Glamour scenes, glamour zone. The case of Stockholm

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1 Workshop 8 - Housing and Social Theory Glamour scenes, glamour zone. The case of Stockholm Mats Franzén Paper presented at the ENHR conference "Housing in an expanding Europe: theory, policy, participation and implementation" Ljubljana, Slovenia 2-5 July 2006

2 Glamour scenes, glamour zone. The case of Stockholm Paper to the ENHR international conference Ljubljana `06 Working group Housing and social theory Mats Franzén Institute for Housing and Urban Research Uppsala University Box 785 SE Gävle Sweden Abstract. In the north eastern part of the central business district of Stockholm, around the square Stureplan, there is a glamour zone made up of not only the most fashionable night clubs and the most luxurious shops, but also the most attractive offices (with the highest rents) a comparatively unique, and recent, concentration. In this paper, the focus is put particularly upon the night clubs in the glamour zone. Quite recently, there has been an upsurge in most Western cities of consumption places for fun and pleasure. The glamour zone, however, is the upmarket version of these places, which raises the question about the socio-spatial segregation of urban night life more generally. Discussing this, I try to put the glamour zone in perspective. Then, entering the glamour scenes in the glamour zone, I try to analyse what this night life is all about. How does it function and how is it produced? Here, a kind of postmodern praise and glory is on display. At the upper end of the exclusive society, exclusionary mechanisms also operate, yet mostly in terms of celebrations, letting in the top celebrities, while other customers have to queue, a system with a specific violent potential. I also try to analyse what social categories make use of, and are addressed by, this specific night life, ending at five in the morning. Keywords: Entertainment districts, night clubs, glamour, celebrity, Stockholm, Stureplan B y necessity, the questions addressed by sociological theory, and the answers to them, have time diagnostic implications in them we can find traces of the condition of contemporary society (Joas & Knöbel 2004: 37). One time shift that has 2

3 been explicitly recognised recently, though thopicalised in different ways, may be called the change from the primacy of production to the primacy of consumption. Thus, Ritzer (2005) goes into how new means of consumption are enchanting a disenchanted world, Schulze (1997) talks about the emergence of an Erlebnisgesellschaft (society of experience), while Lash and Urry (1994: 5ff, 54ff) identifies a new aesthetic reflexivity as capitalism is becoming disorganised. However the time shift is being understood, a common theme of the diagnosis is the central role now given to fiction, fantasy and imagination, also when it comes to designing the built environment. Thus the phenomenon of Disneyization, the making of a design prototype out of the Disney world (Zukin 1995, Hannigan 1998), or in more general terms, the design of non-places (Legnaro & Birenheide 2005: 17-38; Augé 2000/1992). In the urban context, this shift have become visible the last two decades in at least two different, but interconnected, ways. First of all, there is a more general trend of aesthetisation permeating the built environment, trying to make it more pleasurable, the other side of which however is making it more exclusive. This trend is recognisable in the gentrification of whole city districts, in new shopping malls and galleries with bars, restaurants and other leisure pursuits, in the redesign of railway stations and other traffic junctions etcetera (Cf. Legnaro & Birenheide 2005: 39ff). Second, there is a characteristic upsurge in going out-places as such, from cafes, bars and restaurants to multiplex cinemas and nights clubs. This trend is recognisable in the revitalisation of the city s so called entertainment districts. In this paper, I look particularly into the up market section of Stockholm s entertainment district. To be more precise: I look into the Stockholm glamour zone, made up of not only the most fashionable restaurants and night clubs, but also of the most luxurious of shops and shopping galleries, plus the highest rent offices in the central business district of Stockholm. If not unique, this salient spatial concentration of up market activities gives Stockholm a most significant glamour zone (cf. Sassen 2000, 152). To fully understand this city s glamour scenes, we have to see them in precisely this context. This I will do in this paper. 3

4 Entertainment districts In the city, all kinds of things, of different temporalities, and at different scale levels, are thrown together; this throwntogetherness, as Massey (2005: 138ff, 159ff) says, making space dynamic. 1 Yet, as we know, everything is not found everywhere, and definitely not of uniform thickness. People, artefacts and activities are rather distributed in space, that is, differentiated, or segregated. Conventionally, we look for the differentiation of activities and the segregation of people (normally coupled to their housing). Differentiation and segregation are both spatial processes and both with spatial outcomes. If we look at entertainment activities, one important observation is that they may be distributed in both ways. In his study of big city nights in Berlin, Paris and London, Schlör notes that public entertainments vary not only over the day in the modern city when once its nights were opened through artificial lighting. Entertainments in the big city nights differ less, he say, in what they are about, than in how, and particularly where, they are taking place (Schlör 1994: 96). In short, entertainments are segregated along class lines. Entertainments, however, are also differentiated from other urban activities. This differentiation operates both in time and space. Entertainments are not part of the working day, but of the night. This is true at least for those entertainments that are not of a trivial kind. Such entertainments tend to cluster in entertainment districts, the consequence of which is their tendential spatial differentiation from other urban acitivities. At least two things are to be said about such entertainment districts. First of all, and in line with the argument above, they are often class segregated. Moreover, this segregation is not restricted to entertainment districts in immediate vicinity to housing areas, but are to be found also in the city centre. Second, that such districts are not necessarily dominated by entertainments, but may contain other 1 What Massey tries to formulate about space-time from the point of view of space, Koselleck (2000: Part I) tries to formulate from the point of view of time. Also see Schlögel (2003). For another dynamic view of space, see Löw (2001: 218ff). 4

5 activities as well. The temporal segregation of entertainments facilitates such coexistence. Comparatively little is to my knowledge written about entertainment districts compared to for example red light districts and prostitution. Of course, also entertainment could be seen and frequently is seen as a vice which enhances the likelihood of its investigation, but more from the control aspect, than with the intention to understand those worlds from within, not to talk about their location pattern. In short, the city of light, is easily seen as the city of darkness, of oppression, of crime and squalor, to paraphrase Raymond Williams (1975: 274). However, Chicago sociology of the 1920 s had at least something to tell about urban entertainment and its location. First of all, the class segregation of entertainment is demonstrated. Socially low entertainments most of the succesfull taxi dance halls thus were found in the area dominated by rooming houses (Cressey 2003: chap. XI) together with the underworld are thus located to the zone of transition in Burgess famous zone model of the city (Burgess 1968; elaborated by Friedrichs 1977: ), while the exclusive clubs and the hotels where the elite met to play the social game are found in The Loop (zone 1) (Zorbaugh 1944: 49ff, 192f). Moreover, different entertainments are clustered differently in the city as the taxi dance halls demonstrate, to mention just the best investigated amusement in Chicago at that time. That we still have to recognise entertainments being segregated along class lines and concentrated in certain entertainment districts is no risky generalisation. We nevertheless have to recognise profound restructurings of urban entertainments since the time between the wars when the observations of the Chicago school were made. First of all, as Hannigan s study of pleasure and profit in the postmodern U.S. metropolis shows, was there a characteristic decline in urban entertainments beginning between the wars, particularly for those centrally located. Part of this decline was the growth of entertainment possibilities in the home, particularly through television. From the 1980 s, however, the signs of an urban entertainment renaissance are easy to see (Hannigan 1998: chapts 1-3; Nasaw 1993: ch. 17). In 5

6 Europe the pattern seems to have been the same, though the decline here sat in a little later perhaps. Restructurings were deep, both in terms of entertainment content and in terms of space. Beside specific entertainment areas wholly devoted to this function, like Vienna s Prater or Copenhagen s Tivoli, location of entertainments seems to be relatively mobile, depending upon both their need of cheap premises and high turn over within the branch. Of course, this does not mean that pleasure places cannot have a fixed location for long, like Moulin Rouge in Paris, or Berns in Stockholm. The Stockholm case In Stockholm, the implications of the huge renewal project of the CBD (Gullberg 2001), culminating in the late 1960 s were twofold. First of all, it meant literally the extinction of almost all popular amusements in the city centre, particularly those for a younger public. Then, but later, in the later 1980 s, there was an upsurge in more fashionable amusements in this area, particularly in its eastern part, around Stureplan. At least two observations are here to made about this upsurge. 2 The upsurge took place in the eastern part of the Stockholm city area. For long, this area has been divided in a popular western part, close to the main railway station, and the more elegant eastern part. This divide is underlined by the topography, the Brunkeberg ridge going from north to south, the other side of which is that Stockholm lacks a definite centre its most central part is rather a ring of streets connecting a series of squares. Of course, this ring also connects the two parts of the Stockholm city area, yet the point is that they are connected more effectively in just two points. The eastern part is home to the bank and insurance head offices, the exclusive shopping streets and the upmarket department store NK, the Opera and the Dramaten theatre, Grand Hotel and the fashionable amusements like Berns, all close to Stockholm East Side, the number one upper class district for more than a century. The popular western part, on the other hand, for long were the place of the pawn shops, the cheap hotels, the news papers quarter and PUB, the popular 2 For the following two paragraphs, see Franzén (2005: ). 6

7 department store until the huge modernist renewal project. Since then, the western part has been the home of the government offices and the shops of the large retail chains like HM, all of which is easy to reach from suburban Stockholm by metro or commuter trains. With the time shift from production to consumption, the modernist western part of the city has slowly deteriorated, while the eastern part raised out of the shadows wherein it had been since the 1960 s, in parallel with the gentrification of inner city Stockholm. In the eastern part, particularly around the Stureplan square, a comparatively unique glamour zone developed from the late 1980 s. The opening of the luxurious shopping arcade Sturegallerian in 1989 signified its inception. Now, what made this glamour zone relatively unique was the concentration there of not only the most fashionable night clubs, but also of the luxury shops, and the most attractive offices. Behind this was the economic boom unleashed by the deregulation of the financial markets, an impetus repeated by the IT-boom a decade later. If the western part of the CBD was redeveloped by the welfare state, the glamour zone was the creation of a new entrepreneurial urbanism. Here, around Stureplan, it found its ideal milieux in the many well preserved, and highly decorated, buildings from the hey days of the bourgeoisie a century ago. Inside the zone In the night, this glamour zone opens its glamour scenes and becomes a most fashionable entertainment district. Though the night population here is marginal, if not non existent, the glamour zone is well populated all around the clock, which makes it possible to live a non stop glamorous life here, the whole week through. 3 Being out, in the night, when most people are at home, sleeping, preparing themselves for the next working day, confirms ritually for its participants living the 3 Of course, this is an exaggeration: there is a gap between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. when life also in the glamour zone gets ordinary. Yet, going to sleep at this time is not ordinary. 7

8 dream that glamour life is beyond the ordinariness of the everyday; thus they are not ordinary. Glamour scenes By night the back bone of the glamour zone is made up by a swarm of nights clubs. With a few exceptions they are all located at, or very close to, within five minutes walk, Stureplan; the exceptions are less than five minutes further away, two of them are found in the eastern part of the city area Café Opera and The White Room and one in the adjacent East Side East. In all, there are nineteen nights clubs within the area. This bunch of night clubs is today made up of three sub spheres. The first, and perhaps the most successful, sub sphere is run by Stureplansgruppen, the owner of Sturecompagniet, Laroy, The Lab, Spy Bar and The White Room. Most interestingly, in the beginning of 2005, Stureplansgruppen started a web site,, and the magazine Stureplan. Le publication glamoureuse, superfashion et tres exclusif, making this glamourous world more visible than ever. Thus their nights clubs and not just them are being promoted in different ways. The web site has more than unique visitors each day. According to one of the owners, Ulf Frederick von Roth, who is responsible for Stureplansgruppen s PR, this meant that we made the night life of Stockholm more accessible we are opening up a world that were closed to many before an unexpected statement that I will come back to below. Compared to the guests of the other two sub spheres, those here, on average, are a little younger. The second sub sphere of night clubs is however not connected through ownership, but through the joint ownership of the company Krog Media AB, which quite recently launched a web site called, to take up the competition with Stureplansgruppen. Café Opera, Plaza Club, Nox, Hotellet, Grodan Cocktail, Viola, Loge and Solidaritet belong to this sphere. The third sub sphere, finally, consists of Riche, Sturehof with O-baren, PA & Co, Teatergrillen, all owned by Sturehofsgruppen, plus Lydmar and East. This third sub sphere of night clubs is more restaurant, and less party, like in its atmosphere; it seems less drawn into the 8

9 competition of the celebrities, than the other two are; on average, compared to the other two sub spheres, its guests have more cultural, but less economic capital. (Ström 2006; Petersson & Sandahl 2006a) However glamorous these scenes may seem to be, they are not lucrative business. The net profit for all of the night clubs belonging to Stureplansgruppen was as modest as 3,5 million Swedish crowns (less than Euro) in And yet, this sphere, did show the best results. Some of the competitors even made negative results (Peterson & Sandahl 2006a). This may seem curious, but, as we will see, economics in the glamour zone does not follow ordinary market principles. It s raison d aitre lies elsewhere. The glamour ethos However cursory life within this zone may seem to be, there is nevertheless a kind of ethos, or ethic, to be found there. This ethos has to make sense of waste, if for no other reason that luxurious waste is at the heart of life as it is being displayed ostentatively, on the glamour scene. This ethos is the opposite to that protestant ethic that Weber (1984: 40ff) posited, in the words of Benjamin Franklin, behind the spirit of capitalism: for this ethos, time is not money; for it, it is not important that your creditor recognises that you are up at five in the morning to work; for it, to keep an exact account of your expenses and incomes is unimportant. The protestant ethic is an economic ethic, that is, an ethic for the conduct of everyday life; the glamour ethic is not. Positively formulated, this ethos is also about conduct, about how to conduct glamorous night life. To get an idea of this ethos, let us listen to some recent chroniclers in the magazine Stureplan. According to Susanne Ljung (2006), perhaps its time now for The Stureplan Handbook, by someone who understands what it is all about. [ ] Just like a little test does anybody remember when celebrities were known for anything but their vivacious cloths and skill to feast firmly [ ] Is there anybody with Stureplan ambitions that dare say today no, I cannot afford it? No, that s it, the Stureplan style is full of in-your-face-attributes that costs money muchos money which just is the point. It should be awfully awful and over the top and nobody should 9

10 show that they care about what it costs, because money what is that? The right Stureplan answer: something you buy a Silverado by Chloé for. Carl Reinholdtzon Belfrage (2006) is senselessly enamoured by what you call the good life. Alcohol, nicotin, restaurants and long, extensive bar receipts. I have a sexual, almost unchristian relation to the good life. Consequently, he does not accept babies the new trendy accesory in the glamour zone; thus he exclaims: Young parents, remove your children and prams from the night club [krogen]. It is the only time on earth liberated from baby oil and finger colours. For God s sake, cherish it. Perhaps the voice of Ulrich Bermsjö (2006) is a more positive one: I don t care a fig for losing my Rolex, if my Dolce & Gabbana pants get dirty, or if I scratch my stylish car. Perhaps I look a little foolish now, like a spoilt person who gets everything I point at, respecting anything. But it is not so. I am a hard working man. But yesterday when I read that Paris Hilton was complete out of her mind [blivit helt till sig] and had thrown out her guests from a party just because she was unable to find her diamond earring, I definitely stopped liking her because her reaction was both mean and provincial. Quite simply, completely unglamourous. The glamour ethos is about money, or is it? It is about leading an extravagant conduct of life, which presupposes both a lot of money, and the social skill not to worry about spending huge amounts of money, consuming them almost instantly. This extravagance is to be demonstrated, by clothes, accessories, drinking habits etc., yet as if it was not extravagant at all, but perfectly normal, an everyday routine. In the night, on a glamour scene, the glamour ethos is fully awakened. If the protestant ethic implies leading a solitary life, but in the demanding eyes of God, the glamorous ethic is about being seen on the glamour scene by, and among, as glamorous people as possible. Though it presupposes considerable economic possessions, the glamorous ethic is not an economic ethic in Weber s sense precisely because it is not about our everyday maintenance, but about excessive consumption, waste the opposite to effective investments. Thus, there are resemblances between this conduct of life and the aristocratic one. Not the dispassionate interest for gain, but the strong passion for 10

11 praise and glory, distinguished historically the aristocracy (cf. Hirschman 1981: 63ff). In Hirschman s words, the rising bourgeoisie substituted this strong passion for what they saw as calm, or rational, interests. Eventually, however, the very rich were to be found in the bourgeoisie. Consequently, they were becoming to display traces of an aristocratic consumption culture, beginning in the late 19 th century (Hobsbawm 1987: 168f). Veblen s theory of the leisure class and its status symbols is precisely about this phenomenon. If the economic power of the bourgeoisie has to be recognised, it must also be made visible. Though he did not like this kind of consumption, seeing it as waste, and as the corruption of taste, he defined it as the upper end of a hierarchy of taste and manners. (Gronow 1997: 34ff) In a further historical move, taking off between the wars, the very rich come to mingle with celebrities as film stars, which were to turn some of them into celebrities too, a development in which publicity, and thus the media, played a crucial role. (Mills 2000: ch. 4) Here is the money talking in its husky, silky voice of cash, power, celebrity (Mills 2000: 93). Now, the glamour ethos found inside the Stureplan glamour zone presupposes yet at least one more historical move, touched upon above. That is the fortunes made in the new economy the last two decades. By extravagantly demonstrating their successes the noveux riche challenged the leading forces of the old economy. In the Swedish case this meant the bearers of the so called Swedish Model. On the one hand, thus, their excessive consumption, provoked the modest virtues of the social democratic welfare state. By appearing almost as pariahs, self-stigmatising themselves, they tried to subvert the law of Jante. Perhaps less easy to see, this way they also disputed respectable bourgeoise life, particularly family virtues, in their zeal for a new conduct of life. (Franzén 2005: 151f; cf. Lepsius 1987: 96ff) So this is what s new about the new economy in terms of life conduct. It is however also of importance to point out a fundamental market change that has permeated the last decades. In Luxury fever (1999), Robert H. Frank (1999: 37) underscores the growing importance of [ ] winner-take-all markets markets in which small differences in performance often give rise to enormous differences in economic 11

12 reward. Moreover, this phenomenon for long well known in entertainment, sports and the arts have come increasingly to penetrate also accounting, law, journalism, consulting, medicine, investment banking, corporate management, publishing, design, fashion, and a host of other professions. Not unsurprisingly, this market change has come to deepen economic inequalities, in the short term producing spectacular gains at the upper end of society. And these gains seem increasingly to have been spended in an extravagant way, which becomes visible in the expanding cities. A court without a king If the star, the top celebrity, emanated from within entertainment, sports, and the arts, between the wars, the circles of celebrity has been widened since then (cf. Turner 2004: 9-20). Today, celebrity is being demonstrated, sought, and intensified in the glamour zone. Inside the zone, each glamour scene is like a court, but without a king. In other words, the glamour zone is not left untouched by the process of democratisation, or to put it another way, the glamour hierarchy is not an eternal one. At the heart of each glamour scene is found a court of celebrities. However magical the court may shine, there is nothing mysterious in this shining. It works by the celebrities pursuing the glamorous ethos, while mirroring themselves in each other, promoting each other simply by their co-presence. Of course, this court does not work like a democratic circle, but more like a status hierarchy. At the top of the hierarchy are found those celebrities that may strengthen their status by rationing their appearance on the scene, at its other end the pretenders, those who are craving to enter it, more or less desperately, and with all means. 4 Now, every night club is not a glamour scene. A glamour scene is not given by itself, not even if it is located within the zone, though a right address is something to start with it has to be made. For the owner, it is a question of getting the right 12

13 persons as visitors. There seem to be at least two strategies to accomplish this end. Let us start looking at this from above, since the most tricky thing is to get the most wanted celebrities to come to your night club. If you can get them to come, they, that s the idea, will generate sufficient glamour really to make the scene attractive. But how to get them there? To have the right music, drink list, or menu, does not make a court, however well this may serve it. To literally generate the sought for club effect, one strategy developed relies upon using the right social capital (cf. Bourdieu 1999: 128f). Here, social capital is no condition for democracy, but rather for its opposite, i.e. exclusive, selective, purposes. One trick deployed by the owner for this purpose is to recruit a person with the right social capital as night club chief. All night club chiefs of the Stureplansgruppen sub sphere, for example, are remarkably young men from aristocratic families, having what is seen as the right friends, the right watch, and the right attitude. But most of all right friends. And most right of friends are the royal children. (Petersson & Sandahl 2006a) A court without a king, nevertheless, since who belongs to the top celebrity differs between the sub spheres, but also over time. At the bottom end of the celebrity hierarchy, exclusion is quite brutish, operated by the night club guardians watching over the people in the queue waiting to come in. At this end of the hierarchy, management is much easier as it could be brought about more instrumentally, for this is not a normal queue since all people glamorous enough to take part in the court are let in immediately. And the rule seems to be that the more glamouorous you are, the later you are expected to come. So, this is a kind of reserve queue, the instrumental function of which also is to tell all passers by that this is an attractive place the longer the queue, the better advertisement for the night club. But even the reserve queue as such is not a normal queue, since it is not a question of queuing time to be let in, but of having the right attributes and the right attitude the right life style. In deed, the queue is not even lined up in front of the 4 I use status after Kreckel (extending Bourdieu) as a synthesis of four different components of vertical stratification: Money (economic capital), knowledge (cultural capital), position, and membership (social capital) (Neckel 1991: 194ff; Löw 2001: 210ff). 13

14 entrance, but takes rather the form of a heap of expectants. As one night club owner said a few years ago: though difficult to put words on, it is easy to decide whom to let in, and whom to keep outside. Not to discriminate, letting everybody in, would mean a disaster for this glamour scene in two or three weeks, he also said. (Franzén 2005: 142f). Or in the softer words of Carl M. Sundevall at Spy Bar: the thing is to get certain guests, not to exclude (Björling 2006). Consequently, discrimination seems to be a built in strategy for a night club with ambitions to be a glamour scene. If everybody were let in, perhaps even those now spending a long time waiting in the queue, would not come, as the glamour of the court would evaporate if the place would be full before the arrival of the court people. From the owner s point of view the ideal is to get as glamourous guests as possible and the club full an equation with unknown solution, though an experienced entrance guard probably is able to manage this quite well. As a night club, the Stockholm glamour scene is a hybrid, or amalgamation, of, on the one and upper hand, a private club of the select few, on the other hand a public amusement, where not everybody, but not so few, in the end are let in. Accepting this ambiguousness is part of the game (cf. Bourdieu 1993: 122ff), which explains why the queue system does not break down and end in chaos. Yet there is a significant violence potential in this system. This has been demonstrated recurrently as men who see themselves as obvious members of the court are denied access, feel their honour challenged, and thus have to answer fight this challenge (cf. Bourdieu 2001: 50ff). This has made Stureplan to a place of bloodshed, a signification which has not been made part of its place image. So, glamour is still in place. To partake on a glamour scene, demonstratively spending money, is appararantly significant for many men belonging to the Stockholm criminal underworld. This underworld has its own hierarchy. Much of the violence unleashed at Stureplan seems to have been conducted when young men with pretensions to climb the hierarchy have been denied to enter the glamour scene. (Franzén 2005: 145f; Parnaby & Sacco 2003: 12ff) 14

15 On the scene At the heart of the glamour scene celebrities are found. One way to get an idea about how this scene works is to analyse, or decompose, the composition of its celebrities. But where to start? One possibility is to analyse the Top 100 list of the one hundred most attractive singles published by the magazine Stureplan. 5 Of course, this list is arbitrary in the sense that the hundred persons are selected anonymously, without the use of any systematic criteria. Each selection is rather motivated in an unrestrained, and most particularistic, way. Obviously, they are selected because they can make Stureplan, and particularly the night clubs of Stureplansgruppen, also managing the magazine and the web site, attractive. So the list is a mean to the impression management of the glamour zone, and precisely this makes it relevant for this kind of analysis. So what persons suit this impression management? To answer the question, one can look at from where they are recruited. What people work with, or their social status more generally, is obviously something that counts in this world despite what the glamour ethic tells. We can see the glamour scene as a kind of symbiosis of the power and the glory, or to be more precise, of the very powerful and rich on the one hand, and the proper celebrities on the other, or, in Bourdieu s terms, a symbiosis of economic and symbolic capital. Together these bring a kind of postmodern praise and glory to Stureplan. There is however also a third group of people on the scene made taking part in the power and the glory circuit professionally. Becoming glamorous by praising or promoting the glamorous is, of course, not a possibility open to everybody. The promoters here consist of people mostly men from within the night club world itself, mainly owners and night club chiefs. The praisers on the other hand work within the media; by putting the light upon the celebrities, they make themselves visible too, particularly in television. 5 The following is based on an analysis of this list (Top 100 : 2006), if not otherwise indicated. The categories discussed in the following do not make up the whole list, but more than 90% of it (if we include four young celebrities called students among the inheritors). 15

16 The celebrities proper are made up of four subgroups being visibile and getting attraction are what they have in common. Here we find people from the fashion world, particularly many female models. Then there are artist celebrities, most of whom are working with music, and the stage actors. What these three groups have in common is of course that their fame emanates primarily from other scenes than those in the glamour zone. This is also true of some sports stars mostly men among the proper celebrities, as the number one of the list, the soccer professional Fredik Ljungberg, one of the worlds best football players and also a fashion icon. The one becoming Misses Ljungberg will at Stureplan get almost the status of a queen. Finally we come to the other pole of the power and glory symbiosis. Power here usually means money, so the inheritors on the list shall come as no surprise. The inheritors are the grown up children of very rich businessmen perhaps the social category most commonly associated with the glamour ethos, quite recently known as brats. Then there are a group of successful businessmen and entrepreneurs. Yet, in this group, to which also some women also belong, it is not just a matter of economic success but of displaying the right ethos too. It may even be so that their celebrity is mainly made in the zone and not professionally; be that as it may, many young successful businessmen still stick to more traditional Swedish bourgeois virtues as be thrifty, stay discreet (cf. Stenlås 1998: 320-6). Most interestingly, only one politician is found on the list. Political power is no merit in the glamour zone in Stockholm, but the leader of the Liberal Part qualifies in lack of other candidates being the only fashion conscious of the party leaders (and perhaps the only single too). Royalty, however, is a merit here, so one of the children of the royal family is on the list together with Princess Lilian, Sweden s most glamourous nonagenarian. So however exclusive life in the glamour zone might seem to be, this is not a selfcontained world. Rather there is a concentration of celebrity, most of which is being ascribed, achieved or attributed elsewhere (Turner 2004: 22). Some people praisers and promoters can also get it by taking part in its production within the zone, yet their eventual celebrity is thus of a secondary kind. For a person to be put on the list, 16

17 it is not necessary to be visiting any of the scenes. There is nothing paradoxical in this since fame derives its value from its own scarcity (Parnaby & Sacco 2004: 10). At the upper end of the glamour hierarchy, non-visibility and secret ness are important means to (re)produce, if not to rise, celebrity. Lower down the hierarchy, but still within the glamour zone, we find the so called celetoids. Celetoids enjoy hyper-visibility but also an especially short and unpredictable life span. Celetoids bear witness to the democratisation of society, whereby fame, though short lived, is opened as a possibility, yet not a reality, to the many. This kind of fame is being produced out of ordinary talent in the media, in reality TV programmes as Big Brother, Pop Stars and other similar ones. (Turner 2004: 22, 52-). However short lived, persons who gain fame this way are also part of the glamour scenes, together with all the rest, coming in by the ordinary queue. The glamour scene is not a private club. Yet the apex of the glamour scene, here called the court without a king, functions as if it was a private club. It works in symbiosis with the owners and their night club chiefs mainly by the use of social capital to produce symbolic capital glamour. Now, perhaps it would be wrong to assume that all celebrities the kind of persons found on the 100 list belong to this inner circle; it seems more reasonable to assume that some real celebrities just by the help of their rumour may pass the queue in the very moment they show up outside the entrance. The inner circles however is important in helping produce the specific atmosphere (Löw 2001: 272) of each glamour scene, while the outer circles, consisting of celetoids, pretentious criminals, and all the rest, are potential threats to that atmosphere, not only by deviant behaviour, contrary to the glamour ethos, but also by simply being too many. Without its apex, the glamour scene will evaporate. Life in the glamour zone is gendered. If not dominated by heteronormativity, it is nevertheless particularly important here for women to be good looking and sexy. The women topping the Top 100 list are described in terms as the most well slimmed beach body at Stureplan (number 2), as much comedienne as sex symbol (number 3), being an artist, sexiness and authorship (number 5), beautiful and very 17

18 successful single woman (number 7) and beautiful, sensual and mysterious (number 14) to quote the attributes of the five most looked for women singles. This female ideal becomes even more clear if we look at the so called party reportage photos published each week at the Stureplan web site: The pictures everybody wants to be on!, as an told the web site subscribers March 27 this year. Each week, several people are put on display from different parties in the glamour zone. Most of these parties are nothing but regular nights at a night club, yet sometimes the parties are of a more exclusive private character. In the latter case, the party has a more explicit public! purpose as to i.e. promote the opening of a new shop in the zone. The shop owner then hires a glamour scene and invites the right people to come to launch the shop a kind of release party, the intention of which is the amplification of promotional loops for the shop (cf Wernick 1991). Social capital works that way too. Let us look at the representation of just two regular night club feats at Sturecompagniet and Laroy from late March this year. In all, there is 45 pictures. 6 Without a close semiotic analysis, it is difficult to see if these two parties are represented differently from other regular ones. As my purposes are quite simple, it seems reasonable to generalise the following observations to other party reportages too. On these photos are displayed mostly young and glamourous persons of both sexes, almost all looking right into the camera. Most are white, but there are some black people at Laroys, mostly men. The age span are between the late teens to the early thirties, with a few exceptions. In ten of these pictures, most of them from Sturecompagniet, we meet a heterosexual couple, most of them around 30 years of age. On average, the selected few on display, seems a little older at Sturecompagniet compared to Laroy. If hetero couples are a minority, singles are even more rare on these pictures (in all eight), but of both sexes. On almost half of the pictures, or 19, a same sex couple figures, about a third of which are male. While the same sex couple is the most common figuration, the least common one is the two-sexed triad, one for each night club appearing, one of them with two males, one with two females. Finally, 18

19 there are not so few same sex traids. Of such triads, just one is from Sturecompagniet, and just another one is displaying men. All of these triads are definitely young, and, not surprisingly, found mostly at Laroy. This means that most of the glamorous persons displayed are not only young but also female. Facing the camera, most of them try to look disinterested, as most men also do, yet some perform their coolness more actively, playing with more sexy codes. Most interestingly, if there is a female majority on these party reportage photos, this cannot be said of the Top 100 list, from which it was possible to identify the upper strata of the glamour hierarchy. On these photos, we seems to be a little lower down the hierarchy, the implication of which thus is that this hierarchy is gendered in a most conventional way, however extravagant the life style. Besides being represented by dressing and hair style, this extravagance is also shown by what the guests drink. In thirteen photos, we can see what they drink. Beer and red wine are marginal choices here, while drinks, champagne and white wine are the preferred options. This bears witness to one specific feature of the glamour ethos its high visibility; asking for praise and glory, this is no ethic for being performed in solitude. Conclusion If celebrity is mostly not being produced, but rather being displayed, within the glamour zone, glamour is nevertheless being produced on its scenes, celebrity being its raw material. Celebrity is produced outside the zone. Celebrity is produced in different ways at least as many as there are celebrity types. It is not the task of this paper to delve into how this production is organised in detail and how some, not all, of its products come together in the making of the glamour zone. Yet, two things are to be noted about this production. First of all, that the trick of celebrity production is to keep the production process invisible, i.e. to convince, celebrity must seem to be authentic, 6 22 bilder Sturecompagniet (23/3 2006) & 23 bilder Laroy (25/3 2006). 19

20 even charismatic, the natural gift of the celebrity her-/himself, and not the product of agents, managers and publicists. Consequently, the celebrity industries works hard to naturalise their professional practices or else to submerge their professional practices beneath those of another profession, such as journalism. (Turner 2004: 41) To function, this presupposes the collective misrecognition of those involved in this production, a social alchemy (Bourdieu 1995: 75-81). Second, this alchemy has its own laboratory, publicity its product. Given the invisibility of the successful production process, it is difficult to delineate the producers involved, ranging from personal celebrity coaches to talkshow interviewers. A range of cultural intermediaries are involved. Some of them are strategically located in different media circuits, where some of them, in turn, become celebrities themselves. (Turner 2004: 42-51) In Sweden, these circuits were to multiply as the public service television monopoly came to its close in the late 1980 s. The rise of the Stureplan glamour zone, at precisely that time, was more than a pure coincidence. Now, if we just change the perspective a little, we can see how these circuits of celebrity production work together with the direct glamour production on the scenes in the zone by cogging together. In short, the scenes let celebrities come together; making the courts thus formed visible, in the tabloid press, in television and in magazines, puts the light on the celebrities, and, simultaneously, on the glamour scenes and the glamour zone too. In this world, who promotes whom is an impossible question to answer. Most interestingly, since a year ago, there is a web site called, and also a magazine Stureplan, both operated by Stureplansgruppen. Recently, these media have been complemented by another web site,, operated by Krog Media AB. Thus, two (or three) new circuits for the production of Stureplan glamour is in existence. Of course, this is their purpose. Yet, there is a double risk in this publicity strategy. First, the risk of making not just the glamour visible but also its production. Second, by making life in the glamour known, not in all, but nevertheless in many of its details, runs the risk of making it less secret, i.e. exclusive. In short, this opens for a kind of democratisation of the 20

21 glamour zone, making it less interesting to visit for its top celebrities, while simulteanously making it more attractive for the ordinary public. So, how can we understand this strategic move? To understand it, I think it is necessary to set it in the perspective of the history of this glamour zone. As already touched upon, this history is intimately linked to the rise of the so called new economy (the newness of which, of course, is open to debate). It has been possible to witness two booms of this new economy, and perhaps Stureplan has been one of the best observation points for doing this. Here, by help of the glamour ethic, the profits made were demonstrated. Unsurprisngly, each boom ended in abrupt crisis. Several years has passed since the last crisis without any new boom yet visible on the horizon. As a consequence, there is not as many persons spending really great money in the night clubs of the glamour zone as around the Millenium shift. An indication for this is given by the night club chief of The Plaza club who quite recently remarked that they had better guests three or four years ago; many good guests have just disappeared, while the new ones are too unurban a change he cannot explain (Björling 2006). In a sense, the explanation is simple: besides celebrity, the production of glamour has one more necessary raw material money. So, the strategic move is to be seen within this context. Because of the competition between the glamour scenes, the most rational solution to this new situation is closed: closing half of the scenes to keep exclusivity and glamour high is out of question. Consequntly, these new circuits for celebrity production can be seen as a bid for new guests. Moreover, by taking part of this publicity, new guests can learn how to dress and to style, what drinks to ask for this month, together with the right urban attitude. Though this is probably not sufficient to embody the glamour ethos, it suffices to be let in. References Augé, Marc (2000/1992): Non-Places. Introduction to an anthropology of supermodernity. London: Verso. Bermsjö, Ulrich (2006): Låt aldrig glamouren vara för länge. Stureplan. La publication glamoureuse, superfashion et tres exclusive!. [ 3/4 2006] Björling, Sanna (2006): Stureplans slutna sällskap DN. På stan 11/5 [] 21

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