As the sun set over cloudy Copenhagen...

Though I'm certainly not a photographer (and I certainly don't have a expensive camera), every now and then I get lucky and manage to take a shot or two that captures a moment in a way that almost matches how it was. Like this one during last nights distinctly colourful sunset, as the clouds rolled in and the sky briefly turned a distinct deep blue as darkness fell over Copenhagen.

The Copenhagen Distortion Festival 2007 countdown...

no shortage of street level promotion around town...

It's become something of an annual institution in Copenhagen, The Distortion Festival. A 5-day extravaganza of fantastic underground electronic music. And it all starts tomorrow evening.

It's also a classy demonstration (clothed in wonderfully trashy garmets) of just how to keep what has now (after 9 years) become a gigantic, hyped and much-talked about annual festival, as uncommercialised and underground as possible.

The formula remains pretty simple. While the promotional efforts are fairly intense, the line-up can never be accused of being even the slightest bit mainstream. During the festival each year, no venue gets used more then once, and each night, the events of that evening are concentrated into a different area of Copenhagen.

I've had some excellent Distortion evenings evenings over the years - one of the best was three years ago at Halvandet, which I mention as this year, this also happens to be the venue for Distortion's big Saturday night party. That's promising.

And I'm looking forward to wandering around Nørrebro on Thursday night to check out the local Distortion events of the evening - just a short stroll from my flat. I'm sure they'll be some good stuff...

Check out for more info.

Another Karnival weekend in Copenhagen passes

'These Danes don't really know how to dance to this, do they?'
'No, but they are smiling and cheering...'

This past weekend, as each year on this final weekend of May, come rain or shine the Copenhagen Karnival happens at Faelledparken in Østerbro.

Now let's be straight about things - Copenhagen ain't, has never been, and will never be, Rio De Janeiro. Because Denmark just ain't Brazil. Maybe that's why they spell carnival with a 'K' in Copenhagen. But for a brief 48 hours, here in Copenhagen, a bunch of people try really hard to simulate something akin to the carnival atmosphere from some latin country. Which is no easy feat. So obviously the result, well okay, it doesn't quite compare, but given the latitude and longitude coordinates of Denmark, well, it's not such a bad attempt.

maybe to cold for shorts and t-shirts, but still fun to see for a short while...

I've been to quite a number of carnival's Karnival's over the years in Copenhagen. They don't really change that much from year to year, but they are fun to wander around for a while. Because it's one of the rare moments when you will find vast numbers of people of diverse nationalities coming out and having fun. It creates an excellent spirit. These are people whom, frankly, you rarely see (at least in such numbers) on the streets of Copenhagen (which is really a shame). In fact, I am amazed each year during the Karnival to discover that Copenhagen actually has such a volume of diverse nationalities.

As for what actually happens at the Karnival - the entertainment - well, there's always a bunch of Latin American and African inspired dancing, drumming, singing and so forth performed by a bunch of people who, by in large, have no direct descendants from any of these areas of the world.

one, two, three, four, bang, bang, bang...come on white boys!!

There's also all the typical low-tech, mobile entertainment you would expect to find - nearly unwinnable games with cheap prizes that in themselves barely justify the cost of playing. Bumper cars, spinning rides and so forth. And lot's of simple and not terribly heathly, but rather tasty food. Especially if you happen to have had a big night of drinking the night previous...

'And would you like them with ice cream and sugar?'
'But of course!!'

And dancing. It's pretty much the only event in Copenhagen, and perhaps Denmark, where you will see families and kids just dancing for the sake of dancing around in public, rather uninhibited.

'Let's dance!'

'hello there!'

It's a lot of sights and sounds that one just doesn't come across during day to day life here in the city. Except for this one weekend each year. Which is the main reason why most years I normally try drop by for an hour or two when it is happening, just as I did this year.

Modest Mouse is coming...

Now that I've got my own tickets safely in hand before the show sells out (and I highly suspect it will), I think it's a good time to mention that Modest Mouse is playing at Vega in Copenhagen June 13. These guys are definitely well worth seeing. It's kind of a shame they didn't wait a couple weeks and just play at the Roskilde Festival instead, but no matter, I'll cough up the dough to go see them anyway.

Check out their myspace page for some songs from their current album
We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank.

And here's the funky little video for 'Float On', from their previous album. It's a song I really love, though I think I'd have to single out 'Black Cadillacs' as my favourite on that album. Their newest albums seems to be standing the test of time fairly well, as well...

The art of protesting (for the sake of protesting)

by: Tim Anderson (

'You destroyed our party-house quite some time ago and we, well, protest that it wasn't really a nice thing that you did'

Wandering home yesterday evening, I came across this week's Ungdomshuset protest. They happen every Thursday, so it's not that novel. Still, it was mildly amusing to watch for a short while.

'now class, after today's lesson on how to stage an effective demonstration, for homework I'd like you to go give it a try...'

I have mixed views on these protests. On one hand, I really like the spirit of the ongoing demonstrations in the name of the now demolished Ungdomshuset ('Youth House') in Copenhagen . I like that there is a group of young people still standing up and making noise about what happened - not necessarily because I think the government was entirely without rights to do what they did - there was a justification for kicking the inhabitants out of the building and allowing the new owners who had bought the place some time back to demolish the place.

However I also think it was a boneheaded move on the government's part - one that pretty much anybody knew would create a backlash resulting in more reoccurring trouble than it was worth.

Because Ungdomshuset was an outlet and a symbol. And it still is. It's not like most regularly frequented the place. In choosing to target a symbol, the government was asking for a backlash. It's not like your average 14 to 16 year old (the average age of the protesters, these days) typically has more pressing matters to attend to on any given Thursday evening. Rather, the demonstrations are cheap entertainment for them and a chance to hang out with their friends.

if you missed it this week, feel free to join next Thursday...

I especially love the 'Jagtvej' stickers, designed to look like street signs, that have been stuck on countless street signs all around Copenhagen ('Jagtvej being the street where Ungdomshuset was located on). But then I've always had a soft spot for clever street art, cultural spamming, ad hacking and so forth.

'it's easy to get to our place - just go down Jagtvej until you get to Jagtvej, turn left, then take your next left on Jagtvej, continue 100m to Jagtvej, then take another left when you come to Jagtvej...'

I also find it amusing that the police take these protests so seriously - it really encourages the dissenters to keep staging them - but then again, just like the young protesters, it's not like the police in Copenhagen have that much else to do that is more pressing, most of the time. At least the police don't wander around the entire time with their riot helmets on - they just keep them close by at their side.

On the other hand, one must also acknowledge that it's really just protest for the sake of protest. There is nothing the government will ever realistically do that would or could satisfy the supposed demands of those protesting. Personally, I hope the protesters eventually just find another venue - persumably a somewhat derelict place - to call their own and start staging events there. Just as they did at the old Ungdomshuset.

Anyway, perhaps my favourite moment, in watching today's protest, was watching a handful of protesters following around a few rather obvious plain-clothes policemen (obvious, since they were wearing very visible ear-pieces) with a big sign that said 'civil betjent ('civilian officer'). After a while, the police couldn't resist grabbing the sign, breaking it in two, and slapping one of the guys holding it with a fine. Surely an overreaction on their part, but like said, they're also pretty bored most of the time.

The Ungdomshuset protests will eventually taper off and stop, but not for some time yet.

'l'm going to give this plain clothes officer a hard time'

'And for giving us a hard time, we'll give you a fine! How do you like that?'...

Pirates in Copenhagen...

Normally a little late when it comes to international film releases, Pirates of the Caribbean - At World's End opened yesterday in Denmark, for once in line with it's release elsewhere around the world. All to often there are long delays from when major international films are first released in the U.S., Canada, and the UK, before they finally make it to Denmark (almost as if the major film companies are tacitly endorsing illegal downloading in Denmark...).

Anyway, we went this evening - I don't need to say much about the film, you know basically what to expect if you've seen the first two - and who hasn't? Because let's face it - if you are one of those dry types who just couldn't find a way to get a kick out of Johnny Depp's portrayal of Captain Jack Sparrow in the previous two installments (even if, like me, you're not normally particularly keen on Hollywood movies) well mate, no point going to see this one either. Savvy? For the record,
At World's End was excellent in all the ways one would expect such a movie to be excellent - though it is kind of a shame it was left so wide open for a fourth chapter.

Arriving at Imperial Cinema to watch the movie (far and away the best cinema to see such Hollywood films in Copenhagen) one thing did catch me by surprise: I had no idea that there was a whole 'pirate' cult thing emerging in the wake of
Pirates of the Caribbean. Seriously, there were quite a number of 'pirates' in the audience at Imperial. Many complete with plastic swords. Is it just Denmark?

If I had a better mobile phone, the pictures I tried to take of a few of them might have actually been worth posting. Instead, you just have to take my word for it - the 'pirates' really were out last night in, well, all the force they could muster.

The politics of headscarves in Denmark...and an appeal to Kate Moss to help out

by: Tim Anderson (

basketball playing boys and girls at lunchtime - near a private muslim school in Nørrebro in Copenhagen...

Muslim headscarves have become a rather hot subject of late around Denmark.

Recently, there was the case of Enhedslisten parliamentary candidate who suggested she would wear her headscarf in parliament if she was elected an MP.

It's not only Denmark. Headscarves have become quite a political issue around Europe. In France, they're banned in public schools.

Yet the idea of passing such laws, in Denmark and elsewhere, just don't quite seem right. It smacks of intolerance and ignorance, and issues like censorship come to mind as not exactly unrelated ones.

A few points.

First, a bit about the comment, contributed helpfully by the leader of the Danish Racist Party Dansk Folkeparti, that Muslim headscarves should be banned in Denmark.

Um, why?

Yes, we all understand that in many Muslim countries the rights of women have been thoroughly and appallingly trampled on. However in Denmark, this is quite simply
not the case.

It's like banning pink button shirts because somewhere in the world pink button shirts are worn by oppressed people. In short, it's a pretty unprogressive viewpoint to take.

There has also been much talk in the Danish media about the childcare worker who wanted to wear a burqa to work.

This is a far more sensitive issue then the previous one, and I'm going to take a qualified position on this one that many will probably disagree with. Though I intensely dislike the idea of a woman feeling there is a need for them to cover her face for any religious or cultural reasons, I haven't seen the evidence to demonstrate that such a covered woman couldn't nonetheless be a successful and competent childcare worker. I'm doubtful that it exists.

Still, this has been the conclusion of Danish prime minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who has clearly stated that children should be able to see the faces of those who take care of them, and thus childcare workers in Denmark should not wear burqas.

As I said, I'm not entirely sure about the merits of that one, though there may well be something to it.

Because I can't help but think that having young children in contact with such a person is a clear acknowledgment that every person in the world is different, and in countless ways. It might just help them as they grow older and are truly confronted by just what this really means.

This seems more progressive then simply trying to create an environment as neutral, though entirely unrepresentative, as possible. And given that a fair number of burqa-wearing women can be seen walking the streets of Denmark everyday, for example around Nørrebro in Copenhagen, well, it really is a reality that is pretty close to home.

Still, I acknowledge that I may have to revisit my views on this one in the future.

And in the meantime, I'd just love to see someone like Kate Moss popularise some sort of muslim-inspired headscarf or burqa for all occasions that suddenly became the rage for young western women everywhere to wear anytime they felt like it. She could be just the one to do it, judging by the current success of her TopShop line of fashion.

The varied faces of Christiania

by: Tim Anderson (

It's time to return to the subject of Christiania, the 'hippy enclave' in Copenhagen that has existed since the early 1970's. Since writing the last article about Christiania for this blog over two years ago, Getting the Christiania vibe...or not, plenty has happened, though little has changed.

Christiania hit the news once again last week, thanks to the actions of the police who moved in unannounced to knock down an abandoned building there. To be clear about my view on things, there are a few occasions when police presence is required in Christiania. Probably about 5% of the occasions when they actually show up there.

It's good business for the police, at the behest of the authorities who give the orders, to carry out these sorts of muscle-flexing actions - show up and tear something down - since it tends to provoke a few locals, along with the various outsiders who take an interest in these things (and in particular the ones always eager for a chance to perpetrate various violent activities in the name of protest). This in turn give the police and the relevant authorities a justification for the continual (and otherwise purposeless) patrols of the area, and the rather significant chunk of change spent on them. Because without such actions, more people around Copenhagen might
be inclined to question whether this was really the best use of budget money.

At least all that budget money spent over the past 3 years by the police patrolling Christiania hasn't been entirely misspent. The police have managed to attain the distinction of being basically the greatest (and most consistent and persistent) causers of unwelcome nuisance and disturbances in Christiania over this period of time. Call it a success, or just call it irony.

The residents of Christiania gamely battle on, as they have for over 30 years. Is there something worth protecting in Christiania? Is it really just a bunch of aging hippy squatters hanging on to a dying dream? There certainly is more to Christiania then first meets the eye.

While most outsiders, like myself, tend to see Christiania as a fairly cohesive collective of hippy types (and indeed this is how the residents are typically portrayed in the media), this description doesn't really stand up to a cursory stroll through the area.

Above all, it is easy to forget just how many families call Christiania home. Christiania is filled with families. Children of all ages can be seen running and cycling around, playing in gardens and so on. They seem pretty content and I would posit they have a pretty good life. So while it's easy to imagine Christiania as a bunch of long-term squatters, this stop being the case long ago. When hundreds and hundreds of people have invested decades building and maintaining the area, any pre-existing land claims - in this case government land that was abandoned over 30 years ago - become rather tenuous.

30 years of care: roof and window repairs in Christiania...

bikes and toys and lots of space - the perfect place for a family...

Christiania is really like a small city within Copenhagen, a city with its own distinct areas, each distinct from the others. Because Christiania can seem like such an incoherent and rather unkept place, it's easy to overlook the subtle and not-so-subtle differences that lie within.

there's treasure in that, maybe

The central part of Christiania is the commercial center. It's a relatively busy place - chaotic and full of diversity - particularly on sunny days and weekends. There is plenty of activity - restaurants, cafes, nightclubs, shops, museums, even a sauna, and much more.

the local vegetarian restaurant at Christiania - an excellent place for a simple, tasty meal

And, of course, there are the drug dealers selling hash and marijuana. Here one also finds a lot of people hanging around who just seem to be there because they really have nowhere else to go and nothing else to do. I suspect for many residents of Christiania, the central area is not a place they spend much time. Furthermore, I'm also suspect that many residents feel they have little in common with those who frequent and inhabit this part of town. But this is only a hunch.

Just like most urban centers, the commercial center of Christiania is not only for business - the density of residents living in this central area is relatively high, as well, as the housing mostly consists of small apartments in multi-story apartment buildings.

urban apartment dwellers...

and more apartments...

The way of life in the central area of Christiania is in total contrast to that of those living in the outlying areas. Or if you prefer, the more 'suberban' areas of Christiania.

Moving away from the central area of town, quickly the apartment blocks give way to one or two stories buildings and individual houses. There is still not a
lot of personal garden space to be had, but at least there is garden space. It's more then most living elsewhere in Copenhagen have. Those living in these areas of Christiania are nonetheless within close striking distance of the central part of the area.

central living in Christiania...

Wandering further eastward, the area becomes more forested.

Here, most of the houses are close to the water, many with a view overlooking it. Those living here have significantly more peace, quiet and isolation then those in the more central areas of Christiania. Not coincidently, the most, ahem, idiosyncratic dwellings are found scattered along the paths. And it is also here that one can momentarily forget that a city called Copenhagen even exists.

'if the government ever takes our land, well, I'll just cut these ropes and float away'...

'...and I'll just take off into the heavens...'

'...maybe with him'.

Yes, even in socialist Christiania, there is are clear distinctions - not everybody can have the perfect piece of property for their home, some are luckier than others - depending upon what you're after, of course.

What is clearly evident that a good number of those living in Christiania have invested a hell of lot of time (and money) into their homes. And there are quite a few who haven't, as well.

In fact, Christiania is divided into two distinct parts. All that I have described until now would be one half - let's call it the mainland. The second half lies across the channel, linked by bridge with this mainland area. In this area, though there is much more space, groups houses tend to be clustered together. That is, what can be seen is several small sub-communities that lie
within Christiania itself.

almost like a small town, set away from the bustle of the center...

you'd better like your neighbour, or get to pretty quickly...

While example of such sub-comminuties are evident all over Christiania, what is distinct about those found in the most eastern areas on the far side of the channel is the degree of isolation they have from the rest of Christiania. The area is incredibly calm and peaceful, with most dwellings overlooking the water. One gets the distinct impression that, if they chose, the residents in these areas need only rarely, if ever, show their face in the central areas of Christiania. While there are no cars to be found within Christiania, there is a parking area at the most eastern tip, meaning those living nearby can easily take their cars to work or drive to the various large supermarkets nearby in Amager (if they prefer this option to cycling).

Indeed, as one re-enters the central area of Christiania from these outlying areas, particularly on a warm and sunny day, one is immediately struck by all the noise and activity going on. It's quite a contrast to the tranquility of the outlying areas.

Bringing the farm to Nørrebro

the small fruit and veg market at Israel Plads in Copenhagen...

A new farmer's market is set to open later this month (May 26) in Nørrebro (around Jaegersborggade between Kronborggade and Stefansgade). The market - not a big one, just a small handful of stands - will be open Saturday's from 10.00 - 14.00.

Copenhagen is not a place where you find people going to the market to shop for fruit and vegetables. Or perhaps the real problem is that farmer's markets that have never embraced Copenhagen. Either way, it's too bad. Shopping for fresh fruit and vegetables, and various other gastronomic pleasures like tasty cheeses and various preserves and so forth, is one of the underrated joys in life, if you ask me.

At present, the best bet is the fruit, vegetable and flower market just behind Nørrebro Station, at Israel Plads, which is open daily.

Perhaps the lack of popularity of farmer's markets in Copenhagen has something to do with the weather. Perhaps it has something to do with Denmark's relatively limited growing season. Or perhaps it's a symptom of Danish food culture in general, which is still somewhat underdeveloped relative to many of Denmark's European cousins, particularly in the more southern regions of Europe.

Danish farmers do produce some excellent produce. Farms on the island of Samsø, during the summer months (a 1 hour ferry ride from Kalundborg), sell some of Denmark's finest fresh fruit and vegetables. Cycling around the island on a sunny day and stopping off at the various roadside stands around the island will provide plenty of inspiration for a tasty summer meal. Without having to take a ferry, numerous roadside stands found in front of farms in the countryside from Slagelse up to Ny Købing are just as good, selling plenty of fresh produce.

The new farmer's market in Nørrebro will hopefully bring some of it a little closer to Copenhagen.

Thanks to Isabel at Eyes Wide Shut for the tip on this one.

the flower market at Israel Plads...

The Books at Lab in Copenhagen

by: Tim Anderson (

sorry, only grainy mobile phone pics once again...

The guys from Komponent struck again on Friday night (May 11), booking The Books, the fantastic guitar/cello duo of Paul de Jong and Nick Zammuto from New York.

These two guys know how to put a song together. Their music is a series of beautiful and emotional guitar/electric cello pieces, complete with vocals and plenty lots of electronic effects. The result is an original, distinct and compelling sound which quickly hooks the listener.

Moreover, what Paul and Nick really know how to do is put together a stunning performance befitting of their songs.

Each and every song is complimented by a purposefully created visual presentation that Paul and Nick have created, synced to the music - the guys queue the videos themselves at the start of each song. Filled with vibrant themes created using an assortment of random video images, old home videos and computer graphics, each one of them powerfully transformed the accompanying song into something more akin to a sort moving painting with sound. And each video oozes a certain joy of life.

The result is a feeling that you are witnessing, right in front of your eyes, a force being tapped into that is far greater than the sum of the visible parts. And you are invited to partake in whatever it is. A rare feeling, indeed.

There are few greater pleasures then happening upon a fantastic band whom you have never heard of previously. As I had overlooked the Komenent mail in my inbox at the end of last week, it took a last minute SMS from a friend to get me to the show. Ironically, I managed to arrive at Lab in Vesterbro where the event was staged before those whom I was to join - and by the time they arrived all tickets had sold out. Which meant they themselves couldn't get in. Now that's injustice.

The Books audio/visual performance leaves a lasting impact - it's not at all one that fades from memory shortly after you leave the concert.

A brief moment in ice cream time...

I just love the spirit of Copenhagen. I really do. Even on a cloudy, not terribly warm day with a bit of rain, there's always plenty to make you smile and forget the weather. Like having an ice cream down at Nyhavn. After all the sun will shine again...

Trentemøller: Moan

The latest video from Denmark's Trentemøller, for his track Moan, can only be described as weirdly fantastic. It also happens to be a brilliant track to boot.

The first time I heard the track, it was at about 4AM in a rather underground club in Berlin some friends and were directed to during a recent visit last month (located not so underground on the 15th floor of an office building...). An appropriate way to be introduced to this one, I can assure you.

Somehow Trentemøller's international stature has grown significantly during 2006, he's still pretty 'local' in Copenhagen, the only difference from past years is that now he does solo shows that sell out, rather than low-key club appearance on keyboards (alongside his DJ buddy Tom Von Rosen).


Or check out his myspace page:

Give me hope. Give me change. Give me the New Alliance Party...

by: Tim Anderson (

If there is a couple of words politicians can be counted on to trade upon time and time again, it's hope and change. The formation of the Ny Alliance Party ('New Alliance') yesterday, Denmark's first new political party in the past 10 years (at least the first to actually hold a seat in parliament, that is), is the latest political development offering up the prospect of a bit of hope and dose of change.

There has been a clear and gaping hole in Danish politics since the last election - which the Ny Alliance are cleverly taking the opportunity to attempt to exploit.

In recent years, there has been a lack of parties in Denmark positioned in the very center. The existing political parties essentially form two dominant clusters - one distinctly right of center (the government of Venstre and Konservative, supported by the Dansk Folkeparti) and one distinctly left of center (Social Demoncrats, Socialistisk Folkeparti, and Radicale Venstre). And plenty of Danish voters have become skeptical of the recipe espoused by the left-of-center parties (they were in government for most of the 90's).

The Ny Alliance are positioning themselves as a just slightly right-of-center, very immigration friendly party dead against the racist politics of the Dansk Folkeparti. Given that their new leader, Nasar Khadar, moved to Denmark with his parents when he was 11, you can probably take them at face value on this particular issue.

For Danish voters opposed to basically everything that the overtly racist Dansk Folkeparti stands for (which isn't that difficult...), but uncomfortable supporting the markedly left-of-center parties on the other side, it has been a frustrating situation.

A quick look at Danish politics (and the composition of Denmark's current parliament) will give you an idea of all that is good and bad with multi-party, coalition governments and a system of proportional representation.

There is a scattering of parties in Denmark with elected parliamentary members, meaning a fair amount of choice for the average voter - and a decent opportunity to find a party that snuggly fits around your personal views and beliefs (and actually has a few elected members of parliament to boot).

On the other hand, the downside of the proportional representation system has been put on vivid display in Denmark over the past several years.

Because it has been the racist Dansk Folkeparti that has held the balance of power and propped up the right-of-center Venstre and Konservative coalition government for a number of years, a predictable and frustrating tilt of policy featuring nationalistic and all-to-often zenophobic legislation being passed has occurred, as a means of appeasing this third party.

This is legislation that the majority of the population in Denmark is
not terribly keen on - indeed many are outright embarrassed by it.

Nonetheless, not wanting another left of center government for the time being, Danish voters have sucked it up and allowed the existing coalition to continue - even knowing that this essentially amounted to handing the racist Dansk Folkparti the spare set of keys to the car.

But the political events of the past week in Denmark have been an excellent indicator of the potential strength of proportional systems of government.

In countries with first past the post systems (i.e. majority plus one), there is normally only two or three strong parties holding virtually all the seats in parliament, with possibly a very weak fringe party grasping onto one or two remaining seats. Meaning voters in such systems are often uncomfortably forced into a straight jacket when it comes to choosing who to vote for. And the main political parties can often get away with ignoring the demands of various segments of the population for extended periods of time.

However in a proportional system, if the opposition parties are not collectively deft enough to position themselves in accordance with a significant enough percentage of the population, another political party can (and will) emerge to fill in the hole. And in a proportional system, often characterised by minority/coalition governments, even a new political party can potentially gain significant influence quite quickly.

What is required of a new party isn't enough votes to form the government, only that they can mop
up a sizable enough pool of disenchanted voters in order to be allocated a few seats in parliament - which can oftentimes prove enough to hold the balance of power. The party holding the 'balance of power' in a proportional system typically has fewer elected members, when compared to a party holding the balance of power in a 'majority plus one' system (which are generally characterised by majority governments, most of the time).

In Denmark, it's exactly what happened when the Dansk Folkparti formed in 1995 and quickly gained strength.

Next election, the magic number for the Ny Alliance to make a real impact in parliament will likely be somewhere around 13% support (the percentage of votes the Dansk Folkparti obtained last time around). It could be much less.

Hence the burst of excitement surrounding the Ny Alliance (and the surge of 14,759 members and counting, who have joined the party in the last 2 days). It may amount to nothing, but with the scent of hope and change now wafting through the air, it certainly has had some affect upon the Danish political climate.

For more on this story, here's a small article from The Copenhagen Post.

For the love of...Danish potatoes

excitement in a box (for some)...

The annual food event that makes arguably the biggest and loudest (marketing) splash around the world each year would be the arrival of Beaujolais Nouveau wine from France each year, I would suggest.

It's pretty tasty wine, even if few wine enthusiasts would rate Beaujolais wine as the best that's out there (though myself, I do quite like it).

Well, quietly Denmark also has it's own annual food traditions. One that never goes by unremarked upon is the arrival of the first New Danish Potatos ('Ny Danske Kartofler') each year.

They're small, they're more or less round, and they look like basically any other small round potato out there - and they're rather expensive if you want to be one of the first to buy some each year. But it's a prestige thing for some local restaurants to get ahold of them as soon as they begin to appear.

This year the first batch of New Potatoes was sold for 1000 kroner (125 Euro) for a kilogram (link in Danish). Yes, you read that right. Not the cheapest bowl of soup, those would make...

More affordable is a trip down to the local market (for example, nearby Norreport station in Copenhagen), where this week a small box of new potatoes (slightly more than a kilogram) will set you back a more modest 50 kroner (8 Euro). Somewhat more costly than the average box of (non-Danish) new potatoes in the supermarket, given those will go for 8-15 kroner (1 or 2 Euro). But buying those won't win you any bragging rights.

So it's something to think about if you're having guests over for dinner...especially if they happen to be potato aficionados.

Target practise, anyone?

'There seems to be an unusually large concentration of bicycles along Vesterbrogade today, we're going to check it out. Over and out.'

Those regular readers may have noted that I occasionally direct a few derogatory comments at TV2 News, Denmark's 24 hour news channel (that just went into operation a few months ago).

As I am involuntarily subjected to this channel for several hours each day at work, I have a pretty good idea at this point how the operate. For example, there was the recent extensive coverage of the Crown Prince and Princess putting their son into daycare for the first time, which extended on for several hours. I'm not kidding.

TV2 News also managed to buy themselves a helicopter, the first news operation in Denmark to have such a thing. And this is what I want to talk about.

Please, PLEASE, please - somebody stop them. Force them to ground that damn machine.

There is basically never any news worth flying around in a helicopter to cover (and should there be, I recommend renting one on that day!), yet that bloody TV2 News helicopter is constantly flying around Copenhagen. It's f*#king noisy and annoying. It sounds like a lawnmower drowning on endlessly and loudly - which, I don't need to point out, is kind of irritating.

And yet in spite of all the noise, there's no news to actually cover. So what the hell are they doing all day in that thing!!?

Somebody, PLEASE stop them. I know I can't be the only one to feel this way.

The pedestrians of Copenhagen: (maybe) faster than speeding bullets

by: Tim Anderson (

According to research by the British Council, Copenhagen is home to the second fastest walkers in the world. That is, on average, people walk very quickly. Who would have guessed it?

Yet, somehow I find myself a bit skeptical of this claim. So I got to thinking, maybe, just maybe there is an explanation for these findings - one on 2 wheels.

See, what if the researchers - overzealous to cover a wide range of walking spaces around the city - without realising it managed set up there measurement equipment in such a way that, though managing to avoid clocking car traffic speeds, actually ended up clocking not only pedestrians walking, but also bicycle speeds as well? No way, you sayy! Weeeeell....

Maybe, just
maybe, while setting up their measurement devices they got confused and thought many of the bike lanes were actually sidewalks. After all, unlike in most cities, there are bike lanes lining virtually every street in Copenhagen (and not only sidewalks). That would certainly jack up the speed statistics some, wouldn't it?

Could it have happened? Naaaaaw....well, maybe...


Art from the streets of Copenhagen

Never been to Copenhagen and wondering what it's like? Or maybe you're from here, and occasionally have to explain how it is to friends who aren't? Sometimes a picture (or a mural, in this case) really is worth a thousand words. Note the (real-life) not exactly blue sky above the building...yes, this is indeed Copenhagen!

am absolutely perfect Nørrebro mural...

Let's leave the bicycles at home today...

More signs that Spring in Copenhagen has indeed arrived.

'I'm ready to go home now...'

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