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Tag: Norway

Sliteseier for Solskjær at Old Trafford

Saturday, 30 March, 2019

There’s nothing like the glamour of the Premier League to brighten up the day for those who toil far from the green and pleasant fields of England. Millions of Egyptians, living in squalor and under repression, have been inspired by the deeds of Mo Salah at Liverpool FC since 2017, for example. And, in a very different climatic region, up in Kristiansund, where heavy snow showers are forecast for tonight, the 20,000 Norwegians who call it their home are warmed by the fact that a local lad has made good and is now the new manager of Manchester United. Ole Gunnar Solskjær had his official managerial debut today at Old Trafford and Verdens Gang (“The way of the world”) was keeping a close eye on the game.

Overall, the Manchester United vs. Watford match was a pedestrian affair, declared the tabloid. The Norwegian word Sliteseier can be translated as “abrasion” and, depending on circumstances, an English synonym — tedious, characterless, monotonous, unimaginative, prosaic — might be better at putting the ball in the back of the net. That said, Manchester United vs. Barcelona on 10 April in the Champions League should produce a very different headline word. Nervepirrende, perhaps.

SLITESEIER FOR SOLSKJÆRS UNITED


That Lofoten football field from above

Friday, 15 March, 2019

If you’ve got a PC, you might know that Windows Spotlight is a default feature included in Windows 10 that downloads background images automatically from Microsoft’s Bing search engine and displays them on the lock screen. One of the most popular of those images is the football field on the Lofoten Archipelago in Norway, and that famous football field appears here in the first 20 seconds of “Lofoten from Above” by the excellent Polish photographer and video maker Maciej Ławniczak.


The Russian Vozhd is the sick man of Eurasia

Friday, 16 November, 2018

Hadn’t heard of the Barents Observer, but it’s one worth bookmarking. What it does is provide “daily news reports from and about Scandinavia, Russia and the Circumpolar Arctic.” It’s also “a journalist-owned” online newspaper. Top story today: “Finland accuses Russia for disruption of GPS signals.” Quote: “Jamming of GPS signals first came known to public when the Barents Observer on November 2 could tell about pilots on a civilian passenger plane in Norway’s Troms and Finnmark region reporting about loss of satellite navigation.”

Back on 2 November, the Barents Observer did indeed publish a story about the jamming of GPS signals in the airspace between Kirkenes and Lyngen. Snippet:

“As previously reported by the Barents Observer, the Foreign Ministry brought up the question with Moscow after a similar jamming in March this year and requested Russia to halt such jamming. Last week, Deputy Director of Communication with the Foreign Ministry, Kristin Enstad, was not willing to share with the readers of Barents Observer what was said in the dialogue with Russian authorities.

Lina Lindegaard, press-officer with regional airliner Widerøe, told Barents Observer about one of their flights losing GPS signals. ‘Our chief operating officer got a report from a captain about loss of GPS signals,’ Lindegaard said. She underlined that the crew in cockpit always have alternative procedures on how to navigate if satellite signals can’t be received.”

Putin’s Russia is truly an evil entity and it’s determined to destroy what it can before it descends into complete decrepitude. Emmanuel Macron’s “European army”, which right now couldn’t fight its way out of un sac en papier in Brussels, will never be a match for the Vozhd. There’s no there there.


Eurovision: Lucky Night for Moldova?

Saturday, 12 May, 2018 0 Comments

Simon Goddard, author of Mozipedia: The Encyclopaedia of Morrissey and the Smiths, claims the Lancashire singer is a fan of the Eurovision Song Contest. “My fascination with the show had an almost religious aspect,” Morrissey confessed to Goddard.

Who will Moz be cheering for tonight? Sweden’s Benjamin Ingrosso with Dance You Off? Not, we hope. Yes, it’s perfect pop in the peerless way that only the Swedes can make perfect pop, but the perfection is passionless. More joyful is Norway’s That’s How You Write A Song by Alexander Rybak, who won the Eurovision in 2009 with the highest points total, ever. Both Sweden and Norway are Top 10 candidates tonight, for sure.

And the UK? Nice dress, shame about the song, SuRie. Ireland? Ryan O’Shaughnessy’s Together is simply dire. Will Germany finish last again? Michael Schulte’s You Let Me Walk Alone is so obviously an Adele copy & paste job that it has to be a serious contender for zero points.

Our tip is My Lucky Day by DoReDoS from Moldova. Using a simple white wall as a prop, Marina Djundiet, Eugeniu Andrianov, and Sergiu Mita have created a slapstick show that mixes Danubian polka and the Charleston. This is proper Eurovision kitsch.

Back to Morrissey. His video of You Have Killed Me opens with a pastiche that mirrors the Eurovision from its glory days in the 1960s and ’70s, and for interval music during his 2006 tour, Morrissey used the immortal Pomme, Pomme, Pomme by Monique Melsen, who represented Luxembourg in 1971 and was awarded 13th place for her efforts. By the way, the 1971 Song Contest was held in Dublin and was won by French singer Séverine representing Monaco with Un banc, un arbre, une rue. Neither Luxembourg nor Monaco is in tonight’s Grand Final in Lisbon, but Australia, Israel and Albania are. The old order changeth.


Fjord watching

Monday, 18 July, 2016 0 Comments

“These timelapses are all recorded in the western part of Norway, where the mighty fjords Geirangerfjord, Hjörundfjord, and Storfjord sits quietly and waits for anyone who wants to seek something else than watching the latest show on TV.” So says the Norwegian photographer and videographer Jonas Forsberg.

Watching TV these days is not very good for the soul, especially given the news from Nice, Turkey and Baton Rouge. Fjord watching, like whale watching, offers a temporary, healing respite from the woes of our troubled, tele-visual world.

Nerd note: The 4K resolution standard was created for digital cinema and computer graphics. It was so named because it offer 4000-pixel horizontal resolution (4K is technically defined as 4096 x 2160 pixels). 4K provides higher image definition quality, more detailed pictures and larger projection surface visibility.


Knausgaard reads Houellebecq

Wednesday, 18 November, 2015 0 Comments

It was a brave decision on the part of the New York Times to ask Karl Ove Knausgård to review Submission by Michel Houellebecq. Brave because the Norwegian author is not known for his brevity. Knausgård is the author of Min Kamp (My Struggle), six controversial autobiographical novels that stretch across 3,600 pages.

“Before I begin this review, I have to make a small confession. I have never read Michel Houellebecq’s books,” writes Knausgård, warming up to his task. Eventually, he picks up the novel and opens it: “I leaned back in my chair under the bright light of the lamp, lit a cigarette, poured myself a coffee and began to read.”

Submission Submission is controversial, he finds, because “anything that has to do with immigration, the nation state, multiculturalism, ethnicity and religion is explosive stuff in Europe these days. Many of its elements are recognizable, like the newspapers omitting to mention, or mentioning only with caution, conflicts arising out of ethnic differences, or the political left’s anti-­racism overriding its feminism, making it wary of criticizing patriarchal structures within immigrant communities.”

Houellebecq’s savaging of political correctness prepares the ground for “a scenario of the future that realistically is less than likely, and yet entirely possible,” notes Knausgård. In this scenario, the French general election of 2022 is won by the Muslim Brotherhood with which the left collaborates to keep the National Front from power, and France as a result becomes a Muslim state. Snippet:

“What’s crucial for the novel is that the political events it portrays are psychologically as persuasive as they are credible, for this is what the novel is about, an entire culture’s enormous loss of meaning, its lack of, or highly depleted, faith, a culture in which the ties of community are dissolving and which, for want of resilience more than anything else, gives up on its most important values and submits to religious government.

But maybe that isn’t so bad? Maybe it doesn’t matter that much? Aren’t people just people, regardless of what they believe in, and of how they choose to organize their societies? It is these questions that the novel leads up to, since this entire seamless revolution is seen through the eyes of François, a man who believes in nothing and who consequently is bound by nothing other than himself and his own needs… This lack of attachment, this indifference, is as I see it the novel’s fundamental theme and issue, much more so than the Islamization of France, which in the logic of the book is merely a consequence.”

What does it mean to be a human being without faith? For Knausgård, that’s the key question posed by a novel that closes with the faithless protagonist looking forward in time to his own submission, “to the comedy, eventually converting to Islam in order to continue teaching at the Sorbonne, now a Muslim seat of learning.”

In the end, Knausgård is full of praise for what Houellebecq has written and declares Submission to be a great book: “The disillusioned gaze sees through everything, sees all the lies and the pretenses we concoct to give life meaning, the only thing it doesn’t see is its own origin, its own driving force. But what does that matter as long as it creates great literature, quivering with ambivalence, full of longing for meaning, which, if none is found, it creates itself?”


Ola Gjeilo improvises

Saturday, 20 June, 2015 0 Comments

Sinfini: “What do you say when asked to describe your music?”

Ola Gjeilo: “I’d say that my piano music tends to be a lyrical mix of improvisation and classical, more or less.”

The pianist-composer Ola Gjeilo was born in Norway in 1978 and moved to New York City in 2001 to study at the Juilliard School. Last year, the Manhattan Chorale performed his Sunrise Mass in Carnegie Hall, and he also premiered Dreamweaver, written for choir, piano and string orchestra and inspired by a popular Norwegian medieval ballad, Draumkvedet. Gjeilo was recently commissioned to write a piece for the a cappella octet group Voces8 and it will be performed next year.


North and South

Saturday, 16 May, 2015 0 Comments

Combine Mozambique, Norway, Zimbabwe and Sweden and you get Monoswezi. Underpin the vocals of Hope Masike with the tenor sax of Hallvard Godal, add in mbira and bass and you get a North-South soundscape that’s traditional and modern, African and European and unique. Matatya is taken from the album Monoswezi Yanga, which will be released by the World Music Network on 25 May.


No!

Sunday, 16 November, 2014 0 Comments

“November always seemed to me the Norway of the year,” wrote Emily Dickinson. The “No” in the month’s name arouses wintry, Nordic feelings. The fog is dense, mornings are raw and the air bites at the ears in this 11th month. Thomas Hood, who suffered from ill health through most of his short life, summed up the negatives of November.

November

No sun — no moon!
No morn — no noon.
No dawn — no dusk — no proper time of day.

No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,
No comfortable feel in any member.
No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds!
November!

Thomas Hood (1799 — 1845)


Inspector Norse calls

Saturday, 12 April, 2014 0 Comments

On Tuesday this week, the first album by Todd Terje was released. In typical Terje style, it’s titled It’s Album Time. The man from Mjøndalen has a way with words. Whateverest is one of his clever coinings, as is Eurodans. But his greatest success, to date, has been Inspector Norse, which took the dance scene by storm two years ago and which is sandwiched between Oh Joy and Johnny and Mary on the new 13-track recording.


The bureaucratic birthday Nobel Peace Prize

Tuesday, 10 December, 2013 0 Comments

They’re handing out the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo today. According to the instructions in Alfred Nobel’s will, the recipient is selected by the Norwegian Nobel Committee, a five-member body appointed by the Parliament of Norway, and over the years it has displayed its fondness for similar officialdoms. Peace An outfit called the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, headquartered in The Hague, is this year’s recipient. Just 185km down the road in the Flemish region of Belgium lies Ghent and back in 1904 the prize went to the Institut de droit international, which was founded there and today maintains an infrequently updated website.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee, a somewhat sombre group, seems to have a weakness for bureaucratic birthdays. The 1917 prize was given to the International Committee of the Red Cross, which was similarly rewarded in 1946, and again in 1963, the year that happened to be the centennial of its founding. In 1969, the Committee gave its prize to the International Labour Organization, which was celebrating its 70th birthday, and when the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees was having its 30th birthday party, it got the gong from Oslo. And then, the ultimate love in, the Nobel Peace Prize celebrated a century of its existence by awarding the 2001 honour to the United Nations and Kofi Annan.

Next up? In 2016, Unicef will be 70; in 2020, Terre des Hommes will be 60; in 2021, Amnesty International will be 60 as well, and in 2022, Vladimir Putin, the protector of Edward Snowden, will be 70.