Time to end it...

Opening the door the other morning, there they were. Yes, it is absolutely unbelievable that these huge think phone books which go straight into the recycling bin still make there way to the door of every house and apartment in Copenhagen...whether you like it or not! Seriously, does anyway actually use these things anymore? Stop! Stop! Stop!

And apparently Politiken's readers agree too.

Take me to that Samsø island wonderland!

The Danish island of Samsø was subject of a recent highly complementary profile in The Guardian, focusing on the incredible 'green' approach being taken by the inhabitants of the Danish island, who are now living 'off-the-grid'. Yep, no mainland electricity, the island is self-sufficient thanks largely to wind and solar power.

I've visited the island a couple of times, both visits occurred a few years ago, and I've been planning to get back every since. Samsø is an island whose reality more-or-less matches the romantic images phrases such as 'island life' can conjure up (assuming those romantic images involve Northern-Scandinavian type islands, of course). I mean, Copenhagen is also on an island, and I sometime jokingly refer to the idea of 'island-life' when talking about Life in Copenhagen because frankly this is not the sort of 'island life' people typically think about when using a phrase like 'island life'.

On Samsø, there's basically one small town of note, with a couple other smaller ones not so much of note. The best bet is to bring a bike (or rent one) to get around - but leave yourself plenty of time as it will take more than a day trip to get the most out of the island. Beaches are everywhere, there are some fantastic camping spots, it's as idyllic as anywhere in Denmark, and, the real icing on the cake, the island produces some of Denmark's most outstanding fruit and vegetables. Bring a pocketful of coins and be sure to stop at the farm produce stands dotting the roads of the island during the summer months to grab some mouth-watering produce. For example, I will always remember the eye-opening experience that a fresh Samsø onion (yes, an onion...) once provided me. Since that fateful day, I have found myself only able to cast a condescending eye upon mere supermarket onions, such a fresh onion snob I have since become. Okay, I may be over-dramatising just bit, but really, they are damn tasty onions.

So anyway, check out the article and the stunning accompanying pics. It's the kind of piece - particularly the photos - that's so compelling that if you're in right frame of mind, you mind find yourself fighting the urge to book plane tickets to Denmark (and ferry tickets to Samsø).

Your favourite shaving cream, monsieur...

Most weeks, the Tjek section of Politiken makes for an interesting read. One focus of the section is on comparing a number of similar products sold in various shops around Denmark, and assessing which one represents the best value. 'Value' in the check section is typically a fairly holistic measure, encompassing price - but quality is really at the heart of it. The range of products that have been put to the Tjek test is quite broad – recent examples range from the mundane - like table salt (who would have known there was much of a taste difference between different types of sale, but Tjek made a convincing argument that there indeed is), the distinctly Danish, like packaged fish (mackeral, for the most part I believe) in tomato sauce, to this weeks featured produce - shaving cream.

Tjek really is a pretty useful endeavour, because frankly without investing a lot of time, effort and energy, it's pretty hard to assess most products in any detail, especially when it comes down to examining what sorts of additives they contain, and so forth. Which is where this weeks assessment of shaving cream was pretty revealing.

So let’s talk about shaving cream.

Now personally, I'm a big fan of 'Brig' shaving cream, which can be bought in Netto for a whopping 8 kroner (or approximately 1 Euro). This has always struck me as a far better value than the widely available alternative, Gilette (at about 5 times the cost). Comparing the two, Brig to me has an equally pleasant scent, does what it is supposed to do (ie. foam) - and a can of it seems to last forever. And really, who can quibble with the price?

So it was revealing to read Tjek to see how Brig rated, and how the alternatives stacked up. Brig was among the cheapest, but points were awarded for organic contents, no perfume, and non-harmful additives. I should also add at this point that I’m a huge fan of organic and non-perfumed products – soaps, etc. As more and more of these relatively natural products enter our apartment, the alternatives seem to become progressively less appealing - in many cases, at least. Especially when it comes to unnaturally flowery smelling perfumed soaps and detergents, and such.

So, Brig shaving cream it turns out, received a score 3 out of 6, handily outscoring Gilette (which managed a pitiful 1 out of 6 and was red-flagged in all categories).

But the clear winner was Anglamark Shaving Cream, available at the supermarket SuperBrugsen for 26 kroner - the only shaving cream to score 6 out of 6 – as it was the only shaving cream to contain absolutely no offending additives. As for Gilette, well, don't believe the advertising hype. There you have it.

Oh, be warned, the assessment did not get into niche categories such as 'best shaving cream pie' - should you be looking for just the right way to celebrate the winning goal in a future football victory, or such.

The Storm at Vega

The impossibly seductive Pernille Rosendahl (and Co.), live at Vega on Thursday evening, concluding a month long tour around Denmark.

There's always a risk of having to listen to a lot of not so great-filler whenever a band with only one album is headlining a show, but
The Storm didn't waste anytime moving firmly from one solid track to the next from their excellent debut album during their high-energy show on Thursday. I certainly wouldn't hestitate to plunk down my cash to see them again in the future.

The Storm features a bit heavier sound than the now-defunct Swan Lee, but there's no denying Pernill Rosendahl is one hell of a talented singer - and they are a pretty decent songwriting duo as well, with the promise of more to come. Let's hope so.

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