I Believe In Robert Lind

Here’s my translation of a classic 1979 revue routine by Hans Alfredson and Tage Danielsson. Kramfors is a town of 6000 inhabitants in central Sweden, near the 62nd parallel.


TD: New religions keep popping up like mushrooms, and now it’s time for the – ubiquitous in entertainment these days – Religious Corner. Sitting next to me is a fellow man [HA: “Flatterer”] … a co-slipper on the endless unsanded sidewalk of life. And I would like to ask you a straight and direct question: do you believe in God?

HA: No, in Lind. Robert Lind in Kramfors.

TD: Is that someone you know?

HA: No, but I believe in Him.

TD: But you don’t know if He exists?

HA: I believe He does. I’m almost convinced that He exists. I can sort of feel it in my entire body that He exists. Yes, I believe He exists. The answer is “yes”.

TD: So this is something inside of you?

HA: Yes, I believe, I sort of know. Also, I’ve felt that I could hear His voice.

TD: How so?

HA: I called Him.

TD: How do you know it was Him? It might have been Bosse Parnevik [a popular impersonator at the time].

HA: I don’t think so. Parnevik was on tour in Finland at the time.

TD: But my dear friend, do you have any evidence for the existence of Robert Lind?

HA: Well, evidence, you know, it’s hard to come by. But He does advertise every week. I think that’s a kind of evidence. Last week for instance there was a big ad in the Saxon weekly, for a biodynamic health bike in rugged Hammer Plastic, and other things. You know, He has this mail order company in Kramfors, “Robert Lind in Kramfors Ltd.”, you’ve heard of them, right?

TD: But I don’t understand, how can a person learn Robert Lind’s will?

HA: Well, prices and stuff are in the catalogue…

TD: Yes, but if you are troubled and want contact, everyone can’t just call Him, can we?

HA: That’s true, it would get expensive if everyone called. Kramfors is after all outside the Stockholm area code. But I usually call from work, that’s the kind of guy I am. Simply a bad boy!

TD: But I was thinking of Him [gestures towards the ceiling], He must get completely swamped by calls.

HA: Yes, that may very well be true. He did seem a little miffed last time I called. He said, “You again? Dammit, there’s got to be an end to this now!”. This suggests that the End is nigh.

TD: But if this Robert Lind really does exist [HA: He does! He does!], then do you feel that he may have existed for all eternity?

HA: Yes, in the beginning was Robert Lind, yes, box, all right.

TD: But how do you know?

HA: I can feel it. And besides, my mother says so. I asked my mother, and she said, “Oh, Robert Lind in Kramfors, they must have been around for ever”. You aren’t suggesting that my mother is a fibber?

TD: Certainly not!

HA: Watch it or I’ll sic the old lady on you! She’s strong! Middle-weight Olympic winner.

TD: Please understand that these are all new concepts to me. How do you picture Robert Lind?

HA: I think he’s short and fat. Or tall and muscular. He’s got hairy legs. I don’t know, I’m just guessing, sort of imagining him. I’ve got a diffuse, a diffident idea of Him.

TD: How do you picture the Afterlife?

HA: That’s a bit clearer to me. I believe that when you die, you go to Kramfors. But if you’ve been wicked, then you’ll have to stay in Dals Långed.

TD: What is your mental image of Kramfors itself?

HA: I think it’s all light and beauty. But Dals Långed is a hellhole.

TD: And I suppose that Robert Lind rules the quick and the dead?

HA: I wouldn’t go that far. But He has a certain influence, at least in Kramfors. You see, He’s on the Municipal Council. He’s a very powerful person. Generally speaking, I’ve devoted my life to Him. I’ve become a sales agent! Can I offer you a set of garden furniture in pressure-treated softwood? Four pieces? Including a couch?

TD: No, really, I demand a bit more of the One I believe in than a set of garden furniture in pressure-treated softwood, including a couch, four pieces.

HA: Oh. Well, then you’re talking to the right person, because there’s a soap dish included as well!

TD: Aha, now we’re talking!

Arrival Songs

The English language has a rich tradition of songs celebrating the joys of orgasm. Here are just a few examples.

  • Sumer Is Icumen In (anon., 13th century)
  • Come Again (John Dowland, 1597)
  • Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus (Charles Wesley, 1745)
  • Come, Thou Fount Of Every Blessing (Robert Robinson, 1757)
  • Come, Ye Disconsolate (Thomas Moore, 1816)
  • Oh Come, All Ye Faithful (English lyrics Frederick Oakley, 1841)
  • Oh Come, Oh Come, Emmanuel (English lyrics Neale & Coffin mid-1800s)
  • Someday My Prince Will Come (from the 1937 animated Disney feature Snow White)
  • Come Dance With Me (sung by Frank Sinatra, 1959)
  • Come Together (John Lennon, 1969)
  • Here You Come Again (Dolly Parton, 1977)
  • Come Unto Him (Dan Carter, 1996)
  • Come Cover Me (Nightwish, 2000)
  • Don’t Know Why I Didn’t Come (Norah Jones, 2002)

The 1983 Frankie Goes To Hollywood hit ”Relax” must be seen as a reaction to this lyrical consensus, cautioning the listener to ”Relax, don’t do it, when you want to come”. It is perhaps no surprise that it was banned from radio play by the ever orgasm-friendly BBC.

Nudge, nudge

Only one of these books was given a title with the word “nudge” in it by people with a frame of reference similar to mine.

  • Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness. Thaler & Sunstein 2008.
  • Monty Python and Philosophy: Nudge Nudge, Think Think! Gary L. Hardcastle et al. 2006.
  • Nudge: Awakening Each Other to the God Who’s Already There. Leonard Sweet 2010.
  • A Gentle Nudge in the Right Direction. Joss Conlon 2012.
  • Why Nudge? The Politics of Libertarian Paternalism. Cass R. Sunstein 2014.
  • Delivering the Neural Nudge. Roger Parry 2014.

Depeche Mode Meets Tom Lehrer

In your room
Where time stands still
Or moves at your will
Will you let the morning come soon
As we dance to the Masochism Tango

I ache for the touch of your lips, dear
But much more for the touch of your whips, dear
There’ll be times
When my crimes
Will seem almost unforgivable
I give in to sin
Because you have to make this life livable
As we dance to the Masochism Tango

You caught my nose
In your left castanet, love
I can feel the pain yet, love
Every time I hear drums
And I envy the rose
That you held in your teeth, love

Will you take the pain
I will give to you
Again and again
And will you return it
As we dance to the Masochism Tango

Your eyes cast a spell that bewitches
The last time I needed twenty stitches
To sew up the gash
That you made with your lash
When I am in your arms
Know I will come to harm
As we dance to the Masochism Tango

There’s a new game
We like to play you see
A game with added reality
You treat me like a dog
Get me down on my knees
Which is why I perspire
When we tango

For some background, see my blog entry La Vice Anglais.