my weekend (and some) in oslo was a bizarre experience. i don’t know where to begin really. well, i’ll start here. whatever else happened over the weekend, that lent it a nice glossy sheen. it wasn’t that it wasn’t a great weekend, it was just a weird one. oslo is weird, man.
friday, we kind of got to grips with things. like the cost of everything. damn! two drinks for €20, ok. wow. well, it was never going to be a boozy holiday, we don’t really do that together for some reason. ah well. saturday, we checked out the small but charming film museum, as well as the astrup fearnley museum of modern art. one of the most striking pieces of work here was michael jackson and bubbles, a striking sculpture by jeff koons. it really has to be seen to be believed. we also took a wander on, over and around the relatively newly built opera house. it’s a beautiful building, and, despite some fears of slipping, probably my favourite thing in the city.
later that day, we braved the rain and took a trip out to see some viking ships, which was pretty awesome. it’s trite to say it, but the genius it took to build these ships, and the fact that they still stand (with the help of some 21st century supports) is pretty darn impressive. that night we sat in a bar that was empty when we arrived but gradually filled up with a more, let’s say mature kind of crowd than i’m used to. while at the same time the piped music consisted of tracks from the likes of armand van helden (je t’aime) and some weird cover/rap rework of modjo’s lady. hmm. there we also met an online acquaintance who lived in the area, which was cool. nice to put a face with the posts.
sunday was strange. first off we visited the spell-binding edvard munch museum. like most people i was only really familiar with scream. i soon discovered the work of an artist who can on one level be simply described as being a bit mad, but on a deeper level, perfectly encapsulates the very pain and anguish of that peculiar affliction known as humanity. titles such as angst, scream, separation (below), jealousy… you get the picture. it was tremendously heart-rending, and i think his work – from paintings to wood-carvings and graphic design – is probably the most human i’ve seen to date.
after this we realised that pretty much everything is closed on sunday, so we did the only thing we could, and went on a boat trip around the fjord. it was pretty mad. the scenerey was beautiful, even in the hazey fog and rain, even though a lot of trip was spent hearing about how the rich of oslo live on these islands. hmm. then we had a disgusting dinner, some nice beer (hansa) and then watched crummy hotel tv.
monday was nuts. norwegian constitution day is a pretty big deal. their national holiday is nothing like st patrick’s day, which has become little more than an excuse to get blind drunk – maybe, given the present witch-hunt within and without the catholic church, people have realised the irony of celebrating the man who brought christianity to this island. but this isn’t that type of blog. back to oslo. the streets were jammed from about 11, earlier if the drumming i could hear from our window around 9am was anything to go by. and traditional garb is, quite literally, the order of the day. half the population was dressed in norwegian traditional costume, while the other was in its finest – suits, dresses, heels, even as they walked through the park surrounding the palace, where the royal family cordially waved to the assembled thousands.
it was on this day that i ate my first norwegian apple, or eple i should say. after more than eight years listening to röyksopp i figured i’d have to get my picture taken with this special eple. it was only right. (EDIT: i should also note that, bizarrely, as i was sitting on the coach taking us to moss lufthavn rygge, some 60km from the city centre, i listened to melody a.m., and for the first time i noticed another melody dancing beneath the main bleeps and bloops of eple. mad that.)
later that day, we saw eurovision winner and all-round heartthrob alexander rybak perform as part of a free concert by the waterfront. he didn’t sing that song, but he did do an impressive rendition of gershwin’s it ain’t necessarily so. not just a pretty face that boy. later a school dance troupe hit the stage, strutting their stuff to beyoncé, missy elliott, ludacris and, eh, the intro to pon de floor. just up to the point before the words major lazer are uttered, mind. at that point we wandered off…
on our final day in the city, we did a tiny bit of shopping, we entered the magnificent town hall, and i got my picture taken with someone called henrik ibsen. oh yes i did.
then we came home, i went back to work, and finally got my grubby mits on the lcd soundsystem album. i gather it’s been getting some stick from the man on the internet, i guess it’s down to the fact that it’s not a massive departure from the whole lcd/dfa oeuvre, it’s got that whole frenetic live drums, high-hats, crunchy basslines and plucked licks thing in spades. what’s not to like? this blogger has two words to say on the matter: NOT MAD.