“A Sign of the Times” Mixed social media. Alex Sharp Cole.

a poster expresses the times_Alex Sharp Cole

#spårvagn #everydayart #a-sign-of-the-times


Street art that says something

This is Swedish Underground.   We have a piece in Gothenburg, Sweden, sponsored by the city.  What could have been meaningless and trite has been turned around into something more, thanks to the artist, who clearly understands the value of high brow subversion.

It is located near the library in the quiet suburban region of Kålltorp.

It is an image of nature, estranged.  They look like the bunnies of protest novel written long ago, in the 1960’s — during the last season of cultural courage in the West — what I think of are the rabbits in Watership Down.

But these bunnies are not in the pages of a book, they are real.. in the context of reality at least.  That is, they could be said to be looking at something.  What they are looking at is the horizon line — the rooftops of the suburban development that has overtaken their burrows and displaced them.  The natural order is reversing.  We humans are destroying the Earth.  That is the meaning of this mural, next to the library at Kålltorp.  The artist is a master of high brow subversion.

— The Sonic Sponge, July 2017

(pictures to be uploaded shortly..)

“You Just Opened a Door” – Alex Sharp Cole (feat. Simon Berggården)

Song by Alex Sharp Cole.  This recording also featuring contemporary composer, Simon Berggården, improvising on electric guitar and using other, non-traditional sounds.

— —

Alex Sharp Cole – vocal, piano
Simon Berggården – electric guitar, tapped piano strings
Alex Sharp Cole – vocal melody and lyrics, piano, organ bass, song structure
Simon Berggården – electric guitar parts, tapped piano strings

Now this is Swedish underground….

Americk Lewis, composer and specialist in hip-hop . . .

Americk´s album is a landmark. It is fresh, innovative, thoughtful and piercing. What is more, the whole album is a cohesive work that can be listened to straight through, from start to finish, in the same way that some Rock albums of yore like Dark Side of the Moon could be absorbed. In many other ways it is totally different.

But the point is that it is one of those complete albums you can just sit back and listen to, or have playing while you are working on something and then slowly, little by little, it pulls you in and takes you deeper.

The composition of the melodies are haunting in tracks like, “That Was New York City” …he also writes about his life in Sweden which you will recognise, especially if you are living in Gothenburg.

There is his track, “Viktor´s Kaffe,” — a place that actually exists, where I bought a coffee yesterday — located walking distance from the Poseidon fountain at Götaplatsen, and Göteborg musikhögskolan, which was the first place I met Americk.

I don’t think the fact I know Americk personally as a close friend makes my appreciation for this album any less real, if anything it gives me an insight into the authenticity of his work — what I mean by this is that it tells me that every last word on this album is true, based on his real life.

Americk comes from New York and is part of a movement of American artists, myself included, who are gravitating toward Sweden in search of the ultimate and most true form of creative expression.  It is a movement that is growing.

For we ex-patriot artists the situation back home is becoming similar to how it was in the 1920´s … there is a huge gap between the lowest and the highest strata of society, wealth and power.

In the 1920´s, just like today, American artists began to flee the restrictions of a more Capitalist oriented society and come to Europe — back then, they found Paris — Henry Miller, John Steinbeck… authors, musicians… all seeking a place where the arts were appreciated, which unfortunately just does not happen in a culture where “cash is king.”

Don´t get me wrong, amazing art is sometimes rewarded in today’s America… but these are the exceptions, the light that manages to sneak through the cracks. American society and even the culture now has the deck stacked against artists. There is little economic support from above — space for experimentation — when the focus is on this idea of “making it.”

For artists like us, today, Gothenburg is the new Paris. Sweden is the next paradigm. Some may laugh. Because it hasn´t happened yet. It´s happening now.

If you are reading this now, if you feel you are creative, or if you have something to say, if you play music, if you write words, if you want something authentic and true to happen and you want to collaborate… COME TO GOTHENBURG, SWEDEN.

This is it.  — written by Alex Sharp Cole

I’m typing this from an all night cafe called Alleycat in Fort Collins, Colorado…

This is a cafe worthy of documenting.  Notes to the Swedish Underground — imitation is the best form of flattery.  Also:  Necessity is the Mother of Invention.

We have a need for this sort of thing in Gothenburg, Sweden.

For this is a cafe, Friends, that is more than a cafe — it is a creative and collaborative workspace for the public.  These types of meeting places are necessary for any kind of “scene”to develop in a town.

Artists of the world take note — this might just be what we need.


Some Thoughts on the Societal Mainstream

by “Hero Worship”

There is nothing I have against people who live in the mainstream — but “The Mainstream,” itself, is relatively soulless and boring — the reason being that the mainstream is typically the expression of a culture that is dominated by commercial interests (though exceptions probably exist in countries with a healthy public support for artists.)

For the most part, if a real human lives out the entirety of his or her life here, in this “main stream” bubble of what is considered by “normal,” by most people, never venturing outside, he or she will eventually become unhappy.

Consider the general pattern of cities as a representation of the human experience.  There are some areas in the city that are more densely populated than others, and more frequented by tourists.

Lets think of the most popular part of town as “the mainstream area.”  This area, whether it be the city center, parts of the old town, the main street, or whatever, tend to cater to humans, in general, offering things that humans like — in addition to presenting ideas about whatever the town is already famous for.  The more “out of the way” a place gets, the more esoteric interests become.

The rare exception to this rule happens when a place becomes famous specifically for being un-commercial, bohemian, or “alternative.”  When this happens, one can generally find a more specific kind of tourist and person living there who thinks for his or herself — who, in other words, has even thought about questioning The Way Things Are.

Even though it is an image of alternative, it is also, for many people living there, actually alternative.  One tends to find people who have chosen, to some degree, their own way in life.  That could mean starting their own inventive business or that they are a musician or artist with personal ideals and principles, or it could mean they are an intelligent and articulate homeless person sleeping in the park.. whatever.  They are more or less “successful.”  In all cases they have chosen their own path, and thought about life and the world in a way that deviates from the social norm.

Underground festivals, forest fun and merry, musical madness…

Written August 5th by “Dark Angel” for Swedish Underground —

So the underground returns to Gothenburg, Sweden.  That’s what it looks like, anyway.

The day after tomorrow (which will be Sunday, August 7th 2016 at the time of this writing) marks the day of the very first 100% artist-run music festival here that is an international collaboration between Swedish and American artists.

There will be unique singer-songwriters, rappers, poets of the stage and of the street, independent electro and house producers… many are politically minded.  In short, something for everyone — that includes the cool, the *truly* cool — and anyone else, indeed, who is maybe just a teensy bit open to feeling truly alive.

details at the link below. . .


The festival employs a minimalist philosophy in a unique celebration of all types and categories of music — these are singer-songwriters who write in many different genres but the thing they all have in common is that they *do* WRITE THEIR OWN MUSIC — including lyrics, some of them even do their own production.

It can be a powerful thing to get *something real* these days when we are so saturated 24 hours a day by the media and by advertising.  Here is something real and true and musical in our own backyard.

UPDATE: article in Swedish newspaper, Göteborgs-Posten

So much talent is Never Known to the World

This age and era will be remembered in the history of Human art as the Age of the Nameless, for the unnamed are the ones, one day, who will have made the greatest contribution.

It is among the greatest tragedies of the common era — at least in the field of our higher aspirations — that capital has the deciding voice when it comes to art.
One can imagine a different society — a better society.  One can imagine a world where merit and artistic integrity decides art’s worth.