Tag Archives: Kashmir

Year 2012

To be honest, the past year seems a bit flat or grey. It surely hasn’t been a bad year, and when I come to think of it surprisingly many big adventures, including exotic travel and exciting courses, have actually filled the year. Yet I don’t want it as a template for the ones to follow either.

It has also been great to be closer to and have more visits from my family than in recent years (although still a few hours away by car). I’ve also had a good job surrounded by nice colleagues.

The problem, I suspect, is that something has been missing in the everyday life. A mismatch between the surrounding city and me. And a stand still in personal development. This has made for a year of far too many pointless days.

Lesson learned perhaps, that the occasional escapes providing spikes of happiness cannot form a meaningful year unless the days in-between are also good? That unhappy weekdays cannot be compensated for by the occasional adventures, but in fact puts them in the shadows?

Supposedly it has something to do with Paris and wanting something else from life. It also begs the question of whether or not I can lead a happy life without the big adventures? But let’s return to that in a later post when finishing the PhD has left more air for reflection.

Instead, let’s have a summary of the adventures that after all made the year stand out in some ways.

First of all, the year provided several regular appointments to sweeten the everyday, including obtaining a motorcycle license and taking a photography course in darkroom film and print development. As I haven’t bought a motorcycle yet the license so far only represents good memories, but often during autumn have I found happiness in getting into film photography and going to the darkroom.

My bimonthly guitar lessons have been oases of life that each time without exception made me forget whatever troubled me and brought me back to the present. With my teacher we have covered among others songs of Iggy Pop, The Clash, The Thermals, and Surfer Blood. The idea of writing my own songs, or even playing live, is still far away; but the improvements are noticeable and things are coming more easily now.

The year also saw going to the fitness centre replaced by going to the squash centre. I decided back in Paris that I must have some kind of sport in my life (called this a value or axiom), but the former simply became too much of a duty; squash on the other hand is still fresh and motivating.

Moving on to the bigger singular adventures, work took me to Boston, Houston, and New York City in the US; Tel-Aviv, Jerusalem, and The Dead Sea in Israel; and Bonaire in the Caribbean. Curiously enough, they all crammed together in the first few months of the year, in one case giving only a few days of rest in-between.

The two weeks at Boston University gave several new inputs academically and I greatly enjoyed the teaching and hospitality of my host. My girlfriend joined me for one of the weeks and together we also saw a fair bit of the city. I think it’s a city that gives a better impression during summer yet we still enjoyed both its atmosphere and its exhibitions. And although it was smaller than I had expected, its skyscrapers and architecture (as always in the US) installed a shock and fascination in my european eyes.

Next up was Israel for the one week winter school on lattice-based crypto held just outside Tel-Aviv. During the week we got to see parts of Tel-Aviv and for the weekend we rented a car to go to Jerusalem and The Dead Sea. My interest in Israel was definitely sparkled by this trip and it’s been put on my list of places to come back to.

Straight after Israel I headed for a week-long conference on Bonaire. My girlfriend joined me again and during the scheduled eight hours overlay in Houston (clever clever) we had a look at the city and found what looked like a proper Texan BBQ restaurant. On Boniare I managed to resist the temptation of skipping out on the conference to go diving (unlike many of my colleagues) and instead went with my girlfriend evenings and after the conference was over — great place for diving, and first time night diving. On the way back we again had a scheduled five hours overlay in New York City (clever clever, although we almost missed the plane) to go for a quick burger and a walk in Central Park.

Continuing in travel, we spent a few weekends in spring following Marguerituren around Denmark (onetwo, three, four, and five). I’m glad we saw the country from this romantic angle, and later during our summer trip to Sweden we did not hesitate to spend the extra time and petrol taking the Swedish equivalent when the opportunity presented itself. An excellent trip by the way, that included tenting (one and two), Stockholm, and a sailing course north of Göteborg. To finish off our nordic summer we also spent a weekend in beautiful Norway visiting old friends.

I’ve also attended a lot of great concerts during the year. The Thermals played in Paris during spring. The Northside Festival featured both Noah and the WhaleThe Asteroids Galaxy Tour, and Kashmir. We finally managed to catch The Buzzcocks, and could throw in Rancid and Cock Sparrer at the same time. Certainly also worth mentioning is Daniel Norgren whom we first caught a bit unexpected at a blues concert at Tobakken in Esbjerg but ended up also booking tickets for at Atlas in Aarhus.

Naturally I’ve also spent some time in France, of which a long walk I in the streets of beautiful Paris with a camera in my hand stands out most memorable — fortunately this is still a guarantee of happiness.

And last, but not least, a weekend in London cemented the belief that big cities are the next step.

Northside Festival, Day 2: Kashmir

I was introduced to Kashmir half way through secondary school – for some reason that I haven’t investigated further they are particular popular among this part of the population. And as far as I can tell as much today as 10 years ago.

Going back to these days they had just released their third album, The Good Life. And what an album! Mom In Love & Daddy In Space made it on to MTV but was not even on my top four: Lampshade, Make It Grand, Miss You, and Graceland. I should say our top four though, because we often heard and sang along in groups. An enjoyment that by the way repeated itself out of nowhere five years later on a road trip with a good friend.

Now, before moving on I should point out that Kashmir has one thing in common with D-A-D: I can’t tell if it’s actually good or if I just like it for nostalgic reasons. To the best of my knowledge they never made it that well outside Denmark, and whenever I’ve tried to play it for foreigners it hasn’t gathered nearly as many eye sparkles as when played for a fellow Dane (at my first attempt at this it was simply written off as a Radiohead clone). At any rate, it was evident that I was not alone in being excited to see them live again.

For reasons I can no longer remember, they’d decided that this concert would be a tribute to The Good Life album and hence played it in it’s full. It was brilliant, and none of the people I could hear from my position could help but to sing/scream along to less than half of the songs. I haven’t really heard them for the past five years but that made no difference – we’d abused our CDs so much 10 years ago that it’s forever imprinted as long as someone knows the first few words of every verse. And lead singer Kasper Eistrup seemed genuinely happy and touched by being there on stage in front of us.

Northside Festival, Day 2

As it got a bit late on the first day we decided to skip the first two bands today and arrived for The Asteroids Galaxy Tour instead. I’ll do a summary below of the bands but let me start by mentioning one of the perks of the Northside Festival: you get to sleep in your own bed! Of course it’s not the full festival experience but after standing for an entire day I can slack a bit on my ideals (maybe I’ll change my mind after Glastonbury next year).

The Asteroids Galaxy Tour
Turned out to be the biggest surprise of the festival and the band I’ve been playing the most since! I’ve given them a separate post and can only recommend to catch them if the opportunity arises.

Bombay Bicycle Club (BBC?)
For some reason I had confused these guys with Two Door Cinema Club, and was puzzled that I couldn’t recognise their faces at all from Rock En Seine in 2010. Anyway, they gave an okay concert – most strikingly however, was that the lead singer kept smiling all the time, reminding me of Matthew Broderick in the Inspector Gadget movie from 1999. Otherwise it was hard to heard that you were not just listening to the album. They were constantly switching guitars though – I know there’s a difference in sound, but that much really? Several bands have done it a lot better using just a telecaster! :) Official website. PS: during this concert the smell of sour feet kicked in for real.

Lukas Graham
This young guy has been a massive hit in the mainstream lately with his debut album. My brother also recommending him. Hence, I was looking forward to the concert. I’d listened a bit to him on Spotify without much attraction but figured it deserved a second chance. However, while it was not bad as such, I had my suspections confirmed: it is not my type of music at all. How about adding a guitar for instance, say a telecaster..? Official website?

Suspekt
I don’t this kind of music. Not hip-hop, but crappy hip-hop. It evokes nothing in me and don’t get why the attitude is essential.

Kasabian
Massively overrated. Singer acted like the too-often seen brit-pop-attitude also found in Arctic Monkeys and Oasis, and using way too many cheap trick (you know, shouting “Denmark!” – couldn’t even be bothered to make a full sentence). Music is monotone, you might as well listen to the background noise. Official website.

Malk de Koijn
Again I can’t really say if it’s good or not. Gaffa liked them. But again, why the fake attitude and slow motion head padding from the crowd behind you?

Kashmir
Ah ha! Finally the good music was back. The trick with Kashmir however is the same as with D-A-D: is it good because I grew up with it, or is it actually good? Anyway, it was a nice reunion for me that I’ve given a few more words in a separate post.