Eurodan in English

July 30, 2004

And a very warm welcome to a live report from the middle of the Pride Park here in Stockholm.

For the second night I'm enjoying the music and the wholesome, Northern European samnordisk atmosphere. Last night it was wall-to-wall Eurovision, with such stars as Kirsten Sigaard, Sebnem Paker and Linda Marten, to name just a very few.

And tonight we've had Wigstockholm (the main drag-show of the festival), and it's now approaching 10pm and the disco is about to crank up. Not sure whether to go and dance straight away or take another look at the SAS tent, or perhaps the Swedish police stand. Or then again, perhaps not... I *am* spoken-for, after all!

It's still quite light here (of course), and as day slides oh-so-slowly into not-so-dark night, and I get to watch the very low BAe 146 jets fly right over us landing at the very nearby Bromma city airport, and mingle with the Swedes (or the Zweedtjes as Bart likes to call them), I realise just how lucky I am.

Posted by Eurodan at 8:44 PM | Comments (0)

July 29, 2004

This really is my kind of holiday. Rather than lazing around on a hot sunny beach (what torture!), I get to go to Swedish classes during the day and then have fun (ha det kul) in the evenings.

So far we've watched several of my favourite Swedish films, and I've realised a lifetime's ambition - yes, singing karaoke in Swedish. So many of my all-time favourite songs are in Swedish anyway, you see. Imagine my joy flipping through the bar's song list and seeing so many classics that I've practically grown up with.

Tonight should be another highlight, as I'm taking the train into Stockholm to go to the first big night of the Stockholm Pride celebrations. It's the Schlagerkvšll music evening tonight, and I'm expecting to see many illustrious stars of the Swedish pop music scene past and present take to the stage. I could list them for you, starting with the tragic figure of battling ex-alcoholic Kikki Danielsson, enduring star Lena Philipsson or come-back queen Lill-Babs, but how would you know I wasn't just making it all up?

Posted by Eurodan at 12:44 PM | Comments (1)

July 20, 2004

Greetings from Uppsala!

It's the second day of the three-week Swedish course that I'm following, and it's the most fun I've had in ages.

What a luxury to be able to devote an extended period to improving my knowledge of a language that I love, in such a charming little university town.

Learning a language is rewarding in many ways, but something which occurred to me yesterday is that it feels rather like growing. When you learn a new idiom or expression which allows you to express yourself just that little bit better than before, it's a bit like the first time you were tall enough to reach the light switch.

Most of the time as adults we begin to lose that feeling, but learn a language and you can grow up all over again.

Posted by Eurodan at 2:28 PM | Comments (2)

July 14, 2004

Summer in Belgium is very clearly defined. No matter what the weather does (and at the moment it's doing a very good impression of autumn), the starting and finishing dates of summer are set out for everyone.

Summer lasts from 1 July until 31 August. During these two months, the country, if not exactly shut, is a good deal less dynamic than usual. The Brussels version of Metro (the free newspaper) only comes out on two days out of five, the TV shows repeats and it takes even longer than normal to get a reply from the town hall.

And it seems that this blog has become a little bit infected by Belgian summer syndrome, for which I can only offer my apologies.

But don't think I'm already sitting back in the garden with a (Belgian) beer.

Oh no! Not at all!

On Sunday I leave for Uppsala, Sweden for a three-week intensive course, designed to get my Swedish a bit closer to the level where I can work from it.

And once I'm back, Bart and I will head off to Brittany for ten days or so.

I'll keep you posted, and try to do so rather more regularly than the last couple of weeks, ok?

Posted by Eurodan at 10:02 PM | Comments (3)

July 6, 2004

Small World

It's time for a belated online hello to my new neighbour, Matt.

Matt and I started work at Lycos in London on the same day at neighbouring desks. It was the first Monday in January 2001 and most of the staff were still on holiday or hung over, and our boss was ill and wouldn't in fact show up for some time to come. Matt was the news and sport channel editor and I was in charge of the music channel. It felt a bit like when Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect landed on the semi-abandoned Vogon freighter, in fact. For some time we had literally nothing to do, and no way of even knowing how to go about getting anything to do.

Ah yes, happy times. I jumped off the sinking ship within a year - the very crassness of working for such a lumbering, self-important buffoon-fest of a company with a truly lame-duck product held together by sticky-tape was the final, line-in-the-sand experience I needed to give me the 'life can't go on like this' epiphany I was due for and send me hurtling towards my change of career and a much happier existence. So never say that web portals don't have their uses. Besides, I also got to meet Craig David and Emma Bunton.

Matt held on for considerably longer than I did, and managed to put in a very creditable couple of years of pretending to be busy by letting his calls roll over onto voicemail while reading the Guardian Online and looking for a subsequent project much more worthy of his intellect.

Anyway, the reason I'm waffling on about all this is that back then, when we started at Lycos, I felt it was really rather a coincidence, seeing as we both came from Hull, had started on the same day, were working at neighbouring desks, (and both had rather a liking for all things German, as it happens).

But the improbability drive has been cranked up considerably higher of late, as Matt has now moved to Brussels to take up an altogether much more fitting post with the Greater London Authority's European Office, and - get this - has moved into the flat upstairs in this building with his partner Emma!

In fact, the pictures taken on this website which are supposedly of my flat are actually the one which is now Matt's - they're owned by the same landlord, you see.

Anyway, now that the improbability drive has sufficiently warmed up (apologies for the non-Douglas Adams readers), I think it's time to shimmy on over to Alpha Centaurii. Apparently they have different liquorice.

Posted by Eurodan at 10:43 PM | Comments (2)

Back to blog