by: Tim Anderson (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I am well aware that I have a habit of complaining about Sunday in Copenhagen. I know I'm not the only one in Copenhagen to feel this way, though certainly not all would agree with my views.
I'm also aware that sometimes these Sundays in Denmark are not always that bad.
And in saying this, I know those who know me may wonder if I have been struck on the head by a hard object recently. I haven't.
Perhaps the fact that we have experienced a rare and rewarding one-two punch of unseasonably pleasant Sundays in Copenhagen the past two weekends has contributed to these rare feeling of (mild and surely passing) contrition. That, and a recent comment I received this past week in connection to an article I wrote almost two years ago complaining about Sundays in Copenhagen (And thou shalt not shop on Sunday...) This article, I would suggest, basically holds true two years later - and the theme I have returned to more than once since then.
Here's the comment in question to which I'm referring:
"I spent a college semester in Copenhagen in the mid 80's and stayed with a host family. In the evenings after dinner, we'd all sit around in the living room; the mom doing cross-stitching, the dad watching TV, the teenage kids perhaps reading. On Sundays usually there'd be friends visiting or we'd bake or something. All this I remember very fondly. However, I totally understand that for a younger working person or a couple, it can be very frustrating to not be able to go out and get your shopping or chores done."
It's a fair comment, one describing a scene that surely could have occurred almost anywhere, not only Copenhagen.
Reading this comment today, I had to laugh a bit, since at this moment (Sunday) the sweet scent of a cake baking in the oven is wafting from our kitchen, while just last night - in a scene that would likely have left the writer of the above comment with a warm fuzzy feeling - we were sitting at Elisabeth's sister's place (in the countryside) after her two little nieces had gone to bed, watching the Danish classic television series Matador.
Matador portrays life in Denmark from 1929-1946. It was was originally created and broadcast over 24 episodes from 1978 to 1982 - and has been re-broadcast each week over the past months.
While some might scoff at the fairly one-dimensional view of Danish society Matador portrays (looking from the 'top' of society down, you could say), personally I would say it's a moot point, since this was the whole point of the series. And as a whole, the Matador series is a showcase of brilliant writing (not to mention filming and acting) that stands the test of time. So it's quite fun to watch. And so it remains Denmark's most popular television series ever, apparently.
These two, Matador and this comment that I quoted above, seem to me to fit nicely together. Both paint a picture portraying a supposed ideal of Danish society. Portraits that resonate since, on occasion, they accurately match the sorts of images that tend to get stirred up when people look back fondly upon times past spent with their families or (in the case of Matador) times as they imagine them once to have been.
So, as I started by saying, the past two Sundays haven't been all that bad. A sunny and fresh Sunday last weekend, and an even sunnier and almost warm one this week. I could almost forget I was in Denmark.
Perhaps the most amusing part of Sunday of one week ago was the fact the events of our day on that day (and over the entire weekend for that matter) completely contrasted the weekend events in Copenhagen being covered on the news (these being the 'riots' and such, in connection with the closing of Ungdomshuset - read more about the news coverage of what went on here, the peaceful demonstrations and what it was all about here, a nice eye-witness commentary on the 'riots' here, and or watch an amusing video of a couple of the demonstrators getting arrested here). No rioting for us - our Sunday was a peaceful spent wandering around the waterfront areas of the city, and such.
More amusing still, going back a full two weeks, it was the weather that defined the news stories during that week (lots and lots of snow), yet a week later with the supposedly action packed Ungdomshuset events in full swing and receiving full news coverage, it was actually the weather (rather than the events around the city being covered by the news) that defined our weekend.
Then today, another sunny Sunday, we were up early in the morning (two little nieces, you see) and eating a brunch basically worthy of the title 'countryside brunch', after which we ran around in the mud of the back garden of Elisabeth’s sister's place for a while (the nieces controlling the agenda again). All of which was naturally an amusing sunny diversion for us as Copenhagen apartment dwellers.
the muddy part of Sunday (in the Danish countryside)...
However - and best of all - by the end of the day we were back in the heart of Copenhagen in our Istedgade apartment. A quiet Copenhagen Sunday evening ahead of us - but one that would feature no television, no knitting and not even a newspaper to read (we've only got the Internet, naturally...).
So have times changed over the past decades in Denmark? Maybe just a little bit.
by: Tim Anderson (email@example.com)