arne wickander

Arne Wickander has just released his second book about punk and his upbringing, a third is underway so the trilogy will be complete. Fun reading for those of us who were there at the time but also for new punks.....October 2021.


Hey, Arne, tell me a little bit about yourself, age, work, family?

-I was born in 1960. I am wage slave at a workplace in Stockholm City. Lives just outside the city. However, no longer in Bollmora, where my books are set.


How did you get into punk in the first place?

-I saw the Ramones in a tv news story in 1977. In 10 seconds, my life changed. I burned my v-jeans and cut my long hair.


How come you started writing books, have you always written?

-Ihave  wrote from a young age. Or tried to write rather. There was some poem and some short story from time to time. Stamina wasn't at its best. In my second novel, the tenth punk, you can read about my attempts to write. In the third book comes even more about this. You could say that the third book is about writing or dying.


Was it obvious that you were going to write about punk?

- It was obvious to write about punks. What they do, what they say and what bands they listen to.


Do you have any thoughts on a third book so we know what's going on?

-I've come quite a long way with the third book. It's going to be a trilogy. The third book picks up where the second ended and slips away past the late 80s and through the 90s. It's even more about writing. And about even more punks doing things without thinking before. It's a little more fateful than the first two. Somewhere, it's all going to end.


Is everything true in the books?

-Of course it is. Or no, maybe not quite. I fill in the hatches and turn up the controls a little.


Do you have any thoughts of writing other books that are not about you, punk, etc?

-Maybe. We'll see.


This thing about you writing only small letters, where did that thought come from, I teased myself at it at first but you get used to it pretty quickly?

-Punk is breaking established norms. The capital letters are also the order of the text. You can be without them. I like lowercase better.


Picture:Jalle Jardland

The books have received good reviews most of the time? Have you got someone really bad? Then what was it like?

-I got a review in some book blog from a woman who couldn't quite find her way home in the book. She reacted with dismay to all the punks who didn't go to school and didn't work, but did a lot of other things instead. The book described a long line of mischoices, she thought. I usually spread it around in my Fb feed sometimes. It's festive in all its limitations.


What's the most fun thing about going around Sweden and talking about the books?

- To meet a lot of nice people. Old punks still playing in bands. And hear good music live, because I usually talk and read at gigs, not in bookstores. So if you're going to have a gig and you want a punk writer who's a little bit between the bands, just let me know. I'm coming right away.


Punk is still close to your heart,, I know, do you have any suggestions for really good new bands that you want to say here?

-I can take the opportunity to strike a blow for two damn good stockholm bands: DödsBabs and Sugar Rats. Both bands played at Club Probation/Snövit the other night when I was there reading the book to the audience. It was a tricky read. It can be a challenge to read to punk audiences. Everybody's drunk. Everybody's talking, nobody's listening. One last resort is to roar if anyone's read Bukowski. Then people usually react.


Five favorite albums all time, five best concerts you've been to?

-Five fave records: Never Mind The Bollocks, Raw Power, Ramones Leave Home, Damned's first and Saints second.

Gigs are worse. Memory fails. But I'll give it a try: SLF at Göta Lejon in Sthlm 1980, 999 at Gröna Lund 1978, UK Subs at Underground in Sthlm type 1981, Ramones all the times I've seen them and just to squeeze in something from recent years too: Sune Studs and Shit Kids reunion gig at Club Probation/Snövit 2019.


That both me and you got up to age, is that any obstacle to calling yourself a punk or listening to punk do you think (I probably thought it was worse maybe when I was  40 and people questioned it)?

-I don't think punk is about age. It's about attitude, will and mood.


I myself remember when my dad said in 1976/77 when Pistols were played on the radio, damn---- idiots, you are going to grow out of this soon? What did your parents say about you becoming a punk?

-My parents didn't like punk. They had a hard time understanding what it was like growing up in a suburb in the '70s. How could they get that? They were teenagers in the '30s. In the unlikely have been that they liked punk, I would probably have quit, but luckily they reacted with dismay and strong moral indignation.


Back then, it was almost enough to cut your hair short or put a safety pin on your jacket for people to be shocked. How should a young guy/girl today going to shock his parents (because that's what we wanted a little bit)?

-I see teenagers at the bus stop sometimes. They stand there with their new nice clothes and their chalky white sneakers and take photos of themselves. They seem to be part of a competition to be the cleanest and best looking. The word rebellion is not in their vocabulary. They don't want to shock anyone. They just want a few more likes at Insta. Our rebellion was the last. Now it's stone dead.


What does punk mean to you, is it just a word or is it a lifestyle? How has your view of punk changed over the years?

-For me, it's a way of life. Now more than ever, maybe. I feel much the same as I felt when I saw the Ramones on tv in 1977 and my dad recoiled on the tv couch. Either you get it or you don't get it. And if you don't get it, you're going to grow up.


There is some thing that punk was more political in Gothenburg than in Stockholm at the beginning of punk in Sweden, is that right?

-You only have to compare Göteborg Sounds and Rude Kids songs about Björn Borg to realize that it's actually true. Gothenburg is a working class. Sthlm is a mixed compote. There were pronounced political bands in Sthlm too. Ebba Grön, for example, but in Gothenburg all bands were political. How m


How much to you have to sell for your projects to add up?

- The first book has almost come together. I've sold 900 ex out of 1,000. But now I gave out another one, so now I'm at minus again.


What else do you think about living in Sweden today, politically, SD-M+KD? Shootings etc etc? -Politics is for people who think they have all the answers. I don't have any answers. I stay out of politics. I don't give a damn about the shootings.


Politics and music are they connected? Do you think it's important to get opinions out in music?

-It's important to write good texts, but for me it has nothing to do with politics. A punk lyric should start with your own reality. It should be self-perceived. No political pointers, please. I like Dee Dee's lyrics.


Which is the best political artist/band?

-I don't know, I don't know. I don't judge artists and bands from a political point of view. But of course there have been political bands that I like: Crass, Conflict and Cop Slaughter, for example.


Photo:Zäta Zettergren

Before punk came 76/77, I listened to a lot of Alice Cooper, Deep Purple, New York Dolls, Nationalteatern, Motvind, etc. What did you listen to before punk and is there anything you can come back to today?

-Alice Cooper and Dolls here, too. Sweet, Slade, Blue Öyster Cult, Thin Lizzy, T.Rex. There was a lot of good rock made in the '70s. Livet är en fest with Nationalteatern is being the best Swedish rock album. The lyrics are punk. They contain events, not political theory. I listen more and more to '70s rock these days.


What's the weirdest thing that no one thinks you'd listen to that you listen to and like?

- Hell, I know that, but I listen to industrial rock a lot. Throbbing Gristle, Metabolist and such dodgy stuff. Chrome and Residents. But it's not uncommon for punks to listen to that kind of things.


Future plans with writing?

- Finish writing and publish the third part of the trilogy.


Future plans with your life otherwise?

- To stop wage slavery and have more time for other things.


Words of wisdom?

-Don't sit and think, just get started. There's nothing to wait for.


Anything to add?

- I could take the opportunity to mention a little about my other projects. Me and the publisher Renegade Publishing published a collection of poems with the main character in my new novel, a guy called Nilz Pilzner. It's called Om man ändå kunde få ut skiten ur huvet. Then me and two other people started the record label Bollmora Rekords. We're going to release records with bands that appear in my books. Old recordings that have been left lying around. We're releasing a single with the Bollmora band Brain Scan later this fall.


Favourite author?

-Charles Bukowski.


Five books you have to read?

- Postverket and En snuskgubbes anteckningar by Charles Bukowski. Resa till nattens ände and Död på krita by Louis-Ferdinand Céline. Den nakna lunchen by William Burroughs.