“Monotony collapses time, novelty unfolds it”
Pfff, what a week. Or should I say “month”? I’m not sure, really. Since I moved to Copenhagen, I seem to have stepped into some sort of parallel universe where time moves slower than usual. Way slower. This apparent warp of my phsychological time makes a lot of sense, of course, particularly after reading Joshua Foer’s “Moonwalking with Einstein.” In the book, Joshua talks about his friend Ed’s quest to expand subjective time by trying to remember more, and the logic behind his theory, that “the more we pack our lives with memories, the slower time seems to fly”, comes to explain why the tempo at which I have experienced time’s passage over the last couple months seems to have lagged.
So much has happened over the last few weeks, so many life experiences have been gathered, that my network of chronological memories has been packed to the point in which it makes time magically expand. And that’s a good thing. For starters, I went on a ski trip to the Italian Alps, one in which my plan right from the beginning was not to ski at all. I know it sounds counterintuitive at first, some people might even say it’s plain stupid, but let me just ask you something: Have you ever spent 4 days in a wooden hut at 2200m with nothing else to do but sitting in front of an amazing snow-covered mountain, drinking fine coffee, eating wonderful homemade cake, reading a book during the day and getting totally drunk at night? Well, I have and I can assure you it’s one of the best things you could ever do in your life.
I knew this trip was going to be very special the moment I stepped into that little hut and found a charming blue-eyed italian girl behind the bar and Led Zeppelin blasting through the speakers. I rolled down my jacket’s zipper to reveal my Zeppelin t-shirt, smiled at her and said: “I like this place already.” She smiled back, and so did her friends sitting at a table next to me. Five minutes later, we were all having cake and drinking hot wine. It was fantastic. While I was on the Alps, I also realised how rare it’s to find myself with an blank to-do list. No e-mails to reply, no dirty clothes to wash, no dinner to cook, no series to catch up with, no bus to get on to go to work, no meetings to attend, no food to buy at the grocery shop, no calls to make, nothing. I could only handwrite, read, eat, drink and walk around the few places I could get to on foot, which were not many in case you were wondering. Every day I would wake up, look through the window and stare in awe at that magnificent mountain that stood firmly just a few meters away, reminding me I was nothing but a tiny particle in the universe. Very humbling.
Then I would step outside and sit there for hours, just gazing at the landscape, lost in my own thoughts. The air was fresh, the sound of the breeze was soothing and the whiteness of it all was beautiful. It was the calm before the storm, and by storm I mean twenty lunatics dancing and drinking like there was no tomorrow. I kid you not, I think I have never mixed so many drinks in one night as I did when I was in that place. A regular evening would start with red wine, followed by hot wine with cinnamon and some other spices, then bombardinos (a yellow-looking hot shot covered in whipped cream), and then pretty much whatever we could find. Rum, vodka, beer, tequila, you name it. We were out of control.
Fast forward a few days and back in Denmark, looking for a new place to live. Before coming here I thought house-hunting in London was tough but I tell you, Copenhagen is a fucking nightmare. There’s just too many people looking for places and very few people renting them out. The good thing, though, is that Copenhagen is way smaller than London, so it doesn’t take ages to go from one potential home to the other, and it’s also a lot cheaper. In fact, for what I used to rent a medium-sized room in London I could easily rent a whole apartment here. That, of course, is under the overly-optimistic assumption that you actually find an apartment at all.
Anyway, after an entire month of calls, e-mails, text messages, viewings and a lot of Google Translate, I finally found a room in a small apartment that I will be sharing with a guy called Robert. Nice dude, it seems. Not only the rent is quite affordable but the place is just a short walk away from work, maybe 2 minutes away on a bike. That means I could wake up at 8:45am, have a shower, grab a bowl of cereal and still make it on time to the office. As if it wasn’t enough, I’ll be very close to Tivoli Gardens, the main train station (quite handy when you have to go to the airport early in the morning), will have a Tapas bar in the basement and one of Copenhagen’s most famous beer bars next door. There are also plenty of stripclubs, sex shops, hookers and drug dealers in the surroundings, and a social house where junkies can go shoot heroin without being disturbed by the regular passerby, but that of course is totally irrelevant.
The same week I found my soon-to-be new home, I also met up with my friend Javier, whom I hadn’t seen in 5 or 6 years, maybe more. Javier and I met up back home long time ago and although we weren’t exactly close, we always managed to keep in touch. He lives in Spain and works for Diplomatico, the greatest rum on the face of the Earth. He was in town promoting a series of events for the brand he represents, one of which really stood out: the “Copenhagen Spirits and Cocktails” After Party at The Union. For those of you who have never been there, picture a place with no sign outside; just a black, locked door on a quiet street. You knock on the door and a man on a black suit lets you in. You walk through a narrow corridor, down some stairs and voilá: you’re surrounded by dozens of crazy drunk blonde girls, some random dudes, cheerful bartenders making cocktails, and 3 latin-looking curvy women, half naked, dancing on top of the bar. A little piece of Paradise in the heart of Copenhagen.
It was my first time at The Union and I remember thinking, over and over again for about 15 minutes: “why the hell did I wait SO LONG to come to this place?” If I could have kicked myself in the nuts, I totally would have. Once I overcame the initial shock, I went to say hi to Javier at the bar and seconds after, Leszek, a really nice guy Javier had introduced me to days before, and who happens to be one of The Union’s bartenders, greeted me with a glass of some tasteful punch. We soon were joined by Geoffrey, a cool dude that also works there, who looked after me and made sure to introduce me to some lovely people that night.
From that point onwards, everything is a bit blurry but I do remember dancing reggaeton with a girl that at some point took her shirt off and started waving it in the air. I remember falling down some stairs on my way from the bathroom, too. A decent bruise on my back and another on my right butt cheek reminded me about it the morning after. It was all good fun but looking back, maybe staying at the bar until 5am knowing I had to go to work the next day wasn’t very reasonable. But then again, mental analysis has never been my forte.
Two days later I was sitting at Charlie Scotts, a lovely little jazz venue, watching a Danish band called Jazz Five. My friend Monika had invited me and I’m so glad she did, it was very fun to see these guys play while the audience danced around them; old ladies, little kids and everyone in between, they were all bursting with joy. It was contagious.
Skip a few days I spent at home giving my liver a rest, and so we arrive to the first Tuesday of April, one which started way earlier than usual, with me waking up at 4am for no reason at all. Just what you need when you’re going back to work after a long Easter holiday. Luckly for me, there is plenty to look forward to this week: I have decided to start looking for a bike, I’m signing up at the gym, took up the challenge to read at least one book a month and… and… and…
THE EELS ARE PLAYING COPENHAGEN ON SATURDAY!
(wish I could make this blink and change colours and have fireworks coming out of it).
Look God, I’m very happy time is going by so slow, I’m really having fun, but please make Saturday come soon. I can’t wait to see these guys.