The Red room

I was in Sweden this week doing media interviews. I also gave a talk in what may be the most romantic venue I’ve encountered so far. It was inside the Berns Salonger, an elegant 19th-century hotel–cum-restaurant-cum-bar on the edge of the water in central Stockholm. The main hall is all dark wood and leather, with vast chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. The talk was in a small space upstairs, just off the balcony that looks down onto the main hall. It turned out to be the celebrated Red Room, setting for the eponymous novel written in 1879 by Augustus Strindberg. In the book, the hero hangs out with bohemians in the Red Room. I spent the evening with businesspeople. But in the end we probably ended up in the same state anyway: well-fed, well-watered and wondering how to change the world.