Sunkit Rocks as it Enters Third Decade

Science fiction writer and club regular Ahrvid Engholm usually reports his activities to a close circle of friends. Here is his story from Sunkit’s 20th anniversary, which we’ve been given kind permission to share.

The coolest music club in Stockholm celebrated its 20th anniversary last Saturday. I didn’t know about it in 1996, but came there in 1999 and have since missed perhaps two club evenings.

I’m of course talking about Sunkit. It has nothing to do with the Sun. The Sun doesn’t shine in the Sunkit domains. The name comes from the Swedish ”sunk-igt”, approx ”trashy”, and it is the club that plays ”incredibly strange music”.

Here are some examples:

  • The worst and funniest entries in the Eurovision Song Contest, including the local Swedish selections. Here we can hear about Genghis Kahn (German entry, 1979) or how Christer Sjögren promises I Love Europe.
  • Of course the cheekiest songs from so called ”dance bands”, eg songs like Here Comes Mårtensson (who has won on lottery and gets totally drunk every evening) or The Moustache (about how someone with hair on his lips get all the girls).
  • Songs about religion or moral issues, like You can hit on girls without booze (”Man kan ragga brudar utan sprit”).
  • Sports songs or songs promoting different cities. My favourite is Södertälje, the Swedish city know as harbouring more Middle East refugees than the entire United Goddamn States.
  • Tunes about food, horses or other unexpected things.
  • Cover songs, famous tracks sung by people who can’t sing.
  • Strange sounds (singing?) by people who are clinically mad.
  • Songs about sex. The True Master here is one Johnny Bode, eg Jerk me off with white gloves.
  • Songs by Thore Skogman, the Swedish artist known to be the most prolific ever, rhyming on everything.

There is more, but I think you’re getting the idea by now. And Saturday April 2nd Sunkit celebrated its 20th anniversary. The club used to be on every month in the cellar of The Olsson Brothers but is now the first week every quarter of the year in Mosebacke. The anniversary was in an annex called Kägelbanan. It was said that they had sold 250 tickets the day before, and the place was more or less full.

I arrived there with pals Martin and Anna-Lena and met Victoria outside the gates. She earlier made a documentary about Sunkit. The film was also shown, early this evening, while people were arriving.

Most of the regulars were there, not Dan E but of course Dan S from Luleå (who every Sunkit takes the 500 miles trip southward just to be there). We saw Trampe, Camilla and Calle, Grosshandlarn, Åsa, Jaan, Monica (the blind girl who enjoys listening to the incredibly strange songs), Erik, Jenny and Hampus (who BTW by the Sad Puppies affair that he decided to go to Midamericon this year) and many others.

The evening was of course lead by the two Sunkit founders and DJs, namely Burt von Bolton and New-Magnus Nilsson. The first hour was filled with ”new2 strange music, which I didn’t care too much about, but soon the loudspeakers were filled with all the classics. You can find a good sample here:

About half past nine, the Sunkit All-Stars band entered the stage, and did many of the Sunkit classics live. It’s a great band (rumours have it they are known as the Tony Clifton band in civilian life) that really rocks! They made great versions of the Sunkit songs, so great that you actually forget that the songs are silly. Like (in my translation):

Do not trust girls
They look cute and nice
But you’re playing with gun powder
Do not trust girls
What they do and say
When they have their cuddly talk
And they fill you with their lies

It of course become very much sing-along. And the girls (don’ trust them!) actually sing along in the above most enthusiastically. The ”secret” is that Sunkit is irony and satire of the deepest kind, twisted 3-4 turns so you don’t know where you are and your brain simply capitulates.
The band had several guest artists, including buddy Trampe who sang the computer song:

Computer, computer, computer, is a nifty thing
A hard drive is inside, it has a little memory
which contains many files

He finished it going down on his knees and turning it into almost a punk track.

Burt took part in some songs, playing cucumber… Even Magnus entered the stage and did this famous sports song:

Sweden, Sweden, our heroes come home
Sweden, Sweden, with a five o’clock flight
With yellow and blue bruises on every limb
But hey have brought home the gold medal!

Another guest artist was Janne Svensson, famous for ”The South Side Song”, which he – he told us – composed 41 years ago. It’s a tribute to the South Side district of Stockholm (where Sunkit takes place) known as ”Söder” (”The South”). This district used to be for the lower classes, artists, bohemians and the like. Now it’s more for upper middle class. A majority of Sweden’s media people seems to live there, folks who can afford the extreme apartment prices, the ”environmentally conscious” who drive their gasoline-thirsty SUVs to the green recycling stations. Mr Svensson played his balalaika, to much praise from an enthusiastic audience (he gave a repeat performance too), and sang:

Then we go home to the South
To our sisters and brothers
We were lost for a while
In northern Hagalund
But now we go home to the South

The biggest sensation was something else. You know about Eric Clapton, a great guitar player. There’s an even greater one in Sweden, by the name Janne Schaffer. He’s been playing with eg ABBA and has had local mega hits with Electric Banana Band.

Suddenly he was called up on stage. Yes, he’s been on Sunkit before but I didn’t know he was here this evening. And he was asked to play… air guitar! That is, as you might now, when someone makes movements in the air pretending to play a guitar.

One of the greatest guitarists in the world (I’m sure he is!) and he was pretending to play the guitar…

That was a great Sunkit moment!

My friend Martin took a video of it, and I told him he should put it on Youtube and he’ll get a million views. (Martin has BTW recently been mentioned in the foreword to the Oddest Book Title winner 2016, Too Naked for the Nazis. He helped the author with some research and said: ”For this reason I’m thanked in the foreword, to my surprise together with Queen Elizabeth.”)


Another celebrity there that night was Magnus Carlson, from the band Weeping Willows, and Fredrik Lindström, who I managed to have a chat with. He’s well-known from TV, doing his own shows and presently referee in Swedish TV:s biggest quiz show, På spåret (”On the track”).
In this show he has mentioned Sunkit songs a couple of times, so he knows about Sunkit. But he told me that this was actually the first time he was physically present.

I have another episode in memory, concerning the singer Jan Johansen (who has competed for Sweden in the Eurovision Song Contest, so he’s well-known). This was from my first years on Sunkit, probably the beginning of the noughties. The DJs had just played a terrible cover version of superstar Carola’s hit Främling (”Stranger”, Sweden’s 1983 Eurovision entry, finished third). I made some comments about how terrible it was, and Mr Johansen turned to me and said:
”Carola is my friend. Don’t say anything bad about her, or I’ll punch you on the nose…”

My nose stayed untouched, though. I had just commented that non-Carola version of the song, which I explained.

A lot of dancing broke out. We have for instance the famous Sunkit snake. You grab the shoulders of a person in front of you, someone grabs your shoulders, etc, and we all form a big snake that wriggles though the floor.
I took a lot of pictures, of which some may end up in my little EAPA zine. (You should join the oldest electronic APA in the world, BTW. Mailing 144 is just out, and I can give you details. Minac is just 1 page every second month.)

Talked a lot with eg Hampus and Dan S, and Dan’s friend Robin bought me a beer (and a ”shot”, some booze that tasted like medicine – BTW Martin, Anna-Lena and Hampus were also beer providers, so thanks you all, from a poor starving author!).

The Sunkit evening was drawing to a close. It always ends at 1 am, which is the traditional time for Swedish joints to close (but some of them have licenses to 3 am or even 5 am). At that time we all form the famous Sunkit ring: you spread your arms over the shoulders of the nearest suspect and we form one big ring (sometimes several rings) and then we sing along to the Lasse Berghagen song:

It’s the end, it’s the end, it is over now
My love is leaving you
I’m free and now I understand
You never knew me

A super evening! It was so great that we couldn’t let it stop just yet. So a bunch of us went to Kvarnen (”The Mill”) nearby which was open to three (if I remember Martin, Anna-Lena, Camilla, Calle, Dan S). There was a line outside, but it went reasonably fast. The surprising thing was when it closed. There was a waiting line to get out… The first time I’ve seen such a thing!

Should you come to Stockholm, don’t miss club Sunkit, which is on Södra Teatern every first Thursday of January, April, July and October. It’s a blast!

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