The first is the Danish smash hit, Midt Om Natten, or "In the middle of the night," a pretty smart distillation of the social unrest, cultural movings-about and musical themes of the 1980s in Denmark. After a couple minutes of watching, you'll see just how 80s it really is, which of course amused me. The album by the same name is one of the most successful in Denmark's history, selling 500,000 copies domestically in a country of 5 million. This was such a remarkable number, in fact, that it, like so many other great things of its era, was made into a really bad 80s movie. The song recording below also contains clips from the movie:
Then there's the saga of the 1 am train ride back from the club, a surprisingly well-attended transit affair. We met a guy who works on the rails, in his 22nd year as an engineer, as well as some implausibly creepy middle-aged men and a young Icelandic hipster with 7 simultaneous rolling "r"s in his name.
At any rate, in the midst of a lengthy conversation I was engaged in with the engineer, some of my more impaired companions were extolling the sublime beauty of Danish women. He rolled his eyes and deflected questions about his opinion on their relative worth against the standards of other countries. About 15 minutes later, he announced out of nowhere "Here comes the princess of Denmark. Right here." Into our car walked a woman wearing what boils down to an open-ended blue satin tube sock and high heels. Her sashaying gate was marked by the sarcastic fanfare of the engineer's mock-trumpeting, to which she was, how you say, blase aloof. The incredible irony of his musical interlude had really just crossed the language barrier and begun to sink in at this point, and he concluded "That's what I think of Danish women. It's -5 degrees outside. There's no reason to be wearing that."
The biting honesty of his responses to the drunken questions we threw at him was a distinctly grounding experience for me, a kind of key placed on the map of this place that marks a uniquely un-magical part of this yet-new fantasy world for me.