|Poul Ströyer: The illustrator most associated with Ehrenmark.|
When I was little, my mother would buy his yearly collection, published just in time for Christmas, and then she would chuckle all through Christmas Day, while we kids were busy playing with our toys. It seemed like she was having more fun than us, so I would be second (and last, perhaps) on the book. I became very much enamoured with Ehrenmark, and I still read him with delight. The illustrations by Poul Ströyer contributed a lot, I think, to his literary persona.
|Ehrenmark´s parents were actors and he grew up with his grandparents.|
|He made himself out to be a most impractical man,...|
|...constantly embarrassing himself with barbaric northern manners.|
But look at the cover! How can anyone have thought it a good idea to make a cover like that? This, is what the original book looked like:
|Ehrenmark with students in Yokohama.|
"Hundreds of people stood on a lawn around a black jazzband playing deafening music, and the brave got carried away and started to dance solo with cramp-like quivers and closed eyes. It seemed more like a religious rite than popular entertainment, a kind of Western dervish-dance. I, who lack all understanding of rite and ecstasy, withdrew self-consciously. It is not the kind of behaviour one expects from people when one is from Närke where we stand with both feet firmly in the mud.
Houseboat living in San Francisco.
I managed to tear the fascinated Passepartout away from all this exhibitionism and get him down to Fisherman´s Wharf. I thought it was the name of a restaurant, but it was the name of the entire waterside, with hundreds of restaurants, fishing boats, and yachts. It smelled like sea, crabs, and lobsters, but our crab was rather drab, and cooked without European imagination.
Haiphong Road, Hongkong.
The boat rides to Alcatraz with one and a half hour tours of the empty prison, of the prisoner´s canteen, the lounges, the cells, the isolation cells, and death row, were sold out weeks in advance to people who have never been to prison, and relieved we gave up the idea of such entertainment. We walked south again towards the centre, leaned back with tripping steps downhill. And staggering, leaning forward with our noses to the ground like sleuth-hounds, uphill.
The lifeless, tree-less streets in the middle of town filled me with the anxiety and ennui that I call "Sunday Afternoon Blues", a melancholy I suffer from when I am faced with any kind of organized leisure. I, who have never worked a machine do not understand what leisure time is for. I realized that what I really needed was sleep, and promptly fell asleep on top of my hotel bed at sex o´clock, fully dressed. I woke up without feeling at all rested at midnight, and lay awake wondering what time it might be in Tokyo, but it was impossible to figure out. I undressed and continued to lay awake half the night. I woke at eight in the morning, still feeling weary.
It occured to me that it was Monday morning again, or as the maid sighed in my youth: "It´s always, always Monday morning, but never, never Saturday night!" I had experienced one Sunday in Tokyo and one Sunday in San Francisco, I had had lunch at Fisherman´s Wharf on Tokyo´s Monday morning, and now it was Monday morning again. And soon it would be Tuesday morning in Tokyo and the day after that it would be Tuesday morning in San Francisco. I would live through every day twice for the rest of my life, just because I had passed the International Date Line in the eastern direction. A carbon paper had been placed between the pages of my life. I was just about to go crazy, when Passepartout came in and saved me..."
|The yellowish tint to this photo come from the light source available in the bank vault...|
Torsten Ehrenmark - I miss you. Poul Ströyer and Björn Berg - I miss you, too.