13 May 2015

A change is gonna come

Spring is here, and she’s in a mood. Sometimes it is almost fall like, going from cuddly and mild to stormy and wild. Ever since I spotted the big, beautiful magnolia a few years back, I have been looking out for the waxy magic to re-appear. It skipped a year, but this time around, it came out. But before the buds were even halfway out, they were torn off by crazy winds. I’m telling you: the climate has changed.

Magnolia


Magnolia

Balding before their time. When I returned to catch them in full bloom, they were all gone. Not even visible on the floor, like that magic time. Poor, patient magnolia, it finally gets there, and is blown to pieces.

On the bright side of things, winter was mild, and street trees are so happy to be salt free. What a difference it makes, from crippled and bald to perky and leafy. They really don't ask much, trees.

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The bunker trees, rescued by citizens. Hard to imagine they would all have been gone, were it not for the public outcry. This is the kind of urban planning your tree hugging friend is up against. And it goes on and on. More on that later.

In other news, the government has allowed French frackers Total to drill for shale gas in Denmark. Wisely prohibited in France. At the moment they are only test drilling, but if they find gas, the contract allows them to collect it for the next thirty years. They are also planning to drill very close to Copenhagen, gambling with our water supply.

Total, frack off!

Total, frack off!

Since the embarrassingly small demonstration against fracking last fall, the resistance has grown. Still, it may be too late, with the contract already signed. I'll let you know if fire starts shooting out of my faucets. Ugh.

Ever so slightly people seem to be waking up, realising that everything cannot be left up to the politicians. We need to stay informed, and decide for ourselves which direction we want to go, as a people and as a country. The climate has not weighed in yet, in the upcoming election (date yet to be announced), they are still kicking the weakest, promising to tighten the screw. Only this is not what we need to hear. We need visionary leadership with heart and backbone. People have begun asking for a constructive dialogue, demanding that the politicians refrain from throwing mud, and instead explain how they plan to move things forward. This is all happening from the bottom up, making me me so hopeful, that the citizens will pave the way. Reviving the concept of democracy. Change is in the air.

Rainbow

I'll grant her that, spring: she has her moments.  

 

30 April 2015

Dear April, I am sorry

I can’t bring myself to leave April as the month with only one post. That is just too sad. Although I don’t really mind the gentrification issue taking the headline. If only I could do more, than just describe it. My next post was all set up to be about ideas for Copenhagen, but then came Paris. Five full glorious days in one of my favorite cities.

Sometimes I wish I could go back to not noticing all these things: infrastructure, bike parking, garbage solutions, urban planning, tree care... exhausting! At least noticing street art is a party, not a job. It's time to dance:

It's time to dance

Art Grove.

Confetti

Yummy confetti sprinkle detail.

Grief

This wall is an ever-changing medley.

Je suis Charlie

Traces of Charlie everywhere. So touching. Je suis Charlie.

Street art

The Pakistani art Porsche

The Pakistani art Porsche. Completely covered in Pakistani folk art, a gallery on wheels. Whoa.

Sometimes people are the art. It always feels like stealing, when I take pictures of people in the street. Temptation:

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Merci Monsieur. 

And the layers, the random yum.

Entrees

Classic Paris.

Roof forest

A roof forest. Oh.

Surviving

A tree that finds a way, through it all. My hero. Sometimes I wonder, how it took me so long to realise just how much I love trees. How happy they make me. This is true for everyone, I think: Everyone loves trees, but not everyone are aware yet. Knowing it makes it so much better.

Heavenly dogs

Trees and dogs. My idea of heaven.

And for dessert one of my favorite moments. I can't really explain why, but this just made me so happy. Pure gold.

Mosaique street repair

Maybe because someone fixed a problem in a beautiful way.

Pink mosaique

 

14 April 2015

The big bland

My neighborhood is under attack by the gentrification monster. Think of it as a sort of central suburbanization, a cursed blandness. When a bank bought a whole block down the street a few years ago, it really sped up the process. First order of business was locking down everything. Before there was an antique warehouse in the back, and you could make a shortcut through the backyard, now it is a fortress. All the street level apartments facing the lakes, were converted into a row of fancy restaurants, run by the same owner, and on the corner we got yet another Copenhagen luxury bakery. The official kiss of death.

To make matters worse, apartments are bought by parents under beneficial conditions, subletting to their offspring at a song, and twisting the playing field for everyone else. Prices are skyrocketing, and there are very few affordable apartments left to rent. I want to run down the street like the crazy woman, in a bathrobe with curlers in her hair, yelling of them all to go home, and leave us alone. Picture that.

Petrified house

Fortunately, some areas of Nørrebro have not been gentrified yet, it almost makes you grateful for the butt ugly social housing blocks. There are no fancifying those. And, if you look in the cracks, you will find that there is still resistance.

Resistance

Rantzausgade is still the real Nørrebro, where you can find free books in the street. Sharing and recycling is spreading like wildfire. We have become better at giving unwanted stuff away, swapping and making sure things are put to good use, rather than cluttering up landfills.

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Gratis bøger / Free books (in English too). 
Thrown out on Monday evening, if no one wants them.

I hope Rantzausgade won't be chewed up and spit out by the big, bland gentrification monster any time soon. We need the oxygen.

I can't breathe

I can't breathe. Solidarity with all people of colour. Roller graffiti by Satan.


31 March 2015

Waiting, sweetheart, just waiting...

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I am so ready for a change, that I can almost taste it. Something's gotta give. 
 



18 March 2015

The Circle Bridge, part one

Perhaps encouraged by the overwhelming reception of Cykelslangen bike bridge (the Bicycle Snake), pedestrian and cyclist bridges are popping up all along the Copenhagen harbor, at warp speed. One of those is the Circle Bridge, designed by Ice Watch artist Olafur Eliasson. It is a relatively short bridge, but saves you a bumpy detour on cobblestones (cyclists know what a treat that can be). Meanwhile, the boat community is not amused with all the new canal bridges, arguing that they are being fenced in, and that the canal-spirit will suffocate. It is not easy keeping everyone happy.

Last week the internet started buzzing with the Circle Bridge, as the pieces were being put in place. For some reason the harbor side feels like a party I am not invited to. Crammed with high-end real estate and corporate headquarters of steel and glass, in a big and uninviting scale. But when you have blog business to do, you suck it up.

View from Langebro bridge. Circles on the ship to the right, ready for installment.

Circle Bridge installment

I moved around, to get a better look. An obstacle course like you wouldn’t believe, absolutely everything in Copenhagen is under construction and off limits building sites. By the Royal Library known as the Black Diamond, I got it.

The Circle Bridge installment  
So far, so good. The bridge is about 32 meters long and slides open, but is tall enough for smaller boats to pass under.

Circle Bridge

At this point it looks pretty cool and simple. The aspiration however, is artistic landmark, so the finished bridge will be topped with wires, resembling lit up Christmastrees. Not convinced about that part, but hey: it's not my dime, Nordea bank is picking up the tab on this one.

Shot this with my back turned to the Black Diamond. Looking up.

Black Diamond, Royal Library

I want to familiarize myself with this area, but it is so damn unwelcoming. Maybe the bridges will do the trick? Stay tuned for part two and the Circle Bridge test run, you know it's coming...

Links:



07 March 2015

Birds and bees

Update from Copenhagen, snapshot style. The New Nørreport Station is all done, but there is still clutter left that I would rather keep out of the frame, so the big post will follow later. Here's a night shot, with a cameo by the worlds coolest beehive.

Nørreport Station

Another addition to the New Nørreport Station: police standing guard with machine guns. What is really crazy, is how fast you get used to them.

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Following the Copenhagen shooting, politicians whipped up a "terror package", that among other things skip all rights of privacy, allowing police to wiretap citizens without a warrant. We have past the point of "slippery slope".

Mother and child

What affects us the most is not the shooting itself, but the response. Every time something like this happens, they tighten the screw, and take just a little bit more of our privacy.

Today's version of Dannebrog

A hack on a vintage street sign, reminding drivers to watch out for the kids. Like a really cool version of our flag Dannebrog.

And lastly a messy seagull, scattering garbage by high-end food establishment Torvehallerne. The not-so-farmers-market, where they chopped down all the big trees. Nope, still haven't forgiven them for that. F*ckers!

Seagull dive

Dumpster diving. Pick and scatter, eat and repeat. Leave the mess. Ha. In five minutes this bird had crapped up the entire sidewalk, taking small breaks on people's cars.

Reflected seagull

Fascinating creatures, seagulls. And helpful too, I mean: who is the real pig here? People who throw away delicious food, or the bird who makes sure it doesn't go to waste?

Dinner is served

Bon appetit, my friend.


27 February 2015

Relove

I have been holding out on you. But only because I don’t know where to begin. About two years ago, I crashed an outdoor flea market with some friends and a small pop-up stall. I used to love the fleas passionately, but as owning things lost its importance, so did the chase. Now, it is about something else entirely: salvaging, recycling and reducing waste. The chase is fun again.

With the pop-up stall, I realized how much I had missed the feeling. Exchanging stories and knowledge about the odd little things. The process of matching unwanted things with the perfect owner, and seeing them light up with excitement over the newfound treasure, there is nothing like it. I can’t even begin to explain how much sense it makes to me. I try to book a flea market stall at least once a month, now.

Things have a way of finding me. Sometimes attics are cleared, and boxes of unwanted stuff is thrown out into the street. I can’t bear the idea of things that could be used, going to waste. It kills me. Sometimes I will find something that is broken, and fix it, or just make it into something different. Sometimes all it needs is a good cleaning, and a nice presentation. The important thing is that it gets a new life.

If something is of no use to me or anyone I know, I make sure it is forwarded to a recycling centre. Key is to discard only of what is completely useless. Broken does not necessarily qualify as useless, good quality can usually be repaired. The worst offender is things and clothes made in recent time, nobody wants that. Which should make us reconsider our shopping pattern. There is so much good stuff out there, and so much of it is going to waste, you wouldn't believe what I have rescued from the incinerator.

A few weeks ago I passed a large container on Østerbro, filled with the estate of an old Copenhagen photographer. The people loading it, invited me to take what I could use, and I grabbed a bag worth of old photographs, wrapped in paper. It was only when I got home and unpacked them, I realised that I should have taken more, oh. One of the small packages read "children", and turned out to be vintage black and white photographs of young Danes, dating back to the 1960s.



All these photograps are by Henning Nielsen. From the tender moments captured, and the way the subjects (on all his pictures) respond, you can tell he was a good man. I wish I could have met him.


Focus... bike... go!


Some things never change. 


And the portraits, so many, so good.




I haven't been able to figure out the exact location of this, yet. 


What cars are good for. Ha.

 

Pure gold.

 

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.