By night.


The handshake when we left –
A pleasant goodbye.
But to me, a hopeful welcome lingered afterwards.

The people going quietly home –
Was I going with them, alongside with them
Or contemplating why we walked in opposite directions?

To some, the shadows hide things
and the darkness covers like a cloak
Whereas to others, shadows beckon
and there are promises down the alleys of dark.

Lights fade and senses awake.
Darkness seeps in and restless joy stirs.
Creatures of the night smile when they sense that I am there
and let me know that they know that I am like them.

One of theirs.

And I look behind me when I walk with the others.
Home.
And wonder if I am walking in the right direction.

– – – – –

Edited for line breaks. The one thing that I cannot get straight in WordPress on the iPad…

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Monday Motorway Music™, July 20 – Closed for Summer

 

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Do not expect to hear much on this side of August 10… :)

Vacation – The Go-Go’s
Summertime – Cæcilie Norby
Boys (Summertime Love) – Sabrina
In the Summertime – Mungo Jerry
Summer in the Schoolyard – City Boy
Hot Summer Night – Grace Potter & The Nocturnals
Summer of ’69 – Bryan Adams
Walking on Sunshine – Katrine and the Waves
Summer Rain – Whitesnake
Sunshine Reggae – Laid Back

… I guess you get the point :)

Photo by me.
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Did Feel Like Dancing

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All I wanted was to dance

Not the oblivion kind of dance
Where you drown in the rhythm
And sing the songs
And forget all about the day and the days before that
And those following

Not the sweet hunting kind of dance
Where both dancers know what they’re after
In a voulez-vous kind of way
And everything is so cool and calculated

Or the dancing quite alone
Whether cool enough
Or desperate enough

No, just the delightful kind of dance
The sharing kind of dance
The one where the hands always meet
Where they’re supposed to meet
Where the dance makes the smile impossible to suppress
Not the dance to end love
Or even to begin love

No, all I wanted was just to dance
With you

And maybe I never may

– – – – – – – – – –

PS: A bit of the soundtrack that rumbled around and came out as this –

Dancing On My Own – Robyn
Voulez-Vous – ABBA
Dance Me To The End Of Love – Leonard Cohen
Let’s Face The Music And Dance – Diana Krall
(and with apologies for the title to Scissor Sisters)

Photo adapted from original by Cecilia Heinen on flickr
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Monday Motorway Music™, July 13 – Going Gaga Over All That Jazz…

Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga, Tivoli, Copenhagen, July 8

Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga, Tivoli, Copenhagen, July 8

As mentioned last week, I didn’t get to the Roskilde Festival this year. But – there is always next year – and of course, there was the Copenhagen Jazz Festival :)

6 concerts we managed altogether this year – you saw the picture from Malene Kjærgård Group’s very warm Sunday performance a week ago. Funnily enough, when we were at Danish singer Sinne Eeg‘s concert yesterday, Malene Kjærgård was in the audience and we got to have a wee chat with her about last week’s concert and jazz as such. Copenhagen’s like that – quite easy and laid back.

A trio of girls singing Andrews Sisters, Danish singer Katrine Madsen with a big band, Delta Blues Band – a venerable blues band (that I heard live when I was in high school!) and then, of course, the fabulous Tony Bennett and Lada Gaga duo. Man…!

Lady Gaga and some of her musicians had gone paiting the town – and ended up at La Fontaine, long, long-standing renowned jazz club in Copenhagen. And, of course, ended up performing. Here’s a clip of a casually dressed Lady Gaga singing La Vie en Rose.

And no – by that time, we were safely tucked in bed. Workday the next day, y’know…

And, by the way, the Lady also liked her Copenhagen audience…

It was a good Jazz Festival!

And while I have been – much – on the motorway today, the music I’ll leave for you to look up for yourself. Here a a few choices – all available on Spotify:

Down on West Fuxing Lu – Sinne Eeg
Let’s Face the Music and Dance – Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga
(the whole Cheek to Cheek album, in fact)
Rhode Island Is Famous For You – Malene Kjærgård

Photos by me.
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Monday Motorway Music™, July 6 – On Jazz vs Rock and Pop

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Malene Kjærgård singing with her group July 5 at Krudttønden, Copenhagen

 

I will admit that there is a little bit of envy at the basis of this – we made the conscious decision not to go to this year’s Roskilde Festival as we simply had too much around our ears (figuratively) with work travel, both kids finishing schools & education with all the celebrations that triggers and what have you. But the bittersweet feeling of reading really good reviews of concerts you didn’t go to…

Nevertheless – and even if there will always be exceptions to rules – I have quite often thought, when going to jazz concerts, that on a scale of technical skills (in terms of playing their instruments and singing), jazz musicians tops my scale.

Maybe that is also why I prefer smaller bands – trios, quartets and the like. Not so much sound that it becomes hard picking out the individual parts. The band above, Malene Kjærgård Group, was a prime example to support my skills theory – excellent rhythm section, very, very good singing and excellent guitar and piano. And not that I pretend being a very detailed and avid follower of the Danish jazz scene – but I really marvelled at the level of these musicians, who were all completely new to me. And of course the lady also writes her own music…

We’ll be hearing some other top of the Danish music scene stuff during the next week or so. And then, in the middle of it, one of the big headlining events that I actually look quite a lot forward to – Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga. And to those who think that the pop diva contradicts my theory: check out her Sound of Music medley from the 2015 Oscars (and Julie Andrews’ comments to it). The lady can sing!

The music list from this morning, however, is something completely different (nobody ever expected… ) –

Teo Torriate – Queen
Står her endnu – Østkyst Hustlers
Waterfalls – TLC

Photo by me.
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Cobblestone Cooking Music IX – A Couple of Experiments

 

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The first one, admittedly, is a bit of a cheat – it involved a recipe…! But, as the photo shows, it made up for that by sheer colourfulness :) And, to go full confessional – these two things were not done for the same meal but just fitted nicely together under the “experiment” headline.

What it is – is red beets, raw, peeled, very thinly sliced on the mandoline. Bathe them liberally in lemon juice and set aside for an hor or so (we didn’t have that time – I imagine they’d cured a bit and become softer if we had in fact let them).

  • Communards, Don’t Leave Me This Way

The green stuff is a ramsons / buckrams / wild garlic / whateveryoucallit dressing:

Take a couple of handfuls of ramsons leaves, rinse them and very briefly blanch them in really boiling water, dumping them into cold water at once they get out of the hot water. My kitchen tweezers were ideal for the job: grab one or two leaves, dip them in the boiling water without letting them go, transfer them to the cold bath and leave them there.

  • Ray Parker Jr., Ghost Busters

Pat the water off the leaves and put them in the blender. Add a decent olive oil in rather copious amounts. Blend until the whole thing is smooth and very green. Add quite some lemon juice and adjust taste with salt and pepper and blend into a smooth paste. Arrange on the plates as you find it most elegant.

  • Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, I Love Rock and Roll

The other experiment was today. Came home late from the office – I was picking up 12-14 kg of fresh lamb from a farm in the countryside on the way. Leg, shoulder, some HUGE lamb chops (just saying this: we can fit max 2 on the big frying pan…!) etc. Yummy. All now neatly packed and in the freezer.

For some odd reason we hadn’t planned for lamb for dinner – doh! But we had two very nice pork chops – on the frying pan with sage, lemon thyme (both fresh from the pots in the front garden), salt & pepper.

  • Matt Bianco, Whose Side Are You On

Very apt song – next up: sides! Some pasta on the boil for carbohydrates. A tomato salad: sliced tomato, chopped red onion, olive oil & balsamico dressing, And then the experiment – a warm side salad:

We had a pointed cabbage (sweetheart cabbage? sounds better!). Took the outer leaves away – they’re always a bit soft and yucky. Took the next three-four layers and rinsed them and then sliced them 1/4 inch or so wide, maybe an inch or inch and a half long.

  • Katy Perry, I Kissed A Girl (Rock Mix)

And basically stir fried that in oil with maybe 6-8 green asparagus cut in similar lengths and a good handful of almonds and justa touch of salt. On good but not excessive heat until the cabbage turns really nicely green but still has bite.

  • Kim Wilde, You Keep Me Hanging On

Turned out very nice – and looked good on the plate along with the red tomato salad. Freshly grated parmesan for the pasta – and then an organic apple/elderberry flower cider we’d had as a present along with it. The quiet acidity of the cider made it a very good companion for the food.

And by the way, just now when I went out into the garden, the scent of the elderberry flower was wafting nicely around out there. With that happy thought –

Happy cooking!

Photo by me.
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Monday Motorway Music™, June 29 – Got Tied Up Last Week…

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No, not physically, no need to worry. But last Monday, in the morning, my youngest got one of these caps – a well-deserved proof of his high-school graduation.

These caps are very traditional here – and no, in no way military or cadet-related. It is simply a sign of graduation and is placed on the head of the student when he/she gets the marks for the last oral exam and, of course, has passed the whole exam. Placed – per tradition generally not put on by themselves. In this case, I did the honour (proudly and happily) to “even the score” as my wife had the honour on our daughter’s behalf three years back.

The caps date back to the mid-1800s and originally were only for the “academic” high school or upper secondary eduction – the one preparing for and giving access to university (graphic on the Danish School System here). In the last number of years, several other school types at the same age-level have begun using caps and the differentiating part is the colour of the band. The dark red’s still the right cap to have ;) (a bit of friendly rivalry there…)

Lots of traditions around it – never ever put one on before having earned it as bad luck will surely follow your academic efforts and you may never graduate! Friends write their names and short messages inside it – if the messages are *ahem* frank or naughty, they may be written under the sweatband as to be a wee bit hidden.

And much, much more. But to all Danes, when the white caps fill the streets and the bars (and believe me, they do!), you know it’s the height of summer and you think back to the glory days or few weeks of wearing your own.

But as we used last Monday to celebrate our “wee” boy – well, I never got to the keyboard. To be honest, I think the prioritization was fair enough :)

 

I’m A Believer – Smash Mouth
I’ll Stand By You – The Pretenders
Crazy Little Thing Called Love – Queen
Crystal Ball – Styx
Good As It Gets – Beth Hart

Photo by me.
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Mmmmm….

  

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Monday Motorway Music™, June 15 – What Is Me … And What Is Fiction?

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A question that pops up here now and then, especially when I publish in the poetry corner, is how much of that stuff is me and what is just made up?

I like to think of it the way I suppose crime writers do. Take Jo Nesbø as an example. A lot of the crimes in his Harry Hole series are gruesome and chilling to the bone (especially, and that is not meant a a silly pun, The Showman – that one almost gave me nightmares) and Harry Hole, the main character, is both likeable and host to some big problems, alcoholism included.

Do I think that Jo Nesbø is a drunkard who runs around killing people in the worst kind of way – or even fantasize about it? No. From what I read, he’s a nice guy who likes to rock climb and play music and such.

And while I am at it – I am under no illusion that I write anywhere near in his calls of writing. But the fundamental thing is probably comparable – I see or hear or smell something around me in my day, that whatever it is hits some synapses in my brain and connects to a small part of me that gives what I write some life and an identity in the world.

But the final piece is an amalgam, a fictional angle on a factual world. I’ve given it a voice and a little pat of myself on the back to send it on its way. Or, if you will, blown at the dandelion to make the seeds fly out and find some fertile soil to land on. But you shouldn’t try to read too much of me into it …

I’ve Been to Town – Cæcilie Norby
Heart of Glass – Blondie
I Am What I Am – Gloria Gaynor
Happy – Pharell Williams
I Hate Myself For Loving You – Joan Jett & The Blackhearts
Roseanna – Toto
Lady (Radio Edit) – Modjo

Photo by me.
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Cobblestone Flight Review – CPH-SGD and back (Danish domestic) on Alsie Express

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Alsie Express ATR72 – quite mean & lean and very black

It’s been more than a few years since I flew domestic in Denmark. Today’s flight to Sønderborg (SGD) turned out to be surprising in many ways – and, I haste to say, only in a good way (knocking on wood; I write this first part right after levelling out at flight altitude on the outbound flight). My immediate association was that this felt like flying may have been in its first heydays in the 50s or so.

Checkin times are mercifully short – 30 min before in CPH, 15 in SGD. I actually had to bring a roller that needed to be checked, normally – a load of gear for the talk with demonstrations that the trip was all about. Nothing that clashed with security but rather heavy for carry-on. But Alsie Express as a standard offers “Delivery at Aircraft” – as long as you can wheel the bag through security, you can get a tag at the gate and it’ll travel in the hold but be handed right back to you as you step off the aircraft. If you’re travelling with stuff you absolutely need with you, this is a perfect compromise – and an appreciated offering.

Often, you leave your bag on a cart of sorts and walk on the plane. Not here – two smiling ground crew gentlemen took care of the luggage – and put the bags directly into the hold. Nothing to make you feel more secure about your luggage travelling with you than actually seeing it being loaded!

Next surprise: we boarded by the rear door – and at the foot of the stairs, we were greeted by the pilot. I can count on very few fingers how many times that has happened in 20-some years of regular flying – and our captain today left me with a very sincere impression that he truly enjoyed his job. I commented to him that the matte-black plane looked mean and lean and he actually smiled as if it was his own.

2015-06-11 08.19.19The seating is free – but no need to rush as the seat pitch is more or less business class generous throughout the one-class cabin. A smiling cabin attendant handed out breakfast rolls as we boarded and – despite the short 30 minute flying time – actually managed to serve coffee on the way and clear it all away again, all with a pleasant glimt in her eye.

 

The captain – with a female pilot next to him on the flight deck, which (as I believe I have mentioned before) always makes me happy about general progress – told us that it’d be fine flying weather all across as soon as we got above the cloud cover. And it was.

On arrival in SGD – a few minutes ahead of schedule, even – deplaning was quick and easy, the stashed-away luggage apperared more or less immediately and I had time to check in for the afternoon flight before heading on.

2015-06-11 16.35.33The return flight in the afternoon? Pretty much rinse and repeat – with the addition of blue skies and sunshine. This captain, on top of the meet and greet – which is actually Alsie Express corporate policy, I found out – was a joking sort of guy: after doing the mandatory departure check walk around the aircraft, he explained on the intercom that walking around like that was not due to an inability to find the door of the aircraft but actually for our safety… ;)

2015-06-11 16.36.25Again, on time and in beautiful flying conditions. I actually cannot think of much to do such a short domestic commuter flight any better. Maybe it’s one notch up on Fridays where the late afternoon flight has a “TGIF” moment – the airline’s partnered with a local brewery in that part of the country to serve a cold beer on those flights. Free of charge…

So the verdict on the general execution must be a solid load of five cobblestones. And when you then add the friendliness, the meet-the-captain thing, the overall complete lack of any hassle, I do not hesitate to add the sixth and present Alsie Express with a full house! A flying job as nice as they come.

And, as always – fly safely out there.

score-stenscore-stenscore-stenscore-stenscore-stenscore-sten

Photos by me.
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