What Billy can represent you...?

Lars Karlsson-Liljas/ 29years/ Swedish/ Co-teacher at Adult Education Centre (Mostly for Immigrant People) and Contemporary History Student of Södertörn University

Lars has a full-size Billy bookcase in Oak colour, which has been in this apartment before he moved in. It has been placed in the living room besides the wall and staircase to the 1st floor.

He told me, his sister was the one who bought this Billy Bookcase years before. She and her husband had used it for a couple of years until they had another bookcase to replace for their own reason.

So Billy was kept in their basement till his dad found it and gave back the job to Billy again in his own apartment. And now it has been working for Lars since he swapped his apartment with his dad 2 years ago.

Lars thought over Billy was, it is a bookcase for people who has just started their own place because it is so cheap. And if you know enough Swede then there is a fat chance that you might even get it for free. Becasue in almost every Swede house they have at least one. And among them there are plenty of people who have it kept unused, either the complete Billy or some part of it like an evidence that Billy was there at some point.

Lars told me that actually he has had a top part of small Billy using as a side table next to his bed as well since it was there sitting around when he just moved to this apartment. He uses it for putting a book, a glass of water, mobile phone and etc. (Please excuse him for photographing this one, dued to his privacy.)

For lars thought 'Oak' is quite an unusual colour to have in common Swede's interior. The standard colour should be 'white'. In his opinion, 'white' furniture inside Swede's house has been fashionable for the last 20 years, white wall, table, chairs included the bookcase.
And when we looked closer on his bookcase, Lars explained me what are on his bookcase have a display meaning. His billy is full of books and he read most of them because he loves reading.

The way he stored his books he put his read novels on the top, 2nd and 3rd shelf. He claimed they are the first impression he wanted people to see. There are some classic English literatures of Sylvia Plath and Virginia Wolf . Some contemporary Swedish Novels which he picked Willy Kyrklunds "Aigaion Och Till Tabhas" to talk about. And he told me, all in all,when it comes to fiction he prefer to read American Contemporay Female authors like, Joyce Carol Oates, Donna Tartt, and hid favorite among those is Curtis Sittenfeld on her "American Wife".

From his selection of novels, he feels his novels shelf has quite a political statement. Lars looked at some part of himself as a feminist. And he said, every men should learn about feminism and respect the right of women. He told me when he was young, he saw his dad's domestic job would be changing tyres of the car, and his mum would be cooking. But when it comes to him, he was taught to do both of the jobs.

But on the corner of his 3rd shelf, I noticed there are a couple of Korean and Madarin magazines. When I asked him about them and he told me they are teenage magazines from Taiwan and South Korean. He got them from his friend who shared the same interest in East Asian pop culture.

After a few minutes talking with him over his recent interest on East Asian Pop culture. It had started with his interest in pop culture in general. But later he discovered these Korean and Chinese boybands. He expressed his fasination on their Androgyny look, dance talent but unnecessary that they have an ability to sing, and the stories around these East Asian pop stars, also the phenomena among the fans who have a craze for them. And later he said, " these Korean boybands, they can dance like God".

Obviously this subject is on his current interest. And he told me about his recent activities on the blog of East Asian pop stars which he writes it in English, corresponding with his collegue who writes in Swedish. When I asked him about how big of Swedish fan group in Sweden, he told me the number is growing. And there should be a chance for a small concert from one of the Korean pop stars here in 2 years.

Because of his serious interest and blog, it brought him and his friend the invitation for a dinner and talk with the Korean Culture Embassydor, his eager in Korean Language study and a trip to Soul in this coming June.
At this point I understood completely why he looked so impressed in the beginning when I handed out my small gift for him as a package of Seaweed from Korea, without knowing him at all. This coincidence is like a 'click' for us.
After a long talk over Korean and Chinese pop stars phenomena, we came down to his 4th shelf where we started from the right and I found a big jump of his interest which is 'Koranens' and 'Bible' and several books on Middle East country. When I asked him which religious are you in? He categorized himself as 'Swedish Protestant'.

But later when he told me a brief history on Christianity around Scandinavian, he concluded that "Swedish Protestants have an interested in religion, but they are not sure in what to believe or think...When it comes to religion, I don't know how I see it."

Then we had passed over down to 5th and bottom shelf which most of them are non-fiction books with thick volumn. He pulled out the book about 'Bauhaus' and started to explain his interest in Architecture and then the other book on traditional Swedish folk style architecture. He told me that he could just sit next to window and pondering over those roofs and chimneys, wondering how their structures have become like that?

Close to the end of our conversation we got interupted by my friend call, which made me realized that we had already spent 3 hrs talking non-stopped! So I ecxused him and rushed through his piles of book above the bookcase which he told me most of them are his past interest like poetry and else.

Then I came to a couple of last questions on how he has arranged his bookcase? He said, he arranged his bookcase purposely and wanting to give his guests an impression of his novels collection by put them up in the most noticable shelves.

When I asked why novel? And which side of you do your novels collection represent? He gave it a thought and told me, to his ideas, novels look shallow in a way, but on the other hand they really go down inside. There are a hidden statement in which type of novels you read.

Lars said "...It is easier to present the novel side...It gets more complicate when you talk about religion and your own way of thinking... and maybe if there is one person in the room doesn't agree with what you think, then it becomes difficult...These heavy subjective and objective books are at bottom, is good."

At the end of our conversation Lars said: " I am amazed to speak for such a long time, keep on and on about these books. I mean, because, it's just a bookcase. It's just some part of my apartment, one part of my life. But obviously a good representative...for me. But it also makes me a bit scare of how on earth am I going to...(laughing)...I've read most of the book but there are so many things to re-read and also re-think. And consider how am I going to have time to do all that? That is a bit concerned."

Yesterday I arrived at his place from 1:30pm. I looked at my watch again when I walked out of his aparment it was 5pm. And I thought to myself..."Wow!, I didn't feel any time passed by. And that was only for his bookcase!!"

1 comment:

  1. It's interesting that Lars said "almost every Swede house they have at least one. And among them there are plenty of people who have it kept unused, either the complete Billy or some part of it like an evidence that Billy was there at some point."
    Why keep them unused?