Inside the cd booklet for Bo Hansson's 'Sagan Om Ringen' there is an incredible picture of him sitting outside somewhere in rural Sweden playing the organ, around 1969/70. A meadow spreads out before him, leading to a hill covered in tall pines. He seems to be glancing off into this vista as he plays. The whole is captured in a romantic sepia, and it speaks to me for many reasons.
The first is the unconventionality of life, the 'bohemian' attitude. Why not play your organ in a summer meadow? I rather like this. Just as one should not, as a man of respectable society, paint his toenails and wander barefoot through country streams. But I do. I do it because I want to. Why place limits on yourself, especially if those limits come from others?
The second thing that speaks to me is the scenery itself. This is in Sweden, but there is a scene which looks almost exactly like this near Abbey St Bathans, on the way to Edin's Hall Broch where I have walked many times. The shape of the hill, the way the trees grow upon it, thin and upright, it's the same.
The third thing is romanticism. This is a very complex topic and I can touch on it only very lightly here. Oxford defines it as a) 'conducive to or characterised by the expression of love and b) Of, characterised by, or suggestive of an idealised view of reality. And that, right there, is the one and only way I have ever wanted to live my life.
A few final things to note in the photograph. He sits a packet of cigarettes on top of the organ, and below it a glass of wine. He has with him a rather formal looking chair, but he is not sitting on it. He is actually sitting on a plank of wood which is stretched out across the arms of the chair.