A more professional sort of trip to Copenhagen.
COPENHAGEN, Denmark- I’m back. I believe it’s my third time here … but I’m not sure about that. What I am sure about is that I’m happy to be here in Copenhagen.
The people of Copenhagen like to talk about how it’s the best designed city in the world. There are many urbanist who proclaim that all cities should be like Copenhagen. I don’t know about all that but I do know that I like being here.
But I need to cool my enthusiasm a little, as I’m not here for fun; I’m here for work. I’m giving a talk at the parliament building and in the lead up to that I need to finish an article for Forbes and meet up with Anne to work on our documentary. I also need to prepare my talk too, I guess.
I prepared my talk. I wrote it on a napkin while eating Thai food.
I met Anne on Wednesday night. It was sort of strange in that meeting in person for the first time wasn’t very strange — there were no surprises: she was what I thought, as if we’ve always known each other. We flowed together like rivers at a confluence … or two humans comfortable with each other. We had been talking for years about doing a film and recently began revving up the project. There’s a producer on board, a production company, all that, and we ordered beers and immediately began outlining the project.
We then went for a walk around the city center, found a bar that was spewing out drunken 18 year olds and thought it would be funny to go inside. We made friends with some dude who was there on a class trip that his university arranged. He told us they spent the day looking at statues and the night partying. The quintessential Europe experience.
The kids all danced the same and seemed a part of the fabric of their environment. They all knew the songs and knew what to do. I wondered if I’ve ever looked like this? Have I ever been part of a group? Have I’ve ever known the dance moves, been able to sing the words of the songs? It was difficult to remember a time when I wasn’t the entity on the outskirts with the camera, looking inside and asking about what’s going on in there.
Anne and I were roughly twice the age of everyone in there: old, foreign, outsiders — the position that both of us seem most comfortable in.
I went around talking to people and filming the scene. The kids responded well to the camera. I won’t ever do anything with the footage, but filming is a mode of interaction that’s fun for me. Fundamentally, the camera is an interactive device, it is a tool to more deeply engage the people and world around you. The camera is also a reason for being — this dude is standing here asking me these questions because he’s filming something. It makes sense. The fly on the wall photographer is a creep.
I don’t believe I took a single photo of Copenhagen. It rained the entire time that I was there. I sat inside cafes and worked — not quite how you envision a free trip to Europe.
My talk went alright. Around seventy or so people were in attendance. I talked about China’s overseas activities and acquisitions. Silk Road stuff.
Previous post: I Publish In A Harvard University Journal