Monthly Archives: November 2014

November 27

A few things have happened lately:

a) Kat signed up for a gym membership and actually managed to go! Hurrah. We went yesterday and did a bit of cardio on the exercise bikes and then messed about a few machines. It was a very short workout but good enough to get Kat started. She’s not particularly thrilled about it but she’s approaching it the right way and once we start hanging out with Carlos and Marisa, she might enjoy it a bit more.

b) We have been catching up with season 4 of Homeland and it’s been nerve-wracking, especially the last couple of episodes. I have to admit, after season 3 I thought there was no way the series could successfully move forward without Brody but fucking hell, they sure found a way to keep things rolling. Considering Saul is probably the person Carrie has been closest to in the entire series, it makes complete sense for them to focus the plot around them.

Can’t wait to see how it ends, can you?

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November 21

Kat started her Spanish classes yesterday and it seems I will be starting my Danish classes next month, which is both exciting and scary. It’s been almost two years since I moved to Denmark and during that time I always avoided the subject, partly because I wasn’t particularly thrilled about the idea of spending almost three hours in a classroom after a long day of work, but I refused to sign up for Danish classes mostly because I was terrified by the possibility of embarrassing myself in public.

I know it’s stupid, especially considering everyone taking up those classes is probably in the same situation as me, but the truth is that I find group learning terribly intimidating. It makes me feel vulnerable and anxious. Add to that the fact that you don’t really need to speak Danish to get by in Copenhagen and you have the perfect excuse to avoid learning the language all together. I just didn’t see the point in doing it.

In fact, when I first came Denmark, I wasn’t planning to stay and I saw my time here as a transition phase; a convenient time-off to get some money, travel and reorganize my strategy in order to find my way back to London. But then I met Kat and everything changed. Suddenly, Denmark stopped being a back-up plan and became the plan, and although that means giving up on the idea of moving back to England and work in a big advertising agency, it also represents the start of a new stage of my life I’m really looking forward to. If I’m entirely honest, so far the trade off seems totally worth it.

The only downside to it is, of course, that I can’t postpone these bloody Danish classes anymore and will need to find a way to get my body to produce those impossible guttural scandinavian sounds; anatomically, I know my throat has everything it needs to pronounce every single Danish word there is, I just can’t figure out the way to do it. Once I get started with my classes, I suspect I will hate every minute spent on that classroom, every homework and every awkward attempt to read out loud some illegible sentence from my textbook in front of a dozen students, but I will give it a shot and I’ll try my best.

Kat’s doing her bit, it would only be fair to do mine.

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November 19

Last Sunday, Kat and I went to see “I Kælderen,” a documentary by Ulrich Seidl showing a range of Austrian weirdoes doing crazy shit in their basements: a brass-player with a disturbing fascination with Hitler and the Nazi movement, a very odd old woman obsessed with plastic baby dolls, a shooting range owner who dreams of being an opera singer, a guy who keeps a massive snake in a glass tank, an old masochist woman who who enjoys being spanked with Toys R’ Us racquets (and with anything else, really), a guy who believes the power of his ejaculation makes prostitutes fall in love with him; and a dominatrix who keeps a big, hairy, bald naked man as her “love” slave, forcing him to lick her vagina after she pees and makes him wear 1Kg weights hanging from his testicles, among other things.

Strangely enough, some moments were actually funny but for the most part,”I Kælderen” is just plain disturbing. At some point, I found myself covering my eyes (along with half of the audience), not being able to bring myself to see that sex slave have his balls pulled up by a hook attached to a rope hanging from the ceiling while he laid flat on his back, tighten up on a table. Fucking unnerving. However, the documentary is beautifully shot and once you get past the weirdness of the characters involved, it really stands as a very well crafted piece of film.

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I signed up for gym membership on Monday and actually managed to go yesterday after work, which is an accomplishment in itself. I only did 30 minutes of cardio but nevermind that, I went to the gym! I normally don’t like gymnasiums, they are smelly and noisy and full of people that seem to be more concerned about which pose to strike in front of the mirror than actually getting any exercise done but this gym I have signed up for is different, or at least it seemed like it yesterday. It was still smelly, yes, but there wasn’t any loud techno music, no muscular guys screaming every time they lift a weight and in general, people were focused on their training routines. I liked that.

The idea is to go with my friend Carlos (who seem to be obsessed with exercising these days) two or three times a week, mostly to work on my physiotherapy but also to do some cardio and maybe, just maybe, work on my core a little bit. We’ll see about that.

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November 14

Kat and I went yesterday to see “Messi,” a fantastic film by Álex de la Iglesia documenting Lionel’s life from childhood to international stardom. I must admit, I’m not a Messi fan and I don’t follow football that much these days but I’m so glad Kat took me to see the documentary because I really, really enjoyed. What I liked the most about “Messi” was the format: a mix of testimonials, reenactments of some of Lionel’s crucial moments, rare footage and live action sequences, all nicely put together to tell one hell of a story.

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I particularly liked the idea of getting Messi’s childhood friends, school teachers, teammates, technical directors, trainers and some biographers and journalists, all together in one dining room, to share stories and opinions about Lionel. That and a funny quote from one of the journalists, I think, who put in perspective the usual comparison between Maradona and Messi by saying something like: “Messi is the Argentinian we (Argentinians) all would like to be, and Maradona is just the Argentinian that we are.” I thought that was brilliant.

Off tonight to see “Super Duper Alice Cooper” (recommended by one of my co-workers who is a big Alice Cooper fan) and then possibly to get some drinks with my friend Carlos, who’s having his graduation dinner tonight and just texted me saying he is in the mood to get drunk. Oh, kids these days, they all just want to get wasted…

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November 10

Things are shaking up a bit. It’s mostly work-related stuff and I’m probably overreacting to it but it still makes me anxious and puts my brain in overdrive. I hate when that happens.

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Kat and I went to see three films during the first week of CPH:DOX and I have to say, most of them were very disappointing, especially one entitled “iPhoneChina”, which had a rather interesting premise: If Apple were a state, would you rather want to live in Apple or in China? I was curious to find out how the filmmaker had decided to develop that idea and what I found was a slightly pretentious film that feels as if the director went to China on holidays, shot a lot of handheld video, then came back home and decided to put together a raw film that points out a few observations (some of them quite obvious) but was too lazy to explore them further. As the film progressed, I just kept asking myself: when is this techno-futuristic bollocks going to end?

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After the movie, we met up with Carlos and Marisa for drinks at Lidkoeb, a really cool bar in Vesterbro, which was actually one of the first bars I visited when I moved to Copenhagen. We had a few cocktails and decided to go home around midnight, not before making a quick stop at 7Eleven to get baby bites, a wonderful sausage roll with ketchup, which is probably one of Denmark’s greatest inventions.

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Oh, and over the weekend we also saw “Jimi: All is by my side”, the Jimi Hendrix biopic, which turned out to be quite nice; Andre 3000 totally smashed it and brilliantly captured Hendrix’s charm and coolness through a very convincing performance. The movie has its flaws and if you are a hardcore fan, you will probably find it a bit frustrating, but overall, it was very entertaining.

Now, allow me to drastically change subject and draw your attention to this:

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I might be wrong but I’m pretty sure that a bicycle helmet loses some of its protective properties when worn on top of a thick furry hat. What’s more disconcerting is the fact that there was NO BIKE! That’s right, this was just someone waiting for the bus on a sunny autumn day. Makes no fucking sense.

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November 6

Kat and I went to see St. Vincent last night at VEGA, a beautiful venue with a fantastic sound. I had seen the band playing a couple of times before, once in London back in 2011 and this year at Primavera Sound, so I thought I knew what to expect from Annie Clark and company but last night’s set took my by surprise; no bass player, loads of synths and plenty of loud distorted guitar solos.

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Compared to that show I saw at the Queen Elizabeth Hall a few years ago, St. Vincent has evolved its sound significantly and it seems to me they are going to follow on the steps of bands like EELS, who shake things up every time they go on tour, making you wonder how the hell are they going to sound next. However, as much as I like creative evolution and experimentation, I must admit I like St. Vincent early musical style better. Take “Marrow”, for example. Compare this early version of the song:

With its newest incarnation (nevermind the rant at the beginning and the messy hair):

I don’t know about you but I’ll take the first on anytime. Still, great to have had the chance to see them live again and bonus girlfriend points to Kat for enduring an hour and a half of loud guitar solos. She went through it like a boss.

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November 4

As you can see, I’m finding it hard to keep up with the diary these days. It must be the winter. Anyway, quick recap:

Friday: started drinking wine at 3pm in the office, then headed to Mother with Kat for a celebratory dinner; my friend Carlos defended his thesis that day and we decided to treat him to some bubbles and pizza. It was lovely. After dinner, we walked to a bar on Viktoriagade for one more beer before we decided it was time to wrap it up and finally headed home. In the end, I had 3 glasses of red wine, 1 1/2 beers, 1 glass of prosecco, 1 coke, a plate of pasta and a slice of pizza. Not a bad Friday night.

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Saturday: Kat and I went shopping for present for my little niece. The original idea was to get her some tiny shoes and tiny socks but ended up getting 4 sweaters, 1 dress, 4 pairs of shoes, 6 pairs of socks, 2 trousers, a headband and Minnie Mouse ears. Oh, and I got an Apple TV. We might have gotten a bit carried away with ourselves. In the evening, Kat went to a high school reunion somewhere in town and I stayed home, watching TV. She came back home at 2:30am, a bit drunk. It was really funny.

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Sunday: Kat woke up slightly hungover so we went for a glorious breakfast at Bankeråt, then walked a bit around Østerdsparken, shopped more presents for my family and finally ran out of energy and went back home for a nap and an evening in front of the TV, watching the second episode of “Sonic Highways” and “Mission to Lars”, that documentary about a guy with Fragile X Syndrome who goes on a journey with his siblings to meet Lars Ulrich in America. It was a nice film, I just wonder if Lars and the Metallica camp would have been so helpful and friendly if they knew there wasn’t any documentary being made about it. Just a thought.

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It’s now Tuesday and I have just been to a very short interview at Studieskolen, the school in which I plan to take Danish classes; they called me in for a quick chat and to see how familiar I was with basic grammar concepts and sentence structure in English; they say the pace of the lessons in that particular school tends to be faster than the average and the always try to make sure people can keep up with it. They say they will do their best to offer me a place in the school and if everything goes well, I should be starting next week. We’ll see about that…

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