Marcus Samuelsson’s favorite things.
He’s a master chef, Marcus Samuelsson, but food is not his only interest in life. In Swedish magazine Vi, Marcus talks about style too. “I’m not interested in fashion,” he says. “But I am interested in style. My day can begin in a kitchen, continue with a meeting or in a TV studio, and end with me cooking yet again. It’s important to have clothes that work for 16 hours straight.” Marcus says his mother was always picky about what Marcus and his siblings wore when children, making sure they were properly dressed. Today, he continues, he’s not that into material things. If he loses something, it’s not the end of the world - unless, of course, it’s a kitchen knife. “A knife is special. It’s between you and the meat. It’s between you and the fish. A knife has to feel right in your hand. It has to have the right kind of resistance. I have around 60 knives dispersed on the different places where I work.” Other things Marcus cannot live without are: Sneakers - he likes them to be in leather and without big logos, and he doesn’t use socks. A good pan - a pan, he says, equals food and food equals love. A cell phone - useful, yet replaceable. A nice shirt - preferably vintage.

The importance of rest.
Are you always on the run? Well, aren’t we all these days. Allow yourself a few small brakes during the day and your life will be so much easier. “Vila: om den sköna konsten att varva ner” (Rest: About the beautiful art of winding down) is a book written by Marie Söderström, psychologist and researcher on stress and sleep habits. “I meet so many people who feel run down,” she says, “who worry about the future, who are bogged down by achievement anxiety. I want to help people find a balance between stress and rest. We live in a limitless time, which is difficult to handle.” With limitless, Söderström means that our days have become so much longer in the last decades thanks to the technical development. We can now do banking and other errands pretty much whenever we want to thanks to Internet, we can buy groceries in the middle of the night and so on. “It leads to an enormous freedom,” Söderström continues, “but it also makes it difficult for us to set limits. We risk burning out.” The solution to this mounting craziness is shorter breaks throughout the day. It can be something as simple as to change your task or assignment momentarily, or to take a short walk or run. Something to break things up a bit. “Take time to taste the food you’re eating, and never eat in front of the computer,” says Söderström. “Try setting clear limits between work and rest. Try an evening without the computer.” “Vila: om den sköna konsten att varva ner” ISBN: 9174270087.

A Swedish Hamlet.
Hamlet was of course a Dane, not a Swede, but right now there’s a new Swedish Hamlet playing at Stockholm’s Stadsteatern, and that warrants a closer look at the melancholy prince. “I’ve always wanted to play Hamlet, ever since I studied at Scenskolan (Swedish National Academy of Mime and Acting),” says Gustaf Skarsgård, son of Stellan and the latest Hamlet on Swedish stage. “It’s a part full of contradictions, it’s a lot of fun.” Does he see himself as a link in a 400-year long tradition? “Not at all. I have to proceed from the play itself in a sort of disrespectful way. I can’t anchor it in tradition. It has to be flesh and blood.” Skarsgård’s own father Stellan played Hamlet in 1985 on TV. But that doesn’t scare him. “No, I feel like it’s mine. It’s my part. I have always felt that.” Skarsgård says the challenge, or at least one of them, is to find a balance. Hamlet is no hero, he’s a coward in many ways, he explains. He’s a poet. “Perhaps he’d have liked to be an actor. He’s a sensitive kind of guy.” Did he talk to his father about the part at all? “We’ve talked about is, since I’m doing it now. But we haven’t talked about his work. He’s too considerate to do something like that. And I’d never let anyone else’s expertise come in between me and my Hamlet. It would just never work.” The latest Swedish "Hamlet" is playing now at Stadsteatern, Stockholm:

She drove Kennedy.
The Swedish King, Olof Palme, Tage Erlander, Gunnar Sträng and members of the Kennedy family – they all sat in Els-Beth Aspås car. Not at the same time, of course. Els-Beth is Sweden’s oldest female taxi driver, she’s been driving her cab for the past 50 years. Now she’s 79 but she won’t quit – not yet. “I’ll drive till I’m 82,” she says. “That’s when I have to renew my license.” Els-Beth began her career in 1960, when she was new in Stockholm, having come from Österbotten in Finland in search of happiness. “Once I got a job offer in New York to come and work as a maid, but I liked driving too much to give it up.” When Gunnar Sträng (Sweden’s longest serving Minister for Finance) got into the cab he looked at Els-Beth and said: “Oh my dear girl, how is this going to work?” And former Swedish Prime Minister Tage Erlander, whom Els-Beth drove on a number of occasions, was always fun. “I myself don’t drive a car,” he’d say. “I let my wife Aina drive our Volvo PV.” Els-Beth also drove the king, although he was not more than a prince then. He didn’t have much to say. Robert Kennedy’s sister-in-law and four other members of the Kennedy clan, once got into the cab. They were heading to Arlanda airport. It was slippery with ice, and Els-Beth skidded with the car. “The sister-in-law screamed ‘Easy now! Easy now!’ What if I had killed the lot of them, so shortly after the murders of both John F and Robert,” Els-Beth says. Only once has she been robbed and only once has she been refused. A man on Mariatorget said: “No, no, women can’t drive.” Well, Els-Beth has proven otherwise.