Review: A Cure For Wellness

A Cure For Wellness has been on my radar since the first trailer came out – Hollywood’s long-awaited sophisticated psycho-thriller – and I was eager to see director Gore Verbinski’s comeback to horror since his remake of The Ring.

The film fixates on self-discovery and for our protagonist Lockhart (Dane DeHaan), his journey begins as an eager junior turned exec determined to prove his worth by climbing the economic high-rise. From the get-go Lockhart exerts pretention, reminiscent of Mad Men’s young Pete Campbell, but his cooked books conveniently enable his company’s board members to blackmail him. Lockhart must now bring back the company’s CEO (Pembroke) from a Swiss wellness centre to sign an all round benefitting merger – trouble is, Pembroke doesn’t want to leave.

A-Cure-for-Wellness3.jpg

Verbinski successfully combines classical horror conventions with his own contemporary and experimental stylisation, which can first be seen as Lockhart makes his way up to the Castle-like clinic. Against the backdrop of the Swiss Alps the castle is abundantly oppressive as a typically located eyrie, and it is at this point when Lockhart is removed from contemporary society and placed into isolation that I immediately think: Bram Stocker’s Dracula meets twisted fairytale fantasy.

A more idyllic and charming rendition of Shutter Island’s Ashecliffe at first, it doesn’t take long for this Swiss spa to do a number on Lockhart with the assistance from submissive staff and their illusive answers as to the whereabouts of Pembroke. Deciding to return to New York, retrieving Pembroke seemed like Lockhart’s only issue until alarming hallucinations start to take effect after consuming the local water (part of the treatment). From bad to worse, his predicament then escalates resulting in a car crash. Lockhart lands himself right back in the clinic with a broken leg whereby a power shift occurs and his role is shifted from guest to patient.

a-cure-for-wellness-filming-locations-castle.jpg

After meeting the dubious clinic director Volmer (Jason Isaacs), Lockhart is persuaded to take “the cure”. Still equipped with his hotshot attitude and not a lot else to do, he takes it upon himself to discover what the cure really is. While hobbling on crutches around the nothing-is-what-it-seems facility he encounters; the “very special case” Hannah (Mia Goth); folktales; inhospitable villagers; an aquifer turned evil layer; and eels, lots and lots of eels (red herrings, if you will).

Film Review A Cure For Wellness

While Verbinski’s cinematic style is relentless and overflowing with visual metaphors – on an aesthetic level this is well executed – patience and perseverance are key, as answers and plot twists are provided in titbit fashion. At just around two and a half hours long, I couldn’t help but contemplate whether or not Verbinski had exhausted the latter element in exchange for a plot holed narrative, which we trust to eventually provide the film’s underlying message.

Fortunately, most inadequacies can be somewhat side-stepped or salvaged by the atmospheric soundtrack. A cross between Stranger Things and A Secret Garden, Benjamin Wallfisch’s ominous score successfully reinforces the film’s apt for nihilistic mystery and dream-like states.

wellness-jpg-crop-promo-xlarge2

The only other real mystery, also revealed at the end, is the certificate rating 18. A self-confessed scaredy-cat I was rather hesitant about going in alone, but turns out the real horror is less frightening and more… disturbing.  Quickly spiralling down, A Cure For Wellness takes a peak turn, which at this stage I fear screenplay writer Justin Haythe has got too many ends to tie together.

Eventually it becomes apparent that Lockhart wasn’t really destined for his new found position, given that he was only bumped up because his predecessor mysteriously clocked off. So, it seems fitting that what we have left in Verbinski’s fairytale finale is a depiction of humans stripped of their success, which in turn reveals their haunting emptiness, and Lockhart amidst some sort of eel-infused trip gazing upon the Alps.

Review: Hacksaw Ridge

Released to cinemas in January this year, I slightly panicked at the now-limited listings for Hacksaw Ridge. At just over £10 pound a ticket, I often ask myself: “is this something I have too see on the big screen, or shall I wait for the DVD?”

Luckily for me, I had my newly purchased Cineworld Unlimited card – it was a no brainer – so I asked my mother (a war film fanatic) to join me on the judges’ panel.

A story of patriotism, perseverance, and standing up for your beliefs, Mel Gibson journeys back to Maeda Escarpment, commonly known as “Hacksaw Ridge”, amidst the Second World War. Paying tribute to brave American soldiers, the film above all commemorates the heroic actions of combat medic Desmond Doss.

While collating general opinion, Hacksaw Ridge has been compared and paralleled to the likes of Saving Private Ryan, and it’s not hard to understand why. Immersed with gore and war zone realism, Gibson depicts the merciless violence and relentless efforts experienced by soldiers during this battle against the Japanese on Okinawa island in 1945.

The narrative is not complicated, following our protagonist on his journey to Hacksaw Ridge, and perfectly embodies the remarkable sincerity and determination of Doss throughout. The latter for me is where the true accomplishment of the film lies, supported by an outstanding cast that is lead by Andrew Garfield.

Garfield presents, at first, what appears to be a childish naivety that he then transcends into Doss’ genuine intentions, and valiant actions, to save the lives of his fellow troops in what seems like an impossible mission.

Following in the steps of his father and brother, Doss enlists himself to join the war as a medic aspiring and then proceeding to save lives, but not take them, while refusing to hold or fire a weapon. Tormented and terrorised by his fellow troops, and psychologically questioned by his superiors, Doss’ moral compass stays straight and he subsequently earns the respect and recognition deserved for saving 75 lives.

Despite Mel Gibson’s controversial opinions, which arguably sent him into hiding since his last feature Apocalypto back in 2006, as a director it’s unlikely he’ll go unnoticed for this acclaim-worthy achievement. Gibson shoots a clean-cut picture, which is stylised by wide landscapes and medium close-ups packed with beauty as well as destruction, placing this endearing and harrowing war film on a pedestal of its own.

As always Oscar season will be stirring with hype and injustice, especially with current front-runner La La Land at the helm. In all honesty I think as far as cinematography and art direction go, La La Land deserves the win, but for me Andrew Garfield certainly poses as a major contender for Best Actor given his soul-bearing performance and notable progression from neophyte Spider to War hero.

The Hype of Hygge

Since visiting Copenhagen last July, I have found myself completely captivated by the Danes’ lust for chic design, cool composure and aspiration to live well.

Sent with love and well wishes, Meik Wiking graced Britain last year with the release of his best seller The Little Book of Hygge. The Little Book of ha-wha, you ask? The Little Book of “hue-gah”: The Danish Way To Live Well.

Hygge is a Norwegian turned Danish term used to describe and encourage “a feeling of home” and creation of “atmosphere and experience” in our everyday lives. Essentially, we should take more time to appreciate and indulge in the comfort of the simple things life has to offer, as opposed to limiting our enjoyment of pleasurable activities.

But why care what the Danes do? Well, the Danes’ reputation for happiness has become an established identity within itself as they are rated as the happiest country in the world. The Danes also boast a very high quality of life that is not just fixated on income or another fad diet, and this has lead many Britain’s to now jump on the train, destination: happy.

So, how does one hygge? Well, now the smug owner of Wiking’s well-being guide myself, I’ll share with you some of the simple secrets:

No matter what the occasion, have candles everywhere: Candles are the first lesson in hygge, so it’s important to note that “Scented candles are considered artificial, and Danes prefer natural and organic products”, and to put it bluntly “no candles, no hygge”. Furthermore dim lighting is key, and the Danes equally love their lamps.

Make quality time for loved ones: To know if you’ve got relationship status hygge, time spent with loved ones should feel “like a good hug – but without the physical contact”. Wiking’s research into happiness has concluded that “The more satisfied people are with their social relationships, the happier they are in general”. Moreover, at the centre of a Danish home you’re highly likely to find a dining table, designed to accommodate family and friends for frequent social meals.

Home is the “hygge headquarters”: The Danish are known for their design (oh that enviable Scandic-chic) and “tend to put a lot of effort and money into making their homes hyggelige” (aka homey and intimate). Danes therefore create a cosy yet fresh living environment, because “Home is central to social life in Denmark”. Unlike us Brits who love to go out, the Danes make their homes the place to be.

Less is more: Minimalism is also key, which you can instantly recognise from Danes’ wardrobe attire and everyday appearance, to their interior design. To get the hygge look pull your focus towards scarfs, layers, casual hair, and most importantly black, so “aim for a look that would be fitting for Karl Lagerfeld’s funeral: stylish but monochrome”.

Eat well to live well: The Danes are treat eaters and don’t fret about indulging (they’re crazy for cake) because “hygge is about being kind to yourself – and giving yourself, and each other, a break from the demands of healthy living”, while still remaining balanced. As opposed to Maccy Ds and KFCs Danes prefer to indulge in more homely comfort foods – they love their meat and potatoes, pastries, and crafted open sandwiches.

Get on your bike: It’s a very easy argument to suggest that Denmark was built for bikes, given what seems to be an on-going flat landscaped county. When visiting Copenhagen cycling was a huge highlight for me, and it’s not hard to understand why it’s so popular – it’s “an easy way to weave a bit of exercise into our daily routine and is environmentally (and wallet-) friendly”.

All sound quite straightforward? That’s because hygge really is. It’s an underestimated concept, the idea of being happy, and for me the Danes have nailed it by extracting their primary happiness from life’s simple occurrences that can be incorporated into everyday life – it is that easy.

Over the last few months we Brits have predominately been occupied with a Brexit backlash and NHS crisis, so frankly I think we could all benefit from a bit of positive well-being. Anyone curious about hygge, why not test the waters with a few home essentials: a hyggekrog (nook), a fireplace, candles (this cannot be stressed enough), wooden furniture, books (no, not kindles), ceramics, shop vintage, and fill your home with cushions and blankets.

If you’re still not sold on hygge, my only next logical step is to implore you to visit Denmark and see for yourself. Check out some of my top recommendations for Copenhagen HERE. It really is a beautiful and vibrant city that I cannot wait to visit again.

Films for Action: Blackfish

 

There’s a very popular hashtag trend on Twitter and it goes by #EmptyTheTanks. If you were to search this I guarantee you’ll see links to Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s Blackfish and it is clear why.

Blackfish takes an in-depth look into the controversy with capturing Orca, or Killer, whales and raising them in captivity which in turn reveals the shocking and unfortunate truth behind the dazzling lights and performances at SeaWorld.

Ex-trainers give their personal accounts of their experiences at SeaWorld from their naivety as young, new trainers lacking education about these orca whales, to the death of their friend, and fellow trainer, Dawn Brancheau. The tragedy of Dawn’s death sparked much outrage given the nature of the upfront circumstances calling for Tilikum to be put down, however despite the actions of Tilikum, is he the one to really blame?

The film focuses on Tilikum – an orca far too large to be in a tank in the first place – who suffers from psychotic stress and trauma from being taken from the wild and being forced into captivity to become an entertainer for humans. The hard-hitting facts presented predominantly come from the visual contrasts of orca whales roaming in the wild to these lifeless, floating giants in large swimming pools at SeaWorld. Needless to say, the message is clear: orcas in captivity is inhumane.

Further to the latter, facts from marine biologists about orcas in the wild expose lies given to park visitors by Seaworld staff (who have probably never seen an orca in the wild), for example: the life expectancy of orca whales in captivity is believed to be longer than orcas in the wild. The misguided information provided at the parks also raises concern towards the moral aspect of bringing in money vs actually educating people properly about these sea creatures who are unethically dying in an unnatural habitat.

One of the worst parts of SeaWorld’s outlook and animal programs is that there are alternative plans to enable the release of captive orcas – one of the front runners for this campaign is Ingrid Visser, a marine biologist from New Zealand. Visser has been a huge advocate for sea sanctuaries, presenting plans for large scale pens to be placed in the sea to retire orcas in. Inevitably there is a harsh reality due to their captivity that orcas from SeaWorld will not ever be able to be fully released, however the sea sanctuaries are the closest thing to knowing a sense of freedom.

An article by Brian Clark Howard for the National Geographic addresses the slow growing progression that is being made with regards to orca shows but unfortunately Howard identifies that not all orca shows across the USA have complied. Furthermore even though a SeaWorld park in California stopped shows in 2015, SeaWorld still own the orcas and have no obligations to remove them from their enclosures (well, aside from moral obligations of course).

Reverting back to Howard’s point on progression, after public pressure ignited by the outrage from Blackfish, SeaWorld announced in 2016 that they will no longer continue the orca breeding program. Now considering the prior popularity of these orca shows, this is a fantastic step forward yet undeniably on an iceberg-like scale. What I mean by “iceberg scale” is quite simply that there are still many orca whales living in inadequate tanks across the world, and regrettably it took the death of a SeaWorld trainer to finally start actively addressing the issue and effects of orcas in captivity.

Blackfish leaves viewers with a bleak depiction of life for orcas in sea parks – it evokes emotion from the spectator but more notably from the ex-trainers, wild life activists and marine biologists. Yet just under the surface, the desperate plea to #EmptyTheTanks comes from people’s reaction to growing knowledge and appreciation of how orcas live and prosper in the wild, and a large increase of this activism and protest is thanks to Blackfish.

// Tilikum died earlier this year in captivity at SeaWorld – lets make sure he’s the last //

The reality of “reality TV”

// “Reality TV to me is the museum of social decay” – Gary Oldman //

[If you watch reality TV, I can’t promise you won’t be insulted]

First and foremost I feel I must confess that despite my distain for reality TV, I actually don’t watch it, so you’ll find little direct reference to programmes here. Now I’ve seen a few episodes for intrigue, like Gogglebox, but I haven’t dared dive into the depths of moral decent with something like Keeping up with the Kardashians (heaven forbid) – I’m more of a Planet Earth and Louis Theroux kinda gal.

To make my point valid I do want to share some of my reasons for being so anti “reality”.

// Keeping ratbags rich //

MIC.jpg

Granted the likes of the Kardashians and Chelsea squad would be financially sound without their shows, however by watching these programmes we as viewers only endorse and fuel their finances. Think about it, the funding comes in for “reality TV” because of the soaring TV ratings which means another season of nonsense from what has been interpreted as consumer demands. Are you a demanding consumer?

Is it because we are fascinated by the lifestyles of the rich and famous? I have genuinely heard people say they like watching Made in Chelsea because they like seeing how people in London live. Well we can solve that argument for you! I used to live in London, and what you are watching is actually the 1% of Londoners aka the spoilt rich kids of the upper class. Thank you for keeping them that way viewers, great work!

// Encouraging shitty gossip and basic bitch behaviour //

love-island

Are you aware there’s a Refugee crisis? Or that a racist/sexist businessman has taken the highest seat in office? No? Well, fair – there are “real” issues to attend to…

I work in an office, and while Love Island was being aired the previous night’s events were always discussed in the morning like the world news – I honestly felt like my ears were bleeding. Essentially what I got from the “news” is that he said, she said, now someone’s with someone else, and therefore they have left the island.

My fear is that the whole he said, she said attributes will become adopted into society as social norm, and the way one intervenes in business that is private and has absolutely nothing to do with them will also become acceptable. My fear has been realised… I constantly overhear (and try to keep out of) gossip infested conversations which revolve around hanging out someone else’s laundry for them – I do not find this discourse entertaining, I find it really alarming and incredibly boring.

My theory is that some people just can’t stand that they are not invited to the party.

// Lets become couch potatoes together – that makes it okay //

goggle-box

The moment I watched Gogglebox I was terrified of it. Okay, I’ll admit that some comments made are entertaining, and I appreciate the concept of the programme is to convey and understand “real” people’s point of view, but no, just no.

Any time I see an advertisement for Gogglebox I have a little existential crisis in my head: people are sat on their sofas watching TV of people being sat on their sofas watching TV. *BRAIN CANNOT HANDLE*

Furthermore from a wider perspective, “reality TV” is just watching other people live their script-prompted lives (with no educational value). Does it make you feel like you’re living? I cannot help but feel that viewers watch these programmes because they are deemed as “reality” and this has ultimately normalised sitting in front of the TV watching/listen to mind dumbing (yes, I meant dumbing) material.

// It’s not like we don’t have good TV //

david-attenborough

Everyone has their own taste and ideas of what makes TV good, and I’m all for that, but unfortunately “reality TV” is the limit for me and is not a valid recommendation in my eyes.

Personally, I think if you’re going to show interest in reality, then why not raise the bar with some highly acclaimed documentaries? I mean, by one’s enthusiasm towards “reality TV”, it suggests that you are interested in real life events…? Well brilliant, try some of these: Blackfish, The Cove, Bowling for Columbine, Searching for Sugarman, anything by Louis Theroux, Frozen Planet, Planet Earth, Cowspiracy, Fat Sick & Nearly Dead, and Grizzly Man (to name a few). Hola if you need more!

Alternatively sometimes we do require some escape from reality, so by all means give yourself a break. This year we have season 3 of Twin Peaks coming our way (SO excited), and we’ve been graced with the likes of Westworld, Stranger Things, House of Cards, The Sopranos, Game of Thrones, and Breaking Bad (to name a few), so we have plenty of other options that won’t make us brain dead.

// I like to think humans are better than this //

Lets face it, the content of “reality TV” is first and foremost superficial, often encouraging and resulting in conflict over money and consumer goods – y’know the whole, “mine’s better than yours”, so you’re watching big children.

Secondly it’s not exactly promoting a healthy outlook on relationships and how to resolve them should a problem arise. Based on my minimal but sufficient knowledge on these programmes, everything’s centred around a lot of drama, yet as a real entity, or person, I know quite few friends in relationships and they do not act in the manner. Effectively, my friends seem quite happy and rational.

Thirdly, the majority of these “real people” are just bloody stupid. Call me arrogant and up myself, but I’d prefer to watch something/someone with a bit of substance *turns on QI*. Thank you for reading.

// “Reality TV” made me realise that boys can be basic bitches too //

My 2017 Reading List

I was very humble with my Christmas list last year, the contents of which revolved around practical items such as socks, make-up remover, and of course books! In tune with my new practical outlook it seemed fitting that my new year’s resolution followed suit: READ MORE!

As an aspiring blogger in pursuit of a job in content writing I wanted to introduce some variety into my material for 2017. My top author’s thus far are Patti Smith, Miranda July, and Raymond Carver (I’m a big fan of short stories), and I am keen to expand and broaden my horizons.

1. A bit of lifestyle:  The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking

readinglist3

I was told about this little gem by a friend, and then having seen The Times rave about it the curiosity killed me. I’d visited Copenhagen last July and fell in love with the Danish culture, food, style, and what I have now learned to be known as “hygge” aka: enjoying the simple things (in a nutshell).

Wiking explores the way in which one can encompass hygge into everyday life and the results are both therapeutic and positive – everything me and my well being need for 2017 – from cooking and clothing, to the outdoors and happiness

2. A bit of philosophy: Thus Spoke Zarathustra by Friedrich Nietzsche

readinglist2

I was first introduced to Nietzsche while studying Film at university and was very much captivated by his theories on “Will to power” and “Superman”. When applying his “Will to power” theory in film I loved analysing the concept of humans as desiring machines which then spiralled into a discourse about “becoming”.

I selected Nietzsche’s most known work Thus Spoke Zarathustra for his nihilistic and atheist approach towards humanity, which incorporates one of my favourite ideas about the “superman”, or as my lecturer labelled, the “superhuman”.

3. A bit of humour and guidance: Not That Kind Of Girl by Lena Dunham

  • readinglist4

    “I am a girl with a keen interest in having it all, and what follows are hopeful dispatches from the frontlines of that struggle” – relatable, well said Lena.

    I am a huge fan of of the TV show Girls and cannot wait for the last season. I love what Dunham has created with the script by depicting the honest, hilarious and brutal troubles of what life is like in your 20s (especially when you don’t have it all figured out). With the latter in mind, as you can imagine, I have been wanting to get my hands on her book for awhile.

    4. A bit of Art & Film: Incomplete Control by Sarah Keller

    readinglist1

    “Avant-Garde” was one of my favourite modules at university, for which Maya Deren became a key figure in my essays and education. Known best for Meshes of the Afternoon, Deren is one of the most influential American avant-garde filmmakers who introduced me to new ways in which one can express and convey ideas through film.

    In Incomplete Control, Sarah Keller discusses and explores Deren’s successful career as a female experimental filmmaker/artist, but also examines her unfinished works as well. Although I may no longer be at university, I’m definitely still a loyal disciple of film studies.

    5. A bit of fiction: Bright Lights, Big City by Jay McInerney

    readinglist5

    Having expressed my interest in short stories and fast fiction, I was given this book to borrow by a friend. The title rings familiar, but to be honest I don’t know too much about the book itself or McInerney. Before committing to the idea of another book, my friend and I had a little bed time read – I was astonished and completely sold when realising Bright Lights, Big City is written in the second person! How intriguing!

    A few pages in and McInerney proves witty, thought-provoking, and brilliant, so it’s of no surprise at all that it had to be added to my list.

    ______

    Given my inability to speed read, I am sure that my 5 top picks will keep me occupied for the majority of 2017. If anyone has a read of them, or has any other recommendations, then please do share!

    // Happy New Year //

Pineapple Carving

So apparently this year people have turned from the traditional and gone for the more exotic this halloween and I couldn’t resist giving it a go myself.

A new hipster craze? Daring to be different? New and exciting? Whatever way you may look at it, I’m all for it. I’m really not a festive person – I’m a fully fledged grinch at 24 – so  personally I’m embracing the new trend. For you traditionalists, look at it as a pumpkin in fancy dress.

What really convinced me that this was the way to go this year is when I saw all the pictures of people pumpkin picking – a truly lovely sight and wonderful family day out for sure – and then I realised most of the pumpkins’ “insides” will be binned. Don’t get me wrong, I know many people that produce delicious autumnal soups and salads with the leftover pumpkin, but I also know way more people that chuck it in the waste. What did you do with your pumpkin?

I know it’s not traditional, and it most likely won’t catch on but I insist you try it out! Hell, because it’s not traditional, it doesn’t even have to be done at Halloween – this guy would be a great addition to most parties.

Pros for the pineapple:

  • eat while you carve
  • it’s sticky but unlike the pumpkin I’m alright licking it off my fingers
  • not as messy as the pumpkin – it’s really easy and quick to carve
  • it’s great if you’re like me and prefer to keep the fear factor down to a minimum
  • it’s livened up my Monday with a pineapple project
  • kind of looks like a Mexican wrestler
  • more people eat pineapple than they do pumpkins
  • …and lets not forget the obvious: FRESH PINEAPPLE JUICE!

If that hasn’t convinced you, it’s also great… if you like Piña Coladas.
For this all you need is:

  • the leftover pineapple
  • white rum
  • sugar (hardly any)
  • coconut milk/cream
  • a blender
  • ice
  • strainer (optional)

Measurements are varied, but essentially all you do is blend, shake, and pour. It’s all very simple and (trusting your mixology skills) delicious! Granted, having been a bartender I had the upper hand and was quite pleased with mine. Furthermore this can also be made virgin style – everybody benefits from this trending kind of carving!

// ¿dónde está mi calabaza? //

 

A couple of days in Copenhagen

After not a lot of thought, I decided to treat myself to a trip away for my Birthday. I’d been to Berlin and 3 days isn’t long enough for Toronto, so flights and hostel booked, I was off to Copenhagen.

Travelling solo can be quite daunting, so I invested in a little pocket guide to Copenhagen which enabled me to create a brief itinerary of a few sights and venues I wanted to visit. Not being much of a planner I felt as though I had already achieved something. With this in mind, it’s also a good idea to bring light entertainment- for me this is Patti Smith’s M Train.

Copenhagen 9
Coffee, cigarettes, and Patti – my 3 must-haves when travelling alone.

Copenhagen has a great City vibe – it’s the perfect combination of  energetic and cool. Upon arrival, the station is located smack in the middle right amongst Tivoli and conveniently a 5 minute walk from Urban House Hostel (£90.00 x3 nights in an all female dorm).

The next three days are long and filled accordingly. I leave plenty of time to wonder and explore while also managing to check off various coffee shops and top sights.

Casual Coffee:

The main aspect of Copenhagen’s coffee houses that I completely ate up is that you will find no conglomerates here. Each unique, casual and modest in their own way – Copenhagen displays it’s creativity through it’s ever versatile caffeine scene.

My tops picks:

  1. Sort Kaffe & Vinyl

Copenhagen 8

Appropriately situated in Vesterbro, this limited-in-scale cafe has a big personality. Vinyl plasters the right hand wall all the way down to the three tables tucked away at the back. Peruse the generous selection of records, enjoy fruity/velvety coffee, and if you can grab a seat outside, take in the charismatic aroma that introduces the Meatpacking District.

2. Coffee CollectiveCopenhagen 10

Unlike the exterior, Nørrebro’s residents prefer a more simple yet effective approach to hospitality. I feel like I’ve just walked into someone’s kitchen, who also happens to have a coffee roaster. Almost basking it its own modesty, the coffee is not shy of precision or high quality roasting which oddly complements the nonchalant attitude of the baristas.

3. Le CoinCopenhagen 7

Slightly agitated by the city centre, I settle down in Vingårdsstræde. Much to my despair, I’ve just missed my window for salmon, avocado and eggs on toast, but I am equally curious about what the chef is freshly prepping for lunch. Perfectly located for any romantic, Le Coin lets me enjoy a coffee in the city quietly with Patti.

Worth your while:

  1. On your bike!

Copenhagen 5

At my hostel I got my baby blue at 90 DKK for 6 hours – no regrets. Also the rumours are true: everyone cycles in Copenhagen, and why not? The cycle lanes are nearly as wide as the roads. Cycling really is the best and most time efficient way to experience this City. What’s more is that the Danish have outdone the Borris bikes with built-in sat nav.

2. Christiania aka: Green Light District Copenhagen 19

Yep, have fun, don’t run, and no photos. Oh, and beware of Dragons… If not to buy hash, it’s worth exploring this Freetown on the outskirts of Copenhagen hosting pop up-stands, music, and masked men. I took a stroll around the lake and was mesmerised by the craftsman ship of the residents’ houses amongst the verges.

3. ChristianshavnCopenhagen 18

Right outside Christiania, I am welcomed back to reality by a peaceful and picturesque Christianshavn. Aside from the neighbouring Freetown, there are not many attractions in this area, and I’m glad. Bars on both land and water quietly entertain their guests down the canal as I stop for a coffee and admire the view.

4. Cafe WilderCopenhagen 3

After a long day of exploring, I set myself up outside at Cafe Wilder. Shortly after, the rain came and so did my decision to gorge on white wine and Moules Marinières. Clichéd, perhaps, but this French-Italian styled restaurant immersed itself perfectly amongst the cobbled streets which lead the way to the best wine bars in Christianshavn.

5. Hay HouseCopenhagen 14

Located in the shopping district of Strøget on the 2nd and 3rd floor, you will find interior inspiration galore. Top to bottom in Scandic-sheek it was hard to accept that a shop had managed to upstage my entire home. Hay House shows off a beautifully balanced showroom of modern and authentic Danish design.

6. The RundetårnCopenhagen 6

Originally built as an astronomical observatory, The Round Tower currently boasts one of the best views of Copenhagen from up high. It has also been refurbished  with a cafe, exhibition space, and gallery displaying original features and artefacts. All this can be seen for a reasonable sum of 25 DKK.

7. The Meatpacking DistrictCopenhagen 2

Quietly across the North Sea, Copenhagen-ers aren’t wearing clogs or spinning yarn, they’re taking over old warehouses and marts, filling them with exciting new eateries, bars, music venues and art galleries. Also known as Meat City, this district is the epitome of Copenhagen cool exerted by its vibrant and charismatic atmosphere.

8. WarpigsCopenhagen 22

When in Meat City, go to Warpigs. Part-American/part-Danish, this alternative and soulful venue caters for those who want Mikkeller beer excellence and no nonsense tender meat cuts. If schools had separate “cool canteens” here would be the founder – alternative and edgy, this is a beautifully executed collaboration from across seas.

9. Mikkeller Copenhagen 21

Mikkeller beer, like it’s reputation, exceeds itself through impeccable taste and a-game brewing. With at least 20 craft beers on tap there’s much enjoyment to be had, but alas, having just come from Warpigs I had to pass on the too-temping bar snack menu. Pricey, yes. Worth it? Of course.

10. Friends & BrgrsCopenhagen 17

Yes, Copenhagen does junk food (kind of). I was so impressed with this burger joint and what I could only assume is Denmark’s take on Five Guys. Feel free to observe the staff in their pristine kitchen, and watch as they grind the meat and make the bread buns. So fresh and incredibly tasty – hands down, the best “dirty burger” I’ve ever had.

11. Nørrebro Copenhagen 4

Another reason to get on your bike –  Nørrebro. Instantly vibrant, this district invites you to dine at it’s indie restaurants, chill outside of it’s cool cafes and enjoy it’s multicultural neighbourhood filled with thrift shops and flea markets. Amongst the hustle also lies the cemetery Assistens Kirkegård, the gardens of which restores serenity to this district

Would I go again?

Copenhagen is the kind of city I could see myself living in for a while – it’s animated and enigmatic, but also tranquil and harmonious. From three days of exploring, I couldn’t help but notice how this understated city bargained with both the locals and the tourists. Still growing as a capital, Copenhagen only proceeds in introducing more and more economy and culture to Denmark – I can honestly say that I got more than I was expecting from the experience.

copenhagen-1

My trick? Researching certainly helped, but maybe that’s just me. Regardless, it was this prior knowledge that allowed me to travel with ease as I had a vague idea of where I was going and what to do when I got there. I was pleasantly surprised at what the city had to offer as I contemplated my next move throughout the days, whether this was a cafe or bar, or museum or landmark.

Whether travelling alone, with a companion or in a group, there is plenty of options for accommodation both modest and luxurious. With the latter in mind, the city is also very versatile as it provides fine and indie dining, cocktails and craft beer, as well as pop up stands and hot spot tourist attractions.

You don’t need to embrace Copenhagen for too long, so it’s perfect for a mini break (and completely worth it). However, if you’re looking for a longer get away, there are also some wonderful sites located on the outskirts such as Louisiana – you could even venture to Sweden via train for a few days.

copenhagen-13

// My trip to Copenhagen was the perfect gift for me, from me //

 

Ron Arad’s Curtain Call

// When: 6 – 29 August //
// Where: Roundhouse, London //

I recently visited London, and what I miss most about living there is my gallery days. The city always has something going on and at the Roundhouse Ron Arad presents a mesmerising 360˚installation which projects a variety of artistic works.

Since writing my Avant-Garde thesis in university on space and institution, I have always been intrigued by the way in which one can view and experience art. Arad uses silicon rods to display these immersive pieces which also invites the spectator to physically walk in and amongst the works.

I begin by circling the outer area, looking for my in, but also because I am immediately struck by this incredible lighted structure. I then make my way to the curtain and walk through – the spectators are scattered, sitting and standing. I find my spot on the floor and instantly I am invested.

Curtain Call 4.JPG

Each work is thought-out and compliments the space to full effect as the projections move around you and shape each spectator’s perception of the works from their own physical position. I am encouraged to look around and move – the spectator gets out of this what they take, and I believe this can be shaped by how and why an individual views art in the first place.

With regards to the later, from the beginning Arad reminds me of Line Describing a Cone by Anthony McCall. Recent modernist approaches to art explore the way in which the convention of viewing can be challenged by encouraging spectator participation. I relate here to how McCall and Arad challenge this passive approach to viewing art and film which  changes the relationship that the spectator has with the material itself.

Curtain Call 5.JPG

Visually and physically, each artist works in the same format which works within the cylinder, but each individual piece is the artist’s own. Some you laugh at, gasp at, become hypnotised by, and even just appreciate the magnificence of the scale.

Furthermore, the variation in content really demonstrates how one artist can look at a space, engage with an idea, and then creatively transform it into their own vision.

Curtain Call 2

Going to see Curtain Calls was, for me, the perfect thing to do of an afternoon. As tickets are only available through August it’s really worth going to see.

Ron Arad offers the spectator a bridge between painting and sculpture with visually stunning work that is both intellectual and conceptual.

Curtain Call 6.JPG

 

Sigur Rós at Bristol Harbourside

// Bristol Summer Series //

Until Thursday I had not yet been to a gig at Bristol Harbourside, but it seemed rather fitting that Sigur Rós would be my reason to go. They’d always been on my to-do list, so to speak, so the moment I came across the tickets for sale I grabbed two.

In true British fashion the weather was ironically a hot topic on my mind – I had been greatly anticipating this event, so was pleasantly surprised to be escorted into the arena by a cool breeze down to the water. It was perfect. I was ready.

IMG_0048

Unannounced and huddled at the back of the stage, a sublime and pure vibration coursed through the open-air venue, and there they were. For a moment, there was a shared silence of anticipation as to their fixed position, but this swiftly passed after their modest intro when the trio separated and advanced forward to the front of the stage. They were accompanied by an explosion of light which was beautifully exhibited on rectangular frames.

 

IMG_0059

The array of lights and background installations did not reach full throttle until later in the evening – for this, I sincerely apologise to these Icelandic visionaries as this was some what distorted by our stubborn sunlight. Regardless, this did not effect the crowd’s overwhelming appreciation for something so magically executed.

The energy is transcending as they project a serene but intense atmosphere. The presence they hold is also wonderfully embodied by their unique and spellbinding sound – it is simply incredible to bare witness to something so raw and talented.

IMG_0094

With one graceful bow, the light display shut down and it was over.

Sigur Rós leaves you with a kind of freak out of body experience. We made our way out of the arena amidst a wave of calmness and understated satisfaction. Greeted by sirens and yawning clubs getting ready for the evening, I’d almost forgotten we weren’t set against the backdrop of green fields and wide open space.

// An unforgettable and must-see act //

IMG_0074.JPG