Thirtyfourth Event
Oslo, November 16th 2007

Attending members: Brian Jensen, Björn Harnby, Karl-Johan Lien, Ulf Bennetter, Magnus Eriksson, Ulrik Lundin, Patrik Axelsson, Per-Åke Sjögren, Hans-Erik Hansson, Lahrs Bergström
Guest: Knut Westad, Jo H. Masdalen, Kjell Steen, Sissel Hoffeng, Hilde Unosen, Ivan Pedersen.

Oslo is a beautiful city.
I am on my way there to meet up with other members of the Scandinavian Chapter of the Lee Falk Memorial Bengali Explorers Club. We are invited by Kjell Steen of Egmont, Norway.

It is four and a half years since our last meeting in Norway and I have been corresponding with Kjell Steen for nearly a year to try to arrange a new meeting.

We have been aiming for a Saturday, but the people of Egmont in Norway are unwilling to set off a Saturday so the meeting takes place on Friday the 16th November.

This is not an ordinary meeting. We are invited as Kjell Steen’s or Egmont’s guests to help to promote The Phantom Comic in Norway, possibly with reference to the newly elected president in Bangalla. We are to meet Norwegian press and listen to a lecture.

There are 9 of us members from Sweden and 1 member from Norway. I had thought that a meeting I Oslo would have drawn more than 1 Norwegian member!!.

The meeting at Egmont starts at 14.00 hours to allow the Swedish guests to leave Gothenburg, Stockholm, Örebro, Karlstad, Kristinehamn the same morning. For all of us from Sweden – except myself – this is a day trip, and they will be returning home at various times the same evening.

We are met by Kjell Steen, “The boss” himself, Hege Höiby, editor of The Phantom Chronicles and previous editor of the Phantom Comic and Jo Masdalen, present editor of the Phantom Comic.

There is a excellent spread of delicious sandwiches and sodas (albeit no milk) and as we are all a little bit hungry, the sandwiches disappear quickly.

We then move to the building across the street to a large meeting room, where we are joined by reporter Sissel Hoffeng and photographer Hilde Unosen.

We take turns to introduce ourselves and then Kjell Steen starts his lecture which is in two parts; “The Phantom comes to Scandinavia” and “The Phantom in USA”. He talks about The Phantom’s, Diana’s and Devil’s various names in different countries and a lot of other matters and draws some interesting conclusions.

Kjell Steen comes from Stavanger on the west coast of Norway. The Stavanger dialect is rather difficult to understand – even for me who prides myself of speaking fluent Norwegian.

It is a very long lecture.

After the lecture we take time for the photographer to take some pictures, Jo Masdalen dresses up as the Phantom and a lot of photos are taken. She arranges Kjell, “The Phantom” and others in different positions to get the best possible photos.
She seems to be a competent photographer. She is very pretty.

We are given a break after this. Coffee and “Singh” cakes are served, the reporter asks a lot of questions which Kjell Steen and the Swedish members do their best to answer.

Sometime during the lecture, Norwegian artist Knut Westad arrives. After a few questions from the reporter he is silent the rest of the time.

Suddenly it is 18.00 o’clock and the meeting breaks up. We are given a typed copy of Kjell Steen’s lecture and we leave Egmont and the “meeting” with mixed feelings.

Nothing is planned for later. No pub meeting! No dinner together! It is a small anti climax.

I am slightly disappointed as I leave.

I think
- the lecture should have been much shorter
- we should have been given a walk around the offices
- we should have had a possibility to “interview” Jo Masdalen
- we could have been told a little about plans for “the Phantom” in Norway
- we should have had time to talk to Knut Westad

There is more in my thoughts but let this suffice.

Perhaps next time in Oslo we will have our after-meeting-dinner in a nearby restaurant, which serves Norwegian home made cooking and has 188 different kinds of beer.

If there is a next time in Oslo?

Ulf Bennetter - 13