31 August 2010

A fresh approach

I'm officially done moping about the rain. All you can do about it anyway is stay prepared. My Dutch friend that was here during the very wet fashion week recently, told me that Copenhageners in her opinion are the coolest rain-dressers. I never thought of that before, but then again, we would have to be by now. I ruined a lot of footwear before finally succumbing to a decent pair of rain boots (Hunter, it's a joke how we all wear them), and if I had the space I would get them in more colors. And then do like the cool Japanese couple I spotted in a supermarket in New York: get two pairs in complimentary colors, and wear a different color on each foot.

Here are some of the ways we stay dry: a lot of Danish women love this brand with plenty of funky 1970's vibe prints, Danefae. Another domestic brand focusing on wet gear is Ilse Jacobsen, you can see a part of her rain selection in this online shop. For myself I like to go hunting for vintage rain outfits (oh, and the rain hats..), the spy trench coat in heavy black rubber is unbeatable. Although I have yet to find one that does not smell like a hundred smoked cigars once it gets wet.

When it comes to protecting my leather gloves in the upcoming seasons, riding my bike in rain and snow, I am planning to invest in a pair of oversized rubber gloves. With the climate acting up this way across the world, I have a feeling that we will all need to adjust. We might as well do it in style, in the spirit of this one:


What the French use on the pebbled beaches, taken one step further.

And from the Italians, the Rain Level measure boot.

If you know more good ways of staying out of the water, throw me a line!

27 August 2010

Street art to the rescue

Anyone who has been keeping up in here knows about my severe allergies to the grotesque amount of advertising forced upon us. There a very few sacred spots left for the eye to get that much needed rest, and in order to get through the day I have learned to tune it out. And with this selective blindness I sometimes fear that the important stuff passes below the radar. But with street art I find that my senses are returning, sharper than ever, and every time I spot a great new piece I feel like I have won a prize.

One of my favorites is Littlebrother, who places cartoonish eye stickers on everyday objects like garbage cans and lamp posts. I had been spotting them around Copenhagen for a while, when I started posting the shots on flickr. And this was where Littlebrother got in touch to introduce himself. As with most street artists I have no idea who he is. Or if he is even a he. All I need to know is that Littlebrother is partly responsible for my restored vision. I ask no more.

Big mouth

Garbage can face


Littlebrother was here

Big eater

Now this is interesting: there is no way I would take a picture of this bore of a coffee sign had it not been for the instant face. All of the sudden this sad bean had a personality deserving of a photograph, you can't pay for that kind of attention:

Mr. Bean

 And what does the coffee chain do?

Some people you just can't reach...

26 August 2010

How I know you love me

This is how I know you love me:

I love you too.

23 August 2010

Dead meat

Before scrolling any further, I should warn you that the images in today's post are of dead meat. It is no big mystery where meat comes from, but still I was torn this friday as I watched ten grown men struggle to spear and barbecue a dead creature on the Greybrothers Square. On one side I was sad for the animal so brutally split open and humiliated in the afterlife, while on the other side my mouth was watering at the thought of barbecued meat. It is not the first time I have found myself in this dilemma, and as long as I continue to both love and eat animals, it is probably not the last. The project was an overnighter, and 2 chefs were assigned to the nightshift. Lunch was served at noon the next day, but as it turned out I missed that (along with that parade), and by early evening there was no traces left of the feast.

Oh that poor, yummy animal...

It is odd, but I somehow feel that it serves me right to be confronted with this sight once in a while. If I can't at least look at it, I should not be allowed to eat it.

21 August 2010

A proud day

I somehow managed to miss every Copenhagen Pride gay parade there ever was. Including today's, passing through my neighbourhood earlier. But I did follow the progress on twitter, tormented by the self inflicted pain known as a hangover. Around the time I regained total control of my own body, the parade had reached it's final destination Town Hall Square, where I caught up with them.

It was easy to tell that the party is running on its fourth day, the girls were worn out, the make up was not entirely in the right places anymore, and the heels were coming off. But it was still a show, and I was pleasantly surprised that there were absolutely no aggression or hate to be detected. Quite the contrary. Far from all were dressed up, I just zoomed in on that part, there were lots of "rainbow families" and "civilians" of all generations holding hands. Which is interesting, because when I read about the event a lot of people commented on the flashy side of things. Gays claiming to be stereotyped by this event, and boycotting it entirely. But in reality all kinds were represented, and regardless of ones sexual preference it was an event to be proud of.

Norrebrogade salutes the parade:

Rainbow banner house

The Tiber salutes the gay pride parade in Copenhagen

The parade left behind a trail of confetti, champagne bottles, and a small salute to The Tiber.

Only hours later it was cleaned up by the city. Copenhagen rules!

Pretty pink

Full of grace

A drag

Group hug

The no-toe Barbie legs

It was not until I got home that I noticied the no-toe Barbie feet. Fascinating.

17 August 2010

Going Dutch

August is traditionally when the summer kicks in, just when the kids are back in school, and the official summer holiday is over. On all the August fashion fairs I can remember, people have been clinging to fans and leaflets for relief, because it was so hot. But this? Last time Denmark got this wet was back in 1930. And the joke, if there is one, is that the meteorologists never saw it coming. Not that it would have done me any good with a forewarning, nothing could have prepared me for a summer this short.

But in the spirit of rolling with the punches (while still spitting my teeth out), I will go ahead and focus on the bright side of fall. One of them hit my inbox this morning with the dates for the upcoming Dutch book market in the church Helligåndskirken. All the books cost the same, every day the price go down a notch, and on the last few days they are so cheap that they are practically free. There are books on every subject, large, small, illustrated, and even vinyl's, magazines and posters, and up until about 5 days before it ends, it is being refilled on a daily basis. One of my favourite parts is that it is open on sundays, not much in Copenhagen is.

Last time around I found this publication from 1967, with a story on the fashion stores in Copenhagen. I can't believe how cool they looked back then, and at the same time wonder why stores today all look the same?

De blomstrende tegn 1967

Two girls and a red bench 1967

Store window in Copenhagen 1967

Storefront with matching car 1967

Copenhagen fashion store interior 1967

The Dutch book market is on from August 25th to September 19th, prices start at dkr 80 per book, ending at dkr 5.

Photocredit: Pictures of pictures by Bent Raj.

16 August 2010

Speaking of spokes

As happy as I am with my clean set of wheels, un-pimped and simple as the day I bought it, fact remains that we are entering the peak period of bike theft. As Mikael from Copenhagenize is reminding us on twitter: "Bike theft rises by 80% (!) in August and September in Denmark. Bloody students". All of the sudden I find myself considering making my beautiful bike not unattractive, because I could not bear that, but perhaps instantly recognisable. The compromise I came up with was nailpolish on the spokes,  I was even considering throwing in a bottle of Chanel for the luxe of it.

And since that idea came to me, I seem to notice a spike in spoke pimping. On the same day I found this one, I spotted another rushing by, with a single flyer/sticker in the wheel. It makes perfect sense too, because thieves are by definition lazy (or they would go and fix, buy, build their own damn bikes), and both decorating and untangling spokes takes an effort they would be likely to avoid. But any ideas on how to pimp in style are welcome. Do tell, what is your best trick?

Going all the way...

Spoke pimping

Pimp detail

Vs. keeping it simple

ERD monogrammed bike

Sticker pimped

15 August 2010

A peace offering

Now I feel bad about yesterdays bashing of Copenhagen Fashion Week. Just because the girls don't eat does not mean that the fairy tale quality of it all is not at times intoxicating. After all I'm not dead, just in sore need of a vacation. And after half an ocean broke on the parade of the worlds longest catwalk yesterday, I figure Copenhagen needs a kind touch, and perhaps a little sugar. Remember the tradition of La Glace from last season, when Stories designed the fashion week window? This time around designer Ole Yde, who incidentally opened fashion week with a spectacular show, masterminded the cake fest. There is an almost 1920's feel to the whole setup and the powdery colors, and I love the way he mixed up the ingredients like it was fabric, and had "whipped cream" do the impossible. Love to La Glace and Ode to Ole:

I uploaded the cake shots extra large (just click), in case you are in need of a yummy wallpaper. 

14 August 2010

Dear Fashion, I love you but...

The Copenhagen Fashion Week is on full steam, but it has been a long time since I was drawn to the unbearable hype that surrounds it. The fashion trade fairs are supermarkets, with departments for both delicatessen and staples, and the customers are simply trying to stock that fridge at home properly for the next season. But from the big hoo-hah you would think that a ticket to any show or fair is a trip to heaven. I used to feel that way about parties, so I can relate, but I can not get exited about it. Not like I do about street art, flea markets and taking pictures.

That is not to say I don't tear up with I get my hands on the perfect fringy cashmere scarf, or a new pair of impossible boots too beautiful to wear. I love good pieces and great cuts and quality, colors and prints. And more than anything I love accessories. But, dear Fashion, having it served up on famished fifteen year olds is getting... well, old. 

It's raining like you wouldn't believe in Copenhagen, and it has been all day. I decided to spare my camera the water damage and not go hunting for the wet models in the streets, but I could not resist this shot:

Or this:

Living close to the ground in a crowded neighbourhood, you are on display. 
(sign reads) I'm sorry, did you have the peep-soup?

12 August 2010

The great counter pressure

Back in 2001 when our present hostile-to-creativity-and-all-things-not-fitting-into-squares government got elected, I was seated at a dinner of movie makers, you know the idealistic kind, newly bred and aching to make a difference in the world of documentary filming. In the quire of opposers of evil, I dared suggest that in view of history, the pressure would only encourage a creative counter pressure, and that it in the long run could prove fruitful. Not a popular thing to say, the party never really took off for me after that. But I dare say that I was right. The Danish documentary scene has never been stronger, harvesting well deserved nominations and awards from the picky likes of Sundance (I love you Robert Redford, I do!), Oscar and The Golden Palms. To name a few: Burma VJ, Armadillo, Ghosts of Cité SoleilMy Grandfathers Murderer and The Red Chapel.

And it goes for every pressure applied. The "smoking is going to rip your guts out" campaigns has launched quite a few counter attacks worth another look (remember this one?). And when something becomes fashionable, there is always someone pulling in the opposite direction. I love it when we don't agree, amicably, creatively and if possible with that twisted sense of humor.

Buy your own cigarettes.

If you smoke during pregnancy, you must remember to smoke for two.

Fixie bikes are gaining territory. I am not opposed to anything that comes in this color combination.

But some feel strongly against them... F*ck fixie, drive the maxi

11 August 2010

A Scandinavian delight

Copenhagen is so close to Sweden that it is easy to forget that you are crossing a border. A 35 minute train ride takes you from the centre of Copenhagen to the centre of Malmö, and once you get there everything is not only cheaper but also in a subtle way different. Understanding the language is not too difficult to anyone who worshipped Pippi Longstocking and Emil on Swedish TV from an early age. But the Swedes will look at you like a deer caught in the headlights if you start speaking Danish, ours really must be a frightening language to a foreigner.

But fortunately some still manage to break down the barriers. The other day I came across a Danish/Swedish wedding reception held in the public park Orstedsparken. The wedding mobile, a white Christiania cargo bike, was decorated with the mandatory "licence plate" and white tulle. I am not a wedding crier, but I have a feeling I would have made an exception at this one.

Nygifta / just married

10 August 2010

Wonderful Copenhagen

One of the most famous prints in the history of Danish posters is the one by Viggo Vagnby of a duck family crossing the street. A masterpiece from 1959 entitled "Wonderful Copenhagen". But by 1985 nobody thought much of it anymore. It was regarded so low as to be used for wrapping paper, to protect the fancy prints shipped to a poster competition in England. But by a mistake the "wrapping paper" was entered into the competition, and it ended up winning the whole thing. And this is how the print is still available today. And perhaps why the linen backed originals are selling for as much as $550. Uuh, I really want one...

Wonderful Copenhagen by Viggo Vagnby (1896-1966)

And then I spotted this one in a window the other day. A twist on the classic, hinting at the shameful way protesters were treated as the Scoundrel Bill was enforced during the COP15 climate talks. Nothing says it like a good poster.

Wonderful Cop-enhagen by Camilla Brodersen

08 August 2010

Now and then

For some reason I find "now and then" pictures endlessly fascinating. It can be of people I don't even know, of landscapes, or perhaps best of all of Copenhagen. Years of hunting on Ebay has taught me where and how to catch my prey, and that does not change much whether that is a dress or a good book. Then of course it may just be that I am the nerd of all times, and that this fantastic book I got my hands on would have been mine even if the seller had not misspelled the title. In any case this large magazine-like book came to me all the way from The Americas, packed with sepia toned pictures of "Copenhagen now and then". And much to my surprise "now" turned out to be 1938.

(insert happy dance here)

Here is the text below the first and oldest picture (written in 1938): 50 year old aerial photos is a rarity. This one is taken from an air balloon dispatched from Tivoli during the great Exhibition 1888. The pictures show a terrain now radically changed. In the foreground, at the bottom of the picture is Rudolph Bergs Hospital (from 1886), and behind it the docks. On the other side of Kalvebodstrand the open spaces of Amager. The road on the right leading to Havnekajen is now called Bernstorffsgade.

And the slightly abbreviated text for the "1938-now": The view 1938 taken from a plane shows the same terrain as the other picture. The hospital and Kalvebodstrand is the only two remaining unchanged. On the right side of Rudolph Berghs Hospital you find the Postal Headquarters, and at the right of that is the railroad terrain leading to the Central Station. Between Rudolph Berghs Hospital and Kalvebodstrand you see the Police Headquarters (with the rounded open yard). The building to the left in the front is Glyptoteket. The trees in the very front grows in Tivoli. On the Amager side the Islands Brygge quarter is taking shape, and the waterside has been trimmed with stone.

(Click on the pictures to view them larger)

I am surprised how far Copenhagen has come on such a relatively short time. At the time of the earliest picture, HC Andersen was already dead, meaning his Copenhagen was a lot different than I first imagined.  And in a way, so is mine.