Tuesday, 22 July 2014

unexpected events at the Astrup Fearnley Museet

Sometimes you just don't know what to expect.

I first noticed Elmgreen and Dragset's work when they exhibited on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square. Officially called 'Powerless Structures, Fig. 101', I'd describe it as the golden boy on an plywood rocking horse. It simply subverted the idea of a great leader on a horse in such a prime location.

At the fantastic Astrup Fearnley Museet, here in Oslo, there's a whole collection of Elmgreen and Dragset's installations, which start disarmingly in the entrance to the main site. They've taken over a downstairs area which I guess is normally the way to the restrooms and created something of a makeover, innocently disorientating everyone who ventures into the space.

The neon lit 'Amigos' sign give a hint and expressions start to change before everyone experiences somewhat more than expected, creating a whole extra level of mannered accidental and humorous participation.

Then into the main exhibition, via what seemed to be the remnants of a gay disco bar after a particularly wild party.

Further along, there was plenty to see and challenge and enough space for the show to have room to breathe.




let's have a look in the courtesy drawer


I know it's a bit silly, but here's the contents of the courtesy drawer in the hotel. Fresh shirt, cufflinks and all manner of other items.

The adjacent minibar makes these items look like positive bargains.

Monday, 21 July 2014


Today we're crossing the mountains in the southern part of Norway. It's a seven hour train journey between Norway's two main cities of Bergen and Oslo, and the route crosses the Hardangervidda, which is Europe's highest mountainous plateau.

It's a modern, smooth, quiet train, once the bustling backpackers have all found their pre-assigned seats, before we leave Bergen. We later discover that there's even a kids' carriage, complete with an expansive play-area.

There's 182 tunnels on the route as well as climbs and the skirting of further mountains draped in the remains of summer snow. Yet outside temperature is 34 degrees on part of the journey. 'Costa del Norge' as the headlines say in the local papers.
At this time of year, there's plenty of people out biking the extensive trails in the middle section of the route. We've started at the western end ahead of a couple of days to wander Oslo.

Sunday, 20 July 2014


We found ourselves adjacent to a Viking brewery last night. It meant today we were well positioned to take a small boat along the fjord. At our first destination we stumbled upon a Viking encampment, with folk cooking food from smoky fires, practicing archery and following the nine noble Norse values.
We still had some distance to cover and took a local bus along twisty hairpin roads, not least to retrieve the rest of our clothes, which have been stashed away in a locker somewhere at the other end of a fjord.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Almost midnight sun

We've been through snow today. Not huge amounts, but it is surrounding us. The light packing for this part of the trip means that I don't have a computer until I get back to our base camp, so this blogging by mobile phone will have to suffice.

We've been heading north to the extent it was still light at 2330 yesterday. It was actually kind of light at midnight, but I'd say the half past eleven was a more convincing case.

Because we are in a deep valley tonight, I am pretty sure the darkness will come earlier. And then tomorrow we'll be on board a ship for a nine o clock departure.

Friday, 18 July 2014

dance along a coloured wind

We are in Bryggen at the moment, with narrow alleys dividing the ancient wooden buildings. We're staying close to the water's edge, ahead of the arrival of the tall ships which will begin to congregate for the festival in a few days time.

We've also wandered the higher area around the town, where we could look down into varied fjords and see how the sky is held in place,.
Tomorrow we'll head further north, travelling very light, with just a pocketful of spare clothes.

Anchors aweigh, men, heave away!

Wednesday, 16 July 2014


I managed to replace the busted communication gadget before packing for some power down road trip time.

We have set the direction to north-east. To the land of bilberries and crinkly-edges.

I doubt if we'll see Slartibartfast, although it might be like another planet.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

domesticated HAL = jibo?

Interesting technology. HAL? Open the pod bay doors.

Monday, 14 July 2014

one more cup of coffee for the road

coffee time
We finished the meeting and did the usual thing of heading away to discuss the next steps. Friday we ended up in a Turkish restaurant. Börek, yaprak dolması, meze and şiş tavuk. Today was simpler. Caffe latte.

That'll do nicely as my last meeting for a little while. Hit the tube and make plans to get out of Dodge.
Find a mainline train.
Then a suitcase.
Thank you, Travelpro
And maybe even a backpack.

Sunday, 13 July 2014


So Germany won it.

I looked back to my original percentages which had Germany fourth. My calculations ran probabilistically as Brazil, Argentina, Spain and then Germany, with Argentina at 18% and Germany at 12%. That's three of the top four, but a different end result.

That curious Brazilian defeat messed up my speculation, and the Dutch jumped ahead compared with my percentages which had them pegged with the same chance as England. Unlike England, maybe the Dutch switched off the engines on their return plane?

The post match 'knowledgeable with hindsight' commentaries are running as I speak, but I can't reach the remote control to mute it. I find the general Fifa sleaze takes the edge off this whole competition.

That and my statistics didn't work.

Just like my broken gigabit switch which means I don't have much internet access at the moment.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Mind the gap

Yes, a few days of non-blogging.

I've been working pretty much non-stop right up to Sunday midday.

I shall have to recreate a weekend next Tuesday and Wednesday before I turn my attention to the Summer.

Monday, 7 July 2014

Tour de France in London

I knew I'd struggle to get any pictures at the roadside for the Tour de France in London. I only turned up about 45 minutes before they were due to zoom past and as I'd gone to Parliament Square, it was also one of the prime and therefore crowded locations. The picture above shows my blurry view of Marcel Kittel (3rd in picture) on his way to the Stage 3 victory.

The area along the Mall had been packed since the morning, with people arriving ten hours in advance to get a spot. I considered going to somewhere like Royal Docks, where I could probably have got a roadside position, but thought that there would be more of the atmosphere on the final stretch.
There was certainly a lively crowd and even with a few spots of rain, the numbers just kept growing. I was a couple of rows back and realised that with the cyclists' speed, it would be tricky to even get them into frame.

I'll call my pictures impressionistic rather than documentary. Sometimes it's better to be in the moment rather than worrying about capturing it.