There's a Swedish lifestyle brand that specializes in exporting Scandinavian wares around the world. 

No, not that one. With the horse meatballs and the ball pit and flatpack furniture and more umlauts in its catalog than a Heavy Metal CD collection.

One which has at its spokesperson on YouTube a deep-voiced gent with long hair and a beard, and whose videos feature men with sinewy forearms in rural snow-and-frost covered buildings forging things by pounding pieces of heated metal into the kind of useful items that at one point were relegated to chintzy antique stores and the walls of a Cracker Barrel. While instruments that were considered too old and obscure for Dead Can Dance drone out a kversfroddel or whatever they call one of those Icelandic dirges that heavily inspire bands like Sigur Ros

For thirty bucks you can get a place setting made from three iron bars pounded and forged into the shape of a knife, fork and spoon, a wooden plate and a (well cleaned, they advertise) horn drinking vessel. You can also buy a heavily inscribed genuine hand-forged "The Vikings used one of these as a secondary weapon to really fuck people up" axe, seventy five different kinds of Mjolnir pendants and rustic pre-modern Scandinavian garb that wouldn't look out of place at a Ren Faire. Of course, you need to have a giant epic beard so they also sell Viking beard salve, bone combs with which to comb and preen said beard and your mid-back length hair. They also sell beads with which to braid into your beard - but cool stuff like skulls and Leif Erikson burial site artifacts.

You can also buy a runestone painted by a certified rune expert. None of this lower-middle-class blue collar girl who collects flea market dragon figurines drawing Elvish scrawl in the margins of her Hot Topic notebook. Nope. These are etched onto the side of a genuine stone. And bought from people who seem to only have the one computer, because they spend the rest of their time wishing they lived at a time when pillaging was a pastime and lifting manhood stones and practicing with their swords.

They attracted my attention by putting out a Facebook video in the dead of Swedish winter and unblinkingly lecturing on the troo Skandinavian nature of Christmas, complete with pagan heathen Asatru stuff. I have to admit, they seem a cool bunch, and well researched. So much so that they provided props for the Vikings miniseries, and do sell replicas of the characters' horns and axes which they themselves made.  And yes, I will put in an order. No, the Anglo Saxons didn't do Viking stuff and I don't have a drop of Swedish or Norwegian blood anywhere in my veins, but their genuine articles designed for simpler ways seem well made and a nice alternative to the machine-pressed rune covered garbage sold to would-be re-enactors. I have no need for an axe nor do I have a ZZ Top beard, nor do I need leather bracers, but some of their stuff is tasteful and timeless.

They don't just have retro clothing, but modern hoodies that say things like HEATHEN, SHIELDMAIDEN and so forth that you can wear to your next Blot or strongman meet. 

The thing that gets me though, and I'm not putting down the company in question - is that they also appear to be genuinely, Foxfire-like trying to revive and maintain a culture whose other adherents are slightly..... questionable. I applaud these guys for being cool people and true to their roots, but recognize they have to fight against the Tolkein crowd as well as the scary, Norwegian-church burning former Satanists who decided that even inverse Christianity involved respecting a Jew and therefore wanted to retreat into a killing-machine berserker all-white all the time white supremacist heathen fantasy. Unfortunately, the Nazi asshole crowd decided to latch on to the whole pre-Christian blondest of the blonde cultures and appropriate some of their look and religious imagery. A prominent white power skinhead vocalist referred to as being "in Valhalla" for "dying while fighitng" for getting shot starting a fight with some visible minorities, that kind of thing.

Which makes me all the gladder that these guys exist. As the world gets more and more commodified, homogenized and appropriated simpler ways and cultural revivals can and should be encouraged. They don't just beak off random words about Thor and blonde shieldmaidens and Valhalla - they're artisans and researchers and speak rather articulately about who and what they are. And never discount what a culture can come up with. An Amish hat works very well against the sun, and I'm sure their beard care stuff is second to none. 

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