Another "Denmark is happy"

This time from the bbc who unsurprisingly do not examine the “They say they are happy because they are on antidepressants” or “They say they are happy because the unhappy ones have killed themselves” or “They say they are happy because they have very low expectations” lines.

No, instead he says it is because of the services received from a very high level of tax and the level of “social cohesion”.
What a coincidence! Those same things are what make me *unhappy* here.

The Library

I have no idea what kept me from the library so long. I think it was because I wanted to ask if I could join *in Danish* and yesterday I decided I had no chance of even saying it properly so I asked in English.

Today, I picked up my first reserved book and made the librarian smile to himself. And you know what, it is the Danish translation of A Fugitive Crosses His Tracks which means I will not accidentally learn Norwegian.
The librarian was right to smile. Someone who said she had a reservation in a thick English accent has just borrowed the book about Jante’s Laws. I would be interested to know how many people who have lectured me about how modest Danes are *because* of these satirical made-up story rules have actually read the book. If everyone has read it, that would certainly explain why it is out of print and the library only had one copy in the neighbouring town.

I also got a book about aquariums. My entire reproductive tract is reminding me that I still have not reproduced at least half of my DNA and will I get on with it already. As most men are actually frightened by a woman who says “so, have you thought about starting a family” (I have never done this, I just had a deep and meaningful on a first date when it was obvious we did not fancy each other and we just had a nice cathartic rant about shit dates we had gone on), it is going to be a while before little Kellies spring forth from my loins. Especially since I have a great thing going here and I cannot believe I would compromise it for some guy anyway.

Oh yeah, aquariums. I am allowed birds or fish. There are rules about how big the cage/tank can be. I would like a bird but I have never raised a bird before and would like a (ho ho) dry run with a fish before I become a pet owner again.

I borrowed a book about aquariums, fully expecting to have to read it in Danish but they had *at least* two English language books and not in the Immigrants’ Library neither.

The thing is, I would be happy to have a little tank with a couple of goldfish but my local pet store has masser af other types of fish. It would be nice to know if any of them are low maintenance but, you know, prettier than goldfish.

On Friday, I am getting a dining table, some chairs and a little book shelf. It might be nice to have an aquarium shelf or something. Then I can pour all this “I NEED TO CARE FOR LITTLE HELPLESS BEINGS” into something less stressful.

I am really really trying here

Part of Projekt Dejlig is to improve my Danish skills. I have decided to listen to Danish radio stations (and view other Danish media) and I tried Modern Rock which was fine and then my local radio station, trying to find a favourite.

I am really really trying here.

They asked Pia K what *she* wanted to listen to. On the local radio station. What the Hell is wrong with this country? (It was Bob Dylan)

Off to collect ‘En flygtning krydser sitt spor’ at the library.

Projekt Dejlig

Or

I Might As Well While I Am Here

A fear occurred to me recently, that I might leave Denmark and never really feel like I gave it a try. Sure, I loved it in the beginning: the clean beaches, the well motivated students, the sheer adventure of starting somewhere else.

As soon as I started noticing the mismatch between the hype and the reality, I got really pissed off and withdrew from it all. All the sugared cabbage and the dancing around Christmas trees.

Of course, in the UK, there are huge problems in terms of Islamophobia, immigration-hate and rudeness (and my solution was to leave), but it does not stop me from watching English language programmes and eating British food.

Today, I made some purchases (and caught up with a friend from Sprogskole on the street: Hi Steve!) to help me really experience Denmark. Really really experience it. So, if I leave I can think “I really really tried, I really did”. And who knows, it might be enough to keep me interested.

I joined the library and ordered “En Flyktning krysser sitt Spor” which for some reason is out of print everywhere (it is the book that satirised Scandy mediocrity with “Jante’s Laws”). It is in Norwegian but how that is going to make any difference, we will see. The lady at the library signing me up handed me a “Loan Guide” and said apologetically “It is in Danish” and I said “Oh, I can read Danish, just can’t speak it” and she gave me the biggest smile. Not even a “fuck you” smile, a “oh wow, that makes me so proud” sort of one. Or maybe “phew, I knew we didn’t need to get them translated”.

I bought Danish to Danish dictionaries. This is harder than you might expect. In the UK, there are entire shelves heaving with English to English and I managed to get a really good French one back on a French exchange back in the day which I still have. Denmark seems to have a thing for not putting dictionaries in pocket form. In fact, the one I got is a two-volume effort but it has etymologies and I am a sucker for those. It was the only one really, there was a pocket one but it was high up and not on sale. They even have crossword dictionary and synonym dictionaries (is that another name for thesaurus?)

Then I got Illustrated Videnskab which is a bloody rip off at 62 kr but has some interesting science news and occasionally I use it in my teaching.

Also, Fotex had a bit of a sale on for DVDs and I got Clovn because it looks like it might be funny. There are comedy shows on the dr.dk website and I might check those out but they just do not even look funny.

Now, I am off to the clean beach to see if the water is fit for paddling.

Back from Roskilde

One of my fave bloggers did a Glasto round up and I was all “skip to the end”… So.

The bands were very very good. I might blog more about that later.
The weather was very very hot (best weather in 33 years) and now it is pissing it down.
The camps smelled of pee.
My friend Ken is really cool to camp with and see gigs. Also we recorded a single together, free in the recording studio. He wrote it with no access to a guitar and we rehearsed in our 45 min slot. It is p. good.
I got called “a fucking whore” for refusing to be pushed out of the way after a concert.
I saw three films and a circus act.
I caught a summer cold.
I ate very delicious food.
Two men (independently of each other but at the same gig) pissed on me. They had waited a long time to get in the mosh pit and could not wait any longer. The first one got it on my arm and then just kept shooting a shit eating grin at me, as if it passed for flirting.
The second (Jonas from Cop Camp) was less lucky as he also got some Americans who were only there for the day (the plan had been to get to Berlin but they came to Roskilde instead), Paul and Nick went fucking ballistic and I averted an international situation by saying

“There are minimum standards of decency in public.” Uhuh…
“and IN DENMARK~ we do not piss on other people…” yeah, you’re right.
“So, Jonas, can you see how it would be a compromise if you moved a couple of feet to the left, away from us?”

While Nick and Paul played bad-cop by saying “I AM GOING TO CHARGE THIS GUY, HE JUST PISSED ALL OVER YOU.”

So, Jonas and his friends moved away.

Later in the week, in fact on the last evening, a man said “can you help me?” and when I said “what do you need?” he collapsed and said he was having an anxiety attack so Ken and I got him to safety.

Another guy collapsed in the Arena before Glasvegas and I woke him up paramedic style by kicking his shoes. Amusing how no one around him thought it was amiss.
“Is this your friend?” No.
“Did you see him fall down?” Uh. I think he’s sleeping.
“Yes, but there is a time and a place…”

I spoke Danish where I could and 25% of the time I was replied to in English. Maybe 5% of the time I was not understood at all. The best one where I was not understood was when I asked for Tuborg. I pointed at everything in the whole tent with the word on it and he still did not get it. And of course, he coached me in how to say it correctly and it was indistinguishable from the way I had said it.

Swedish people speak to Danes in English (and vice versa), this is very odd because I could understand the gist of the Swedish so why can’t Danes (and vice versa).

My favourite band were Madness, followed by the Deadly Gentlemen but Coldplay rocked my socks.