The first post in a series called 'Sascha and a Stranger': stopping random people on the streets of Stockholm and having in depth interviews with them about their city. For more info go to 'Series' and select 'Sascha and a Stranger'.
Robin is 28 years, and born and raised in Stockholm. I met him in an alley. He was sitting on the pavement, smoking, and using a small piece of cardboard box to prevent his clothes from getting dirty. He was wearing an apron. Clearly on his break from one of the many bars or restaurants at Kungsträgården, which is the square the alley is leading to.
I had been walking around for a while and Robin looked like he would have some time to spare. He did. I told him about Lvblcity, the idea of asking strangers about Stockholm, and asked him if I could record and publish the interview that would follow. He agreed.
Six years ago robin moved from Stockholm to Gothenburg, where he studied tourism and worked, just like today, as a bartender. He has been back in Stockholm now since three months, “Because Stockholm is Stockholm”. Most of his family and friends live here.
But he also believes that Stockholm is the best place in the country for partying, and within Stockholm “Kungsträgården is the place to be”. His love for this square has also played a decisive role when he was looking for a job. He now works at one of the bars located right in the square and often continues after work to party at one of the many clubs there.
When going home from one of these parties he regularly pays for a taxi, at least part of the trip: “It’s easy. If it’s two o'clock at night you don’t want to wait for a metro”.
I knew that the areas of Rinkeby and Tensta played a role in the Stockholm riots of 2013, but that they are not as dangerous as many say. One of the non-Swedish teacher’s at the urban planning program at Stockholm University University told that she, when moving to Stockholm, chose to live in Rinkeby. It was cheap, well connected, and she was not aware of the stereotypes. She was surprised to hear from one of her colleges that it isn’t a nice place to life.
“So what could be better in Stockholm?” I asked Robin. “I think there is too much homeless people”, he says, “and they should build more apartments. Not in the city, but make the city bigger, and build more apartments so that people have a place to stay. Because, the problem of this town is that there are so many homeless people.
At this point the interview took an unexpected turn. Up to this point the atmosphere was light and friendly. But when I ask him if he is pointing to the general housing problem in the city or to the homeless Roma people, who are seen all over the city begging, Robin turns serious.
“To the housing problem, I don’t give a damn about the Roma, I hate them. They are just annoying, and I hate them so fucking much”
He made a comparison that I won’t repeat here, and starts laughing. “No”, he says, as to indicate that he of course doesn't really mean any this “but they should move them out into the forest or something. Give them some place where they can make their own food, their own thing and be with their own, and leave us alone. And don’t come to us and beg us for money”
By doing these interviews I expected coming across opposing views and I knew I had to step outside my comfort zone, but at this point I thanked him for the interview and couldn't help but to feel defeated.