Copenhagen Carnival 2010 – in Fælledparken 21, 22, 23 May

Copenhagen carnival - the electronic stage

Copenhagen Carnival is a cultural event being held every year at Fælledparken in Copenhagen. Copenhagen Carnival is a three-day music festival organized by the Fonden Copenhagen Carnival.

Copenhagen Carnival is one of Copenhagen’s largest cultural events, with the three-day festival in Fælledparken and its impressive parade, every year offers a wide and varied selection of music and experiences.

Copenhagen Carnival was expanded in 2009 with several new initiatives. Among others a club-oriented scene with a wide range of exciting names from home and abroad.

Carnival was first held in 1982 with the theme “The street is the stage and you’re the entertainer”, the time of unification “Carnival in May” (KIM). The event was later taken over by the National Association Carnival in Copenhagen (KIK), which organized the carnival until 2007.

Carnival in May was started by the resident British artist John Little in 1981. He had experienced carnival in the Caribbean and was impressed by the joy and imagination it expressed. In Denmark John started Carnival in May, (KIM) as the group was called, got a small office in Krystal gade to raise money, do PR and start local groups that were trained in samba by Simba, a carnival dancer. PR effort included the small local parades, such as the football game in the Sports Park and around the streets and a compilation of press.

The PR group expected 200,000 participants to carnival in Fælledparken in 1982, and it made all the headlines. Since the weather was good the carnival was a huge success. Aside from cleaning up which ended up costing the city a fortune due to the many broken bottles that had been used to beat rhythm with.

The following year was purchased large quantities of cheap rhythm instruments in Brazil, which the inner circle of the Carnival Committee had sponsored tickets for inspiration, take pictures, make movies and shopping together with magasin and the Brazilian airline VARIG who flew the purchases to Denmark for free.

The carnival got an explovsive growth and this culminated in 1986 when around two million people, according to police and newspapers, visited Strøget and the inner city.

In 1994 new people took over and and formed the National Association KIK (Carnival in Copenhagen), which was an umbrella organization of the samba schools, carnival groups, stage bands, entertainer troupes and other groups and associations that deal with popular culture in Denmark.

The National Association Carnival in Copenhagen, however, had difficulty in making the ends meet and had to close down in 2008.

Long it seemed that there would not be be organized carnival in 2008, but the Copenhagen samba schools entered into a collaboration and hired a professional management, with Morten Sørensen in the front, to run the carnival.

This decision proved to be vital for Copenhagen carnival. For the first time in several years the carnival came out with a surplus, despite the new leadership having had less than two months to get everything in place.

The great result created optimism in the carnival environment and to ensure continuity in the organization of the annual carnival in Copenhagen, they decided to create Fonden Copenhagen Carnival.

Fonden Copenhagen Carnival is also working to publicize the music and culture from all countries of the world through various musical and cultural events – but with special focus on Brazil and samba.

Children’s Carnival is also in Fælledparken with workshops, play areas etc. Saturday and Sunday until, at 18:00. Friday is the institution carnival with workshops and children’s performances on stage.

Over time the carnival evolved to be Denmark’s biggest festival of world music. More than 100 orchestras, groups and artists each year make a contribute to the festivities. The event is free for all, and you can experience music from a variety of scenes in Fælledparken.

This is an event you should absolutely not miss. Whether you are into music or not -it’s a perfect opportunity to meet with your friends in the park and just have a fun day out.

NB: Information about the carnival was found on Wikipedia and the picture above is from the electronic scene in Fælledparken.

Ashes to ashes and dust to dust: Stop moaning and start driving!

It has now been four days since all flight traffic over the northern Europe was cancelled due to the volcanic ashes from the explosion on Iceland. The airspace is still closed over: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, UK. It is partly closed over: Italy (northern airspace closed until Monday) and the flights are operating in: Greece, Portugal, Russia, Turkey, Ukraine, Spain.

In the meantime the news broadcasts hundreds of articles and TV programs about people being stuck who are going to- or leaving from cities in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK.

Obviously a lot of the stories focus on sensation – like four French business men who were stuck somewhere in Denmark and "had to" hire a taxi to get home to Paris for 15.000 crowns (2700 USD). But really my question is: What happened to people’s logic? Did it disappear with the availability of cheap flight tickets?

Before the days when we were all able to pollute the atmosphere with CO2 (from flights) on a regular basis, we used to travel on buses and trains: OVERLAND TRAVEL. Doesn’t anyone remember that?

There are still regular buses and trains connecting all the capital cities in Europe!!! I understand that you can be "stuck" if you are travelling to or from Asia and South America. But to say that people, who are "merely" travelling from Paris to Copenhagen, are "stuck" is ridiculous.

Google "bus Europe" or "train Europe" and you will get thousands of entries. I went to the following website: http://www.bahn.de/i/view/GBR/en/index.shtml This website combines all train travel all over Europe – from the very South of Barcelona to the north of Norway.

I decided to figure out how long it takes to go from Copenhagen to Paris. Well I can leave tomorrow morning at 07.45 from Copenhagen and will get to Paris tomorrow evening at 20:53. The trip takes 13 hours and 8 minutes. That’s 10 hours more than flying. But honestly – we are NOT "stuck" in Europe. It’s such a small area that being stuck is for the most part more a question about comfort.

Thomas and I travelled for 9 months in South America. We did all our travel overland. This often meant 20 hour bus journeys and as you can imagine travelling from Guatemala to Bariloche in Argentina overland takes many hundreds of hours in buses. I never thought about flying.

I do sympathise with people who have engagements to attend to etc. But why not use this opportunity to reduce your carbon footprint and get back down to the ground – take the train or the bus in Europe 🙂

No television (TV) – saves me 3 hours a day in Denmark

I have not had a TV for many years already and this has led to the funniest comments from friends and acquaintances over the years. The most common comment being: “What do you do with your time?”

While living together with Thomas I used to answer “we argue”. It was an ironic joke to illustrate that there are many things to do besides watching TV. Instead of watching TV we used to have long dinners and talk, hang out with friends, write articles for the website or make pod-casts and videos, do sports, read books, go on trips on the motorbikes and many other things. Needless to say we would have had even more activities if we had children with whom I am sure we would have wanted to spend as much time as possible.

In Denmark I get exactly the same question when people visit me for the first time. They enter my living room and say “Where is the TV?” and are very surprised when I say that I don’t have a TV. I rarely find enough time to do all the things I want to in a day – I really don’t need a TV to clutter up more time.

But I do often wonder how people find time to watch TV? Most people I know tell me that they are really busy and it is normal in Denmark to arrange to meet up with friends at least a week in advance – to make sure that both parts have the time. Interesting.

According to statistics from 2009, Danish people watched TV on average 3 hours and 2 minutes a day: http://www.dr.dk/Nyheder/Indland/2009/10/14/180601.htm

The article suggests that people watched more TV in 2009 than 2008 because the selection of TV programmes were bigger and that the financial crisis kept people at home instead of spending time out.
But I honestly don’t think this is the reason. I think it comes down to habit. Danish people are simply used to being entertained by the TV instead of spending an evening playing games with their spouse and children, reading books, going for a walk, talking, creative activities like painting, listening to music etc.

And really I think it’s fine that people entertain themselves with the TV – I just hope it is not at the expense of other things.

I guess the best way to evaluate an activity is to ask “Does this activity enrich my life today and will I look back at it in 10 years and think that it enriched my life?

And in the case of TV – “Does watching TV enrich my life today and will I look back at it in 10 years and think that spending more than 1095 hours a year (10.950 hours in 10 years) watching TV enriched my life?

Enjoy life.

Aktivering: Opbevaring eller opkvalificering???

Aktivering – hvad er det egentlig?

Som arbejdsløs har jeg virkelig svært ved at forstå rationalet. Hvert halve år skal jeg minimum i aktivering 1 måned. Men som akademiker skal jeg ifølge loven “varetages” af en 2. Aktør. En anden aktør skulle efter sigende være en konsulentvirksomhed der kan hjælpe mig med at komme i arbejde ved at sende mig på et såkaldt “jobsøgningskursus”. Jobsøgningskurset består at nogle korte foredrag med råd om skrivning af CV, jobansøgning osv.

På mit jobsøgningskursus blev vi også på det stærkeste rådet til at sende uopfordrede ansøgninger. Men da jeg bad om jeg ikke kunne få en skabelon/eksempel på en uopfordret ansøgning – ja, det havde de ikke. Hvordan skal jeg så lære at skrive dem (hvis jeg ikke kunne det i forvejen)??

På ovenstående billede ses et af de lokaler vi var tvunget til at sidde i fra kl. 9-15 hver dag i op til 13 uger. Når jeg siger i op til 13 uger, så er det helt afhængig af om det er 2. aktør der sende dig på jobkursus eller jobcenteret. Loven siger at man minimum skal aktiveres i 4 uger. Alle kandidater der skulle være på kurset i 4 uger var sendt der af jobcenteret, mens kandidater med længere “dom” selvfølgelig var blevet sendt der af den 2. aktør der arrangerede kurset. Hvorfor? Fordi en 2. aktør er en virksomhed. De får 500 kr per dag per deltager (betalt af jobcenteret). Så selvom deres kursus turnus kun tager 3 uger – ja så giver det god mening for dem at sende folk på kursus i 6 uger (som de gjorde ved mig). Jeg fik intet ud af det, da jeg godt kan skrive en jobansøgning, men min 2. aktør virksomhed fik 15.000 kr i kassen. Så simpelt er det.

Og når du så ser på billedet taget fra kursus lokalerne – så vil jeg gerne have at du lige tænker over om du ville kunne koncentrere dig i det lokale? Til orientering sad der ca. 25 mennesker i lokalet. Der var et vindue, ingen bordplads ved siden af computeren til at ligge ekstra papirer, der var en konstant gennemstrøm af mennesker til de bagvedliggende lokaler, en konstant snakken og en ekstrem varm og dårlig luft i rummet (ikke så overraskende med kun et vindue). Derudover blev man skrevet ned i protokol to gange om dagen for at sikre at man var der – både kl. ca. 9.30 og igen kl. 14.30 – hvilket jeg kun kan sige gjorde at man følte sig endnu mere ydmyget og umyndiggjort. Ville du kunne skrive jobansøgninger i dette klima??

Jeg har flere gange forsøgt at få bevilliget et kursus i projektstyring, som jeg ved vil kunne gavne min jobsøgning idet det opkvalificere min uddannelse. Men selvfølgelig vil 2. aktøren ikke bevillige det til mig for det vil jo koste dem penge. Jobcenteret derimod betaler 500 kr per dag uanset hvad jeg gør.

Jeg kan tage et kursus i “Projektledelse” på Niels Brock. Det koster 9000 kr for 6 ugers intensivt kursus, der på enhver måde vil forbedre mine chancer for at få et job. Dvs det er meget billigere end endnu et “jobsøgningskursus”, men jeg kan ikke få det, fordi jeg som akademiker skal “håndteres” af en 2. aktør og de skal tjene penge…ikke hjælpe mig i arbejde!

Mit forslag: 10 dages intensivt jobsøgningskursus til alle ledige. Dette kursus påbegyndes senest 2 uger efter man har meldt sig ledig. Derefter bør man have mulighed for sparring med jobcenter eller anden aktør efter eget ønske og hvert halve år kan man (efter eget ønske/behov) deltage i et opkvalificerende uddannelseskursus (der dog skal godkendes af jobcenteret som værende af relevant kvalitet og emne). Dette vil være en langt billigere og bedre løsning end den formålsløse aktivering (jobsøgningskurser o.l.) der finder sted i dag.

Jeg kan kun konkluderer at aktivering som akademiker (pt) intet har at gøre med opkvalificering, men derimod er ren opbevaring! What a waste of time and money!

It’s bloody cold in England, LOOK!

Satellite photo of Britain in the snow - Winter 2009Every time I return to England, it seems almost immediately there is a weather-related superlative issued for the month I choose to return. We all know the Brits are obsessed with weather, but in June 2007 it was the wettest/worst June since records began (hundreds of years ago), this winter, it has already been the coldest Winter for 30 or 40 years. And counting.

With temperatures as low as -22 Celsius, and a decent covering of snow: 10,000 schools are shut, the economy is losing 600 million pounds a day, old people are burning cheap second hand books to warm their houses (it’s cheaper than coal!) and the RSPB is regularly publishing warnings about imminent irrecoverable bird deaths.

So what did I do (apart from feeding the birds)? I tried to get back to Spain, on Easyjet, from Gatwick. Not a very sound plan. I ended up wasting the day in queues of people whilst waiting for the inevitable “Flight cancelled” confirmation. In the end it came, and I headed back to Oxford, only to try again another day…

You’ll perhaps be pleased to know (I was) that I made it back to Spain having rescheduled my flight for 3 days later. I got to Barcelona, wasn’t as pleasantly surprised as I’d hoped by the ‘warm climes’ here, and have promptly set about sorting out my crap Sony Vaio (sounds like it has chronic wind) so that I can get on with my IVOZI audio work soon.

On that note, I finally got my hands on the Zoom H2 Recorder and will be starting recording again in a couple of days.

I’ll leave you with a photo of my mother’s back garden in Eynsham, England where I stayed during my weather related incarceration. I tried to feed the birds, but my nuts promptly froze.

Snow in Eynsham, England - Winter 2009/2010

Sex education in Spain – “pleasure is in your own hands”

Masturbation - SpainThis fabulous story came out on the BBC website today…with the title “Spanish ‘self love’ lessons row”.

In brief, the government of the region of Extremadura in Spain has launched a campaign based on the slogan “pleasure is in your own hands“, which gives advice on masturbation.

Of course, with the large Roman Catholic population in Spain, it has got a few people’s backs up. Pilar Rahola, a columnist in the Barcelona-based La Vanguardia newspaper, wrote:

“Extremadura should be pleased with itself…It may have the most unemployed young people in Spain but they will be the best at masturbation.”

Full Story on the BBC Website

Spain sets world record for wind energy

Earlier this week, the weather in Barcelona was very, very windy. Little did we know at the time, but as we chattered our teeth in unison, Spain was about to set a world first.

Spanish wind energy - wind farm near Tarifa

From 3am until 8am on Sunday 8th November 2009, more than 50% of Spain’s electricity was generated by wind – according to the Spanish Wind Energy Association, “For several moments, wind energy had the honor of delivering up to 53 percent of total needs”.

With high winds gusting across much of the country, Spain’s huge network of windfarms jointly poured the equivalent of 11 nuclear power stations’ worth of electricity into the national grid.

Driving around Andalucia with my family over the last couple of years, we’ve often found ourselves in discussions about whether the wind farms are actually more of a blight on the environment (at least aesthetically) than a solution to the problem of generating energy sustainably.

Are we generating sustainable energy at the expense of our pristine landscapes forever?

Read more

Stormy weather breaks Spanish wind energy record
Spain’s windfarms set new national record for electricity generation
Huertas Solares (In Spanish – Ben and Marina discuss the use of fields of solar panels to overcome energy problems in Spain, but wonder about the future of our landscapes )