Thursday, 27 March 2008

Great Minds (Linnea Niklasson)

Who is Linnea Niklasson? Those of you asking this - and you call yourself Ringo fans! - she is simply a beautiful, intelligent young Swedish girl, who is the sole proprieter of what may be one of the most incredible websites devoted to Ringo on this side of the Web. You may know this site as

An astounding woman by any standard, she has maintained a solid passion for the Ringo since the sites inception, along with an immense level of integrity as evidenced by the .se part of her address which reveals her staunch national pride. This is in direct and sad contrast to the situation at Ringo Jihen, a website on its last legs. How can a website with no soul function? This is the question Linnea asks, and answers resoundingly with a perfectly Swedish-accented "No". In this way she is violently attacking Claudia of Ringo Jihen for her lack of commitment.

Her love for Ringo comes through in full force here, you can feel the giddiness, the tears, the elation, the hardships, the truth... as you read her honest-to-god account. So without further ado, here is Linnea herself.

1) You have amassed an unbelievable collection of ringo shots, which all seem to capture the various sides and personalities of this goddess. Do you have a favourite shot, or feel that ringo is someone who's essence cannot be fully captured in a meagre photo? but can only barely be approximated by thousands upon thousands of them?

- Well, while I wouldn't put it in as big words as you do, I think it is difficult to pick a favorite. I think I prefer the less "staged" photos in general, because they show the person behind the artist - kind of like the backstage videos on her DVDs do.

2) Did you have a predefined goal when you created the site? Did you wish to spread the influence of Ringo, or merely use the site as a front for the furthering and blossoming of your own personal passions and fervours towards her?

- When I first created the site back in 2004, there was no really massive, active website. I wanted a place where you could find all her lyrics compiled together, and after unfruitful searching I decided to make one myself. I created the website in Swedish to make it stand out a little, and also, to see how many Swedish Ringo fans there were - and it seems there are quite a few! Yet, when I started working with Jonny, we decided to focus mostly on English (although the site still is available partially in Swedish) since we felt that as the site grew larger, more people would want to be able to use it.

3) Do you feel that Ringo's amorous effect on your senses has driven you to design the site with a red background in mind? After all, red is the colour of love.

- Hahaha no, not at all. I made the layout in December, and I felt red was more christmas-y than the previous layout color, which I think was gray or blue. If you've known SRSE for a while you should know that.

4) As a fellow female, have you ever felt any sexual attraction to Ringo? Does she tap into a particular lesbian psyche of average girls? Because I feel that Honnou, among other aspects of Ringo's career that incorporate lesbian imagery, stands for an upturning of sexual morale and a desire to find truth in the senses. Do you agree with this and / or the previous questions?

- The first question is pretty personal - I'd like to leave that blank. Ringo herself said that she made the 'Honnou' PV to show that women could have sexual fantasies, just like men could. I'm not sure I think there are that many other aspects of Ringo's career that incorporate lesbian imagery? I do think, to go a bit off-topic, that she stretches the limits for a woman artist in Japan by doing a number of things, but in the end she just wants to make music. She's such a private person, I don't want to speculate about this, but after reading interviews with her, my opinion is that she wants us as fans to see behind the PR and just listen to the music.

5) There is a very artistic effect to the layout, is this a conscious decision to express ringo through visuals? For example, on the lyrics page, all song titles are written in full lowercase, foregoing punctuation. This reminded me of the low-key, diminutive side of Ringo's personality that we see at times. But the background remained a shade of flaring, sex-hungry red. Were you trying to emphasise the contrasts and ambiguities in Ringo's work with this?

- Well, like I said, the red background is because I made the latest layout at Christmas. I do think of how the site looks, of course, but my main goal with the layout is that it should be easy and logic to navigate through it and find what you like.

6) I see you have translated various words of Ringo, do you have a particular favourite line which touches you? Or do you find it impossible to sum up Ringo in singularities, because she's just too profound for that? I feel this way all the time. Who do I think I am, trying to SUM UP RINGO? Have you ever found a line that does this?

- I am not nearly fluent enough in Japanese to translate Ringo's lyrics - I always use frecklegirl's translations. I have a couple of lines from her songs that touch me every single time I listen to them, some for obvious reasons & some for more personal ones. I think the lyrics to "Odaiji ni" are amazing, I can't pick a favorite line from it... I also love when she plays on words, changing kanji/kana to show something hidden, or just something to make you laugh out loud. It may be a clichée, but I don't think I could sum up ANYONE in just a word or a line. Trying to think up a favorite...

" The gauze that wraps around my skin is a white lie, a sweet trap
If I betray myself I'd be taking the easy way out.
I'm all grown up now, so permit me to sing a little and laugh a little
at least until I can breathe." (Odaiji ni)

7) We see links to various other ringo dedicated sites, do you feel yours surpasses them to a great degree? I feel it does.

- Well, thank you :) I really don't know how to answer that question without either sounding like an imbecil or a stuck-up bitch, so I'd rather not. But thank you.

8) Are any of the photos in the gallery taken by yourself? Have you ever met Ringo? And if so, is there any way you can put me through to her somehow. I would love to interview her, or even just get to talk to her.

- No, and no, unfortunately.

9) Have you ever dreamt of Ringo?

- Probably... I dream of a lot of things. Nothing worth mentioning here though.

10) What do you think about the undeniable ゲルニカ influence? What particular aspects of Ringo's creative efforts do you think it most influenced?

- I assume you're talking about the Japanese band and not the Picasso painting: honestly, I've never heard them nor have I ever heard them mentioned in an interview with or a discussion about Ringo, so I can't really say anything about that. But I'd love to hear what you have to say.

11) An invitation from Ringo to a love hotel, wine and strawberries, would you accept? I certainly would.

- I'd never turn down a chance to meet Ringo.

12) What does Ringo mean to you?

- Wow, the shortest question is the hardest.
I first heard Ringo's when I was fourteen years old, and I don't think I would be the same person without her, seriously. Through her music I've found sooo many other artists that I listen to every day - in so many genres. Through her fearlessness I have found a way to not care as much about what people think. She made me want to learn Japanese. I've cried listening to 'Gips', I've danced to 'Yokushitsu', I've played 'Koufukuron' on the guitar until my fingers ache. Ringo has been a part of my life for so long I can't separate from her in any way. To me, Ringo means... I can't end the sentence without feeling I'm missing something. Let's just say I owe her a lot.

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