17 February 2015

Sea of love

By now, you have probably heard about the shootings in Copenhagen. On Saturday afternoon, an armed man tried to gain entrance to a public debate on free speech, attended by a Swedish cartoonist and the French ambassador. The shooter fired his automatic weapon in the foyer, killing an innocent bystander, film maker Finn Nørgaard, and wounding three police officers. He managed to escape, but reappeared later at the Copenhagen synagogue, where one civilian and two police officers stood guard over a Bar Mitzvah. The two officers were wounded and the civilian paid with his life, but they managed to keep the 80 guests inside, safe. Central Copenhagen was locked down, and the manhunt ended at 5AM, where he opened fire on the police, and was shot to death.

Any moron with a grudge can abuse the trust shown in him, by society. It is the healing process that takes effort. Like when Charlie Hebdo was attacked in Paris, we mourn, we talk, we comfort each other and try to make sense of it all. We remind each other how important it is, not to blame a large group of people for the actions of one disturbed man. We know how important it is to pull together now, across religious and political beliefs.

Interestingly, shootings as a tool to scare citizens, have proven ineffective. Danes are sad, but unafraid, and the response to these attacks has been an outpour of love and compassion.

Memorial site by Cph synagogue

Flowers for Dan Uzan, civilian guard of the Copenhagen synagogue.

Memorial site by Cph synagogue

Je suis Charlie

Thank you, Dan

Kære Dan. Du er vores helt! Du har ofret dit liv for at passe på os alle! Baruch Dayan HaEmet / 
Dear Dan, you are our hero. You sacrificed your life to keep us all safe! Baruch Dayan HaEmet.

Muslims and jews refuses to be enemies

Muslimer og jøder nægter (at) være fjender / Muslims and jews refuse to be enemies

We will continue your fight

Vi kæmper videre for dig / We will keep up your fight.

The Dane

The Dane. Stop taking our loved ones away. #smallcitypeople

Memorial site by Cph synagogue

View from the public library.

Memorial site by Cph synagogue
A sea of love.

 

11 February 2015

The big Ø

If there is one thing I have learned in recent years, it is that the change we want in society, must come from the people. Not the politicians. Here is an example of how they work: In an attempt to reclaim soda sales from across the border, the Danish government cancelled the sugar tax. As predicted, sales went up (on both sides of the border) and consumption increased by more than ten percent. Now all the masterminds have to do, is sit back and await the backlash: obesity, diabetes and dental decay.

So, we ask, with this tool available, why not lower the tax on organic and healthy food? Ah, but that is not doable, sorry. Never mind the overwhelming public interest in eating healthy and minimizing the use of medication and toxins in farming. That’s a different bottom line.

Fortunately, we don’t have to wait for the politicians: One of the biggest supermarket chains in Denmark, COOP has taken matters into their own hands. On the 25th anniversary of the organic mark “Ø”, they have pledged to boost the organic supply in the Irma stores. The goal is to double the sales and selection, over the next ten years. This is done by reducing the markup on organic food, making it accessible to more people. An in-house process that does not affect the suppliers, other than increase the demand for their product.

They began implementing this in January 2015, and already the organic sales in Irma stores have gone up by forty percent. Whoa? Imagine what could be done, if our politicians had similar guts and vision?

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of “Ø”, they messed with the Irma chicken, by the lakes. As you can imagine I was not amused, the Irma chicken is untouchable!


(Pardon the blur, I was in a state, haha)

However, “Ørma” has reassured me that it is a temporary thing, mounted on top of the old. It is going to look like this for the next year, maybe two. I am sucking it up in the name of Ø. And because, you know: I love Irma. More than ever.

Links:
Neon King, the Irma chicken sign on the blog
Hello Irma, Irma on the blog
Smile to Sandra, a twist on the vintage Irma sticker
25 years of Ø, on Organic Denmark

If you want to read up on the big Ø and sugartax (all in Danish):
On Irma's big move, Business.dk
 
  ★

02 February 2015

Bingo!

Back in 2012 we all had a good laugh about the stalker seagull by the rooftop apartment, around the corner. Remember that one? I had seen the big bird peeping through the window, and immediately jumped to the wrong conclusion. Because as it turns out, it is not a stalker, but a friend. Oh.

Now my eyes always seek out this spot, from the moment I turn the corner. When it is there (and it almost always is), it is like winning the seagull bingo. The reward is this odd reassuring feeling that the world is in order and everything is alright. And, for days when one just won't do, you get two. 

November 14th 2013

But only on special occasions. (November 2013)

November 14th 2013

Masters of the stare just know when you are looking at them. Six stories down you get it right back, along with a clear message: "can I help you?".

March 11th 2014

(March 2014)

And today's bingo, I love this game.

Today

Who is the stalker now? Hahaha. 

 

18 January 2015

Silent Sunday, so good/so bad


Gasonline rainbow

Gasonline rainbow
 Gasonline rainbow
 Gasonline rainbow
 Gasonline rainbow

 

14 January 2015

Charlie

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.

Links:

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!

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

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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.

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We are blind fools...

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

Ha.


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.

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Magic.

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

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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.