18 January 2015

Silent Sunday, so good/so bad

Gasonline rainbow

Gasonline rainbow
 Gasonline rainbow
 Gasonline rainbow
 Gasonline rainbow


14 January 2015


The senseless attack of Charlie Hebdo in Paris brings back the Mohammad crisis, and once again I am shocked that such a violent response can be triggered by a cartoon. In Denmark we are back to discussing: what is appropriate? Some argue that it is a senseless provocation, and that just because we can, we shouldn’t draw the prophet. But the point is, we can’t, which is the very reason we must. As long as a cartoonist in Denmark for ten years running, need police protection over a single drawing, we all have a problem.

To make matters worse, the politicians seize the opportunity to implement total surveillance, stripping us of our privacy. And, since this is election year, they further promise to tighten the screw on immigrants. It is all very counterproductive. Manipulators thrive on fear and division, it works for big corporations and politicians and it works for terrorists. Unfortunately for them, it comes with a backlash: I now feel increased compassion for the majority of Muslims, who simply want to coexist, and whose lives have been made more difficult by the extremists.

On the subject of satire, I recently found a Copenhagen magazine “Punch”, from 1887. Mocking men, women, children, politicians, poets and preachers. By the pen, animals take the place of people, and politicians take the shape of children. Some of the points are hard to decipher, the language and spelling have changed over time, and some puns are lost, as the story the tell are long since forgotten. Others are sadly relevant today (scene below from outside the restaurant in the Danish Parliament).

(For the Danes:) Det stakkels Dyr af Kulde og Nød * Forvist vil faa en ynkelig Død, *Saa man vil begravet det finde; *For det vil en morderlig Tid vist ta’e, * Forinden de Herrer kan faa snakket a’, *Som sidde og vrøvle derinde.

(Reads:) The poor animal cold and in need of help is left to die, one will find it buried, as it will surely take the babbling gentlemen a murderous time to come up with a solution. 

Others mock the church:

Don’t ask me what is going on here, something to do with alcohol. Keep in mind this was the year 1887, long before Hitler hijacked the 12.000 year old symbol of the sun. The original point of the cartoon is not clear, but today 127 years later it resurfaces with another: nothing and no one is above ridicule. Not then, not now, not ever.


05 January 2015

A fools game

It dawned on me today. Not at first, of course. At first, I spotted a whisper of pink in the sky, as the sun was about to set on the lakes. Watching the saturation increase, until it almost exploded. Whoa, I was wondering if people were even seeing this? What a terrible thing to miss!


Pointing and shooting, fiddling with the settings, framing, watching the small screen...


It was right there that it dawned on me: in my attempt to catch it, I just missed the whole thing. I felt like apologizing to the sky. This is what we look like, during a breathtaking display of beauty, our eyes fixed on the small screen in our hands.


We are blind fools...

...but at least we have the pretty pictures to prove it.


03 January 2015

Help wanted

The cosiest part of New Years Eve is when everyone gathers in the streets, by the lakes and on the bridge, to watch the fireworks. It's the part I miss the most, when I am not celebrating it on Nørrebro. The vibe is friendly and happy, it's the one time a year when we talk to strangers without the awkwardness. This time I tried catching it with my phone.

The downside to this tradition, is that the lake birds get freaked out by the fireworks (still haven't figured out where they go, and if all of them return), and the vandalism. Here's a scene from the bridge, a little after midnight, as I went to inspect the ninja wrapped statue of the Young People Sitting

They were close to invisible. I was almost thinking that maybe I was just being overprotective... until I inspected the aftermath. 

Worse than ever. I can't find the words to properly express how furious this makes me. Look at the trees!

I have tried googling graffiti removal on trees: baking soda, gentle scrubbing and heavy rinsing. But no one cleans graffiti off trees here. And, once it spreads, more people will start thinking it is okay. Knowing how this part of the tree is the most vital and also most vulnerable, I am wondering if I should try my hand at paint removal. Who are these people? UGH!

So, am I glad I decided to cover up the statues, you wonder? Yesyeyesyesyes! So happy.

This and a single sticker was the extent of the damage, and I can't even say for sure, if the tag was not there before I covered them up. Looking at the mayhem, I am convinced it would have looked a lot worse without the guerrilla guard.

I don't understand why someone are not preventing this from happening, surely a lot of people witnessed this vandalism? I have no problem with graffiti as such. I even think that it belongs in a healthy city, but it all comes down to the canvas. Respect the landmarks, nature and statues. Know your canvas, people. This is not it! 

Those of you reading from other parts of the world, I am curios if you have the same problem where you live? Good advice on how to turn this around, would be greatly appreciated.

31 December 2014

It's a wrap

I wasn’t going to cover up the statue of the Young People Sitting, this time. They are in the epicenter of the biggest outdoor gathering on New Year's Eve at midnight, with bonfires and the occasional graffiti, mostly on the bridge itself (ugh!), but sometimes the statues are vandalized too. As the day progressed, I had second thoughts, and stopped by my friends on the bridge corner, to say hello. And I knew I had to act. But what to do? These guys are bigger than you think, wrapping them takes a certain quantity of... something.

My friends

Meanwhile, across the street on the other bridge corner, someone forgot to clean up after themselves, leaving behind a shitty, collapsed pavilion. I have been passing this garbage for the past week, cursing the offenders. Ugh. Or. Wait a minute....

(post-peeling, obviously, haha)

Tarpaulin.... cover... bingo! I peeled it off, and dragged it across the street, and within minutes, my friends were covered up, to the degree of being invisible.

Young People Sitting, Ninja Version

Young People Sitting, Ninja Edition.

If you only knew how happy I feel right now. This is definitely better than nothing. I’ll stop by and tie it up later. Fingers crossed that it works.

Not covering up my friends? What was I thinking? 

Happy new year to you all. See you in 2015.

Link fest:

24 December 2014

Hugs and hats

This year’s jule greeting is courtesy of the Nile decorator. Is it one person, or more? Either way, if you are decorating the Nile, you are the Nile decorator to me. It has been a while since the kids were pimped, I am happy to se this particular tradition kept alive (here's a look at the elf version 2012, compare this to our current ten plus degrees, whoa).

The Nile, elf version

The Nile, elf version
 The Nile, elf version

The tradition of adding little things to our statues, like flowers and costumes are a token of love and appreciation. Classic Copenhagen.

The Nile, elf version
 The Nile, elf version

The Nile, elf version

Happy holidays and big jule hugs for everyone.

23 December 2014

The night before jul

Something is different this time: jul is no longer painful. I think we have finally made friends. Clue number one was a couple of weeks ago, when I salvaged a tiny potted Christmas tree that someone had thrown out. Then, I went out and bought it a tiny elf, to keep it company. They are sitting in my kitchen window, reminding me how far we have come. 

Actually, it is hard to believe it is even the 23rd of December today. The temperatures are more like fall, and some trees even still have leaves, nature must be so frustrated. It would be cosy with snow, but I am relieved that they are not salting everything to death. It's one less thing to worry about.

Up on the bridge corner, the Christmas tree seller is back in business, stacking them so close that you almost get the feeling of being in a small forest.





Even cut off, trees have a calming effect, working as a buffer from traffic and stress.


The cosiest part of this season is not how they decorate the shopping streets, but the little non-profit surprises popping up here and there. Like this initiative by the prison fence, encouraging you to leave a greeting for the inmates. 

Merry Christmas.

Or Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, pleading with maniac drivers to slow down.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Take care of Rudolph

Watch out for our Rudolph.

As I took these pictures, a woman in an SUV came racing around the corner, bumping into a pedestrian. He smacked his hands on the hood and let out a loud yell, but fortunately he was alright (a child might not have been, though). Proving the urgent need for this sign.

I found one more cosy greeting from the streets, but I am saving it for tomorrow. For now, rest your eyes on my new friends, the tiny rescued jule tree and the armless elf.

We have come a long way.


14 December 2014

10 December 2014

Merry wheel

A couple of weeks ago, our mayor made a proud update to his social media accounts, of the selection and felling of a beautiful old fir, from the forest. We are talking eight tonnes worth of magnificent tree, cut off to decorate a square for a month. Heartbreaking. I know that I am peeing on the parade here, and it is not my intention to hurt anyone’s feelings, but can’t we try and figure out a less destructive way to celebrate this season?

It turns out, we can. In Enghaveparken on Vesterbro a new Jule tradition is born: The people of Flydende By (Floating City) built the coolest Juletree out of salvaged bike wheels. They call it a Hjuletræ (a wheel tree), which in Danish is pronounced almost the same as jul (Christmas). In their own words they hope to inspire Vesterbro to appreciate the value of recycling and creating sustainable and beautiful environments together.

Hjuletræ / Wheeltree / Christmas tree

It lights up too, if you push the pedals on the attached bikes. I should have brought the staff, dammit. 

Hjuletræ / Wheeltree / Christmas tree

Imagine this all lit up, oh. 

Hjuletræ / Wheeltree / Christmas tree

Discarded spray cans are used for lights. I had a playground mom help me out here, to give you an idea of the magic:

Hjuletræ / Wheeltree / Christmas tree

The only parts not recycled on this tree, are the LED-lights. Utter coolness.

Hjuletræ / Wheeltree / Christmas tree

The bike parts are donated by Buddha Bikes, who collect, recycle and restore abandoned bikes found in the city. The pedal powered Christmas tree is around until December 29th, after which it will be taken apart, and the pieces used for other projects. 

Hjuletræ / Wheeltree / Christmas tree

Maybe I will have to round up a few friends, and have them work the pedals, for the perfect shoot? Any volunteers?


28 November 2014

Old chapter, new chapter

In an attempt to prioritise my time and energy, and spend it where it does the most good, I have decided to terminate Classic Copenhagen's Facebook page. It frustrates me that only a small fraction of those who follow it, get the updates, due to Facebook algorithms, and overall it just seems like a huge waste of time. Instead, I have made an Instagram account, the perfect place for all the contestants that don't make it to a post. I call it random observations by a hungry eye. Lots of little, big things, street art, bike action, lake porn and car lurking. You know the drill.

Maybe I will see you there?

On instragram: @sandrahoj

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