Tue, 28 January 2014
Colin Marshall sits down in Copenhagen's Frederiksberg with Melanie Haynes, author of the blog Dejlige Days. They discuss the Danish national virtue of hygge (and the also important quality of dejlige); how she came to leave her native England for Denmark; the Copenhagen system of smiley-face food sanitation ratings; the Danish habit of both asking "Why are you here in my country?" and personally receiving her praise for the country; why she writes about festivals, eating, design, and "the relaxed life"; how the British operate in fifth gear at all times, and the Danish in third; her popular post on "becoming Danish," and Denmark's concept of immigration; the necessity to learn Danish so as to avoid perpetually apologizing all the time for your non-Danishness; her troubled period in Berlin, a city with which she could never really engage; how Danish society frowns on ambition versus how British society does; scarves and the way Danish women wear them; what pregnancy taught her about Danish life; the relative perception of taxes, and how her work in government public relations sheds light on it; how she intends to help her young son become a citizen of the world; what she wished she'd known about Denmark before coming; and her immediate feeling that she "should've always been here."
Direct download: NCC_S4E21_Melanie_Haynes.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:58pm UTC
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
Sat, 11 January 2014
Colin Marshall sits down in Copenhagen's Nørrebro with Louise Sand (and her baby daughter Alice), who teaches the Danish language on the Copenhagencast. They discuss why the Danes speak English so well, yet still feel shy about speaking it; her experience teaching Danish to classrooms of foreigners; her original studies to become a Spanish teacher; her inspirational friendship with Japanese-teaching podcaster Hitomi Griswold of Japancast.net; how she learns one language after another, like a musician addicted to learning one instrument after another; the importance, and difficulty, of giving up goals like perfect fluency; how podcasting lets her approach Danish education in a "modern," less traditionally academic way; that thoroughly satisfying moment when a native speaker of a foreign language first understands you; the cultural lessons you find your way to when studying language, such as the existence of the onsdags snegle; how the Danish language enriches Danish life, especially its sense of humor; why to study subjects you love in other languages; the last twenty years you spend mastering the last ten percent of a language; the surprising directness of Danish in contrast with other languages, and the elements of life evoked by its idiomatic expressions; what she's learned watching her young children acquire language; how flash cards "increase the storage space in your brain"; and the new expansion of the Danish language, as manifested in the signature expressions of a well-known traffic broadcaster.
Direct download: NCC_S4E19_Louise_Sand.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:41pm UTC
Sun, 5 January 2014
Colin Marshall sits down in one of Copenhagen's many storied serving houses with Thomas E. Kennedy, author of the "Copenhagen Quartet" of novels In the Company of Angels, Kerrigan in Copenhagen: A Love Story, Falling Sideways, and the forthcoming Beneath the Neon Egg. They discuss whether one can truly know Copenhagen without knowing its serving houses; the drinking guide from which Kerrigan in Copenhagen takes its "experimental" form; his mission not just to know all of the city's serving houses, but to incorporate as much of its culture as possible into his books and to capture the "light of the four seasons" which first captivated him in 1972; how he came to live in Copenhagen, and the breakthrough as a fiction writer the act of leaving his native America brought about; how he overcame his fear of writing Danish characters; what happens after the first toast at a Danish dinner party; how he managed to take notes for the corporate satire Falling Sideways during dreaded office meetings; what it means that Danes tend to greet everyone in a room in rank order; his immersion into the Danish lifestyle, and to what extend the much-touted Danish happiness comes out of reduced expectations; whether he counts as an American, mid-Atlantic, Danish, Irish-American, or American European writer; how one society's clichés, such as the Danish expression "to hang your pictures where your nails are," offer bursts of insight to another; the American tendency to cling to differences and identity; the noir Beneath the Neon Egg, which explores Copenhagen's underbelly of violence, crime, drugs, sex clubs, and its famous commune Christiana; how his conversion into a full-time novelist fits in with his habit of "living life on fortune" (and why he may have written more with a day job); how Danes react to his depictions of them; and what his life in Denmark has taught him about the importance of taxes.
Direct download: NCC_S4E18_Thomas_E_Kennedy.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:24pm UTC