The Stockholm Sheraton


Sometime in October 1972 I entered the Swedish labour market for the first time! I had recently arrived from England to join my fiancée Mona!She had started to study English at the Stockholm University. I lived with her at the student’s room she rented at Amanuensvägen.
The kitchen facilities were shared by other students. It was at this time that I was introduced to certain food that apart from being Swedish suited the purse of poor students. Blood pudding with lingonberry jam, fruit soup and bilberry(blåbär) and even rosebud(nypon) soup were among the novelties. We held a tight food budget, at a culinary price!
Some readers might recall that my father had from Portugal, seen to it, that a letter of recommendation was sent to the director of the Sheraton Hotel in Stockholm. It was with some great expectations that this young man, though not believing he would become a gentleman, something he already considered himself to be, but rather obtain a position where language knowledge could come of use! I will not lie by admitting that I was hoping for some work at reception. Inspired perhaps on Candide’s experiences a hotel job could lead somewhere!
It was with some mixed feelings and disappointment that, on temporary and conditional basis, I was offered a position as a houseman. Provided that I would regulate my situation as far as labour permits were concerned, the job was mine.
What did this houseman work consist of? Very simply taking from the basement and up to the floors, the bed clothing and other stuff that were the very essence of making up the rooms and without which, chamber maids would sit idle! I would soon advance on my short Sheraton career! Most positive in leaving the houseman chores was to skip listening to and seeing ,the unsympathetic and bitchy woman, in charge of these important hotel activities!

Die Fledermaus or London’s disco life

Die Fledermaus

As we approached the north of Europe things began to get serious again. Holidays were over and that Interrail trip in 1972 would soon be, but memories! Mona had to go back to Sweden as she had enrolled at the Stockholm University to study English.

As for me, I was unemployed and homeless. I needed to go back to London and get my stuff together before returning to Sweden. I think I crossed over at Hoek van Holland or wherever the train connection between the continent and England was made.

Once in London I must have looked up some of my friends to get somewhere to live! I finished not far from Nevern Square and my new address was Nevern Road. I am sure I stayed with Quim Semião and slept somewhere on the floor at the same time as he gave me a hand at this place he was now managing, Die Fledermaus!

Recalling the London scene that was ours it was evidently a limited section of the world of entertainment that London offered. To us it definetly was, the centre of the world. In retrospective these discos that we knew, were all most probably struggling to survive. I recall la Poubelle and Le kilt that had French influence, La Valbonne, Ad Lib and that place we went to sometimes after work, created, as it were, for those that worked in discos and had the strength to go out and enjoy themselves, now as customers. This place was called Candy Box.

These discos are dead and buried. Nobody remembers them and looking for them on Google and other search motors will certainly draw a blank! Die Fledermaus was also struggling to survive and Quim was making the effort for someone, who still believed in it!