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Writers of Iceland

Fascinating story on BBC about how one in 10 Icelanders will publish a book.

“This island nation of just over 300,000 people has more writers, more books published and more books read, per head, than anywhere else in the world.”


Women of Iceland

The 2008 economic crisis got Iceland on photographer Gabrielle Motola‘s radar. Iceland nationalised three of their biggest banks and elected a female prime minister in 2009. The country ranks number one in the world in gender equality and this collection of 20 images consists of portraits of women in business, education, technology and the arts.

Women of Iceland is at the Olympus Image Space, Loading Bay Gallery (Dray Walk, Old Truman Brewery, E1 6NJ) until 23rd September 2013.

100% Norway

100% Norway is already celebrating its 10th anniversary. Today was my first experience though. Just sort of stumbled upon it while I was wandering around Brick Lane. It’s on til 22nd September, so pop in. It’s free.

I loved Kristine Bjaadal’s Svake cup and Philipp von Hase’s Spire ‘plantable‘.

Dray Walk Gallery, off Brick Lane/Hanbury Street. Saturday 10am – 8pm, Sunday 11am – 6pm.

photo (6)

2013 BFI London Film Festival

My programme for the London Film Festival has arrived. I’ve been paging through it and have made lots of little ticks next to the films that look interesting. I’ve also made a note of the Scandi-made films, some of which might be quite tricky to see in the UK outside the festival, so you might want to check them out if you’re in London from 9-20 October.

We Are the Best! (Vi Är Bäst!)

Three Stockholm teenagers start a punk band in the early 80’s. Directed by Lukas Moodysson. Check out the trailer. Looks like fun coming of age stuff.


Ok, so this is actually Polish, but it’s listed as a Danish co-production. It’s all black and white and looks proper artsy. But actually seems quite interesting. Directed by UK-based Pawel Pawlikowski and described as “an elegy for his homeland and an intimate, poetic exploration of the limits of faith.”

Aatsink: The Story of Arctic Cowboys

Do you even need a synopsis for this? How can you not want to see a film about arctic cowboys? Just me then? Ok.

Must Have Been Love (En som deg)

Roxette have made a movie! Well, no. But I have an earworm and now so do you. It’s actually about Finnish Kaisa who meets Norwegian Jacob while holidaying in Istanbul. And then she takes a job in Oslo and meets someone a lot like Jacob. So there will probably be a fair bit of chatting in English.  An arthouse movie without subtitles! Well, actually the arctic cowboys don’t seem particularly chatty so you can probably minimise your reading time if you see both of these films on the same day.

The Sarnos – a Life in Dirty Pictures

I know nothing about the Sarnos, but they seem like a very interesting couple indeed. So interesting that Wiktor Eriksoon has made a documentary about  sexploitation film maker Joe and his wife and collaborator Peggy.

You Took a Child and You Made Them Old

Eight short films including Daimi (Denmark) and Animals I Killed Last Summer (Sweden). A trailer for a 19min film seems odd to me, but here’s one for Daimi.


Now this I’m really excited about! Some stunning scenery with very high production values. Only to be expected from Norway’s most expensive film I guess. Also nominated for best foreign language Oscar in 2012. Should be epic.

Northwest (Nordvest)

Casper the talented burglar lives in the Nordvest suburb of Copenhagen. According to the synopsis in the BFI programme: “What could be a predictable genre tale is elevated far above the ordinary by director Noer’s fresh script and restrained approach, and by Gustav Dyekjaer Giese’s natural and powerful performance.” Sounds like it’s worth watching then.

Pioneer (Pionér)

What looks like an action packed suspense thriller – there were some explosions in the trailer – with Aksel Hennie (Headhunters) as a professional deep sea diver.

Nine Lives (Ni liv)

Another Oscar-nominated film from Norway. Arne Skouen’s 1957  film is about World War II resistance hero Jan Baalsrud’s trek across Norway’s glaciers towards neutral Sweden, pursued by German soldiers. I don’t think they had trailers in 1957, but somebody’s put up a clip on youtube.


Shy 12-year-old Pelle is bitten by a genetically modified ant and uses his new powers to fight crime. Looks like loads of fun.

That’s it. I think I got them all.

The Killing – a second chance

So last night I’m going through Netflix trying to decide what to watch – the tyranny of choice. I see there are new episodes of The Killing. I tried watching this when it first came out, but Forbrydelsen was still too fresh in my head. I was focusing too much on what they’d changed, how the actors were different. It felt too much like everything was just moved. I didn’t get through more than the first couple of episodes.

This time round I feel straight away like I’m watching an American show. I’m not seeing Danish faces every time they introduce a new character – mostly because I’ve forgotten what a lot of them look like. I don’t think about how specific scenes looked in Forbrydelsen versus how they look in The Killing. I am in Seattle (well, mostly Vancouver). It’s a little bit easier to get caught up with the characters when you’re not constantly comparing them to those from the source material.

Also, the cinematography is amazing. And not having to read subtitles means you can really take it all in. It’s beautifully shot.

However not having to read subtitles does also mean that all the red herrings and fake outs are a little bit more annoying. But that could also just be because I’ve seen so much of it before!

I’m only five episodes into the first season, so there’s plenty of time for me to change my mind again. But here’s hoping.

Claire Aho: Studio Works

I made one of my far too rare trips to the Photographers’ Gallery in Soho recently and caught an exhibition of advertising, editorial, reportage and fashion images spanning Finnish photographer Clare Aho’s career from 1950 to 1970. The exhibition closes this weekend on July 21, 2013 so its your last chance to get up close and personal with this fragment in time.

The Photographer’s Gallery

16-18 Ramillies Street, London W1F 7LW

Scandinavian Kitchen in July

I got a little reminder to get back to watching Vikings on my last trip to ScandiKitchen earlier this week. Lovely flat white to go along with my cured salmon sandwich, which included a slice of lemon - rind and all.I got a little reminder to get back to watching Vikings on my last trip to Scandinavian Kitchen earlier this week. Their Viking of the Month is Ragnar Shaggy-Breeches.

Lovely flat white to go along with my cured salmon sandwich, which included a slice of lemon – rind and all.

Scandinavian Kitchen
61 Great Titchfield Street

Daughter covers Daft Punk’s Get Lucky

I love Daft Punk’s new album and have listened to it several times now from start to finish. I really like this take on Get Lucky from Daughter, a band I’ve never heard of before. I like it, but it’s nearly as sad as this video:

Congratulations Denmark!

I am slightly disappointed that Legoland doesn’t seem to be in the running as a host venue for Eurovision 2014. According to, Copenhagen and Herning (thank you wikipedia!) have announced bids.

The folks over at ESC Insight (“the Eurovision website that takes a closer look at Europe’s favourite TV show”) have made some predictions for next years show: Nine Things We Expect From Denmark and Eurovision 2014.

In case you’ve forgotten, here again for your entertainment, Only Teardrops.

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