Category Archives: Workshops and Projects

Feather Weight

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One of my little mantra-songs, as I like to call them. I made this one whilst walking in the rain with my firstborn in her pram, on my way to The Media-workshop in Bergen (MiB, like Men in Black for those who know that ace movie)… where I was a board member for 8 years. (1999-2007).

Songs come to me when I walk, or when I shower, mostly. Then I have to sing it over and over and over and over, to remember it until I get to a pen and paper! 🙂
These days I just sing it into my phone. Which doesn´t actually work, as they just sit there ready to be developed but I forget they are there…until my phone breaks down and they are lost… or stuck in an old mac that breaks down…

I am an analogue person more than a digitality-lover. No doubt about that. I prefer a pen to a keyboard, and notebooks to computer files.
I love the means of production too, though, how dv camera and the free editing programme Adobe Premiere suddenly made it possible for anyone to go out and make anything, without investing hundreds of thousands of kroner into a film camera, pc and the rolls of film themselves…

In MiB we held workshops in different aspects of film making. And we had cameras, microphones, lighting and editing computers that all members could borrow for free. All financially supported by Bergen council.
We coursed school classes, we made short films, we invited professionals from the film business of Bergen to come and share their insights with us. We had movie nights where we also cooked a meal, we learnt to write scripts, and make storyboards, we were asked to be extras and gaffers in the local professional film projects… I learnt a lot those years. And we made some legendary parties as well. 🙂

But let me tell you all about MiB some other time.

I just felt to share with you this short videopoem.
Which is from my video poetry installation called Linking.
(Which you can find in total under that name).
It consists of 15 pieces; 10 poems and 5 songs, all in all 38 minutes long.

Note, if you go for watching the whole thing, that I have consciously chosen a rather non modern, slow rhythm of editing. Note also, that the first line in the opening poem says:
“Patience…precious mode of being…”

🙂

(I shared that poem also in another post actually, titled, as the video´s opening poem; “Let it Come”).

I´m not into making excuses.
But I have had some reactions that tell me people don´t get that the rhythm is a conscious editing choice. It is a pace for dwelling, for sinking into oneself, sit back and breathe and listen to the words, accompanied by visuals that deepen or contrast the meaning of the poems/songs.
So yeah. I just want to say that. Not into being mis interpreted. Then again, who is. ? 🙂

I´m gonna cook a meal now, and sit out in the sunshiny garden and eat it afterwards. With my man and my tenyearold, my fiveyearold and my threeyearold.
Lucky mama me.
Hope you too are having a nice Sunday.
Take care out there!

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Kulturelt Samraad on Fanoe

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On Fanoe we have many special things. Life on the island has its own category on my blog menu, so check that out if this post makes you want to know more about this holiday paradise island.

Today I want to tell you about an organization, where I have been a board member since 2008.
It is called Kulturelt Samraad. Which can be translated into Cultural…Advisory Board, perhaps? It is a group of volunteers run like an Ngo, but really a part of the local council. K.S.receives a given sum of money every year, from the politicians’ budget, and then we take cae of the applications for local cultural projects and events. We have received about… £ 8.000, the last few years… 89.000 Dkr for those of you into knowing the exact amount.

So we meet once a month, in eachother’s homes, and look at the newest applications, and decide if we can support the event or project financially. It is a lot of fun actually. To see who wants to make what happen on our local cultural arena. And be able to give them a helping hand if we find its valuable to the citizens. Cultural events/projects is a very broad category. We for example last year got an application from a group who made a meeting of Citroen cars. We wrote them and said that we would support them and pay their expenses for posters and flyers, if they made a parade event for the locals and invited Fanoe’s citizens to their gathering in some shape or form. They were really happy. They had not imagined the local people would be interested in them in that way.
We give money to concerts, or the making of a puppet for a children’s play, or folk dancing workshops, Fanoe story telling festival, street theatre festival, poetry readingd in a gallery, a series of talks about music… anything. As long as the locals have access to it, and it is not a purely commercial project. A hard line to define. But between us we manage.

The discussions are always interesting, and we also make our own projects.
One year we got made a big wodden picture frame and placed it on the harbour!
It was three metres long and teo metres high, something like that. There was an elevated floor behind it, a kind of small stage. Lots of groups of tourists had their photo taken in the frame, resulting in Fanoetrips ending up in lots of local German papers, and facebook pages… It was a pretty frame, with big flowers carved into it. Hang on, I have a picture of it from an art festival last Summer, who borrowed it:

Hkf kunstnere i rammen

(I´m in the frame too, wearing a bright blue vest, in the middle of the back row there… I participated in the festival´s art exhibition with my videopoem installation Linking, you can see it in my blogpost called Linking… I also was hired to be the festival video documentation maker, so I filmed throughout the festival, all the exhibited pieces by 35 people, and landart and workshops…it became a 2 hours long chain of short films…wonderful job, I love to film and edit art).

When it comes to other projects K.S. has initiated, we invited a woman once, to do a play for the school children. And this winter we invited a musician to come and do a workshop in three parts for the kindergarten children (one group of 2-3yearolds and one group of 4-5yearolds), plus in the afternoon she make talks for adults about “The secret language of music”. (I have written a post about that project, called “work?”).

Some years ago we also made a sketch for a beautiful outdoor stage we would like to see on the harbour. (Different area to where the frame was put). Shaped like a huge sail, made of glass and iron, by local artists… we got a model made, and technical data put together in a nice presentation, we had meetings with the artists and the council. They were interested in the idea, but then suddenly, months into the proces, said it had to wait until later. Now they seem to have hired a company from the mainland to develope that area of the harbour. That’s a bit disappointing. We are so many qualified people here, who would like to make a mark on our island´s little towns. And we know what our needs are and our island´s esthetical style/atmosphere, more than a company from outside can ever know. But there you go. Politics. So many interests involved.

Our latest great idea, is to get two swings set up, for adults! So that two adults could sit down next to eachother, and have a turn on good size swings. Maybe overlooking the ocean. Or set on a children’s playground. It is a technically quite demanding project to materialize, one needs engineer reports and stuff like that. But we are working on it.

We have a facebook page and a facebook group for locals to advertize their events etc.
(Search for Fanø Kulturelt Samråd, I can´t figure out how to link to the page directly here now)

And we have a new homepage, findable on Google!

www.kultureltsamraadfanoe.dk

(I wish I could make it pop up here with a direct link, but).

We are nine members. From age 19-70. Every year we hold an election, and some may leave and new people join. So the group is dynamic and it’s interesting to see how the group’s energy changes according to who the members are. Our meetings are very “hyggelige” (see my post Danish “hygge”, it’s a cultural concept central to why Denmark is said in a UN report to be the country in the world with the happiest population)! We have bread and cheese at the meetings, coffee and wine most times. And we are ofcourse interested in arts, all of us, so there is plenty to talk about. And then we just give money to people. Sweet as a nut.

KS utenfor strien 30års jub.2013

Here is a picture of the KS board at our 30.anniversary party in November 2013. It was one amazingly brilliant party, for children and adults alike, the island’s foreigners made an international buffet of hot dishes and of cakes (extremely popular), and 35 artists gave an act on the stage as a present to the board. 500 people came. Big succes. (Fanoe has 3000 citizens).
It was so much fun to organize it, the nine of us lifting together, creating something quite remarkable. The party is a big source of inspiration for the new ngo I am part of creating these days, called The Incredibles. Read all about that fantastically ambitious project, in the post “The Incredibles on Fanoe.

Here is a paragraph about the K.S. party from that same blogpost,”The Incredibles on Fanoe” I quote:

“The climax of the party happened when the last act went on stage. It was belly dancing by the woman we all know as our tourist information desk lady.
She was wearing this great bellydancer costume, everybody was smiling and clapping, suddenly she comes dancing down the stairs from the stage snd she shouts at us that we must join her and dance too!
And immediately, I tell you, hundreds of people jump up from their chairs and we just burst into this wonderful freestyle dancing to Arabic music! Everybody just grinning.
You don’t get a lot of those moments in a lifetime.
After the dance, we all took each other’s hands and formed a circle, and we sang the local song always sung at the end of a party. It goes, “To gather and to part, welcome and farewell…” Very nice, old melody.
After that a man played a tune on his bagpipe (!) signalling the party was over, time to leave. And then. I expected people to drizzle off and for the nine of us to start tidying up the place. But everybody just jumped to their feet and started taking tables apart, gathering garbage into binbags, taking chairs to where they were stored…. I mean. That´s just… plain… opposite of evil. ! It was mindblowing for me to see the guests involving themselves in the tidying up. We were all just very happy, tidying up like a whirlwind, finished in no time. Sweet!”

Yeah… Kulturelt Samraad… wonderful organization.
We just held our yearly election meeting last Wednesday. Cake and coffe for the participants, in a local restaurant. (Every citizen of Fanoe above the age of 14, are members of K.S., and can come to the annual meetings and ask for election or vote for the people who want to be elected).
At the annual meetings we read out loud our accounts and budget,(everyone receives a printed copy of our balancing sheet, stamped to be legal by our accountants) and then the fore-woman’s report is read out, all about what we have done this last year, which events we have supported…

Three members wanted to leave this year. We will miss them. One of them, a pensioned librarian who also makes lovely paintings, he joined the board in 08, same time as me. So now I am the only veteran, who has been a member the longest. Our three new members are all women, one in her 20s and the other two a couple of decades older. Very nice ladies all three of them, known individuals by us remaining KS members.
It isn’t easy to recruit new members to volunteer boards here, as there are so many ngos on Fanoe. People tend to already sit in a couple of boards.
Fanoe has got the most ngos per citizen in the whole of Denmark! It has a very high level of activities. Anything from one wheeled bikeriders club to petanque, anything from horse riding to yoga to different music festival organizers, to a yearly event where they show the old folk costumes and the special folk dance and Fanoe folk music…

Yes, it is easy to get too organized here! 🙂
So our three new members are friends of our existing members. I’m looking forward to meeting with the new group, and for us to get to know eachother and have discussions with voices from new angles.
We have our first meeting on Wednesday. So I have to get the report from the year meeting sent out to them, reminding them of the address and time of the meeting. (I´m the secretary in K.S.).

Wish us luck with another year of cultural fun!
And feel free to like our Facebook page. We don’t update that often, but there are photos etc… a Facebook like is always a nice thing to receive.

I hope this post can inspire. All local councils should give away this bit of power to the citizens, I reckon. It really gives us a feeling of having influence, when the local cultural events supported is decided by a board of civilians, not party members with political agendas. The council gives us a high degree of freedom. We have made the criteria for giving support, and other rules, ourselves.

Empowering. An important word. A central feel good factor in anyone’s life.
I am so glad to have gone on board this board. I’m not at all bored!
🙂

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Radio Years

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“So I tried a little Freddie; MMMMMMMM…!” (Mika)
In the early nineties, I worked for Bergen Student Radio Station. It was unpaid, but it was great.
We were all students, and we had these, then high tech, mobile dat-recorders with tiny tapes in them, that could record real good sound on location. So we went out into Bergen and made interviews and recorded exhibition sounds and whatever we could think of. I remember I made a prgramme about an Ivo Caprino exhibition. The grand old man of animated movies, who lived in Norway.

But although it was nice to do interviews and cultural events, I prefered to focus on music and movies, and hence I was moved from the group Skumma Kultur
(which is funny because that´s the name for a type of milk, but literally it means Foamed Culture)
and on to the group Elektriske Skygger, Electrical Shadows, or as we called ourselves; EL.SK.
(This means (make)LO.VE! in Norwegian.)

In El.Sk we did reviews on new music and films. I received a press card, and three mornings a week, 08.15, I went to the cinema and sat with the rest of the press of Bergen and watched the coming films, for free. Yeah. Pretty darn decent, I thought. Perfect way to start the day.
When the movie was finished, I would sit somewhere and eat breakfast, and write down a review.
Then later, after a lecture or seminar, I would go to the station and record the review. Read it into a mike, whilst one of my colleagues steered the sound levels etc. It was actually really enjoyable.

I remember one time us in El.Sk were called in to the editor´s office. He told us off for having caused a break with the station´s expressed profile. We had played “La isla bonita” with Madonna! We did NOT play pop music on this channel !!! We said that it was only because it was in a film that we had reviewed. But that was not good enough. This was serious and was not to ever happen again.

Bergen student radio. People used to say that it was the channel where you would never hear anything you ever heard anywhere else. And you would only hear it once. Hehehehe… I disagreed on that rule. But. It didn´t bother me as such.

I made a programme about my iaidoclub as well. Zensho Iaido. (You can read more about the club in Temple Zen la Gendronniere). All programmes were kept for a few years, but it must be lost by now. Shame, I would have liked to hear it again. Oh well. Things come, and they go. Such is life.

I only stopped working there because I moved to Wales in ´94. English boyfriend.

I actually think that my writing style has been influenced by my radio work. These blogposts, and other reflections that I write, often sound like talks to my inner ear. And then you get a video or a song in between, for breaks. Like you build a radio show.
I´m toying with the idea of adding vlog posts… which is video blogging, for those of us who don´t know. I just learnt about this a few weeks back, from my friend Martin. He said that his daughter watches a lot of vlogs. A lot of WHAT? I asked. Turns out it´s these videos on youtube where, especially young people, talk into the camera, or talk together while they film themselves playing a videogame… a young couple in Denmark does these Minecraft videos, and they earn heaps! Now they also film themselves whilst cooking dinner… strange trend. But every new trend is strange in its own ways. So I mean strange in the sense fascinating.

We will see. I used to be stiff and stressed in front of a video camera. Much happier behind the camera, filming art and nature, architecture…or a concert… but. Hey. I will give it a shot if or when I figure out what I will say. Or something. I guess what it requires is just to be natural, and talk from the hip, spontaneously. Or from the heart.
I will watch some vlogs, and then I will see if I can find inspiration, and then all of a sudden I´m doing it. Maybe. This is not a promise. Remember that. 🙂

Like this one! Is nice. I agree what she says about us Norwegians. Hahaha… And read my post called Danish “hygge” for my take on what it´s like to be a foreigner living in Denmark. Toodle-ooo for now!

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Fanoe AppTeam

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This is Jens Peder Hvolby, singing the old song “In between Esbjerg and Fanoe”. The music recording and the music video was made by us in Fanø AppTeam. (The quality of the video resolution is not as good as it is in the app, I don´t know why I can´t get Youtube to take the formats I normally use everywhere else. But this will have to be good enough for now, until I find out more).
The song is about stormy seas and a captain whose ship sank between Esbjerg and the isle of Fanoe, and the pictures are from the 12 minutes long ferryride between Esbjerg and Fanoe.
Jens Peder is one of our island´s fine folk musicians, he plays the violin, harmonica and bagpipes, he tunes pianos and he builds violins as well. He plays with the traditional folk dancers, and at lots of different parties and venues.

He also takes people for a walk around town, telling them historical facts and anecdotes about the different places they walk by.

Which is a lot what we too aim to do with making an app called Fanø Byvandring/ Fanoe Stadtwanderung (Fanoe Town walk, but there is no English version of the app as of yet).
We aim to give visitors an insider´s view on Fanoe´s history and its specific customs, the way the locals see it.

The idea came from Inken Meinertz, who is a German lady who has lived on the island for almost two decades now. She knew a guy called Jesper Kaae, who said yes to forming her concept into a mobile phone app, and she knew me, so I was asked to do the video and sound work involved.

And hi ho hi ho. Off to work we went.
Many hours were put into the project. Actually it took us 3 people 3 months. Inken created 12 stops on a route with a map, through Nordby town, and wrote historical information about each place, both in Danish and in German. She also photographed illustrations for the texts.
And then we went to… I think it was five, different local citizens and interviewed them on video. After editing, it became 45 minutes of video interview pieces, spread throughout the app as illustrations to each stop on the walk through town.

Inken´s texts were then read out loud by Jørgen Søndergaard in Danish, and by Inken in German, and after recording all these, they were edited and the ready files given to Jesper, who brilliantly turned them into an icon of a loudspeaker by the text, so the reader can just press that if he or she prefers to listen to the text rather than to read it…

The app turned out really nice. A lot to learn about Fanoe in there. And very charming meetings with the local people who agreed to be interviewed.
One of the summerhouse rental companies, Danibo, advertizes the app on a flatscreen in their lobby, and we also got an advert in a magazine published by the tourist office.

We have chosen to keep the app itself free from adverts. Which gives the app user a chance for peaceful focus. We offered the app to Fanoe council, thinking maybe they would like to own the app. But they declined.
So the app came to cost about 25 kroner. Which is the price of an icecream. We think that´s fair.
After iTunes takes 30%, each of us earns 6 kr for every app sold. So far we got our expenses covered, for a hard disc we needed for the project etc. We are still waiting to make an income.

But.
The app will not go out of date, as it talks about the past. So. No hurry no worry. 🙂
And the project was a very interesting one, we learnt a lot all three of us. About Fanoe´s history, and about what structure and co operation mechanisms are best for an app project this size (it is a big app).

We were planning to make an other app, about Fanoe Bad (Bath) next. An area by the beach, that the council is refurbishing. We did fundraising, where we in the budget showed what the last app would have cost with paid labour. And said we could cover the video and sound equipment by borrowing from the local tv station, who were also our beneficiary in the last app. But we were turned down.

It´s a shame, because we already have a video interview made, with a lady who helped build the famous big nightclub in the basement of the flashy beach hotel that was placed there, Fanoe was a real happening place for youth from Denmark and Germany in the 60s… some great stories to be told…

We were contemplating whether to offer to make a short documentary instead of an app, and they could show it on their grand opening of the refurbishing this August. But time is running out, Inken has got a fulltime job and a B&B, and I´ve got kids, a blog and my vocal sound therapy training to prioritize.

Jesper has also emigrated to Ukraine! He is working as an app maker for travel agencies there. Seems like he has found luck in love as well, so. No rumours of him coming back anytime soon. 🙂
In the future, we could I guess just send him files and he could code it into app code for us. But it is of course not as easy as when he was living in the neighbourhood.

New times, new challenges and new fun to be had.
Maybe we will make more apps, or more video about Fanoe. Time will tell.

For now, we will just keep updating our Facebook page, spread the rest of the flyers and posters we’ve got left, and hope that many people will get to know about, and enjoy all the interesting information we have gathered and nicely packaged in Fanø Byvandring/Fanoe Stadtwanderung.

If you have the time to like our Fanø AppTeam facebook page, we thank you. See screenshots below.

All that remains to say now is:
Have a great Summer, when the sun gets a better grip on our hemisphere!!
Whether you come to precious little gem Fanoe, or not.
And if you do come here, be sure to check out this amazing app I just told you about. 🙂

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Listening Room w.Brett Perkins

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This is me! The one and only time I have been singing in front of a live audience!
The man next to me is Troels Alsted, a musician living in Copenhagen.
He introduces our act, saying “This song is only a couple of hours old, so it´s brand new fresh!”

How it came to be?
Well, there is this wonderful American man, Brett Perkins. And he does something he calls Listening Room Retreats, all around the world. And we were lucky to get him to come hold a workshop with us here on Fanø, a weekend in January 2012.

We all arrived for the retreat on the Friday afternoon, Brett and his fellow musicians; Troels Alsted and Klaus Caprani. (You can find these people and the Listening Room on Facebook). And then we were 8 ordinary workshop participants.
After introducing ourselves, sitting in a circle listening to eachother, Brett lay down some basic rules about sharing rights etc (50-50) if a song would become commercially successful.
When everything was clear, we were divided into groups of two. Then we were to make a song the next couple of hours!
And so we just did!
I was together with Klaus, and we wrote a lyric that was pretty good I reckon. Then we made a melody for it. Mainly him, since he had the most experience, but I was heard too, and I learnt about the different pieces any song consists of, like verse, chorus, bridge, ” A and B pieces” (directly translated from Danish)… That evening we had actually made a song, Klaus and I. Truely amazing.

We finished the evening with having a couple of beers together, sitting on sofas in the front room, those who wanted to, played one of their songs for the rest of us. We also walked outside at one point, and had a gaze at the moon and stars in the quiet village garden of the house we were settled in.

Next morning we changed groups, and I was now to work with Troels. I had brought my book, and we decided to sift through it and search for poems we could use for lyrics. We found two poems, one that could be the verses, and an other that was perfect for the chorus. We found a melody and voila. It was born.

A couple of hours later, we held a workshop concert!! People came to “The House of Music”, as the house is called, where we held the workshop. Chairs were lined up in the front room, and microphones, and soon the room was full of people.
And that´s how it happened that I was “on stage” performing the song that Troels and I made together. Klaus and I performed our song as well, but it wasn´t filmed for some reason.

Here are the lyrics for my songs.
First, the one from my book, used in the song I made with Troels:

Let it Through

It´s down to you, down to me, down to All that may be,
Up and up and away, celebrating today

I have learnt to seek peace, I have learnt what I give out increase
I have learnt that the moment… is something to seize

I have learnt that I need to express, I have learnt that some dress to impress
I have learnt that it´s just not… healthy to stress

(It´s down to you…)Chorus

I have learnt that it´s good to let go, I´ve learnt that it´s wisest to follow the flow
I have learnt what I want is… to learn and to grow

(It´s down to you…)Chorus

I have learnt that the All´s here and now, I´ve learnt to choose with care… the who and the how
I have learnt that it is up… to me to allow

(It´s down to you, down to me, down to All that may be,
up and up and away, celebrating today…)

Here are the lyrics for the other song.
Shame I don´t have the melody here, but. Take it as a poem, here it comes:

Defeating the Snake (Improvized title, we didn´t make one back then)

1 (A)
White out of nothing – like stars in the night
Brighter and brighter – beautiful sight
Back to the blackness – low in the ground
Reach for the heavens – path is unfound

2 (B)
Love as in no competition
Still it´s remaining a vision

Chorus:
Facing nameless fear and blind confusion
Aiding nature´s parallell solution

3.(A)
Pawns of the war lords – lose every game
Collateral damage – always the same
Fates are decided – behind the closed doors
Hidden agendas – on cold marble floors

4.(B)
Making important decisions
Fooled by our vain superstitions

Chorus:
Facing nameless fear and blind confusion
Aiding nature´s parallell solution

5.(C bridge)
A soul searching snake – all green in the tree
The white lines down its spine – speaks volumes to me
I said do not try! I´m no sinner, you see!
I treasure my nature! Let me remain free!

Chorus:
Facing nameless fear and blind confusion
Aiding nature´s parallell solution

Even though we lost it on the run
Love´s the only thing that lingers on
– Lingers on –

Yup. That was an incredibly fun workshop. Learnt a lot.
Brett Perkins also makes his own songs. You can find some of them on Youtube.
And he is the man behind a Songwriters Festival as well. In Copenhagen.
Here is an interview with him about that.
If you ever get the chance, go to one of his retreats!!

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Fanoe Wadden Sea Centre

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Fanø Vadehav Center

http://www.fanoe-vadehav-center.dk/

Yesterday I went to an opening. Of Fanoe Vadehav Center. Which means Fanoe Wadden Sea Center. Which lies on this little island Fanoe where I live. In the middle of The Wadden Sea National Park.

The new centre is actually an old nautical school. Which was closed in 2004.
And an Efterskole took over. (A kind of boarding school where teenagers stay for one year, see more info in the post “Danish “hygge” “). That school was closed in 2013.
And now it has been taken over by two partners who have hired a staff of seven people.
They have renovated one section of the school’s bedrooms already, and will use them as hotel rooms. Then there is the big kitchen, and the cafeteria space, where they will have a restaurant. They want to connect with businesses around Denmark, maybe abroad, and offer teambuilding programmes, conferences, workshops etc.

(You can read more on their website which I have linked to. It seems to only be available in Danish, but maybe they will include an English translation later, it says their homepage is work in progress, it will be developed in the time to come).

I went to the opening yesterday at four pm, and so did about 200 other locals! They were quite overwhelmed, the centre leaders said, that the centre has such a great interest in Fanoe´s population.
The two partners, a man and a woman, held an opening speech together, thanking the politicians and bank on Fanoe for the very constructive communication process that has led to the creation of the centre. Then Fanoe´s mayor held a speech and declared The Fanoe Wadden Sea Centre open.

We were allowed to walk around and look at the renovated section of bedrooms. They were painted all white, and had a maritime look, made to resemble cabins on a ship. Very cute and bright double rooms, with a view out to wide green fields, and there was a dark blue stripe across the white pillows, with white “navigation numbers” written across the blue…
(Pardon my ignorance, latitudes and lengthitudes, isn´t that what it´s called in proper sailor´s language? …Both my grand dads were chefs at sea, so I guess I should know this lingo a bit better, but. There you go, I don´t).
Very nicely designed, anyways, the renovated double rooms, and they definately had that cabin feel to them. Good attention to detail.

We also saw a classroom turned into a conference room, and workshop rooms, rooms for holding seminar meetings, and rooms that will be made available to rent for Fanoe´s many small businesses…. they explained to us that they do the renovation step by step, so it was only the first section of bedrooms that was finished yet.

It made me feel extremely happy to walk around in the school, peeping into all the different spaces.
There were signposts saying what each room was intended to be renovated into… the signposts were formulated with wit and creativity.
The employees of The Wadden Sea Centre in general, seem to be pleasant, informal, open minded people. The two caretakers are artists, and their funny, very colourful paintings are brightening up the school´s red brick walls at the moment…
I can imagine there may be opportunity for local artists to exhibit their work there at a later date, and it seems they are welcoming good ideas on a very broad scale, both for project development, co operation on workshops… what not what not. The sky is the limit.

It is so exciting! I love when old buildings are turned into “culture houses”. In Bergen, Norway where I lived for 15 years, we have USF; United Sardine Factories, an enormous building on the docks, which has been turned into a culture house with art studios, cinema, concert halls, café… film companies have their offices there, theatre groups, festivals have their offices there… and the art made in the studios is exhibited around the public areas of the house, in hallways and in show rooms… it´s such a lovely place. For four years I worked as a volunteer for Nattjazz, a brilliant, annual 11 days long jazz festival held at USF. I also worked for a year and a half in Piraya Film, which has its office at USF.
It´s a spring ritual for the citizens of Bergen to walk out to the old factory, get a café table in the sunshine on the dock, overlooking the fjord, and order a pint of local Hansa lager. And maybe a portion of those garlic marinated prawns. Oh no, I´m getting homesick now! 🙂

I am very excited about the new Wadden Sea Centre. I hope to get my fellow students of vocal sound therapy on board my idea of us booking ourselves into the cabins for a weekend next Summer. We are finished educated sound therapists by then, and we could probably really do with getting together and discussing our first six months of professional experiences.
Which place could be better for a meeting like that, than on Fanoe, where we can walk around and enjoy the forest, the beaches, a bike ride, the old quaint architecture, the high quality shops that sell designer knitwork and lots of other things, the beautiful glass blower workshop… our mainstreet has it all, the best butcher in Denmark, an excellent bakery, gourmet shops, restaurants and cafés, icecream to die for…
And every Wednesday night in July the main street turns into one bit town party, with live music everywhere and people make flee markets in their gardens, children can get a ride on a pony for free, there is wine tasting and pan cake tasting and… yes. It´s easy to understand why Fanoe is a favourite holiday destination for so many Danes and Germans. (Lots of people from other countries too, but these two nationalities are in majority).

I hope to get to know the people who run the centre, and with luck there will be projects we can co operate on.
Maybe I can be on a list of theirs as a vocal sound therapist, offered as a part of things to do while on Fanoe… or maybe I can be hired in as a video documentation maker… Maybe Kulturelt Samråd, a board I´m a member of, can co operate with the centre in some of our projects…
So far everything is possible. The centre will find its feet and form, and no matter if I will benefit from it work wise or not, I will certainly benefit from their existence just because the centre is promoting Fanoe. What is good for the development of our island, is good for each one of us who live here.

Yes!
Time will tell what will be. I can´t wait to see.

🙂

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Not Big Bot Band

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It’s been a busy week, with no blogging time. Meetings in two ngos I’m a part of, and organizing a music workshop/talk. On top of that, it ended with Saturday being spent in a house in the countryside. Together with my husband’s bigband. They were having their annual big meeting, summing up the passed year’s activities etc. And a few of us life partners tagged along. The meeting was held in one of the musicians’ home. While the band held their meeting, the rest of us finished the preparations in the kitchen. Big delicious meal. We like good food.

My husband created the band 20 years ago. For students of pedagogics in a college university where he works as a music teacher. He is the conductor in the band, and he finds songs and makes arrangements/notes for all the different instruments. 18 members as we speak. Some of the members have been in the band for many many years. Others are new, some quit after a handful years. When they have played enough gigs, they go travelling together. Partners and kids are welcome to join them on their trips. They have been to Norway, Cuba, Florida, Spain… I have been on two trips with them.

But here now I just want to say something about Saturday. I want to point out how special that group is. When we meet we are always so happy to see eachother. As we have f.ex.spent a week in a house with a pool in Spain together last easter. We have shared so many fun experiences, many meals, and loads of evenings singing and playing guitar together, somewhere warm and lovely.

So we met, and hugged, and it felt just like we were back again to the last time we were hanging out together. Us in the kitchen caught up on eachother’s life events whilst chopping and stirring stuff, and then their meeting was finished and we were all to share the great meal in the renovated barn that they have turned into a party space. Oh do I fancy a barn like that! Long long wooden table, green sofa group in one corner, stereo, drums, keyboard, guitars, separate smoking area… plenty of dancefloor…

We sat down at the table, and everyone had brought their own favourite drinks, whilst the food was paid for by the band. We chatted away with the people we were seated next to. When food was finished, some went for a cigarette, people swapped seats, some tidied up in the kitchen…. things get organized without needing leadership, people just tend to help out and get things done. It’s a lot like in a family, really. 22 members big.

The evening developed as it normally does. A lot of laughter, a LOT of singing, everybody joining in, harmonizing endlessly, the guitars go between different players… hand drums appear… you dance for a while, you go sit with the smokers and share some laughs…you go sit next to someone new…
Very relaxed and easy, everyone daring to sing out loud,
everybody being polite and nice to each other.

Why is it so special, you might ask. This is like any other party. Well, to me it isn’t. Most of the people there, I don’t see regularly, only in the context of the band. We are not close everyday friends. We are very different people, too. Agewise we are from 20s to 60s. We have different interests snd ways about us, some of them I connect deeply with whilst others remain more distant…. and it’s fine, it’s part of the fascination for me. It’s a lot like family actually, just that we are all in it volunteerily, and we share this great big common interest; music.

Most of the people left around two that night, picked up by friends in cars, filling up to the rim, being brought back to town from this farmhouse in that little village. I stayed up until half past three, listening to cds, discussing the lyrics… I was just exhausted then, and was happy to spend the night there in their kids’ room. The last three partymembers stayed up until five!

A very typical Not Big Bot Band night, everybody jolly and merry after many hours of singing improvized harmonies together. No pressure, no stress, no harsh words, no drama. Just enjoyment of good food and drink, music, dancing and talks, in a totally relaxed manner where people feel they can be themselves and be accepted and appreciated as they are.

I’m hoping to bring the kids along to a couple of the band’s events this spring, one is a gospel concert where they play together with a gospel quoir, the other event is a carnival march with school and kindergarten children.

Yeah. Not Big Bot Band. A big deal in my life. One big happy musical friends-family. It doesn’t have to be blood ties to feel familiar. It is one of my favourite communities, that I belong to. I wish everyone in the world were connected to a group in this way. I’m sure it would make the world a happier and more jovial, peaceful place. Actually.

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Work?

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I´ve just been out in the car, driving around the island, enjoying the sunshine, from time to time stopping the car, jumping out to put up a poster. Freezing wind. Don´t notice from inside the car, where all is sunshiny beautiful nature to look at, whilst singing to my favourite cd.

I´m hosting an event, soon, you see. A woman I met at a course 3 years ago, she teaches kids age 1-8 how to play the fagott! She trained to learn to play the instruments in the states, from one of the world´s best fagott players. (I don´t remember his name right now, sorry about that). She also does more general music workshops, she does talks on music for adults, and she is a professional musician. As well as a storytelling poet, a trained dietist and lots of other exciting things, she´s indeed a very interesting human being.

Well, I asked her if she could come to Fanoe and do a workshop with kids here, and maybe a round of those talks she does for adults, too?! And she could and she would! So now she will come here three Wednesdays in February / March, teaching kindergarten kids in the morning, and giving talks about “The secret language of Music” in the afternoon. She´s giving it to Fanoe for a very favourable introducton price.

She will be staying at my place, since her home is a handful hours away from here. So we get some quality time together, for some meals, talks, laughs, the two of us and with my husband and kids.

And I get to be part of her courses, going to the afternoon talks and also helping out with the kindergartens kids.

What is work?

It is “the creating of value” according to the philosopher who went into the greatest depth on the concept of “work”, Karl Marx.

(For the record, I´m neither a marxist or a non marxist, I´m simply a thinking person standing on the shoulders of giants).

I have worked to make this event happen, asking the course holder, then helping fill in the fund application form, then lots of talks on details, does the kindergarten have instruments, where will we hold the adult talks (a place with a piano would be best)… A lot of communication back and forth with the 4 participating parties. Then finally creating a facebook event and hanging posters up.

Value….. worth….. I have worked without pay, one may say, but.     What is pay? Money doesn´t have to be part of a situation for it to be a win win one.

My work in this case creates value for everyone involved. My friend gets a job, Fanoe Council gets a great offer and their name on the pr material, the kindergarten gets a free workshop, the kids get 3 wonderful wednesdays learning about music, the adults on the island get exciting talks on music, no entrance fee.

My pay is that I get to spend time with my friend, and watch and learn from her workshop and talks. I gain inspiration and knowledge. And more than that, it feels very good to have been a bridge between parties, who all get something good out of my spotting and seizing the opportunity. I also gain experience in organizing events.

So. What is work. Work is to create value.

Volunteer work is no less valuable than work one does for wages. Being a stay at home parent also creates a lot of value. In my view it should receive a paycheck from society. It´s an investment in the future generation that they have a parent who has time for them the first few years. But even though “society” doesn´t see it like I do (at least the middle aged, rich men who rule our society, don´t see it that way)….. even though there is no paycheck following the position of household leader, it is still a position that creates a lot of value, and it is equal to other types of work.

Me, I´m unemployed. No paid job to go to. But I most certainly work. I create value. In my two board posts, and in my setting up this event. In my parenting. In my cooking and cleaning, grocery shopping and vegetable chopping and eternal washing machine and dishwasher emptying and filling and emptying…

This blog also requires 2-3 hours every time I upload a new post. Which I aim to do at least every 2-3 days.

My sound healing practice takes time too. Is it work to be a student? HELL YEAH, I would shout. Preparing for an exam?? That´s a lot more energy costly than turning up at a factory or office 9-5 every day, I dare say. Studying takes a lot of time, and focus. You´re never really off, free, finished, until the exam is passed in a month or year´s time.

Parenting too is more costly than going to a workplace and be with other adults and do what one is told. No one interrupting you in what you try to focus on, no one asking for you to find this or that or just carry them every five minutes day and night. Parenting is WORK. The most intense work I ever had, and the most rewarding too. Work.

I  don´t mean this derrogatory to the people who work in an office or factory, though. I too have had jobs. Money is necessary. Jobs are good, many of them. I´m just saying that in my experience, the jobs I have had, required a lot less of me than parenting and studying did.

I don´t mean to generalize. Ever. Many factors matter in each individual case. No need for oversimplifications. I´m just drawing some lines from my own life experience, and maybe it can inspire some thoughts in you who read it. Like I am inspired when I read other people´s thoughts on their experiences.

To work or not to work. Is a silly question. Every human being who is not depressed or anxious due to violence from other people… Every healthy and happy human being wants to work! Wants to create value. It´s like we´re designed to be little creators. That big bang must probably be an all mighty one to make this whole wide world come alive, huh.  :o)

Life is valuable. Time is valuable.

“Say you don´t want no diamond ring, and I´ll be satisfied.

Tell me that you want the kind of things

that money just can´t buy.

Coz I don´t care too much for money,

money can´t buy me love.”

(The Beatles)

When we talk about the rich and the poor, the haves and the havenots… the real currency in my book, is love.

If a person has all the money ever printed, but no love, is it a rich person? Is it a happy person? Is life valuable to that person? When I pretend to stand in such a person´s shoes, which is my regular exercise when I want to watch with empathy at something… with no love in my life, no gratitude, no warm smiles, no authentic sharing with anyone… money would not mean a thing. I would feel cold inside. Sad and lonely. Poor. Unalive. Like the things that money can buy.

Work and money are two separate things.

Work and love are two interconnected things.

The feelgood of creating… value… to contribute… increasing the good…

Nothing wrong with money, either, though. For goodness sake. That´s not my point. I have nothing against money. Bring it on, the more the merrier. I don´t buy that money is the root of all evil.

My point is just that this habbit we seem to have, of thinking hierarchically, pyramid shaped, that the work that is paid for in money, is worth more than the work that is paid for in other currencies… it is an illusion.

There is no better than. There is no more worthy people and other less worthy people. We have to get over this idiotic narrowmindedness. We are all equal.

So let´s all just be proud of ourselves that we do our best, and allow our neighbours and siblings to do their best in the way that they themselves define it. This would be respectful.

And it would be treating everyone as equally valuable.

Equal value creators.

It would make our existence work better.

Work more peacefully.

This, in turn, would create a big value.

To all of us, equally.

Namasté.

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The Incredibles on Fanoe

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Fanoe is the name of the little island where upon I live. (I told you a little about it in Untrad. Jobapplic. Chapter 2). It is a special place in many different ways. Very active art scene, and cultural event scene, festivals, folk dancing, traditional costumes parade one day every Summer… It is an island proud of its past as a sailing ship harbour, ships were built here and the locals travelled world wide. Leaving women behind to run everything, So here, both the newspaper, book store, the two protestant priests, the leaders of the kindergartens, most restaurant owners….. many key positions are filled by women. (Apart from the town council, but. That’s an other story).

Fanoe looks a bit like Kardemommeby. Cinnamon Town. A play written by Norwegian Torbjorn Egner many years ago. It has cobble stoned streets, straw thatched roofs on what is called Fanoe Houses, with distinct half moon shaped windows peaking out from the strawhats… extremely quaint. There are lots of crinkly little streets, and tiny paths that seem to be private but aren’t, the locals use them like they use any other walking path, sneaking passed people’s gardens and back yards…

So in this setting, there is a thriving community. 80% of the 3000 people big population have moved here from other places in Denmark and abroad. That fact really and truely does make for an atmosphere different from other places. People have fallen in love with this place enough to move here. And they are looking to create themselves a new social circle and meaningful passtime.

Hence Fanoe has a great number of ngos. Groups of people, who together make a festival happen, of kite flying, or oyster gathering, or folk music, street theatre, food, the celebration of old traditions, blow cart racing,  Waterfront Festival with local artists, making workshops. landart… You name it, Fanoe has a festival for it! From spring until October we have lots of tourists come here, every Wednesday in July we turn the little town in the north end (there are three villages) into one big town party, with live bands, pony riding, a small train for the kids, barbecues, beer, the boyscouts selling pancakes, the locals having flee markets in their gardens, there is wine tasting and games, all different kinds of entertainment…

And when the tourists go back home, us “natives” draw a deep breath and relax and enjoy the peace and quiet. The dark season is windy on a small, flat island in the  WesternOcean, but it is a time for quiet, being indoors, creating books or paintings, dinner parties with friends we don’t really see in the Summer coz everybody’s got guests half the time… For me it’s the perfect balance. I love festivals and parties and happy people in crowds. But I also love and need for there to be space to go within; contemplation, meditation, creation. Inner conversation.

Now,

I have always enjoyed ngos. Going into co operation with other volunteers, to create something good. I was the leader of a local group of Sos Racism age 18-20. And worked unpaid for the student radio station  when I was in Uni. Many other things too. These days I’m part of a board of 9 volunteers who meet once a month and give out money! :0) Does that not sound like just a wonderful thing to be allowed to do?! The board receives 80.000 kr  (£ 7.000, $ 10.000, correct me if I’m wrong)… from the town council, which is for giving out to local cultural events and projects. If people want to make something fun for the islanders, they can get their expenses covered. Such as setting up a workshop for the kids in school or kindergarten, holding a poetry evening, making a meeting for veteran cars, setting up a storytelling session… anything. They just submit a simple application, and the nine of us discuss and decide how much support we can give in each case. I totally love that job.

Now.

To the point. Had to build this context for you first.

The Incredibles is, at this point in time, a group of 7 people. We have held meetings now for about a year. Because a young man had a great idea. He works with me in the above described ngo, and we had just held a great big 30 year anniversary party for the organization, inviting the whole island in, for a buffet delivered by all the foreigners who live here, 35 nations. And actually the number of artists delivering entertainment as a gift to the ngo on the stage, was 35 too. We had engaged about 100 volunteers to help out in the bar and kitchen, stage things, decorations… yeah… 100. And we bought aprons for everybody, off white plain ones that we got our logo printed on to. So a lot of the people present were visibly part of the organizing group. It was a HUGE success. House was chock a block entire day, start to finish. We had our own corner for the kids as well, which had been advertized, so people came with their families, and it felt like one big family gathering actually. On stage there was a very varied programme, something for everyone’s taste, and exposure to things one wouldn’t normally see or hear, like book reading accompanied by cello, for example… we also had an auction, and the money made went to the old people’s home, a fund established many years ago called Snapsefonden, a snaps… a wee one? A shot… The fund is used to buy wine etc for the dwellers in the old people’s home.

The climax of the party happened when the last act went on stage. It was belly dancing by the woman we all know as our tourist information desk lady. She was wearing this great bellydancer costume, everybody was smiling and clapping, suddenly she comes dancing down the stairs from the stage snd she shouts at us that we must join her and dance too! And immediately, I tell you, hundreds of people jump up from their chairs and we just burst into this wonderful freestyle dancing to Arabic music! Everybody just grinning. You don’t get a lot of those moments in a lifetime. After the dance, we all took each other’s hands and formed a circle, and we sang the local song always sung at the end of a party. It goes, “To gather and to part, welcome and farewell…” Very nice, old melody. After that a man played a tune on his bagpipe (!) signalling the party was over, time to leave. And then. I expected people to drizzle off and for the nine of us to start tidying up the place. But everybody just jumped to their feet and started taking tables apart, gathering garbage into binbags, taking chairs to where they were stored…. I mean. That´s just… plain… opposite of evil. ! It was mindblowing for me to see the guests involving themselves in the tidying up. We were all just very happy, tidying up like a whirlwind, finished in no time. Sweet!

Aaaaanyways. Yes. So we were sitting in the kitchen after this party, counting our money in the till, all nine of us, drinking wine now that our working day was done. Then we went over to one of the board members’ house, just across the street from the party place. And there it was, that my good friend the young man got this great idea.

He wanted to create a yearly event, not for the tourists but for the natives, open for visitors but meant primarily for the natives. A day similar to the one we had just shared, but mixed with other happenings as well. You see, Fanoe used to have a children’s circus that every June made a show in a big tent, and all the adults came and watched it, the local tv station filmed it, and so every child ended up on that stage and on tv, after months of focused work towards the show. It was a project run by the … sfo… the place school kids go to when school is finished, until their parents come from work. My friend Benjamin was also part of the circus when he was little. Many of us miss the circus, which has been gone for a few years now, due to some relocation  of buildings, staff changes etc.

Benjamin said he so much would like to see the children’s circus again, and we could invite the international buffet makers from the party we just held, and all the musicians and theatre people, folk dancers,  everybody! Call it Day of Diversity, for example. Celebrate the unique community we have on Fanoe.

One of the circus organizers was sitting at our table, and we all lit up as Benjamin presented his idea. One thing took the next, and soon he had gathered a group of seven people who sat down and started mapping out the idea and possibilities. To make a circus project together witht the school or sfo. Ask the old people’s club to make costumes with the kids perhaps. Invite sports clubs to arrange a competition or games of sorts on the Diversity Day. Maybe someone would like to make a competition of building something or baking a cake or… Fanoe has recently renovated its school, so there is a massive indoor space in the middle of it, that we could use until later years when we hopefully can afford a tent… we could have an outdoor stage for local bands in the evening… a man on the island owns two big and beautiful beduin tents, we could probably get him involved somehow… the idea is to engage as many as possible into this thing, so it becomes everybody’s event, where we basically celebrate ourselves. !

So we have been holding meetings. And this week we’re on local tv being interviewed about the plans. Posters and flyers are coming up. The Incredible will start up and become a formal ngo Thursday next week. Anybody interested can come and get an impression of the project. Become members for a symbolic price. Join work groups later, or engage in brainstorming to shape the event content. A lot of threads must be tied together, setting up co operation between different groups. But Fanoe is used to this, and good at it. “FireSouls” we call them, people who work as volunteers, who burn with passion for a cause. Fanoe has many such firesouls. Who can see the gifts received of joy and deep satisfaction from lifting collectively, together making something happen that could not be done alone. And without the main purpose being money.

There has also been a new reform in the school system in Denmark a year ago. Where it says that the schools are to co operate with local ngos. So there is the extra benefit to the project that we can help the school come into the new form more easily, supported by the citizens.

Isn’t this all just totally Incredible??!!

I’m very excited to be part of this. I filmed that children’s circus show two Summers when I first came to Fanoe in 2008. A three camera production. I remember feeling so touched. This massive tent, filled with wooden benches. All the grownups and siblings finding seats. All the sfo kids so proudly entering stage with their rehearsed sketches and tricks, dancing can can, acrobatics, jokes, singing….. standing in a corner above the crowd with my big camera on a tripod, I was shooting closeups of the children’s faces… imagine… it gives me goosebumps to think about it actually… then taking the tapes home, importing the material into the pc and start to edit the event, making everyone look as good as possible, removing elements that could make someone feel embarressed when seeing themselves on tv… I was so impressed with this island. My then only child was 4 years old at the time, and I felt so lucky for her she would grow up in a place like this.

So wish us luck! Good luck to The Incredibles. Good luck, Fanoe, with lifting our community through pulling together for a Day of Diversity where we all come together and everybody has a place, a role to play, invited to actively participate.

Dreams do come true, they do.

 

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My Videopoems “Linking”

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This is the video installation “Linking” which I made in 2011, for an exhibition with the same title (only in Danish; “Kobling”).

I also released a book the day of the exhibition opening; 16.of April. “Heart Matters – a round abouts and previous pieces.”

The book script was the starting point of the project. I took the script to the local fine artist Margit Enggaard and asked her if she wanted to do something together. She did! 🙂

So she created wonderful, big, colourful paintings inspired by my poems. And I used the book script to make video pieces, filming her paintings and her gallery and using that on the visual side, with my reading of the poems, some turned into songs, on the sound side… I used photos of Margit´s paintings as illustrations in my book.

Apart from Margit´s painings and gallery, I filmed nature and sculptures in Denmark, Norway and Hastings, UK.

 

There are ten poems and five songs in the installation.

38 minutes long. Hope you enjoy it!

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