few hours chatting about projects past, present and future. Then we headed over to Mariestad, which lies next to a lake bigger than Norfolk! It’s a lovely place. We chilled out for the evening in Leif’s place, with his partner Jane and her lovely daughter, and the next day I had my first event. I was a little worried that the language thing might be a problem, but I soon discovered that everyone in Sweden speaks pretty much perfect English (in fact some were even correcting my English, which was a little embarrassing)! I did a couple of talks in an amazing free school, and everyone there was fantastic! For the rest of the day I explored the town and the lake, which was going really well until I managed to get sun cream in my eye again and spent the rest of the afternoon in terrible, weeping agony.

I even made it into the paper! (Not sure what it says, though...)

After throwing away my sun cream and buying a hat, the rest of the week went brilliantly! I did a workshop on the Wednesday with the spectacular folk in Leif’s creative writing group (hi everyone!), then another couple of school events on the Thursday, and finished with a final workshoppy talk thing in the evening. On my last day we drove over to a nearby town with the creative writing group as Leif was running a role playing / writing weekend with them. To be honest, the place he had rented turned out to be the scariest house I have ever been in. Everywhere you looked there were old dolls, scary paintings, and the most disturbing colouring-in book ever written. Certainly good fodder for horror stories! Luckily unlike them I wasn’t staying the night, and at the end of the day I headed back to my nice, non-scary hotel in Gothenburg ready for my flight back the next day.

The gang!

My biggest fan in Mariestad Library!

Just one of the spooky paintings in the spooky house...

So that was my Swedish adventure, and I am already looking forward to heading back soon. Thanks Leif!!

‘Ello ‘ello ‘ello…

I’ve changed my job! I’m not a writer any more, I’m a police officer! Jamie and I signed up together and they let us in that very day, even though he’s just fifteen and I’m too fat to get into my police issue trousers!

Only kidding! These are the police costumes for the film, I just wanted to make sure everything was there. It feels awesome wearing it, though, I didn’t want to take it off! I had to go into the police station yesterday to let them know we’d be using them for the film otherwise we could get arrested for impersonating a police officer! Jamie and I did pop round to show mum, though, and I think she almost had a heart attack!

Anyway, where was I… Things are crazy busy at the moment. I managed to squish three massive projects into the same few weeks, so have been frantically trying to get everything done. The first – the edit – is now finished. Yay! Some of you will know how much I HATE editing, but thanks to a really, really comprehensive markup from my editor the Fury edit wasn’t actually too bad. I managed to cut 25,000 words in total, and the story is much faster and leaner as a result. It needs more work, and will get another good brush-up in the copy edit, but it’s getting there!

We start shooting tomorrow for Sola Gratia, the zombie short, which is exciting but nerve-wracking too. Making a film is totally different to writing a book, mainly because of the sheer number of people involved. With a book, it’s usually just you and your brain, which is the way I like it! With a film you need a director, producers, actors, cinematographers, set people, makeup artists, extras, sound people, lighting people and loads more. In short, you need an army, even for a short film. It’s a crazy business! Pretty much everything is in place now, but we’re bound to have forgotten something. Not fake blood, though. I’ve got gallons of the stuff! Aged blood, clotted blood, arterial blood, venial blood, the works! We’re filming in my house tomorrow, and up at the university on Sunday, and I’ll let you know how it goes!

Then, as soon as we wrap on Sunday, I head down to Heathrow for an early flight out to Sweden. I’m doing some events over there, organised by a good friend of mine called Leif who used to be a school librarian. I can’t wait! I haven’t been abroad for ages, and have always wanted to go to Sweden. If any of you are in Mariestad next week then maybe I’ll run in to you!

It’s not all work, though. Last night Lyns, Lucy, Jamie and I went to see X-Men First Class. To be honest, it was more like X-Men Second Class (see what I did there), because although it was a great film with some super action sequences it just didn’t seem to come together very well. I don’t really know why, only that I think it spent too much time on some of the minor mutants and not enough on Magneto and Charles Xavier. Magneto’s story was amazing, a brilliant revenge tale, and I could have happily watched a whole film devoted to that. The other problem was that the film felt a tiny bit lazy. There was a submarine in this film, so of course the X-Men find a young mutant with sonar powers, etc etc. I was expecting a bit more from the team that made Kick-Ass, but all in all it was an enjoyable enough experience! (Well, right up to ten minutes before the end when I had to go and move the car…)

Anyway, I’m off to pretend to arrest some criminals… :-)