I have been busy! Hence my long silence on this blog. But as recent additions to our flickr account show the last week has been full of good stuff.
Wednesday night Marie and I tempted the deluge and drove to the museum of modern art, Louisiana, North of Copenhagen to see works by the Queen of Staged Photos, Cindy Sherman. And what a great time we had! The exhibition was very large and included photos and videos from all of Sherman’s carrier. Most of them with a humorous edge, some of them disgusting and some of them combining those two strains. Besides from her recent clown portraits (sju jætter?) I think this exhibition showed what an extremely skilled artist Cindy Sherman is. Not only are her photographs technically amazing they also capture the spirit of an age and of the person (herself in disguise) she portrays. Marie and I stopped by every piece and talked and talked about them. Nothing was of little importance or dull. I think she is fantastic.
As a curator to be I think the exhibition was very serene and nice and with a good selection of works. Some of the wall colours were odd but when it comes to hanging I think they did a good job. Look at this wall for example where Sherman’s Old Master photos have been arranged in a traditional hanging a’la Parisian Salon. Just the right thing to do if you ask me.
I am completely taken by these. Sort of an acting out of a make-a-match memory game for art historians.
On Thursday I went with my family to Sweden to do some more painting in the vicarage my parents bought. We spent a whole four days there working hard. Here are some pictures.
This is the dining room with me and my sister painting with grey (and me trying to make a straight line). Ever since entering a grey room in some friends’ house I have wished for some room of my own in grey. I think it is enchanting and with old furniture it just makes perfect sense.
After the dining room we painted the neighbouring living room. Yellow. A very difficult colour but beautiful together with grey and with the big white porcelain stove in the corner it looks great. Here again my sister and I painting.
Of course we weren’t alone – far from it. My brother, dad, uncle and brother-in-law made a great effort too as did my aunt and mom. This is my brother with his protective glasses. The staining annoyed him a good deal and when this wonderful pair turned up he just has to use them.
When not painting we went on trips in the wonderful area, Österlen which is the Easternmost part of Scania (Skåne to the locals). They live on apples in this part of the country so at this time of year Österlen is one big blooming apple garden.
Actually scenes from the Cherry Valley (apples…cherries…) in the adaptation of Astrid Lindgren’s The Brothers Lionheart were shot here and when driving through the scenery it is breathtaking.
The apples are used for cider and apple juice…and cakes.
Besides from apple trees there are fields, woods and steep hills. And a waterfall just five minutes from where we are.
We left Sweden on Sunday and on Monday it was my birthday. And look at all the great stuff I got from my wonderful family:
I have to admit I am ridiculously fond of presents and this year was perfect. I got what I wished for and I got what I had wished for but had forgotten again. Besides I had some more cake and a wonderful dinner with same wonderful family which just made the day perfect.
What a week!
A friend sent me this wonderful picture. I have not much to add, but I’ll post it to celebrate a wonderful spring Wednesday and it’s the Liberation Day of Italy (1945) and the day of The Carnation Revolution in Portugal (1974) – as the same friend reminded me in a letter I received today (grazie!).
I think Bette Davis looks victorious and liberated (or ready to liberate herself if necessary) in this picture. Besides: someone covered her eye with a carnation.
Last week I passed a couple of days in Berlin with my sister. The afternoon before our evening flight home we met this lady:
In that bowl she had some steaming hot chocolate and she asked us to come with her. And as all the children of Hamelin followed the Pied Piper we followed her.
She led us to Fassbender & Rausch, the most wonderful chocolate house. They have a Pralinentheke (OMG!)where I bought a marzipan potato and some delicious truffles.
But the lady kept calling and she guided us to an elevator which took us one flight up to the Schokoladencafé. She seated us and served a cup of the most wonderful hot chocolate I have ever tasted together with this red currant dream:
Here you see me paying homage to the cake while I leave the chocolate for a short moment:
Not only we had been led there. All sorts of people were there, including children served by child waiters who looked to content their every chocolate desire:
I think perhaps this could be a slightly grown Stewie who teaches a child colleague how to drink.
Fassbender & Rausch have my warmest recommendations. Do not neglect it the next time you visit Berlin. And you know what? They had other cakes than the pink one. Which means I will have to go there again!
Marie and I were at an Andreas Scholl concert today. A review will follow, but the big surprise of the day was our realisation that Andreas Scholl has multiple voice talents. Not only is he a marvellous countertenor and an ok barytone – he is also behind the voices of Stewie and Peter Griffin (e.a.) of Family Guy. He masters the American accent to perfection – and the British accent of Stewie. Don’t get confused about the woman, just press play.
Just kidding of course. But the resemblance between Seth Macfarlane, creator of Family Guy and Andreas Scholl is in some instances striking. Just a reminder:
And while we’re at it, I have to post this clip from Family Guy. I love Stewie.
We’re rude to the…the other people. 😀
To see more of Stewie drunk go here.
I love working at the University Radio, and not just because the work is rewarding. What makes it so great is just as well the incredible editorial staff that are my co-workers, and the good times we spend together. Because they are delightful people and their presence, being students of Danish Literature or Comparative Literature like me, allows for such wonderfully nerdy and humourous conversations and exchanges, the likes of which I have yet to find anywhere.
Someone really ought to overhear these conversations and post them online, overheardinnewyork-style, but since most of our hanging-out takes place at our regular pub, and since our regular pub is this very classy place, the majority of our conversation is lost upon drunkenly deaf ears, amidst loud jazz music, thick cigar smoke, and shout-outs at bartenders to bring down more beer.
Therefore, I have taken it upon my shoulders to write down and share with you a couple of my favourite exchanges, all derived from rendez-vous with my fellow editorial staff-members. Enjoy! I have resisted to share the names of my co-workers’ name out of respect for their privacy.
Me: Well, my surname is rather uncommon, and it wouldn’t go well with another uncommon surname, I think.
Editorial Staff Guy #1: Right. So you’d better find yourself a husband with a really common surname then, huh? Man, that would be a cool criteria for choosing a life-parther…
Me: Yeah. Like romantic dada-ism.
Editorial Staff Guy #1: Totally.
Me: Where does your girlfriend live?
Editorial Staff Guy #2: Oh, she lives near Svanemøllen, you know that cosy Musician’s Quarter? She lives right next to that quarter. Where it’s really un-cosy.
Me: Yeah. Where everyone is always miserable. And no one is allowed to play any music there.
Editorial Staff Guy #2: Right! What they do there, is that they count things. It’s the Counting Quarter. Like: “…780, 781, 782” “What are you counting?” “…Dammit!!! …1, 2, 3, 4…”
Me: …and there she finds Bluebeard’s ex-wives hanging, all dead, and there’s blood all over the floor.
Editorial Staff Girl: God, that is so creepy! But what were there in the other six rooms then?
Me: I don’t know, actually.
Editorial Staff Girl: I bet there was cake in one of them. A whole room. With nothing but cake.
Editorial Staff Girl: And then there was one with nothing but faux velvet.
Me: Ugh! *winces*
Editorial Staff Girl: Yes. That was when she should have known not to go any further.
And now, because I really don’t care as much about the privacy of my co-workers as I let on, here’s the most recent picture of the editorial staff, (that’s me with the fringe in the front row, looking selfconscious and oddly greasy-skinned). We’ve got that cosy, messy, camp-school look to us, I think, which seems very appropriate somehow.
Last week I joined in a debate at our very dear reader Silke’s blog, about exported German words, and I mentioned the word “doppelgänger” which is used in the English language, as an example of such a word.
Incidentally, I came across the picture of a woman yesterday who appears to be exactly that, my doppelgänger! And to makes things even stranger, she’s German. At least I think she is – her picture is found among the pictures from last month’s Bohéme party at Berlin nightclub Oxymoron, which my friend Natascha attended.
Now, I’m trying to remain calm about this, but to be honest I find it to be more than a little freaky. This brown-haired, decadently smoking young woman is practically a dead ringer for me! Here she is again, seen from a different angle, but not looking any less like me:
Frea.ky. I even had that haircut once. And I’ve got a hat that’s very much like the one she’s wearing, as seen here (as to why I’m pushing a litter bin underneath a 19th-century-style frieze… we’ll get back to that some other time. Long story).
Anyway, since I believe very firmly in the power of the internet, I’d like hereby to put a request out there: Who is this woman who looks so much like me? Are you her? If you are, leave a comment! 😀 I’d love to say hi and find out if you share my crush on Joaquin Phoenix, my love of opera, and my complete and utter lack of skills when it comes to anything practical. Or maybe just to exchange solemn oaths with you never to let each other get dragged into court for each other’s misdemeanours or to take over each other’s personal lives, soap-opera style.
As earlier mentioned my parents bought an old vicarage in Southern Sweden from whence I have returned after having spent some days of my Easter vacation painting the kitchen, eating Swedish meatballs and trying not to laugh too hard at the local dialect (since they were very nice people). The kitchen was very 70s in all its orange-brownness but is after our intervention very light and bright and nice.
The vicarage belonged to my father’s aunt and uncle. Auntie lies buried in the cemetery just up the hill and uncle lives in Gothenburg and wanted to sell this much too big summer house. None of them were ever vicars but Sweden seems to have too many churches and vicarages to fill them all with vicars, so they were able to buy this house 18 years ago. And now my parents have it.
It’s a wonderful and very large house still filled with aunt and uncle’s stuff. And with dead mice (fortunately dead…). Some of them long, long gone like this one my dad found in a cupboard when cleaning the kitchen:
Maggots seem to like everything but bone and excrement… at least that was all they left.
But still – a beautiful place, not least because of the amazing scenery just outside the window. The vicarage is situated in the Eastern part of the province Skåne (Scania) where the landscape is quite rugged and hilly with a mix of forest and pasture and known for its apple groves. It is not very populated and the village of Andrarum where we are consists in something like five houses plus the church. Just down the road is the beautiful manor house Christinehof.
This is the church seen from our backyard.
Every day a flock of sheep came jumping round the hill to graze in front of the house. Very Easter-like with a lot of lambs. They made quite some noise and we had a lot of fun screaming “maaah” back at them while painting. Simple pleasures in the countryside that comes from not having internet access 😉
Anna and I took the following staged photo during a stroll through an otherwise beautiful and Spring-like Copenhagen:
As I’m hoping the above photo will show, a clown-sighting is enough to induce in me a Norwegian-fin-de-siecle-ish kind of existential anxiety, and I will never understand how it might be possible to react differently. Who was it that first decided that a grotesque-ified version of a human (insane make-up, over-sized mouth, nose, and hair) displaying a generally destructive behaviour (falling on his own ass, or making fellow-clowns fall on theirs, extensive pie-abuse) would be funny? I don’t even want to know.
Incidentally, when Anna and I came across this disturbing billboard (which displays a particularly creepy clown, since it mixes elements of the perfectly normal – black suit, white shirt, tie – with the grotesque and clown-like, thus indicating that there is a clown hidden in all of us! *shudder*), I had just been sharing with Anna a clown-related urban legend. I am currently working on a feature for the literature radio programme that I work for, about urban legends as modern folklore, and I plan to cite this particular story in the feature, because I think it is a fine example of the brilliantly simple, yet effectful narrative structure that characterises most urban legends. And then, as a bonus, it serves to provoke in its recipient a certain caution when it comes to clowns, which is definitely a good thing. So I thought I would post the story here on the blog too:
A couple with kids were going out for a night on town, and they were trying out a new babysitter, a young girl. At some point during the evening, they called the babysitter to check if everything was going ok. Sure, said the babysitter, the children were in bed and sound asleep. The babysitter was, however, wondering, if it would be ok for her to watch cable TV in the parents’ bedroom? The living room TV didn’t have cable – the parents didn’t want their children to watch all sorts of garbage – and there was a particular programme that the babysitter wanted to see.
Of course she could watch TV in their bedroom, the parents said. The girl thanked them, but she did have one more request: Would it be ok if she pulled a blanket or a sheet or something over the clown statue that they had in their bedroom? It was kind of creeping her out, she felt like it was staring at her.
“Take the children and go to the neighbours immediately”, said the parents, “We’ll call the police. We don’t have a clown statue.”
Denmark is witnessing a dramatic struggle between winter and spring these days. Stormy weather, abrupt changes from sun to hard rain. But no doubt about it – spring is here.
And my house is full of flowers. Pie!