Our family has been obsessively following the situation of the Gävle Goat (‘Goat’ is ‘Get’ in Swedish, and like all Gs followed by soft vowels like E, is roughly pronounced “Yevle Yet”).
It’s a thing both pitiful and hilarious: a huge straw goat erected every Advent in the major town square, but for many years has been torched, presumably as a witty student jape. Some cities have statues to add traffic cones to as their major drunken student temptation, Gävle has a huge flammable goat.
The history is truly awful, reading like an extended version of Swamp Castle.
- Burnt on New Year’s Eve
- Burnt, only six hours after it was assembled.
- Sabotaged & collapsed
- Hit by a car.
- Kicked to pieces.
- Burnt even before it was erected. A new one was built and fireproofed. It was destroyed and broken into pieces.
- Burnt on Christmas Eve.
- The legs were destroyed.
- Burnt down on 12 December
- Enclosed by a 2 metres high metal fence, guarded by Securitas and soldiers from the Gävle I 14 Infantry Regiment. Burnt down in January.
- Two goats were built, the Southern Merchants’ and the School of Vasa’s. The bigger goat burnt down the night before Christmas Eve.
- A heavily fireproofed goat was built. Burnt down a week before Christmas.
- Again, the goat burnt down before it was assembled. Financial contributions from the public were raised to rebuild a goat that was burnt down in January.
- Burnt down on Christmas Eve.
- The goat was burnt down eight days after it was built. Rebuilt, but burned down on 20 December.
- A Norwegian was arrested for attempting to burn down the goat. Burnt down on the morning of Christmas Day.
- Damaged by fireworks.
- Burnt down on 11 December, even though there was a major blizzard.
- Burnt down only a couple of hours after it was erected.
- Burnt down a couple of days before New Year’s Eve.
- Set on fire on 23 December
- Burnt down on 12 December.
- Burnt 21 December
- Burnt by unknown vandals reportedly dressed as Santa and the gingerbread man, by shooting a flaming arrow at the goat at 21:00 on 3 December.
- On the night of 15 December at 03:00, someone tried to set fire to the goat by dousing the right front leg in petrol.
- On 26 December there was an attempt to burn down the Goat but patriotic passers-by managed to extinguish the fire. The following day the goat finally succumbed to the flames ignited by an unknown assailant at 03:50 CET.
- A person attempted to set the goat on fire the night of 7 December. On the night of 23 December before 04:00 the goat was set on fire and was burned to the frame, even though it had a thick layer of snow on its back. The goat had two online webcams which were put out of service by a DoS attack, instigated by computer hackers just before the burning.
- One of the guards tasked with protecting the goat offered payment to leave his post so that the goat could be stolen via helicopter
- Burnt down in the early morning of 2 December.
- Burnt in the hours before midnight of 12 December
- Burned down.
This year, the town was determined that it should survive. So they moved it to be right next to the taxi rank, put a webcam on it (despite 2009’s experience) and set up a Twitter account to proclaim its ongoing survival, greeting the dawn of each new day of life.
Investigative report: my late night visitors turned out to be own security team on watch patrol while I was asleep. Puh! #Gavlegoat
— Gävlebocken (@Gavlebocken) December 9, 2014
In our house, we’re getting really quite obsessed. Lucy has the webcam open in a constant browser tab and checks many times a day. And we do a daily report at breakfast.
We decided it needed a name, rather than just being “The Gävle Goat”. And I did my usual Eddie Izzard thing and plumped for “Geoff”. Because “Geoff the Gävle Goat” or “Yeff the Yevle Yet” is just funny.
And then this happened:
— Lucy Burns (@pollianicus) December 10, 2014
and then Geoff responded:
— Gävlebocken (@Gavlebocken) December 10, 2014