I know, I know, I'm supposed to be writing about Thailand, but some things just burn to be put into words. That said, this is a really stupid post, and I apologize in advance, but I was afraid that these images would stay with me forever if I didn't share them.
As a sort of preface, there seemed to be, in the 1970s, some self-selecting genetic mechanism that kept all attractive Swedes (except for one of the women in ABBA) out of rock and roll.
Exhibit 1, The Bob Candys:
Cool name, too, huh? The Bob Candys. Note the careful placement of the cymbal in the lower left corner of the photo, leading one to believe that the Bob Candys were intensely, perhaps even primitively, rhythmic. And once you spot that, you can see it in their eyes. Can't you?
Exhibit 2, Zenits!!!
Now, I don't know about you, but the first thing I noticed was the matching collar-and-cuff motif, looking like the fabric had been snatched directly from beneath a bottle of Chianti in a budget Italian restaurant, perhaps in Addis Ababa. Then I realized how friendly the Zenits all look - so unlike the overprivileged, put-upon pout we've come to expect from American bands, you know, the "I'm so cool I can barely put up with the camera" look. So, as an antidote, I present The Zenits -- my nominee for the band you'd like to have next door, if you had a really, really big yard and high hedges.
Exhibit 3, Tage Ȍst:
First, note the groundbreaking umlaut. In the seventies!! Years ahead of the umlaut avalanche that made bands such as Mötorboat and Häppy Cät so distinctive. Okay, I made up Häppy Cät, but you know what I mean. And then, look at the instrumentation. Going counterclockwise from upper right, it seems that Tag Öst played: (1) friendly hand; (2) um, accordion, (3) um, um, violin; (4) what is that thing, a typewriter? No, it's a týpëwrïtër. Or is it? Only Tag Öst knows for sure. And they're not telling.
Exhibit 4, TEDDY BOYS:
No. I can't. This one is just too easy. We'll move along to . . .
Exhibit 5, TICKIES:
In his best-selling, comprehensive biography of the band, Swedish musicologist Sven Sven says: The inspiration for the Tickies' groundbreaking costumes came late one night in the Stockholm flat of lead singer Öskar Ümlaut when he looked up from his second bottle of Aquavit to see an open book of matches on the table. "Smoked fish!" Öskar exclaimed aloud. "That's it!" The band quickly rose to the top of the charts, its concerts marked by thousands of fans holding up burning matches, but they plummeted into obscurity with the invention of the Bic lighter.
Exhibit 6, Gert Jonnys:
Let's see, now. Where to start. The Gert Jonnys had a brief but brilliant career, highlighted by their international hit, Kälories, Whöz Cöunting? and ending prematurely when all four members got into an elevator together, ignored the warning buzzer, and plummeted 29 stories to their death. Even today, however, they're remembered across Sweden via the chain of bakeries that bears their name. See? No cheap shots at the costumes.
There are LOTS more of these I could share with you, but I have work to do. I have to write about Thailand now.