Monthly Archives: April 2015

April 20

On Saturday, Kat and I had our first anniversary. Whoa, a full year has passed since we first met… it blows my mind when I think about it because so much has happened in such short period of time that I often feel like we have been together for ages. It reminds me of what Joshua Foer wrote in Moonwalking with Einstein: “Monotony collapses time; novelty unfolds it.”

Anyway, Saturday was a fantastic day with blue skies so I cycled all the way to Sort Kaffe og Vinyl in Vesterbro to enjoy a cup of coffee in the sun and then decided to drop by Sound Station to soak up some of that joyful atmosphere they always create on Record Store Day. They really do make an effort to make everyone feel welcome. I had promised myself I wouldn’t buy anything but as soon as I started browsing through the shop’s wonderful stock of vinyls, I knew I was going to have a hard time living up to the vow of restraint I had naively taken.

Things started slowly, bagging just a couple of records: Groundhogs’ “Who Will Save The World?” (which I wanted mostly for the cover artwork) and The Band’s “The Last Waltz”, which I thought would make for a great anniversary present considering it’s one of Kat’s favourite records. I kept on looking and I kept finding stuff I liked: Spiritualized’s “Ladies and Gentlemen, We’re Floating In Space” and Radiohead’s “In Rainbows”; nothing particularly special about them, they are just records I really enjoy. At this point, I was kind of ready to leave but on my way to the counter I spotted two girls in the shop, one holding a copy of the “Singles” soundtrack and the other one with a Screaming Trees record… I knew right away there was a section of the shop I was missing. I went back to the entrance and looked around. There it was, an entire “Alternative and Heavy” selection of records I hadn’t checked when I arrived.

In hindsight, I should have walked away from it but I just couldn’t, I had to see what they had. That’s when things got a bit out of control: Soundgarden’s “Louder Than Live” white label promo, “The Day I Tried To Live” 12″ etched vinyl, and “Jesus Christ Pose” special edition 4-track etched vinyl; Iron Maiden’s “Live After Dead” (Dutch version with inner sleeves and a booklet full of my friend Ross Halfin’s photos), “The Number of the Beast” and “A Real Dead One” label promo on clear vinyl; AC/DC’s “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” and “The Razor’s Edge”; Slinth’s “Spiderland” and The Kink’s greatest hits, which I eventually got for free courtesy of the shop.

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In the end, I took home THIRTEEN records! Fucking ridiculous. I cycled home holding to full bags of vinyl hanging from my bike’s handlebar, with a big smile on my face and the wind blowing in my hair (and the bags), making my ride home slightly harder than usual. Shortly after I got home, Kat arrived with our new dining table (a red, round piece from the 60’s) and we went for a walk around Bispebjerg Kirkegård to see the cherry trees and their famous blossoms, which are probably a local trending topic on Instagram.

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I hadn’t seen them before and I have to say, the view is stunning. We got a couple of random people to take a picture of us standing under the trees, both with my phone and our Instax mini camera, and much to my surprise, the results were quite nice. We went back home, listened to some of our new records and left the house again around 5pm to go to Taller, a new restaurant in town with a menu inspired by Venezuelan gastronomy and flavours. We were a bit skeptical at first but once we finished, both Kat and I agreed it was probably one of the nicest dinners we have ever had together.

The Venezuelan influence was clearly reflected in the majority of the dishes we tried (especially the mini arepas, the guasacaca and the dessert) and the wine they paired with our 4-course menu couldn’t have been better. On top of that, the service was impeccable. We’re definitely coming back once they change the menu, we had an outstanding experience.

On Sunday, we went with Monika to Louisiana Museum to check the Richard Mosse exhibition, and to enjoy the weather. I had never been to Louisiana before and I was blown away by its beauty. It’s was so quiet and green, with a wonderful garden overlooking the sea. I don’t know why I hadn’t visited before but I will do my best to come back often, it really is an amazing place. We went through the permanent exhibitions, including the Gleaming Lights installation by Yayoi Kusama, and ended up with the Richard Mosse exhibition, which was terrific. Those photos really strike you when you see them in all their glory. Strangely beautiful considering the dark subject that inspired them.

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We ended the day at home, drinking wine and watching the EELS concert at the Royal Albert Hall, a film I had been wanting to see since I heard it was going to be released.

A great time was had by all.

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April 15

I have spent most of the last three days working on a pitch for a local charity and, although exciting as a creative challenge, the subject of the brief was very depressing. We had to address the issue of “berøringsangst,” a Danish term which, in the context of the brief, refers to the fear of talking about death; that sense of awkwardness and anxiety that sometimes prevents us from reaching out, especially to grieving children and adolescents, just because we are afraid of saying or doing the wrong thing.

Turns out that for people who are dealing with a loss, or that are fighting a serious illness, one of the hardest parts of their experience is seeing their friends and family paralysed by fear and going silent, distant and withdrawn. Contrary to what most of us believe, and as Geo eloquently explains in the video below, the worst we can do in this situations is not doing anything at all.

Pretty powerful, isn’t it? I took Geo’s talk as a starting point and from there I started delving into every article I could find on the subject, as well as academic papers and self-help books. The more I read about it, the more I became anxious about my family’s mortality, something that has always haunted me ever since I moved to Europe almost five years ago. Reading stories of really young kids who lost their parents or siblings to an illness or a violent accident was heartbreaking and disturbing, it really made me think how lucky I am and how difficult it should be to confront such situations. The thought is terrifying.

And that was the hardest thing about this brief… having to put yourself on the shoes of those kids for a second, trying to understand what it must feel like to lose your parents at a young age in order to understand how berøringsangst could be addressed. Not an easy task, I tell you. How could I possibly imagine that? No matter how much I read about it, I always felt the ideas I was coming up with were only based in loose assumptions and I don’t think I got to fully discern all the nuances and implications of the issue. It didn’t help that we only had just a couple of days to research, decode that information, conceptualize and execute, but we did our best within our limitations and although I think we could have thought our concepts through a bit more, I also know that’s just the way things are sometimes. We’ll see what happens.

On a positive note, though, I went to Roskilde during the Easter break with Kat and her Dad. It was a lovely, sunny day that we spent looking at viking ships and walking around the Roskilde Cathedral, a beautiful Gothic building where many Danish monarchs are buried and that has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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We also spent a few days in the company of little Stevey Wonderful, who brought us hot cross buns and chocolate eggs, just enough calories to keep us walking around town, showing her the city views. It was so nice to see her and I hope she can make it back to Copenhagen in August as she promised.

To top it all off, Kat gave me a Instax Mini as a present! I have been planning to get that camera for a while but she just went ahead and got it for me first so we started using it right away :)

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We now have a little box where we’re storing our photos and I’m sure it won’t be long before we need to find a bigger one…

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April 1

Busy times. Here are the last couple of weeks in review:

I got a new bicycle. Since I got my bike stolen last year, I had been trying to find a dutch-style bicycle with both front and rear hand breaks instead of pedal breaks, which I really hate. I tried every bike shop I could find but they never had what I was looking for until my friend Chris suggested me to try Hr. Velo, a local bikeshop in Frederiksberg that specializes in classic bicycles and special-bulids.

I knew their bikes were going to be more expensive but after a quick visit to their workshop, I realized it was going to be well worth the investment: Friendly staff, plenty of options and helpful advice, all coming together to assist me in the process of choosing the right parts for my shiny new bike, which they put together in less than 3 days. Flawless service.

I passed my first Danish test. Nearly three months after I started taking classes, I took a mandatory test at my language school, which I had to pass to move on to the next module. It only took 10 minutes and, although it was quite simple (5 minutes of conversation about my work and 5 minutes asking questions to my teacher about the characters in a picture from my Danish book), I’m still quite thrilled to have passed.

Just three months ago, I wouldn’t have been able to put together a simple sentence, now I can read a basic text and have a better understanding of what is being said around me. I’m far from being fluent and I still miss 90% of the conversations I hear, but I’m starting to recognize words that I was oblivious to before, and now have a vague idea of what people are talking about. I still have a long way to go but I’m moving forward.

I found an original 1994 copy of “Superunknown”. Last weekend, Kat and I went into a small record shop in Nørrebro, just to see what they had, and as it turns out, hidden somewhere between dozens of second-hand records, there was a 1994 US first pressing of Soundgarden’s “Superunknown” on orange vinyl, in excellent condition after almost 20 years. I texted my friend Ross to asked him if it was worth paying 72$ for it and he texted back saying that if it was an actual first pressing in coloured vinyl, it was definitely a bargain. So I just went ahead and bought it. I’m pretty happy I did.

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Kat and I mixed our books. Some people say this is the ultimate display of affection, even more powerful than marriage. Truth is, we didn’t think about it too much, we just thought organizing our books by colour would be a good idea and decided to go ahead with it. We set our turntable, opened a bottle of champagne and went through all of our books, building colourful piles around us while we listened to a bunch of records we had bought that same afternoon.

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We enjoyed it but it was harder than we expected; after sorting them out by colour, we realized we had to organize them by shades and then figure out how the letters on the spines of the books fit within that system. It also became evident that we have too many beige books (boring) and that we need more yellow and green in our collection. So far, we’re pretty happy with the result but let’s see how we like this idea when we want to locate a book and take us ages to find it.

I was reunited with my copy of Led Zeppelin II. When I moved to Copenhagen a couple of years ago, I had to leave some of my stuff behind and asked my ex-housemates to keep them safe for me until I could pick them up. Amongst those items was a Mexican edition of “Led Zeppelin II” (my favourite Led Zep record) on red vinyl that Jimmy Page got me as a present three years ago, at the Reading Record Fair, during an Easter break. I wrote about it here, in case you’re interested in the full story.

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Yesterday, my friend Latifa arrived from London to spend a few days with us and brought back my record, along with bags of chocolate eggs, hot cross buns, a chocolate bunny and long lasting Ibuprofen tablets. Isn’t she wonderful? I like her a lot and we’re very good friends, which is why I’m really looking forward to have her over. It makes me realize how much I miss my friends and how happy it makes me to see them.

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