Monday, June 28, 2010

Sidste Tog by Morten Sabroe

Not too bad

Rating 3 out of 10

This book is not too bad. It tells the tale of how the author leaves his wife and child, because he is drawn to the unknown adventure. This break with normal life propels him out to outskirts of society which he would not otherwise have encountered. Because of his talent and strong will he manage to make a living as a writing author. After numerous hardships the novel ends on a positive note. I wonder if this guy will ever be able to write a really good book? Proberly not.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Largo by Christian Lemmerz

Too simple

Art Review

Rating 2 out of 10

It seems that the major inspiration for this instalation is the dark side of romanticism, that is gothic horror. Christian Lemmerz is in this instalation working on the death theme. Like a Duchamp readymade he has produced an exact copy of a coffin and a shovel. Then there is some reliefs which he calls graves and they look like black-brown earth. But is seems to me that Lemmerz is sophisticating too little, the work is too close to reality.

Flight To Arras by Antoine De Saint Exupery

War pilot having a mystic experience

Rating 6 out of 10

In this book Exupéry appears as a mystic. The state is spurred because he find himself in severe danger during the battle of France in 1940. Somehow he comes into a state because of the extreme pressure he is under. He expresses aristocratic views upon humanity, where he proclaims that he wants to live and die for "The Human" instead of a "mass of humans". Proberly he would have been sad to see how the world developed after him, where, in the name of democracy, the world was to be controlled by mass culture, continualy debasing itself. In this writing one wonders if Exupéry is actually out of his wits?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Det skal mærkes at vi lever by Benny Andersen & Johannes Møllehave

About old age, disease and losing your loved ones

Rating 2 out of 10

This book begins quite boring, with Johannes Møllehave throwing around a lot of references to, for example, Søren Kierkegaard. Johannes Møllehave is a bit of a windbag. Well anyway the good part of this book is in the end when the two men start talking about loosing their life partners (They have both recently lost their wives). In that way that part of the book can be perfect for someone who has lost the loved one. Benny Andersen is the most interesting of the two.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

Propelled by a resentment towards whites

Rating 3 out of 10

This is another quite boring book from Toni Morrison. I mean I acknowledge that Toni Morrison is a powerful individual who has a remarkable no-nonsense look at life, but most of her books just don't really appeal to me. It seems like a substantial part of Toni Morrisons authorship is propelled by a deepfelt resentment towards white people, and she directly implies that black peoples social problems are a result of white discrimination and slavery. Hm... I just made a brief search on the internet and I found this source which is backed up by statistic facts: "Blacks are an estimated 39 times more likely to commit a violent crime against a white than vice versa, and 136 times more likely to commit robbery." ( If this is true, which it appears to be, is it then any wonder that you are a bit more careful when you walk through a coloured neighborhood, than when you walk through a white neighborhood? I believe that white discrimination towards blacks is responsible for some of the problems, but I also think that the major reason for the problems is the cultural origin. Afro-Americans have part of their origin in Africa, and the cultural origin of whites is Europe. When you look at how the two continents have developed it seems obvious that there is a remarkable difference! Hopefully this difference will get smaller in the progress of time!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Gangster - Brian Sandberg by Henrik Madsen

A quite nice guy

Rating 8 out of 10

This is a highly entertaining and informative read. Brian Sandberg appears as a quite sympathic guy. Obviously the guy today is an ex-criminal. It's sad that criminals of the kind of Brian Sandberg is a higly threatened specie. In the last 20 years in Denmark we have witnessed a sheer explosion of violence and crime commited by immigrants of mostly moslem observance. So I am afraid the Hells Angels wont stand a chance against the flood of young immigrant criminals. Hells Angels criminals are like dinosaurs, they are the criminals of the old Denmark, before mass immigration. According to the police of Copenhagen 82 % of the people charged with youth crime in 2004 were immigrants or decendents of immigrants. Sandberg is a great storyteller and has a lot of interesting stories to tell. During Sandbergs carreer, he has spend 7 years in jail, he reconts his first X-mas in jail, he and his friends went to the ceremony in jail church. The priest says: "Jesus is in all our cells". Where upon one of the criminals replies "What's he busting for?". Where upon the priest becomes the laughing stock of the witty criminals. In the new millinieum Sandberg starts a highly profitable business (BS Consultancy) where he is organising security for rich people. As he says, normal security companies are not efficient, when the criminals come, they just run away and call the police. Brian Sandberg draws upon his connections to organize a very efficient security and his guards don't run away faced with the thieves. Sandberg is more expensive than a traditional security company but in return with Sandberg the customers get the "The Real Deal". Sandberg appears in the book as a diplomatic persona with extraordinary social skills, that guy is simply able to make friends with everybody. Well done Sandberg! Take care of yourself!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Frydenholm by Hans Scherfig

WW2 in Denmark from communistic POV

Rating 8 out of 10

This is a fine read. It tells the tale of the German occupation of Denmark during WW2, seen from the perspective of a young communist. The book draws a picture of the Danish population as far more colleborative and sympathetic with the nazis then was generally accepted as historical truth in 1962 when the book was first published. The last 20 years historians have painted a far more nuanced picture of the Danish role during WW2, where it is acknowledged that the a large part of the Danish population actually were supporting Germany during WW2. Thus the book must have appeared much more controversial when it was first published in 1962. A red thread running through this account is the authors indignation with fact that the Danish government actually organised an imprisonment of the Danish communists during the war. Time and time again it is pointed out that this imprisonment was illegal according to the Danish constitution. The biggest crooks in Denmark, during WW2, according to the author, is thus the Danish judges! With sarcasm the writer is recounting how nobody in the Danish society came to support the Danish communists when they were subject to this imprisonment in conflict with the Danish constitution. The Danish government on the other hand said that it imprisoned the Danish communists to protect them against imprisonment by the Germans, which would have been far worse. The Danish government gave solemn gaurantees that the communists would not be surrendered to the Germans. But this promise was broken 29. August 1943 when the Germans occupied the Danish concentration camp where the communists were being held (23 Danish people were shot by the Germans on this day!). Later the communists were sent to the German concentration camp Stutthof in Germany. Of the about 150 communists sent to Stutthof, 21 perished in Stutthof, and some more perished later as an effect of the time in Stutthof. The best part of the book is the description of the Danish internment of the communists, the time in Danish prison and especially the stay in the Danish concentration camp Horserød in Northern Zealand. The author was himself one of the detained communists.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Den spanske gæst by Morten Sabroe

Quite boring guy!

Rating 2 out of 10.

This book is quite boring. Sabroe doesn't really seem to possess the mastery of producing a coherent account. The tale simply looses it's impetus and relevance quite often. I don't know if Morten Sabroe ever will be able to write a good book. Frankly I doubt it. This guy is raised in the political correct circles around a particular Danish newspaper and between litterary people, drenched in red wine and high cultured dinners. In my opinion, if he shall be able to do something interesting, he will have to break out of this milieu. It could be interesting if he, for example, would write a really political incorrect novel about tourist prostitutes in Thailand or explore the darkness which he believes he carries inside.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Memento - Christian Lemmerz : erindring, krop, død by Ann Lumbye Sørensen

Christian Lemmerz is an interesting artist!

Rating 4 out of 10

I don't think the text of this book by Ann Lumbye Sørensen matches the quite intersting artist Christian Lemmerz. She is simply to dull. There will always be a conflict between the artist and the elitarian bourgeois milieu which receives the artist, whether this milieu be elitarian in the economic sense or elitarian in the intellectual sense. Ann Lumbye Sørensen is too political correct and too much living in the bell jar of fine culture, academia and intellectualism to really strike out and grasp Christian by the balls as he deserves. Christian Lemmerz appears to be a potent artist. Casting a view over Christians oeuvre in the 80's and 90's, Ann Lumbye Sørensen rightfully draw comparisons with other artist like Joseph Beuys and Alberto Giacometti. Some of the works of Lemmerz that I find striking is "Grete" from 1986, this work consist of a lolita dull lying on a mattress with a beer bottle between her legs and in her mouth. Also the sculpture group "Anamnesis 1 - 9", also from 1986 seems striking. The sculptures "Gestalt (todesfigur)" from 1988 also makes an impression. And "Sfinx" from 1988-93. Especially fascinating seems Lemmerz recent work, like "Mermaid" from 2005 where the inspiration seems to be the classic Christian sarcophagi. Also the sculpure "Jailbird" from 2006, placed in East Jutland state prison seems very site-specific and very relevant. And the sculptures "Holy Spirit" from 1996 are quite interesting. It's amazing to witness Christians Lemmerz mastery over the craft of stone masonry in works like "Stroke (N.O.G.) from 1999, that guy seems capable of expressing everything in stone! There seems to run through all of Christian Lemmerz work a red thread of death, violence, mutilation and crime, but also at rare times an insight into deeper existential truths and perhaps even some deliverance.

Report from the cultural elite

I was standing at the buffet at the party, getting myself some more food.
- You look incredible stupid!
Slowly it dawned upon me, was somebody speaking to me? I turned around, Christian Lemmerz was standing right next to me looking at me with his brown eyes, with a surprisingly light, expressionless, expression on his face. Was the guy speaking to me? I think next to Christian Lemmerz was standing another person, so I gathered that he was just in the middle of a conversation with this other person, and that I had just overheard a fragment of it. Anyway it continued to rummage in my head, was he speaking to me? How polite! Anyway it was not exactly a welcoming intro to a conversation, so I didn’t react to his words.
The next day I met my father and his girlfriend, the hosts of the party, I recounted my experience with Christian Lemmerz and my father exclaimed:
- That’s exactly a Christian Lemmerz! He likes to provoke.
Hm… So here I am… Looking incredible stupid! Well probably it’s right, but I can’t really help it, can I?
Christian Lemmerz was dressed in a white shirt at the party, was it from Mads Nørgaard-Copenhagen? My father said Christian Lemmerz was a friend of Mads Nørgaard, that guy is also a friend of Martin Hall, are Lemmerz and Hall connected?
Anyway the party I attended was a birthday party for my father’s girlfriend. The guests where comprised of two groups, on the one hand family, and on the other hand friends and colleagues. The party was quite divided. Christian Lemmerz seemed like a quite attractive man. Somewhat in his white shirt he had the air of some revolutionary hero, like a 2010 Che Guevara. He was quite loud, joking and getting drunk, contrary to the rest of the guests he didn’t introduce himself, he just went to his corner, where he remained for the rest of the party, but this corner was the center of the party, and people came there. Jørgen Haugen Sørensen also came to the party, he was dressed in a white cotton suit, and had the air of some Picasso, here was the Artist! He was not as attractive as Lemmerz and he quickly went to Lemmerz’ corner where the two great men had a talk. Michael Kvium should actually also have been to the party, he had said he would come, but he didn’t turn up, sending no message of his absence, how nice! I have met Jørgen Haugen Sørensen before, but he didn’t notice me, probably he have forgotten everything about me, at least he didn’t greet me. Upon his leaving I tapped him on the shoulder and said hello, I am not exactly sure he recognized me, properly he couldn’t care less. Anyway I enquired to his broken leg, and he told me that he was OK now and that it had been patched together with seven metal stitches. Jørgen Haugen Sørensen has a very bright look in his eyes, it’s like his eyes emit a light like a razor blade. Like a bulb, there is something cruel about his expression. Jørgen is enthusiastic about the human experiment, when bodies become mutilated he is curious about it and models the corpses with his rough hands. My third encounter with a culture person at the party was with Lars Johansson, he introduced himself to me when I happened to end in a chair next to him, he told me that he was a writer, I had never read any of his books, and started to recount which of Danish contemporary writers I was digging. I mentioned Benn Q. Holm, and Martin Hall. He asked me if I meant Martin Hall the musician or Martin Hall the writer? I said Martin Hall the writer. Well suddenly in the middle of the conversation Lars Johansson saw some girl he knew, and without any word of excuse he started conversing her, ignoring me all together. Apparently our conversation was ended, how nice these culture people are! So the party carried on, as the night progressed it became more and more divided, there was the calm, somewhat boring, family room, and then there was the artistic room, with all these egos, getting more and more loud, saturated with themselves and their projects, counting an insignificant little person like me for nothing!
The artist was protruding into the living room; I looked at him as he was standing there in the June sun streaming in the window. The setting, the apartment, was cultured leftwing bourgeois, with designer lamps, books, in the kitchen postcards from the third world, political correctness en masse, speaking shortly, the place where an artist would be.
Christian Lemmerz was quite animated, the tall man was obviously a leader of a cult, enigmatically he was joking around, while his presence protruding somewhat like an omen into the living room. Was this guy a Jesus? A Manson?
I looked at Lars Johansson, he was standing in a small crowd with his back towards me, there was something slightly sloppy about his appearance, like his trousers and suit was a little too crumbled and musty. He was standing central in the crowd, slightly leaning back like nothing could really shake him, taking in the scene. I was happy I was not in the crowd, here was the cultural elite at the water hole, feeding each other with interesting vital information. This was social networking. But I was terrible misplaced in this setting, compared to these people I was a third world of humanity.
Meanwhile Christian had taken his elatedness into the next level; he was virtually jumping around in an almost violent fashion. Was this guy an incarnate of some Neanderthal impulse? In a way he was misplaced in this European intellectual setting, it was obvious that he was much more akin to some Dionysian blood feast. I mean it’s obvious that European culture has lost something in its development of rationality, fact and reason. But was the answer to this loss to regress into a world of rite and sacrifice, to return to a law of blood and gorging on fresh meat? Was the answer to go to Africa and partake in some voodoo ceremony with the black people?
I didn’t think so. To me that was the easy option and it only revealed the ignorance and crudeness of the artist. What about unseen art? What about invisible art? What about human spirituality? What about the graced moments of Homer? The energy waves of Blixen? The exuding of light and clarity from Ancient Greece? Should all this just go down the drain and we all become part of some Global multi cultural urban tribal mishmash, where every day was overriding the human potential with a new definition of how debased and crude a human could be?
Like a zombie I was groping around, I was the absolute minimum of humanity, the living dead, where was I? What was I? I did not exist; I was a living memory, a pause in flesh and blood. As from far off I was perceiving my surroundings, my senses was not working properly, like in slow motion I perceived a blurred image of the surroundings, the sounds reached me with a delay of time, I was like a blind, a deaf, a numb, a dumb.
Meanwhile the party had grown in intensity, like the dark side of The Garden of Earthly Delights everybody was now devouring each other. I didn’t know what to do with myself, I was not a delicious snack, I couldn’t take anybody for a treat. Christian was now throning in his corner like a master of the ceremony. He must be attractive for women, because he was surrounded by women; there was his ex-girlfriend, who he brought with him from Holland, when he was first arriving in Denmark. But now he was kissing his new girlfriend, I gathered from the conversation that she was working on some morning TV on the telly, and just now had been promoted to the hosting duty of this show. I looked enviously at her delicious thighs, this was highlife!
I was making my way to the buffet table; to Christian’s wary eye I must have been quite outstanding in this scenery. I was the odd man out, what was this genetic flop doing in this select crowd? I was only half conscious, driven by boredom, habit and a mute animal urge to feed myself. I approached in my humble shaky way; here was a representative of a lower class, a light feast of blindness. A something which should never have been.
- You look incredible stupid.
I looked at his pale face. He was the commander-in-chief of the battle going on around us. This was the eye of the storm and it was quiet. The smoke was slowly wavering over his face. Somewhat his pale skin seemed to glow and had the air of marble slightly eroded. Like some monster emerged from deep sea he studied me with his brown felt eyes, with intelligence. Like a common black devil he had attracted me with his light. I was numb and defenseless. Deep in his eyes was a concealed pleasure, this was the bad boy of the school yard having made his first approach on a natural born victim. He had poked this incredible stupid looking creature, now how would it react? He could destroy me with his slightest yawn, should we have some fun? His face was set in the simplistic intense complexion of a carnivore watching a prey, and I was the rat, the mouse, the mosquito. Forever I was condemned to journey around and derive the little bit of humanity I could get by eating the crumbles from the grown up, the real peoples, table.
I had to decline this Mr. Kurtz, I mean what was in it for me? A feast on my shortcomings and inferiority? How charming! Was he about to make some art of my displaced features, put my blood in a plastic back, mix the gristle and sinews that I was with some excrements and urine? Properly yes. Well, I backed out. He had to proceed in his heathen ritual without me as the victim. I ignored him and turned away, shortly after I left the party, I think they were all relieved. But the sad thing was that Christian Lemmerz was absolutely right:-(
Anyway the next day my father’s girlfriend showed me this book, I looked into it, it looked interesting, I am quite keen on getting to know more about modern art, so I decided to read it, that’s why this review appear here, now.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Little Birds by Anaïs Nin

Unimaginative erotica

Rating 1 out of 10

Well this is a collection of erotic tales, a fare share of them circulate around lesbianism and impotence themes. In the books introduction Nin describes how she is commisioned to produce these writings with her friends and thus become a madam of a literary house of prostitution. Well the books daring words doesn't help to make it much interesting, on the contrary it reveals a stunning lack of imagination and talent. One really gets the sense of that the sole reason why Nin rose to intellectual fame, was her good looks. And thus she was able to arouse the interest and patronisation of lewd partners in intellectual Paris and New York.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Maigret and the Hotel Majestic by Georges Simenon

The ever wary eye upon French society

Rating 4 out of 10

Simenon is always an OK read. As time goes on, maybe one of the unforseen feats of Simenon, is that he has left a series of quite accurate images of French society as he experienced it. In this book we discover the world of Hotel Majestic in Paris, seen from the perspective of the employees. We are also a trip to Cannes and Côte d'Azur discovering the life of prostitutes there. The plot of the crime Maigret is unveiling in this book is quite sophisticated, perhaps a bit to sophisiticated?

Rebel for the Hell of It: The Life of Tupac Shakur by Armond White

A disappointed black activist

Rating 0 out of 10

Even though Armond White writes in English, somehow I don't really understand his writing, it's like he is communicating in a way I simply don't get. Anyway it seems like there is two things on Armond Whites mind, he wants to glorify black people and he sees the hardships black people experience in the US today as a result of white suppression and racism. The golden age for Armond White is the Black Panther activism of the 60's. In this book he tries to place Tupac's gangsta rap into the Black Panther tradition, but must acknowledge that it is impossible. It's quite suprising that Armond White seems to get pissed by the fact that Tupac scores a megahit with 'California Love' in the mid 90's, instead, one senses, Armond White is disappointed that Tupac doesn't take up the proud tradition of black activism, but rather indulges in violence and commercial success.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Historier fra Haiti by Jørgen Leth

A very dangerous but somehow charming mess

Rating 6 out of 10

In this book Jørgen Leth recounts from the turmoilous time in Haiti in the first half of the 1990's. At this time, in 1991, Haiti's first democratic elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, was exiled due to a military coup and later, in 1994, managed to take power again with the help of a US intervention. Leth describes the stark conflicts between the large illiterate masses of black people which comprise the great bulk of the Haiti people, and the minute, very well-to-do mulatto elite. Jørgen Leth really understand to get around and it seems like he is meeting and sensing all the different players in this Haitian drama. From the generals behind the military coup, to Aristide, to the mulatto elite, the journalists, the people in the slum, the killers, the corpses etc, etc. An OK read.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Early Years by Jacob Thuesen

In-joke for The National Film School of Denmark

Movie Review

Rating 3 out of 10

There is something absurd about this production. It describes the early years of Danish director Lars von Trier. The absurd thing, is that Lars von Trier, being a very elitarian film maker, his early years are here described in the form of popular comedy. It's amazing that this film has managed to move into production because it so utterly falls between two stools! What audience is this film supposed to cater for? The intellectual milieu which is the audience to von Triers film will be bored with the form of this folksy popular comedy. And the broad mainstream audience will fail to grasp it's art related points. It seems to me that the only audience which will appriciate the film is the people who was in the milieu around The National Film School of Denmark when Lars von Trier studied there, and thus it's just very private in-joke. The film often tries to funny, maybe I am hard to make laugh, but I must admit that I didn't laugh much.