I have since October 2011 volunteered in the making of a short documentary/drama about 80′s Islington. I had it recommended from a teacher at uni, and it immediately caught my interest. The small theatre company Blueprint Theatre received funding from the national lottery, and decided to use the money to create a film involving their local area, and giving young volunteers a chance to take part in every step of the process.
We have been through interview technique training, scriptwriting, a film workshop with production company Mouth That Roars, interviews with local residents, research on the 80′s in Islington, and of course filming on locations with director Carlo Ortu and his crew. It has been a great experience, and definitely very interesting to see how a film is made completely from scratch, and being part of the creative process from start to finish.
Monday the 25th of June was the day of the premiere. The film was screened at Angel’s everyman cinema “Screen on the Green” to a large audience sipping cold white wine, and getting a peak into how life was in Islington in the 80′s, packed into a story-line of the missing Toni Sling (anagram of Islington), and the urban myth about her disappearing.
And should any of you be interested in seeing the film (I feature very shortly, walking away from the camera with a red bag, and on the end credits), you can see it here, from the end of June (It should be up later today) The Blueprint Theatre.
Please also do yourself the favour and check out Carlo Ortu’s short film “Last Man on Earth” – it is definitely worth a few minutes of your time.<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/25231263″>The Last Man On Earth (2011)</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/carloortu”>carlo ortu</a> on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>
I grew up in Denmark, but have lived in London since April 2007. Although I by now feel very much at home here, and very used to the English way of life, there are still differences that spring to mind. Obviously there are the major differences, such as politics etc., but I have for long been wanting to make a list over the more everyday differences I have noticed since I came here. Get ready for stereotyping (with a smile).
This one is probably pretty obvious. The national English fry up is still a struggle for me. I mean, sausages, baked beans, eggs and -horror of horrors- mushrooms, at the crack of dawn. Yikes. If I’ve been up for a few hours I can perhaps deal with it, but on a much smaller scale than any proper Englishman. I don’t think I will ever learn it. The reason for this might be that I pretty much grew up on cold porridge with sugar and raisins. In Denmark kids are told that it will make them grow “big and strong”, just as rye-bread will. A typical cafe-brunch in Denmark would probably consist of yoghurt with muesli, scrambled eggs, bacon and fresh fruit. Slightly English inspired after all, but not quite as hardcore. I do know that most English won’t have a fry-up every morning, but I have a feeling that eggs are a must for many English. A traditionally Danish breakfast will involve a shot of sticky brown alcohol called ‘Gammel Dansk’ (Old Danish). Cheers!
If you counted all the words a mediocre Dane say in a day, and compare them to how many words an English (or possibly any other given european country to be honest) say in a day, I reckon the dane will only speak about half the amount of the English. Danes generally don’t say anything unless they actually have something important to say. We are good at talking about the weather though, just like the English, but that is about as far as small-talk will go. After that we just stand there and wait for the next important thing we want to say. The Danish philosophy seems to be that if you don’t have anything to say, why talk? If we do find ourselves being caught in awkward silence (Mostly only around people we have just met), a small ‘Mmmmm’ as conversation filler will be sufficient.
3. ‘Please’ and ‘Excuse me’
-Is not really existing in the Danish language. Since I’ve come to England I find myself feeling extremely rude whenever I go to Denmark, as there is no Danish word for please. So, if a Dane go to a shop and wants to buy a bottle of wine, the sentence would be “Can I have a bottle of wine?” and not “Can I have a bottle of wine, please?”. I realise this might make us seem rude, but we’re not really. We are just missing a word. ‘Excuse me’ is used slightly more, but it is not one of our preferred phrases, as it seems to be for the English (at least Londoners).
4. Going out
In England, as far as I know, going out mostly mean going to the pub or a bar. sometimes straight after work, or perhaps after dinner. Quite early, meaning that the English can also leave quite early and be home and to bed at a reasonable time (preferably catching the last tube around midnight). In Denmark, the night will often start with a ‘warm-up’ party. Meaning ‘get as drunk as possible, to save money once you go out’. Considering that a pint of beer can reach £6 in Denmark in some nightclubs, this seems reasonable. If you can find a pub in Denmark, it will often be used by locals and regulars only, and the regular dane won’t go there. If they want a drink earlier in the evening the choice is often a cafe-bar sorta place. Nightclubs (of which some are branded ‘pubs’ normally don’t open until 11pm, and they won’t be busy until 1am. On the other hand they probably won’t close until 7am, when the hardcore party goers will go to ‘morning-bars’ where you can get a drink while having breakfast before going home to bed while the sun is coming up.
Okay, this one is random, but it must be mentioned. An English hotdog normally consists of bread, a sausage and soft fried onions. The end. A Danish hotdog consists of bread, sausage, ketchup mustard, remoulade, fresh onions, crispy fried onions and pickles in a neat line on the top. Needless to say I was pretty disappointed when I had my first english hotdog. The place they are sold varies too. English hotdogs are mostly (In London anyway) sold at small street stalls. Danish hotdogs are sold on the street too, but from a so-called ‘sausage-wagon’. Yup. It’s like a small trailer that can be moved around, and where the ‘sausage-man’ (that’s what we call them in Danish, freely translated) can stand inside and serve his customers.
One thing English and Danes do have in common though, is the belief that if our respective countries didn’t exist…. the world would probably collapse.
After having finished exams, all you really want is to kick back and forget all about them for a while. A trip to Denmark was therefore much welcomed, even if I have seen it all several times before. I took an English-man with me, and it was great fun showing him around and seeing his reactions to “disgusting fish” (herring, which for the record, I can understand that non-danish people find really weird), Danish style bbq’s, tivoli, and loads of new people.
Despite a rocky start and a 3am wake-up call to catch a coach to Stansted, we made it to Vejle, where my dad met us in the airport. Quick drive to my dad’s little farm in the middle of nowhere (apart from fields and forests) and a quick danish breakfast (meaning rolls with cheese, jam, butter, etc.) followed by a much needed nap.
The next few days were spend taking the dog Buster for walks, visiting Vejle and the surrounding areas, some driving (yay!), going to the seaside, seeing my mothers newly bought boat (which she still can’t sail), avoiding awkward questions (my parents are pros), and eating lots of great food, cake, and drinking Tuborg. Not bad, hey?
Saturday we spend the day at my uncles 60th, with bbq, loads (!!) of cake, red wine and beer non-stop, and of course the Denmark – Netherlands match. What is it with people, who normally have no interest what so ever in football, suddenly becoming experts as soon as the national team is playing? Can’t imagine how it must be to be a non-danish speaking person at a danish birthday party, but as the day progressed and bottles of wine emptied one by one, more and more
questionable English was spoken. We went home feeling absolutely stuffed to the max, and probably quite a bit heavier.
The day after the Danish adventure moved to Copenhagen for a few days in the capital. It was a great time and the weather decided to treat us with some sunshine. I might be biased, but I find Copenhagen pretty amazing. I have never lived there myself, but if I was ever to move back to Denmark at some point, this would probably be the place I would go. Although being quite a big city (1.5 million) it is pretty relaxed. People sipping beers or coffee outside cafes, loads of bicycles and fewer cars, broad streets and fresh air, lots of canals and the sea nearby. What’s not to love? We spend the days seeing a few of my danish friends, touristing around, saying hi to the Mermaid, laying in a park watching the skies float by, walking around the streets, eating ice creams, and of course tivoli. Could easily have spend a few more days, but we’ll just have to return again sometime.