April 30, 2010

April 28, 2010

Malmö record #1

Today I purchased my first record in Malmö. It was a wrench leaving my old collection behind in New Zealand bar six records, but here is the start of a new one. Outside a small antique shop on my street, two crates of records rested on little wooden stools side by side, and as I was on my way back from the supermarket I flicked through the crates hoping to stumble across something worthwhile.A bit of a manoeuver while you are holding a punnet of lettuce in one hand. Bypassing the copious amounts of Supertramp (unfortunately, there was no Breakfast In America), Elton John and Rod Stewart compilations, Styx and various easy listening favourites, I discovered Fleetwood Mac's Tusk. Not bad for 20:- / $4. It does seem like the previous owner has purposely made a squiggly scratch through "That's All For Everyone", but I feel it sort of adds to the charm. I can imagine someone being 'nope, can't stand this bloody song, I would rather have to get up and move the needle than listen to it.'
I can only hope this omission doesn't completely ruin the concept behind the concept album. An album required of every collection.

April 27, 2010



"Poetry's living connection with the real world and its occurrences in public and private affairs is revealed most amply in the so-called pièces d'occasion. If this description were given a wider sense, we could use it as a name for nearly all poetic works: but if we take it in the proper and narrower sense we have to restrict it to productions owing their origin to some single present event and expressly devoted to its exaltation, embellishment, commemoration, etc. But by such entanglement with life poetry seems again to fall into a position of dependence, and for this reason it has often been proposed to assign the whole sphere of pièces d'occasion an inferior value although to some extent, especially in lyric poetry, the most famous works belong to this class."


Stumbled across this phrase a while ago, drawn to the excellent pun potential. I like how it can mean 'of an occasion' or 'something done part-time'. So enigmatic! So misconstruing!

Perhaps the title of my next show.

April 24, 2010

Nice rendering, Dave

Last night I went dancing at a small bar down a spiral staircase, with brick walls and no windows or ventilation to speak of. The music was riotous 60's garage rock, and I danced wildly for the first time in a good while, and drank about the same quantity of beer that my body was profusely sweating. On a large whitewashed brick wall, 2001: A Space Odyssey was silently projected.
It was rather disconcerting looking up and seeing HAL leering over you while dancing so energetically, surrounded by other sweaty humans, in a tiny basement. It always felt like he was judging me.

Swedish mystical figures

also known as the artist formally known as Batman

normal snowmen are known as 'old snow men'

Another week...And so it goes

windows with foliage in my apartment

It was a relief to return from Copenhagen to Malmö. For the first time, opening the door to our flat felt like coming home, and that filled me with that great feeling of contentment, kind of similar to that well fed feeling after eating just the right amount of food.

And the weeks go by with ever increasing rapidity and I still find pleasures in conquering small feats in the strange new land. These thrill me when I have achieved them but also makes my stomach churn contemplating it beforehand. Perhaps when you are in your early twenties it is the worst time to move to the other side of the world, with none of the boldness and recklessness of the teenage years, and a continuing burden of worry and responsibility. Not having planned a career path like a driven young professional, and the thought of 4 years of university debt like a dormant volcano in the back of your mind. Caught between holding onto the carefree spirit of a 17 year old, and the knowledge that you are starting to act like you are closer to 30.
Maybe I have become too timid or analytical or dull or nervous. Possibly all of the above.

Upon rereading that paragraph I wonder perhaps if I am spending to much time reading hardboiled murder mysteries and trying to romanticise my life. Well, I probably am, maybe I should do it more often.

The soundtrack to Sweden continues in top form with Otis Blue, Astral Weeks, and Dusty in Memphis making me feel like . I feel like Spring has crept up on me and taken me unawares.

And while I wile away days in a pleasant, unassuming way, I watch my hair grow longer. Seriously, its better than watching paint dry.

April 15, 2010

April 13, 2010

Dancing in the streetcars named Desire

Well no there wasn't really any dancing in any street/cars/streetcars, no Martha Reeves or Bowie and Jagger either. But there was me, by myself, and my bike (as yet not named Desire). Importantly, I was flying solo! Let loose on the streets of Malmö! A momentous occasion!
For me, at least.

It might seem a trivial thing. But for me it epitomised the moment when I felt settled in. It meant I could get around by myself, I knew where I was going and where places that I wanted to go were, I could navigate the cycle paths, and use correct cycling etiquette.

It was a beautiful spring day, blue skies and a crisp breeze, but not a wind that will chill you as you are cycling along. A bit of cloud coverage, as to not impinge upon my vision with dreaded sunstrike. In short, a brief but rather thrilling ride.

And there was a pot of gold at the end of the cycle path - in the shape of a large second hand store, half clothes, half bric-a-brac: some uninspiring framed paintings and cheap prints, old luggage, swedish records and seemingly the entire back catalogue of James Last recordings. Not really much to write home about on the record front. Was almost tempted to purchase various Agatha Christie's in Swedish, but I am sure they will wait until I might have the ability to read a sentence.

Sadly the perfect trench coat also eluded me (how am I meant to walk around like I am from a Chandler novel without a trench coat?) but definitely hit the jackpot with a pair of shoes for 50:-, the equivalent of 10NZD.

All of Malmö's second hand shops have redeemed themselves with this purchase. I also picked up a 1940's style white blouse, which will be good for the warmer weather, as I keep reminding myself I am not actually moving into winter months, but out of them.

To celebrate my one small step for man one giant leap for Florence in Sweden, i made a cake in a fry pan. A Swedish Apple Cake it is called, a close sister cake to the Swedish Visiting Cake, replacing the almonds for apples. Attempt 1 went ok, I feel a few tweaks and corrections to the recipe should turn it into a popular fave. I think Ikept confusing it in my head as to what the blazes I was actually cooking: cake? slice? pie? (It was continuously referred to as 'pie', but it is not a pie at all.) Devoured with lashings of Vanilla Whip (its like cream with vanilla! or ice cream without being cold!) whilst watching Twin Peaks, naturally.

April 12, 2010

A whole new world

Three pages into Tintin in the New World and already I am in raptures. Could this be the greatest use of appropriation ever?

"Old age? Auguring asteroid! I'm not yet fifty! Tintin, my lad, if you'd learn to drink scotch and love women, you, too, would have cheering memories in old age!"
"I have no feeling for either."
"How do you know till you've experienced them?"
Yes, Snowy thought, why doesn't he try? Maybe he'll grow up a bit and stay home more.

I think it's only going to get better. A few sentences later the Captain is saying something about how Tintin bought two Arabian steeds and 'rode them an inch to foamy death'. Cripes, what the deuce is this?

in situ

LIMBS (2010) Florence Wild
in situ at the Kiosk, Christchurch

April 11, 2010

Hardboiled in a nutshell

The lobby looked like a high-budget musical. A lot of light and glitter, a lot of scenery, a lot of clothes, a lot of sound, an all-star cast, and a plot with the originality and drive of a split fingernail.

A check girl in peach-bloom Chinese pyjamas came over to take my hat and disapprove of my clothes. She had eyes like strange sins.
A cigarette girl came down the gangway. She wore an egret plume in her hair, enough clothes to hide behind a toothpickm one of her long beautiful naked legs was silver, and one was gold. She had the utterly disdainful expression of a dame who makes her dates by long distance.

- Marlowe. Drink while waiting?
- A dry martini will do.
- A martini. Dry. Veddy, veddy dry.
- Okay.
- Will you eat it with a spoon or a knife and fork?
- Cut it into strips, I said. I'll just nibble at it.
-On your way to school, he said. Should I put the olive in a bag for you?
-Sock me on the nose with it, I said. If it will make you feel any better.
-Thank you, sir, he said. A dry martini.

'You're a man named Marlowe?' she asked, looking at me. She put her hips against the end of the desk and crossed her ankles.
I said I was a man named Marlowe.
'By and large,' she said, 'I am quite sure I am not going to like you one damned bit. So speak your piece and drift away.'
'What I like about this place is everything runs true to type,' I said. 'The cop on the gate, the shine on the door, the cigarette and check girls, the fat greasy sensual Jew with the tall stately bored showgirl, the well-dressed, drunk and horribly rude director cursing the barman, the silent guy with the gun, the night-club owner with the soft grey hair and the B-picture mannerisms, and now you - the tall dark torcher with the negligent sneer, the husky voice, the hard-boiled vocabulary.'

Passages from 'The High Window', by Raymond Chandler.

Another sunday rolled around, and I started another detective story. I read, eat some popcorn washed down with a glass of pepsi and accompanied by the American Graffiti soundtrack and some Sinatra. A top-notch sunday really, maximum excitement with minimum exertion.

Chandler's writing is exciting enough. I find myself rereading passages and experiment reciting them in my head, with inflections on different words, some parts sped up, others slowed down. In my head I feel like I am almost spitting the words out, and my voice is scathing and rambling and rude and witty and charming all at the same time. I love how the descriptions of people and places are so sharp and original and lyrical. I begin to test out phrases in my mind from my everyday life in Chandleresque prose . And its intimate, you know, written in the first person. Sometimes I find it hard to pick up what is dialogue and what isn't. The way you feel that it is only you who can understand Marlowe's jargon and insults, and the puns and wisecracks float over the other characters' heads (sometimes this happens, sometimes not).
Raymond Chandler, I feel, could be a man to agree that 'the pen is mightier than the sword'. Then is it strange that he writes hard-boiled fiction? Perhaps not.

We watched 'The Big Sleep' last night, with Bogie & Bacall. It was great, it is great, a staple of the film noir genre, major stars acting well, snappy dialogue, all that jazz. Its presevered by the Library of Congress, for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" and all.
But Chandler's lyrical descriptions couldn't quite be transformed to celluloide and
the film just didn't quite get there. Its nice to think some books still come out trumps over cinematic adaptation.

April 10, 2010

Get back to where you belong Paul!

Another Paul is off his rocker post, with him trying to sing 'Get Back' in german during the 'Let It Be' sessions. Get your local German speaker to translate it - hilarity ensues. Paul you hoon!

April 8, 2010

Mac & Jack

Perhaps the hammiest/greatest music video ever made.
Paul, as ever the confidence trickster.
Worth every second of its 4:56, but especially for the matching houndstooth suits and all the tomfoolery, shenanigans and larrikinism! Watch it, then watch it again!

April 6, 2010

April 3, 2010

Bric-a-brac by Brick

Coming to a new city is an unnerving experience, regardless of whether or not you can speak the language. In Malmö I find my inability to know where I am in relation to other places extremely discombobulating, I know how to get from A to B, and from A to C, but where the deuce are B and C in relation to each other?! For me, getting around in a city is not purely being able to fashion out a route to a local supermarket and pub and friendly group of shops, its knowing which roads intersect with each other, and which are your neighbouring suburbs, or how to get from on city square to another without it being an accident. Actually knowing where you are going when you are walking along/cycling around.
I am coming up to being in Malmö four weeks, and I am impatient to readily grasp my geography. Its is hard to get the feeling of places in a city when you know there isn't much really for you to be doing outside of your apartment.
It is fine to walk around and 'explore' but I think I need to explore with a purpose. I need something to do whilst I am out wandering the streets, something that hopefully doesn't require me to be holding my camera at all times as I have never really been particularly snap happy.
I was thinking of this at the same time as I was brooding about my new lack of possessions.
I have always been a collector of things, from stamps in the formative years, to records and knick knacks and scrap material more recently. It feels strange to not be surrounded by these things, which I think I ended up holding onto out of habit more than anything else. So when it came to crunch time, a lot of these collected items were either relegated to the rubbish bin, or wound up in a garage sale, found a safe haven in the collections of others.
It seems appropriate to start a new collection in a new city, and it sounds like an excellent way to explore, as I would be exploring with a purpose.

Collections have always impressed me, such as Christian Marclay's record collection of christmas songs, or my grandmothers collection of tea pots. Recently my father has begun a collection of 3 foot rules. It is foolish to 'decide' to collect something for the sake of it however, and I am still holding out for the one glorious item I discover to get the collection ball rolling. At the moment, the only thing I seem to have in any quantity is scarves. Scarves?! I don't even know why I keep buying them, I always end up taking them off at the last minute.
I put it down to the story of Audrey Hepburn who arrived in New York with one skirt, shirt, dress, and slacks or something, and hardly enough money to buy any more, but managed to maintain her chic look with a vast array of scarves. I suppose I was trying to emulate that but ended up hating the scarves too much.
I believe I am more the sort of person to acculmulate an assortment of knick knacks, and view them as a single entity, a whole collection.
I am sure there are as many uncovered treasures in Malmö as there is, for me, uncharted territory. I can't wait to do some genuine foraging. The world is a far more exciting place when you are actually looking for something.

images from 'To Have & To Hold: Making Collections' (2009) Objectspace, N.Z

blind design

the guardian newspaper in grid format.
or some excellent venetian blinds.

Kris is working on his degree project looking at newspaper analysis.

Letters and Notes

With the easter break looming, I was in dire need of some new reading material. The books I had brought with me to Malmö are all much loved and well thumbed, my volume of Sherlock Holmes novels, a couple of Ngaio Marsh's, Gatsby, and The Skinny Louie Book by Fiona Farrell, one in the new Penguin New Zealand series, given by an aunt as a parting gift. I am the kind of person who will read the same books, watch the same films, and listen to the same music again and again, and never tire of it. But even I need some welcome additions to the list every so often. I was excited to learn Malmö stadbibliotek had shelves detective fiction (in english) for my to read and re-read, along with some Evelyn Waugh, Graham Greene, and Murakami. The usual suspects.

One thing I did find out of left field was a TINTIN ROMANCE. Well this is what it appears to be at first glance, and probably the reason I borrowed it. Actually, its a novel by Frederic Tuten, titled Tintin in the New World: a romance . Apparently, Tuten transplants Tintin from his comic book confines into a fleshed out, realistic world with all its wicked, grave and abstruse trappings. Sounds like my kind of story.

cover of Tintin in the New World with artwork by Roy Lichtenstein (1993)

I only bought six records with me to Sweden, Roy Orbison 'Mystery Girl', Fleetwood Mac 'Rumours', The Beatles 'Please, Please Me', The Righteous Brothers 'Greatest Hits', Elvis Presley '50 000 000 Elvis Fans Can't Be Wrong' and the Original Soundtrack of 'The Singing Detective'.
However with the purchase of an ipod before I left, slowly a collection of music is beginning again.
The past few days of avid reading have been accompanied by some excellent tunes.

Cowboy in Sweden and The Story of Them

As I never listened to either of these in Auckland I feel like I can associate them solely with my new life in Sweden. Now I just need to build up another record collection - with Cowboy in Sweden and at least one Them album in there.

April 1, 2010

Buns and Beers

Annually in Sweden, novelty Easter beers are stocked on shelves for a limited time. I have noticed most have the look of a home brew, and with some of the labels I have seen I can hardly take Easter Beer seriously. You would be fooled into thinking the one featured above is not of the respectable brewery that Kris assures me it belongs to.

I might have to down some more of this as I commiserate the fact that Sweden knows not the greatness of the Hot Cross Bun. I would look forward to Hot Cross Buns every Easter as much as my chocolate bunny and my egg with the chocolate money (I am very dejected they no longer sell this one, the pirate looked like a real scoundrel). Besides, those new eggs with their flakes and crunchies and what-not are not in the true egg spirit, not like the eggs of my childhood where the treats, be it chocolate money, jet planes, chocolate buttons, jelly beans, pineapple lumps and more, were actually inside the egg. Hot Cross Buns now enter the New Zealand supermarkets before the end of February, far too early in my opinion, and I ranted to my mother who offered to buy some and put them in the freezer for me until I deemed it an appropriate time to eat them. I declined. Well, I am kicking myself now that I am in a land where they do not even exist! Not even as dough.

Hot Cross Buns are not only cherished for their delicious taste but also for medicinal value, preservative qualities, and shipwreck prevention. Buns baked and served on Good Friday will not spoil or become mouldy during the subsequent year.
Another encourages keeping such a bun for medicinal purposes. A piece of it given to someone who is ill is said to help them recover.
Sharing a hot cross bun with another is supposed to ensure friendship throughout the coming year, particularly if "Half for you and half for me, Between us two shall goodwill be" is said at the time. Because of the cross on the buns, some say they should be kissed before being eaten.
If taken on a sea voyage, hot cross buns are said to protect against shipwreck.
If hung in the kitchen, they are said to protect against fires and ensure that all breads turn out perfectly. The hanging bun is replaced each year.

Its a dangerous and lonely world without hot cross buns.
Hoppy Easter!