This page will be devoted to my autobiography. Many people have tried to persuade me to write this autobiography over the years, but I just could not find the time do do this. However, if I do this one little step at a time, it seems more possible that I will manage...
But first of all you will see some pictures of my favourite place on earth, Valudden in the Stockholm Archipelago (my country residence). Below those pictures you can start to read my autobiography.
CHRISTIAN LINDBERG AUTOBIOGRAPHY
There are fantastic possibilities in our modern world of today. For instance, to be able to write a totally authentic autobiography on Internet..... I have always been a little bit disappointed when I have read other biographies, either so polished by professional proof readers and censorship, or written by a professional writer based on interviews, and adjusted so that the publisher can sell as many books as possible. My English language is of course not as good as my native Swedish, and therefore this biography will probably include grammatical mistakes, but honestly, I don´t care whatsoever! This is MY autobiography, and therefore MY mistakes should be part of it. I hope you don´t mind, and I also hope that you will enjoy reading it. The work will grow slowly, but it will be truthful and honest!
1. My life as a little boy
My first memory from childhood was when I was three years old. I remember having a horrible nightmare about a spider at least one meter in diameter, and I just jumped out of bed and ran to my mother. Not a very nice first memory of life...but at least a very clear one! I also remember my neighbor Stella, a little girl my age, and I remember us running around in my garden at Svitiodsvägen 4 in Djursholm, a beautiful garden full of apples, pears, cherries, raspberries and gooseberries. In the garden there was also a hut that my two elder brothers had built together with their friends, but Stella and I were too young and not allowed to go in to the hut. I can not really tell if my childhood was happy or not, but I suppose it was a mixture. I had energy like no one else I was told, and my parents had problems with me, as I never wanted to go to sleep. I was completely manic about pencil drawings, and I used to sit up in bed making drawing after drawing, mainly pictures of ice hockey players.
But I was also a very sensitive child having very very close to tears, and my first day at the nursery school was a complete disaster. I felt very shy indeed, and even with the teacher trying to help me out giving me paper and pen, I just could not get myself to make a decent drawing, only a line going over the paper without a plan whatsoever. A little guy by the name Christer glanced at the drawing and started to laugh. He screamed out so that everyone heard: - What a terribly ugly drawing you have made! I immediately started to cry, and the rest of the day I was just sitting in a corner waiting for my parents to pick me up. The next day I refused to go, and I never ever went to nursery school again. That was the first time I realized that there were people without empathy, and in a way I am glad that I found out so early...I have met many people like Christer since, and even if I always feel icecold when meeting someone like that, I know vaguely how to act to avoid getting hurt by them....
A couple of weeks later my parents bought a black Newfoundland dog, which was the sweetest thing I had ever seen. Stella did not go to nursery school either, so together she and I had our own little world in our garden, together with our dog Sasja.
There was really no music in our house, other than Elvis Presley, who my older sister constantly listened to. However, we were neighbors with my mothers uncle, doctor Clarence Crafoord, world famous for performing the first successful aortic coarctation repair ever, back in 1944. Clarence was an amateur violinist and had some friends that he used to play string quartet together with. One day when I was 5 years old I sneaked in to the room where they played and listened silently to a whole Beethoven quartet. When they had finished I told them loud and enthusiastic: -Now it is my turn to play!
I don´t remember this story myself, but my relatives always use it to describe how my musical career started. The truth however, was that it was not until I turned seven that my interest in music started, and this was certainly not through classical music:
We used to spend the summers at the beautiful island Bohus-Malmön on the west coast of Sweden, and there they had a tent cinema where they showed the Beatles film Help. I was far too young to even get in to see the film, but my two elder brothers managed to smuggle me in from behind, and the enthusiasm that I felt from this extraordinary film saw no limits. I was completely mad about the Beatles and particularly Ringo Star, and all autumn 1965 I was making drawings of Ringo, John, Paul and George. I begged my parents for a drum, and after initially buying me drumsticks that I played on everything that came in my way I finally got a little snare drum as a Christmas present. I was in heaven!!!
First day in school
As a little boy I was pretty fast learning to read and write, although being left handed I insisted on writing from right to left. I was also particularly good at maths and had an extraordinary memory for names, numbers and melodies, so my mother thought it would be apropriate for me to start a year early in school. My first day in school however, brought back memories from nursery school with the horrible drawing incident, and before I knew it I found myself sitting at my desk crying and sobbing. I remember feeling complete panic, and tried to hide under the desk, but suddenly a tiny little voice screamed out: "Christian is crying!" It was my neighbour, Andrea Wallenberg, and the teacher came right up to my desk...this could of course have created a trauma for the rest of my life, but here I met the most compassionate eyes ever. Berti Olsson was her name, and she told the rest of the class that she was going to have a little chat with me outside the classroom. She was the sweetest, kindest teacher one could imagine, and she managed to calm me down, go back in to the class room and leave all frustrations behind. The rest of the day I remember as one of the best in my life. We played soccer on the lunchbreak, and having long hair like the Beatles I was as popular as could be, and all the girls in the class chased me and wanted to kiss me, as they did in all the Beatles movies....not a bad start for a little kid who at first had panic about even going to school in the first place.
Some tough years to come
As I said before I was always overly filled with energy, and if I could not find anything good to use it on I got rather frustrated and naughty. Summer 1966 my father was ill, and had to stay in hospital in Stockholm with my mother, while aunt Siggan took care of us kids at the summer island Bohus Malmön. Siggan and I never really got on well...she did not like my long hair, and insisted on washing it with cold water every evening. Without having the permission I always left the house on my own to go and play with much older kids, and I even had some very strange love affairs with 12-13 year old girls. This is also when I got in contact with cigarettes, something that I thought was incredibly cool and exciting. I had a very naughty friend called Per, who stole cigarettes from his mother every day, and we smoked like chimneys. Coming home from the summer vacations I was of course eager to show my friends Palle and Jocke and Paasi my new discovery, and in the forest almost every day we smoked cigarettes building up a stupid and dangerous addiction, an addiction that will stay with me for the rest of my life. Not long after we started this hooligan habits my mother started to find out, and even if I was incredibly good at hiding bad behaviour and bad consciousness with my big innocent blue eyes, she started to get worried about me. My parents decided I should start in music school to study the drums properly. I started to take lessons, and my teacher put me in a military band playing Sousa marches. I found it almost unbearable, and asked mother if I could quit. We went to the teacher who suggested that I tried a melodic instrument, since he thought I seemed to have some musical talent. He gave me a trumpet, and again placed me in the military band. This was possibly even worse actually, as the band was not particularly good, and to play the same part as two other trumpeters who had not tuned beforehand was something of the worst I had ever experienced in my life so far. Eventually I asked my mother kindly if I could please quit. The teacher begged, saying that he had never met such a talented student, but my mother approved and let me give the trumpet up. I was now around 10 years old, and my great hobbies were cigarettes, girls, soccer and being a hooligan. Why on earth these destructive hobbies??? Well, I believe there was an explanation:
I sometimes wonder how important various specific incidents are for if a person becomes a hooligan or not. I have a tendency, like Dalai Lama, to believe that human beings are born good, but by hurting each other we bring in evilness to the world, and that evilness in turn will be passed on from one person to another leading to all the misery in our confused world. Aunt Siggan´s behaviour obviously triggered bad things inside of me, as did Berit Olsson something good and beautiful. If she had not been so warmhearted on my first day in school, if I then had experienced the same ice cold lack of empathy as in nursery school, what would then have happened the first years in school?? I was lucky at that point of my life, but later on, in my fourth school year it was time again to meet the ice cold and true evilness, like the guy in nursery school: It was my new schoolteacher! The first thing he said to me when I met his cold eyes and shook hands was: "I take for granted that you will cut that ugly hair you have. This kind of hair is not accepted in my classroom". I remember the ice cold feeling I got inside my body, but managed to keep calm and cool. I had already made up my mind not to give in, and loose to a looser like him, like I did in nursery school to Christer! I let my hair grow even longer, but the price was extremely high. He started on a daily bases to penalize me, and we had a clear ongoing war between the two of us, all ending up in a discussions with the head of the school. A poor little boy student has of course no chance whatsoever against a teacher employed by the head of school, and the end result was that they took the decision to move me to another class, as that might teach me to "become a proper human being" as they said. My quick and direct response was loud and clear so they really understood who stood in front of them: "I am already a proper human being thank you!!" Now, being a grownup, I can easily see the link between this idiotic grownup behaviour and my wish as a child to revolt against it and become a hooligan!
I thought, by not being confronted anymore with my great enemy wanting me to cut my hair, that life would get easier. No way! The new teacher turned out to be even worse! A retired military general who decided to become a school teacher was to become my next challenge in life, a man who obviously hated this little Beatles figure with blond hair and blue eyes even more than the previous teacher. It was not easy to meet completely new classmates and to find a way to get accepted, but as I new I was good at drawing I took the chance in the drawing class to work energetic and with enthusiasm. I was making drawing after drawing, and the teacher came to my desk to look. He choose one of the drawings and showed to the class. I felt YES! Now everyone will be impressed, BUT! This is what he said:
- Look here, what our messy little newcomer has done! Christian! Never ever make a complete drawing without showing it to me and get it approved, Here you have made one silly drawing after the other, and that way you are making no progress whatsoever. Shame on you!
Instead of helping me get accepted in the class he made me feel completely stripped naked, and my chances of being approved by testing classmates were much smaller after this. But even worse, I completely lost my biggest interest: since that day I have not made one single drawing or painting, except for the ones I was forced to do in school.
The new classmates were accepting me in general, but from being the leader personality in my previous class, I became somewhat a secondary figure, and even if I had been a leading soccer left forward scoring goals all the time before, my new classmates wouldn´t even let me play in their top team of seven. At the same time I was constantly reminded of my messy long hair by the teacher, and he took every opportunity to nail me down, as he was obviously a good friend of my previous teacher.
So...what did a 10 year old boy, full of energy, do with all this?? Well, first of all I hated to go to school, and tried every possible trick to pretend I was ill. It worked pretty often( I used to put the thermometer in the morning tea), and the days that I was at home I just LOVED! What I did was listening through ALL my vinyl records of the Beatles over and over again! I just could not get enough of it: "Please Please Me", "With the Beatles" , "A Hard Days Night", "Beatles for Sale", "Help", "Rubber Soul", "Revolver" and "Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band", those were the eight vinyl records that I owned, and I had even planned the day so that I could listening to all of them three times each(they lasted in average 45 minutes per record), if I started at 6 O´clock in the morning and ended at midnight, but then that would have to be non stop.
School was in these years something very grey and boring for me, and I struggled to be accepted in this cruel world. I was OK in most subjects but not brilliant at anything, so outside school was where I really lived my life craving for acceptance and some sort of credit as a human being, and I got in contact with some older guys that did robbery and were real outsiders. Being with these guys was what gave me satisfaction and a sort of very strange self confidence, but I got in to all sorts of trouble: They needed cigarettes and told me that the first thing I had to do to be accepted by them was to somehow get hold of a box of 200 cigarettes, otherwise they would punish me. I was stupid enough to make a plan:
My old friend from earlier years, Paasi, had a father who always bought tax free cigarettes on the boat when he came back from his native country Finland. Once when I was alone with Paasi in their appartment I took a moment when Pasi visited the restrooms to look through his father´s drawers, and there it was! A box of 200 cigarettes which I quickly put in to a bag that I had brought, and the next day, I showed to my mafia friends that I passed the test. They were not very nice to me, just took the cigarettes and gave me another test to pass: Next day they took me to the public bath, Ösbysjön, and I had to go in to one of the changing rooms and steel cash from some ones wallet. They were waiting outside, and said that if I did not get back with some money they would beat me up. I went in, was actually not nervous at all, and found 50 kronor in a wallet which I stole and took with me. Unfortunately on the way out I was caught!! An man called Hans-Gunnar Axberger owned the wallet, stopped me and asked me why I did it. Of course I could not answer, and my, so called, friends had quickly disappeared. Actually, I was very lucky: he was a very nice human being, just said that he wanted to talk to my parents. He called them and asked them to come and pick me up so he could talk to them, and said that he will not go to the police, but for him it was very important to meet with my parents so that they and I could sort this out. Curiously enough, today this man, Hans Gunnar Axberger, is one of the highest person in the justice system in Sweden! My father and I had a serious talk that evening, and I also told him about the box of cigarettes that I had stolen. We agreed that I should call Paasi´s father and tell him that I stole some cigarettes and personally go over with a new box and an apology. Paasi´s father became furious, said that I was a criminal and that he would go to the police. However, after one hour on the phone with my mother they finally accepted the apology and I went to Paasi with both my parents to give the cigarettes back and apologise.
A Choir Boy
My parents was struggling with me. They tried very hard to get me out of the grip of older hooligans and in to some organized musical activity, as they had seen what excitement music gave me. I resisted and refused, until one day, when the mother of the star singer of the class(he always stood out in the music lessons as the nightingale) asked me if I would like to join and make an audition to the very famous St Eriks Boys Choir in Stockholm. I had nothing else to do that day, and joined them, not really because of the audition, but rather to get a ride in to the city for a change. To every ones surprice I did not only pass the test, I nailed every single thing in the aural test, and according to the choral master this was the best aural test he ever experienced. So, suddenly I was transformed from one of the schools worst hooligan to a choir boy! It felt a bit strange, and at first I did not want to go to the reherasals, but the wonderful eight part pieces by Mozart, and singing the solo in Mendelssohn´s Hear My Prayer was motivation enough to keep me going to the many many rehearsals and chuch services, and best of all: This kept me from becoming a criminal! Better to prove yourself through music than through crime.
However, happiness seldom stays for long. After a summer camp with the choir a rumour started to circulate that the choral master had a week point for boys, and it all ended up as a major scandal dissolving the choir and having the choral master escape to England. So, back to square one, my parents continued to try hard to keep me away from the bad guys and boost my interest for music, but I was not really in to it. I tried piano lessons for a while but found them utterly boring, so I was back again in a grey zone without really any drive in life, except for when I listened to the Beatles, smoking cigarettes, chasing girls or staying out with my friends the hooligans.
Summer at Mollösund