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TAGS: culture, places, music, underground

Check out this space in Stockholm, Sweden. It's called Demoteket and it's located in the main square in the city center, one of the busiest areas near the central subway station. The building where it's located is beautiful and it's called Kulturhuset (House of Culture). This building is famous in Stockholm, it includes a shop with products from new Swedish designers, a video library, bars, restaurants, and more.

You, quite curious, wonder, "What could a place called Demoteket be? Is it really what I'm thinking?" Well, let's go see...

At the entrance, there are some punks, mostly with dyed hair and piercings, aged 12 to 17, talking, smoking fags, and listening to moderately loud punk rock on portable radios right on the sidewalk. As you open a huge glass door, one of the attendants, well-dressed, comes and greets you in English. You ask what that place is. "Demoteket is a space dedicated to underground music culture," he says. "Here, people are given the opportunity to promote their musical projects. New bands from anywhere can showcase demos and perform shows here too. And we have a permanent exhibition of fanzines." He says enthusiastically, and you feel that he really enjoys working there.

Looking around, you see several shelves filled with demo CDs, separated by style: punk rock, indie, hardcore, crust, electro, industrial, death metal, etc. Next to the shelves, there are several headphones where people can listen to the CDs, and if they're interested, they just have to pay a very reasonable price. Just behind, near the huge glass wall overlooking the street, there are loads of multicolored sofas and lounge chairs, with several people smoking and drinking while listening to ambient music at the right volume so as not to disturb conversations. Within reach, there are several fanzines on a wall that can be read on the sofas and chairs while people smoke, drink, or have something to eat. On the left side, there's a mini stage, fully equipped with valve amplifiers, a soundboard, etc. Quite professional, you think. On the other side of the house, in front of the stage, there's a mini wooden bleacher full of cushions, with some people lying down, listening to music on their iPods' headphones, and others reading books, or just resting, chatting, or dating. And behind you, there's a small bar with various stools and tables.

You just can't believe a place like that exists. So organized, everything so clean and beautiful, it doesn't even seem underground! Then you can't contain your curiosity and ask who finances it, how that blessed place came about. And the attendant calmly explains to you that it was created and is maintained by the government itself...

At that moment, you don't believe it and find it strange that a place is so underground and at the same time so organized and clean. It almost loses its charm! Everything so neat... Well, actually, for us, a place like this sounds strange, but for the Swedish people, it's nothing out of this world. Sweden is one of the most advanced countries in the world; Swedes call the government "the Big Brother." Of course, it's not for nothing...

Later, as you get to know the place better, you start to imagine how cool it would be and how much a space like that is needed in Brazil. A high-energy venue, with various music options, space for new talents, chill-out areas, free and uncensored entry, a stage for shows, etc. (There are independent band shows every Thursday). Ah, but it's almost utopian to imagine such a place in Brazil, especially financed by the government... When Brasília was built, for example, the Cultural sector was the only one not completed, and it was forgotten for decades... The only building in the cultural sector built at the time was the National Theater, and only now, after 50 years, the rest like the Museum, the Library, and the Planetarium are being built... In Brazil, culture has always been treated as non-priority, of secondary importance. That's why asking the government to build a Demotheca here sounds almost surreal.

Don't  you feel outraged to know that  a country treats culture with neglect, putting it last among general priorities? It's time for Brazil to start treating culture as the number one priority, following the example of Sweden and other countries. This is not utopia, it can become a reality, we just have to want it and act for it.

Long live Demoteket in Stockholm!

What did you think of the Demotheca concept? Leave your comment below


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EDIT 2024:

Unfortunately, the Demoteket at Kulturhuset no longer exists... With the advent of streaming, the music and media library closed down in 2018 due to budget cuts. The music and media collection from Demoteket was transferred to the city's main library, Stadsbiblioteket.

Stadsbiblioteket now offers access to a wide collection of music and media, including CDs, DVDs, books, and magazines. You can search for and reserve items online or visit the library in person.

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