Sunday, 15 January 2012

Tales from Denmark . . .

How are we all coping with January then? We're halfway through and Christmas now seems like a distant memory. The weather is wavering between brisk, cold, bright days and rather overcast stuffy ones. I'm currently feasting on the books that came my way on December 25th. David Downing's Potsdam Station is the latest in a series of books set in Germany before, during and after the last war. Downing ratchets up the suspense with each chapter but does so in a believable way. I found myself rooting for the central characters, John Russell and Effi Koenen at the turn of every page.

My latest read is A Visit from the Goon Squad, Jennifer Egan's Pulizer Prize winning tale of, and I quote, "... moments where lives interact and where fortunes ebb and flow". Fair enough.

Musically I'm reconnecting with Northern Soul at the moment. Not everyone's cuppa I guess but January is definitely the month for hearty tunes. Fine purveyors of such fare include April Stevens, Dottie Cambridge and Muriel Day. April, Dottie & Muriel. You hear of many doting parents lavisihing such names on their kids these days do you? I'd love it for a beaming new Mum to say "Meet baby Mavis!"

I can't see the scoreboard from here . . .
The long road to Eurovision 2012 unwinds before me too. This year's festival of song is being held in Baku, Azerbaijan where the president and his family seem to be 'guiding' preparations along. A venue is being built from scratch and we are promised that the ambitiously named Crystal Hall will be ready by May. Not sure which year though. Anyway entrants to date include the intriguingly named Rambo Amadeus (Montenegro) whose music seems a little . . . err, challenging. Spain have opted for Pastora Soler, a woman whose name sounds like something from a Dulux colour chart. No sign of the BBC's challenger yet but the usual worrying names of Katherine Jenkins, Pixie Lott and JLS abound.

No nonsense Danish PM (ficticious . . .)
Denmark chooses it's Eurovision entry next week but for the moment it is their drama output that seems to proving popular. Although I missed The Killing, I am hooked on the latest Danish froth to wash ashore on BBC4. Borgen is the tale of politics, Copenhagen-style which may sound a bit dry but is far from it. Hero of the hour is Birgitte Nyborg, leader of the Moderate Party who is unexpectedly catapulted into the job of Prime Minister. She is played by the excellent Sidse Babett Knudsen who chooses to portray her as a normal human being as opposed to some manic, disorganised career mum. Special mention should also be made of Birgitte Hjort Sørensen who takes on the role of ambitious (i.e. a bit of a bitch) TV news anchor, Katrine Fønsmark. She may tun out to be a bit of a bad 'un. Anyway, this is certainly a classy production and compelling viewing. Not a woolly jumper in sight either.

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