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Olle Goude
Gentleman - Artist - Friend
A Tribute and Requiem
     


Although these pages contain much of a philosophical and literary nature, this is a very personal page and I hope you find it different from my various linguistic and eliminativist philosophy pages. There is much here of what could be described as experiential solipsistical preoccupation, but as much of the contents are diary extracts it is difficult to see how this could have been avoided. This site is a deceptively large one with a myriad of proliferating, bifurcating sections which the internal search engine for the convenience of visitors soon confirms. There's a florilegium of reminiscences about my family, friends, jobs, my army life, businesses, my experiences and my opinions about the world as I look back after a long life.


Olle Goude Gentleman - Artist - Friend
A Tribute and Requiem

Jud Evans


I don't know whether you know how Olle and I first met?

It was over fifty years ago on Tuesday the 18th of August in the summer of 1959.  I made a camping trip to Sweden  in the first vehicle I ever owned -  a small Ford green and white  5 hundred-weight van PBL 226.

My first wife Joan accompanied me together with a long-time friend, John Briercliffe and a delightful man of Indian origin from British Guiana called Hyder Ali together with a Singalese fellow named Arisivansa Devasurendra (a name which apparently means: Sitting on the right hand of God ). We drove through France, Belgium, Holland, to Denmark, then caught the Hälsingör - Hälsingborg ferry to Sweden and headed north...

.

We were very active in the British Labour Party at the time. I was the Education Officer for my section in Walton, Liverpool. I'd written to Den Svenska Socialist Partiets Ungdom Förbund (The Swedish Socialist Party's Youth Organisation) to arrange a meeting with some young Swedish socialists.

They allocated Olle Goude to us as a guide, for at that time he was a member of the Stockholm Youth Committee. He was a university student. I remember that his pretty girlfriend's name was Barbro Sköldebrand.


He was a gracious, amusing, intelligent university graduate and very knowledgeable about his city. I took an immediate liking to him, for his sincerity shone out from his kind grey eyes and he'd a quiet dignity plus a very dry English-style sense of humour.

He took us to the usual places of interest to visitors - Skansen, Gamla Stan, Riks Museet etc. We went to the family flat at Lindhagensplan and had dinner with his mother, and saw the famous painting of the hands which had been presented to his father by the Norwegian authorities in recognition of his help given to Norwegian refugees fron the Nazi occupation during the war . We even met the charming 'Mormor,' his mother's mother.

Our friendship was sealed for life one evening when he arranged for us to join a group of young socialists who had hired a steamboat for a trip into the Skärgård  (archipelago) to a small island called Getfötö. (Goat's foot island).

It was a time when the first storm clouds of the 1960's social revolution were gathering over a slightly bewildered European bourgeoisie. It was that strange period of quiescence before the heavens cracked and the old societal morés were swept away in an avalanche of beads and Rock & Roll.

The island was uninhabited, but there was a small raised bandstand in the centre of a picnic place. The surroundings were magical. The atmosphere was evocative of a long gone fin de siecle Sweden of the Ingmar Bergman films. The coloured lights of the city were aglow in the distance and the smell of jasmine and lilac suffused the warm air and mingled with the pungent smell of pine from the surrounding trees.

The organisers fixed up a disco and soon the young people were dancing, drinking and having a good time. Olle and I just sat there talking about a multitude of subjects. We were both exhilarated with the unexpected joy of finding a fellow being that instinctively understood the other's viewpoint and thinking. We were captivated by each other. We ranged over many subjects. Philosophy, Language, History, Politics etc. We only had ears for each other's thought.

That night, in a clearing beneath the pine trees, rather dramatically and perhaps a bit theatrically, we scratched our wrists with a sharp metal bottle top and mingled out blood. From that day to when we last spoke to each other a week or so before he died we always called each other 'bror' or 'brother.'

I made many trips to Sweden after that as you may know, and I always stayed with Olle - first in Blomstervägen in the small town of Kungsör and later in the small cottage on the Köping road, where he lived with his small daughter Maria after his divorce. Through Olle I got to know the real Sweden. We used to go down into the cellar of his bungalow at Blomstervägen (Flower Street) and talk in front of the roaring wood fire until the daylight came cautiously peeping through the narrow windows. We walked in the woods - we drove in his car in the snow - we created wood-sculpture together - we sang whilst he played the piano - I stood at his elbow whilst he painted, for he was a well-known artist in his country. His knowledge of English was extraordinary and encyclopaedic.

He was familiar with the most obscure British vernacular. I think he liked to see himself as an English gentleman. I could see from his bearing and his manner that he was quite 'posh'. I knew his father had been a quite important figure in the Swedish government during the war and had been honoured for the help that he gave to the Norwegians during the German occupation.

Olle Goude on piano, Willi Wenberg on electric guitar
and myself pretending to be  on bass -
The Brokäller
was Willi's bar on Kungsgatan, Kungsör
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Olle's brother Gunnar was, and still is a member of the Swedish parliament at the moment. The fact that I came from a very poor family and was a son of the British industrial working class made no difference to him - I was simply his British bror.


As we grew older we developed intellectually together. Too often, friends from the days of our youth grow apart from us, because one or the other doesn't change in their attitudes or behaviour. This wasn't the case with us and our conversations remained a dialogue of equals right up until the last telephone conversation sometime in August gone.

Once in the sixties I stayed for two weeks in his grandmother's flat in Stockholm. His family made me feel welcome and wanted. Of course after Olle got married, I met his lovely wife Kristina and his sweet little daughters Maria and Malin. And in those days the home that I observed was full of family love and warmth.

Also I was privileged to be introduced to some wonderful friends of Olle who have remained friends of mine until this day. Gunnar and Barbro Ericson, Tuija and Alrik Blomquist amongst others. I was so impressed with Olle's Sweden, that I fell in love with the land and culture, so much so that later when I married, I even gave five of my children Swedish names when they were born. I studied the language at college and later at university. I bitterly regret it now that I didn't call one of them Olle. I have thousands of memories of Olle - with Lulu and Salome in Czechoslovakia when we stayed with Josef and Irena - in Wales - in Ireland in the high court with me in Dublin during my Treasure Hunting escapades - on board The Landfall my club in Liverpool - at the dining table in Kungsör with the Druids which were rather like the Freemasons.

He used to amuse me when Skåling, (toasting), by holding his arm up in the air with the elbow in line with his shoulder and then clicking his heels just before he drank. He told me that this was the way that Swedish cavalry officers drank. I knew that he was in the cavalry for he used to write me letters when he was in the army. He called the army the lumpen. He did not like the stupidity in the army, but I am sure that he was a good soldier.

Years later after he got divorced and lived in a little stuga on the outskirts of Kungsör I remember pulling a very old Swedish hand plough with him and planting potatoes outside his little cottage on the Köping road. I remember giving an English lesson to his kids in the school where he taught. Many people don't believe me when I speak about the 'hand-plough' - but Olle said that many years ago Swedish peasants who could not afford a horse or an ox to pull a plough had to pull it themselves - or starve.

Later when he went to live with his mother down in the south of Sweden he would ring me from Perstorp or Vitsjö where he lived out the last part of his life.

Often we would speak on the telephone for hours. He knew he was doomed, but would always put on a brave face.

Olle received a  British 1st Class Honours Degree from
Arthur Dooley  the well known Liverpool Sculptor. Some of Olle Goude's  paintings can be seen hanging on the walls of  the  Liverpool Academy of Arts and elsewhere throughout the city.

He was a very strong man - a man of inner strength and single-minded determination to achieve certain aims and desires.

I never saw Olle as a weak person - quite the opposite. I never lost my respect for Olle. Most of all I never lost my love for Olle - my Swedish brother!


There will be a permanent void in my life now until the day that I die. It was comforting to know that he was there in the world - it didn't matter so much that he lived all those miles away in Sweden - it was sufficient to be aware that he was there! Now he's gone and things will never be the same anymore. A light has gone out in my life.

Here is a dedicatory poem to Olle written by the  Swedish poet Tony Björkström.





Tårar

By Tony Björkström

(Till minne av våran nära & kära vän: Olle Goude)


En man sitter ensam - Ser ut över havet,
Undrar vad som finns där på andra sidan.
Himlen mörknar - Vinden susar,
Vågorna bryts så stilla mot stranden.

En man sitter ensam - Ser vågorna rulla.
Undrar varför allt är så tyst och så stilla.
Löven faller - Havet brusar - Vinden viner,
Månens ljus glittrar sin dans över havet.

En man sitter ensam - Blickar mot horisonten,
Hans tanke flyktar - Undrar vart framtiden bär.
Syrsorna spelar - Vågorna skummar.
Stjärnorna tindrar på himlens mörka valv.

En man sitter ensam - Ser ut över havet,
Längtar efter någon, någon att bry sig om,
någon att älska, någon att hålla om.
Ögonen drömmer - Leendet saknas,
Tårarna faller sakta från hans kind.

En man sitter ensam - Ser ut över havet,
Sakta somnade han så stilla in.

[Vila i frid min vän.]


See Olle Goude Part Two



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