Archive for the ‘copenhagen’ Tag

World of Zoom

Well, that was a weird week. I spent three whole days in online conference calls. I’d used Zoom once before. I’d never used Microsoft Teams.

However the week finished on a high note – our monthly Finnegans Wake research seminar at Senate House, University of London was shifted online this evening. Led by Prof. Finn Fordham of Royal Holloway, University of London, our motley crew wrestled with the clunkiness of MS Team to enjoy two hours together drilling down through the layers of the Wake and its various manuscripts and versions. Spending 20 minutes arguing the toss over the word “be” was a comforting contrast to the macro chaos beyond our virtual room.

Microsoft Team james joyce digital archive finnegans wake

“the massproduct of teamwork” suddenly took on a new dimension given that Teams was the software making this human contact and continuity possible.

The three days leading up to this evening was spent on Zoom (wish I had shares in them – and how did they nick ahead of Skype so effectively?). Zoom is a well designed software but the difference between what the workshop would have been like IRL and how it is in an online video conference is stark. Very intense and relentless in a way that is not the case face to face. I was working as a mentor on Documentary Campus Masterclass  – we were supposed to be in Copenhagen, parallel to CPH:Dox Film Festival (cancelled). I did the same workshop in the same city last year so I have a direct comparison.

The most creative use of the software was by two Czech filmmakers I’m working with – Vit & Tomas. They transported themselves and us, using the software facilities, high into the mountains…

zoom software documentary campus masterclass

[photo: Esther van Messel]

The gap between the experience of these sorts of softwares and the experience of being in a room with fellow humans is an interesting one which tells us much about how we actually communicate and how we create – which is not a flat experience but a rounded and fluid one. Something to keep observing over the next days and weeks…

Glyptoteknocrat (Day 53)

Glyptotek Copenhagen museum gallery

Starting the day with a meeting about multi-generational space missions in closed loop systems (i.e. intergalactic travel taking many generations to complete, not even hundreds but thousands of years and more) does tend to shift your perspective so left CPH:DOX with headshifted and an ambition to squeeze the most out of my last few hours in Copenhagen. Headed to the Glyptotek which houses the art collection of Carlsberg of brewing fame, on the recommendation of both Toni Arden (who hails from the city although has been living in England since she met Paul on a Scandinavian ferry as a teenager) and Ove Jensen of European Documentary Network.

Glyptotek Winter Garden Copenhagen museum gallery

Glyptotek means a house for sculptures. You know that weird thing where you come across a word for the first time and then it crops up again the same day? Well it happened with Glyptotek – a bit Twilight Zone given how obscure a word it is. I was reading a novel by Philip Kerr, The One from the Other, a detective story set in Nazi Germany, both in the terrace café in the charming Winter Garden of the Glyptotek and again on the plane home, when the hero, Bernie Gunther, a Berlin cop moved to Bavaria after the War, meets a client, a rich blonde in a Porsche, at the Glyptothek (with an H) in Munich.

Any way I set up office in the Glyptotek (without an H), moving from the running water and palm frond tranquility of the glass-domed Winter Garden to the quiet of the antique sculpture lined galleries. More Ginsberg needless to say.

I had a sneak preview of the French painting galleries which open in their renovated form tomorrow (bad timing on my part) – the highlights of the few rooms already open were a couple of Courbets and a large scale painting of a beggar at a bourgeois door by a 19C French artist whose name didn’t ring a bell.

The_Beggar - Jules_Bastien-Lepage (1880)

The Beggar – Jules Bastien-Lepage (1880)

Had a final writing session on a bench beside the idiosyncratic building with its sculptural details of hippo and teeth-bearing ape heads as the sun lowered in a wash of red, then headed for home. Complemented the Chandleresque adventures in post-war Germany with some more research on Peter Cook who I feel is moving out towards the edge of the radar as the Comedy candidate, proving beggars can be choosers.

The Naked Truth (Day 52)

Oscillated in and out of CPH:DOX / SWIM multiplatform documentary conference, using the gaps between meetings to push on with Ginsberg. Set up camp in the park opposite the Danish Film Institute to tap away in the low autumnal sun.

Rosenborg Palace Garden

My office in Rosenborg Palace Garden

At a gathering of documentary-makers in the evening had a chat with mild-mannered Tom Perlmutter, chairman of the National Film Board of Canada, who met Ginsberg in the late 60s when he (Tom) was 21. He went to interview him at a Montreal hotel and when the door was opened to him Ginsberg was standing there stark naked like Dean opening the door to Sal and Carlo (who of course equates to Ginsberg) in On The Road, only chubbier. He carried on in similar state throughout the interview, with Tom trying to act as matter of fact as possible. I’d dropped some material about Ginsberg’s penchant for getting his kit off but this anecdote prompted me to do a Uy and put it in as it’s a good physical expression of Ginsberg’s striving for openness and honesty.

allen ginsberg naked

The naked truth is always better than the best dressed lie.
Ann Landers

Prince of Denmark (Day 51)

hamlet-laurence-olivier

Taking the show back out on the road – this time to Copenhagen for CPH:DOX, the annual documentary film festival, and an emerging sub-set called SWIM which focuses on multiplatform/transmedia for storytelling, distribution and financing. Installed myself on arrival in a lovely room overlooking the 19C University of Copenhagen buildings. It was a drizzly day, much like the last time I visited around four years ago, same time, same place. But I enthusiastically did a super-fast turnaround and was out on the street again in minutes with my Savile Rogue Spurs scarf (a cozy present from the excellent Street League – do go look) and a moderately waterproof coat (though the same can’t be said of the boots). In other words I shifted my normal 9-5 day to make room for some touristing.

I’d used the ambiguously named SAS flight to carry on with the first draft of my commercial creativity  project and to do more Comedy research, focusing on Peter Cook.

Back on the streets of Copenhagen, I headed towards Christiania, the hippy zone I’d set off to visit last time but had got caught in a rainstorm and taken shelter in the Jewish Museum designed by Daniel Libeskind. This time I got all the way to the so-called Green Light Zone where hoodies and beanies of the world unite. I’m too old for that shit. Found myself a quiet candle-lit café for a late lunch of fried herring heralded by a steaming glass of glogg (spiced wine). Throw in a copy of Uncut with a long article about singer-songwriters and that’s me happy.

Headed back to the hotel satisfied and damp. Took off my rain-drenched socks and hit the keyboard big-time, very much in the mood. More work on my model chapter With a Little Help from My Friend centred on Literature and Allen Ginsberg.

Took a few minutes to tidy up plans for a Channel 4 team visit to Arte on Friday in Paris (after which I plan to go check out the Beat Hotel in rue Git-le-Coeur when Ginsberg nearly got hooked on smack, the only time his drugs ever got out of control). And a few minutes thinking about Working Title which Enfant Terrible No. 1 is studying in Media Studies. Then back to business, inspired by the university library opposite, still fully lit towards midnight, walls of colourfully bound books illuminated in the arched windows (perhaps inevitably, no students in evidence).

University of Copenhagen library

This above all: to thine own self be true

richard burton hamlet

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