Friday, 25 November 2011

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I took a train to Stockholm and met up with one of my dearest friends, who I hadn't seen in over a year. He had come from dreary London, and I hadn't experienced a sunny Stockholm before. We had the most wonderful time.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

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The end of Copenhagen. For now, but certainly not forever.

Things that happened that have no images:
- Freaking out in peak hour cycling traffic/being on the wrong side of the road when I went riding through the city
- A wonderful lunch with Katrine
- Drinks with darling old friends at Kalaset
- My own little studio apartment in the centre of the city
- Hours and hours spent at The Log Lady
- Having that funny little language fill my ears, mind and heart
- Pastries
- Walking by the lakes and never ever wanting to leave
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I drank an obscene amount of coffee during this trip. This one was at Sort Kaffe og Vinyl.

At first I was disappointed with how unreliable my camera proved to be. I hardly used my digital, so these are really all I have. But I'm coming to love the quirks and the magic. In a way, it's true to life.

Monday, 21 November 2011

I went to an exhibition that radically altered my perspective on the cities that are closest to my heart. I think it's the reason why I have come back feeling they way I do about Adelaide. This place is hard work. Which is fine - I'd rather be a creator than a consumer - but it's draining. In a city like Copenhagen they're constantly looking 25 years forward, instead of only realising now in 2011 that urban sprawl, a focus on macro instead of micro, the lack of useful and inspiring public spaces, and a heavy reliance on cars is not only unsustainable but makes for a dead city.

A visit to the old Carlsberg Brewery (accompanied by a great podwalk which you may be interested to listen to anyway) blew me away. An enormous, once-industrial space quite close to the city has been abandoned, and will take 15-20 years to redevelop into housing. We have a similar situation here in Adelaide with Bowden. Yet while Copenhagen works out exactly how to best develop it, it has opened the entire space up to start making people feel comfortable and at home in the area. Interactive artworks like the ropes; well-thought out street furniture that carefully considers the way people interact not just with the space, but each other; and a continuous stream of festivals and arts events means that by the time housing starts to spring up in Carlsberg, everyone will already feel completely at home there. Place making at its very, very best.

I also picked up a great study on cycling in Copenhagen and was fascinated by the statistics. 68% of Copenhageners cycle at least once a week, and up to 50% use cycling as their mode of transportation to work or study. Meanwhile, when you take into account transport costs, security, comfort, branding/tourism and health factors, the net social gain of cycling in Denmark is DKK 1.22 per kilometre (20-25 cents). The cycling culture is making Copenhagen money! Comparatively, for every kilometre driven by a car, there is a net social loss of DKK 0.69. You can download 'Copenhagen: City of Cyclists' here.
From my notebook on this day: 'Is there any better place to be in the world than Copenhagen in late summer?'

Sunday, 20 November 2011

I always avoided doing touristy things the first time I was there, and always regretted not visiting Møns Klint. I left Copenhagen early one morning and travelled south by train. The train went through Roskilde, my old home, and strange as it was to be reliving that train trip, I felt very little. After that, I decided not to visit my old house on Københavnsvej, despite thinking of it every day since I left it behind. I think it is best to let at least something remain in the past.

Once off the train, I caught a bus to the island of Møn. I then hired a bicycle and rode 20km to the cliffs. It was sunny, breezy and perfect. Riding alone through the gently rolling countryside and the tiny towns, stopping sporadically at bakeries and antique stores, and finally cycling up through the forest to the cliffs was the freest I've ever felt. No one knew who I was or where I was. It's such a powerful feeling to feel completely disconnected from the realities of life, yet at the same time feel so incredibly happy and content.
Image0013 'Loppemarked' is one of my favourite words in Danish. (Flea market!)

I'd been dreaming of the indoor garden at the Glyptotek for years. I usually have little time for non-contemporary art, but I could live in that gallery forever. So beautiful.

(I can feel myself drawing this sharing process out. Because once it's done, then it's really over. Although maybe that's what I need).

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

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"Every morning you wake up and know that the city will be a better place." -Jan Gehl on living in Copenhagen

This exact sentiment hit me like a truck during this visit to Copenhagen. I could just wake up enjoy the city for the wonderful, progressive, design-oriented, people-friendly place that it is. I didn't have to work hard to make things happen. I didn't have to try to create something out of nothing. I didn't have to settle for anything less than joy and wonder. And in realising that, I realised just how well suited I am to Copenhagen, and Copenhagen is to me.

If you're a city nerd like I, you might like to listen to Gehl's recent talk in Adelaide on 'Cities for People'.

I know Adelaide is trying really hard at the moment, but my own enthusiasm for it is waning. I hope it picks up again soon.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Tracey Emin, The Perfect Place To Grow, 2001

"…to lose that unconditional love is a greater loss than actually losing my Dad, because it's something that I've always had, whether he's been around or not. So it's more like I've lost a feeling, which is very strange. It's left a big hole somewhere."

I watched the Artscape interview with Tracey Emin last night and was blown away. Tracey is not only a brilliant artist, but a wonderful and warm speaker who has lived more lives than I ever will. Over the years she has developed a beautiful, logical wisdom that resonated so very strongly with me. A truly fascinating woman.

Danica also recently saw it, and she writes far more eloquently than I on Tracey and her work. Go here.