Tue, 21 January 2014
Colin Marshall sits down in Copenhagen's Vesterbro with Per Šmidl, author of the bestseller Chop Suey, the essay Victim of Welfare, and the new novel Wagon 537 Christiania. They discuss the surprise foreigners, and especially Americans, feel upon discovering that a self-governing commune like Christiana has existed for over forty years in the middle of Copenhagen; how Christiana began as "a spiritual venture" and became "the last and greatest attempt Western man made to rid himself of the shackles of capitalism"; the criticism Danish society allows, but the price you must pay if you make it; how his speaking out resulted in his "confinement" to unpublishability; normal society as a corset, and the way life in a place like Christiana releases it; what it means when the protagonist of Wagon 357 Christiana discovers he can't urinate; the question of whether one moves into Christiana because of an awareness of wanting to live differently, or simply because of a diffused feeling of something having gone wrong; the difference between short- and long-term Christianites, and the results they get from their respective stints there; how Henry Miller revealed to him "the importance of personal liberation"; how he wrote Chop Suey while keeping his contact with the Danish state to a minimum, and the Czech exile he moved into after he completed it; the societal "lie" he felt he had to expose by writing Victim of Welfare; the state as an eternal parent who considerers unacceptable the individual's desire to live; how Christiana could possibly have survived as long as it has; what his time outside the Danish state taught him; and the importance of living a live between countries.
Direct download: NCC_S4E20_Per_Smidl.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:43am UTC