The greatest site in all the land!


Going to see these guys in London tomorrow! For a fiver, so can you. Check biletto for tickets


Not even Birgitte would’ve managed this so well

Obama plugs on Between Two Ferns


Vikings in Russia

So excited about this exhibition!

British Museum blog

Eastern style axe-head Tom Williams, Project Curator: Vikings, British Museum

Scandinavians traditionally do rather well at the Winter Olympics – for perhaps obvious reasons – but their Viking ancestors would have been no stranger to some of the delights of Sochi. Skis were used and valued in the North. Earl Rognvald I of Orkney boasted that (among several other skills) he could ‘glide on skis’, and the god Ullr was also associated with skiing. In fact, he has been taken as a sort of unofficial patron of the winter ski community, whose members often wear medallions depicting the god – there would no doubt have been a good number of Ullr talismans among the skiers in Sochi.

And, while the bob-sleigh may have been unknown, sledges of various kinds are certainly known from Viking burials, including a particularly beautiful example that was found in the famous boat burial from Oseberg in Norway.

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5 Danish films to watch on Netflix UK

1. Love Is All You Need

I was very pleased when Netflix suggested I might want to watch Susanne Bier’s Love is All you Need. I missed it at the cinema, so it’s great to be able to take a break in sunny Italy on a rainy Sunday afternoon when winter seems reluctant to give way to spring.

2. A Hijacking

Next to add to  your viewing list is A Hijacking with a ‘men of Borgen’ reunion featuring Kasper, Torben and Amir.

3. A Royal Affair

Nominated for Best Foreign Language film in 2013, the second in this list where the title tells you exactly what it’s about.  But here’s the trailer anyway.

4. The Hunt

Mads follows up his appearance in the Oscar nominated A Royal Affair with a performance in another film nominated for a foreign language film Oscar. This is not easy Sunday afternoon watching.

5. Pusher

Starring Kim Bodia (Martin Rohde in The Bridge) and Mads Mikkelsen in his debut role. Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn. You can watch the British remake too. If you wish.

The Lego Movie

That’s Saturday afternoon sorted then.

Scandimania – HFW does Sweden

Finally caught up with Scandimania, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s ‘investigation’ of what makes Scandinavians so damn happy. I had no idea they were supposed to be such a jolly bunch. But then pretty much everything I know about Scandinavians is based on tv dramas,  crime novels, one Danish friend, one Norwegian friend, one Finnish colleague and a couple of city breaks.

I don’t know what percentage of Swedes have been to Ekstedt, where everything on the menu is cooked over a wood-burning fire, but that’s where HFW begins his Swedish adventure with some fiery and very expensive Nordic nosh. Just to give you an idea our completely different approach to things, my Swedish gastronomic journey kicked off at Fotografiska with this little gem of an open sandwich:


So, belly full, HFW flies to Umea and goes hunting with a local group who are assisted by an elk-loving dog equipped with a GPS collar. It’s all very hi tech and nothing like the hunting I saw in Kjell Sundvall’s Jägarna (The Hunters – available on UK Netflix). Keeping an eye on the little doggy icon on his Garmin, Hugh whispers quite earnestly to the camera in his best David Attenborough impression, “So the dog is quite close now – 125m and getting closer. And if it’s with an elk that means it could be coming within range quite soon.” It was all I could do not to fall off my chair laughing. I could almost see myself enjoying this Swedish version of hunting which seemed to mostly involve sitting around by the fire, drinking coffee and eating berries. But then somebody actually shot an elk and they did the gutting. Nothing like a steaming pile of guts to put you off this rural lark. And then Hugh cooks up the elk’s liver for the hunting party. Can we go back to the city now, please? Of course we can. Let’s go to Ikea.

I quite like the flatpack houses of Gothenburg. They go up even faster than the new builds in my part of east London. Better insulation too, I’ll bet. I’m bitterly disapppointed that he didn’t make it to Malmo. According to my Danish friend, it is home to the best falafel in Europe. But otherwise, Hugh, not bad. Not bad at all. Bring on the Danes.

Friday Tune

So James Blake won the Mercury Prize this week and @The_No_Show on Twitter suggested that if you like James Blake,  “you might also like When Saints Go Machine“. I listened to the whole album (Konkylie) on spotify and really liked it. It wasn’t until I went onto wikipedia to learn more about them that I found out my latest favourite band is Danish!

Tumble Turns

There’s only a tiny scandi link here. I’ve never been to public swimming pools there and I am trying to think of a film or episode of Wallander that features a scene in a pool, but nothing’s coming to mind. This is not necessarily a bad thing. I’ve been taking swimming lessons since the end of August and it’s all going pretty well. I would hate to recall a gruesome swimming-related murder that could dampen (heehee…sorry) my current enthusiasm.

I did however enjoy this article in the Guardian about swimming in the Oslo fjord, which is a lot colder than my local pool!

I’ve just started attempting to do tumble turns and have been hunting down videos on youtube so next time I’m in the pool I have a better idea of what it is I’m supposed to be doing.

1. I guess TheSwimTeamUSA calls them flip turns. This is my favourite video. Very clear. Step 3 is where I’m struggling at the moment. Haven’t done much dolphin kicking, my arms are all over the place and I’m struggling with twisting over onto my stomach after pushing off the wall.

2. Ok, so maybe all Americans call them flip turns. Great video for beginners like me (rather than improvers). Step by step and includes some drills.

3. This is probably the best video for me. The first half focuses on the wall push off and the drill at the end should help with the flailing arms.

4. This Speedo Pace Club tutorial video is beautifully filmed

5. I thought I should add at least one video that calls it a tumble turn!

Long read:

How heroes became heroines in Nordic noir fiction From Bitch Magazine. Interesting read on the heroines of Nordic noir

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