31 December 2009

Happy New Year

Mandatory: The New Years speech from Her Majesty the Queen of Denmark, transmitted live. This year marks the 38th. Ever since that famous speech 25 years ago, when she scolded us for being smart asses, we have been anxiously waiting by the screen for another lecture. But it never got that bad (as in good) again. This is also the one time a year you get to hear the language spoken like it was intended. There is a lot of speculation about whether the Queen is getting ready to hand over the crown to her son, but for now she seems comfortable at the wheel. Even if the ride is mostly for show.

"God save Denmark"


30 December 2009

Jingle bells

"Christmas party"

29 December 2009

Not there

Sometimes a city, a place, even a relationship is best defined by what is not there.

28 December 2009

A chilly reminder

Remember the pedestal left behind, when King David was abducted? During COP15, on december 12, a polar bear took his place. First I dismissed the giant as plastic. Later I realised it was cut from a block of the local ice, way up where the polar bears still live. The Norwegian artist Olaf Storø is the man behind the half ton bear, that was cut from the block in Norway, transported in a crate, and finally trimmed upon arrival. Watching the giant disappear before your very eyes, is a chilly reminder of what is to come. Or in this case, go.

More on Storø and Trude here. And just for the pictures (and if you read norwegian), go here.

25 December 2009

One car less

I found this 0CO2-cart parked in the centre of Copenhagen. A little research led me to the facebook group, with the full story: the mission of 3 brave climate troopers who rode it all the way from Brussels, just in time for the COP15. It makes you think that the big change we are all hoping for, will not come from our leaders, but rather us. Starting with one car less.

24 December 2009

Merry Christmas

Oh, I give in.

23 December 2009

The night before Christmas

In Denmark we have a brew for every occasion. This one surfaces around Christmas, a sweet, white beer, made for the temperamental and teaseful little creature, we call "nisse". About the size of a 10 year old boy, this guy (and his wife and his children) are rumoured to create havoc with your life, should you neglect to serve him his annual white porridge, with butter. And his brew. This is the night before Christmas, and most supermarkets are out of nearly all staples. True to seasonal behaviour, the Copenhageners are stocking up on everything like there is no tomorrow. Get your nisse brew while you can, or else...

20 December 2009

The mighty pen

The tradition of ridiculing and exposing the system, the politicians, spokespersons, royalty, even disciples and historical figures, go back a long way. Vacation house stable number one: the annual Svikmollen and Blaksprutten (the octopus). Competing illustrated satirical publications, with highlights of the year gone by. Svikmollen has been around since 1915, and Blaksprutten goes as far back as 1889.

On this years cover: The Prince Of Denmark walking his infamous aggressive dachshund by a line of terrified soldiers (rightly so, the small dog has a taste for human bone). In other words A Royal Pain.

Our recently retired mayor takes one in the name of freedom of speech. Headline reads: "liar"

18 December 2009

Frozen canvas

In a COP15 climate related event, French artist Emmanuel Flipo took on a frozen canvas, working with wind and pigments on freshly fallen snow. For one magic day Sankt Hans Square (and your footwear) looked like this:

17 December 2009

Presumed guilty

The last couple of days, during the COP15 climate related demonstrations, the police have been ever present. Armed with a tailor made fresh law, suspiciously named (and loosely translated into:) The Scoundrel Bill. This allows the police to detain a person for 12 hours, on nothing more than a suspicion. This tuesday a total of 1000 people was lined up in the famous choo choo train, restrained for hours on the freezing ground. Of which only 6 went on to be charged with obstructing justice.

More on the bill here and pictures of wednesdays demo here.
And an update on the reactions (for the danish reader).

15 December 2009

Here's looking at you

A shining example of how street art can add another dimension. The overlooked is looking at you.

12 December 2009

Greetings from the Grinch

The financial crisis is the Grinch who stole Christmas. Not that the Copenhageners are that hung up on traditions to begin with, but this year has been especially bleak. Hotel D'Angleterre, crown of the Kings Square, used to top themselves each year with elaborate Christmas decorations. Jean Paul Gaultier one year doing a big, glittery reindeer-run-amok scene, in true Christmas spirit. Now there is not so much as a sprinkle of pine on the balconies.

This santa is brought to you by an unsponsored believer:

10 December 2009

Grand theft

Behold the separation of King David and Copenhagen Cathedral. During a repair of the granite pedestal, somebody stole the 10.5 foot tall King David statue, weighing in at 2.5 ton. Prioritised by the police much like bike-theft, the statue has seemingly evaporated, and this petty deed gone unpunished.

A pair since 1860, Moses now stands alone.

(More on the subject here)

09 December 2009

Lake view

A reminder by the organisation Save The Children (Red Barnet): Don't drown our future. The city is bursting with climate input and the lake is a favored place to get peoples attention. By now it takes a lot more to stress out the urban wild life.

07 December 2009

Words of wisdom

This sign was offered without any explanation, in a second floor apartment window.

"the childhood is not rerun"

06 December 2009

I steal you not

Bike theft is an epidemic. Everybody agrees to condemn bike theft, but then there is the varying degrees of the deed, the moral loopholes. If a bike for instance is left unlocked (for whatever reason), surely it is a present from the owner. Or if a bike is left unlocked, obviously not by the owner, say thrown in a bush. In which case it is not like stealing from the owner, but rather like (not) stealing from the thief. Or if the bike has already been plundered, the carcass is free to be harvested. Again stealing from no one, really. At the very most the insurance companies (qualifies as not stealing an unlocked bike left in a bush).

Underprioritised by the police, it hardly even classifies as a crime. Stealing a bike has no consequence, except for the victim. Some compensate their losses, justifying their actions with: "I have now contributed with 3 good bikes to the pot, it is my turn to have one for free". Which is clearly not the same as being a bike thief...

Carcass (next day the basket was harvested).

05 December 2009

03 December 2009

Copenhagen roulette

To a Copenhagener, the bike is almost like a self-extension. Bicycles truly are for everyone. The very young, the old, the heavy and the timid are all part of the picture. Those of us who ride without the protection of a helmet, are considered to be suicidal daredevils by those who wear the helmet religiously. When it is in fact often the helmet people who poses the greatest threat in traffic. It is a jungle, and the beast comes in many shapes.

Bicycle chick by artist Seppo Mattinen (more of his work here).