If there’s one thing that will make me stop reading something, it’s the use of the Danish word for cosy and how it doesn’t just mean cosy, but so much more. It’s right up there with writing an intro about how beautiful autumn is – nothing will make me want to leave the page quicker.
Clichés vary from country to country, of course. My favourite cliché is the typical Brit in Denmark and how they compare themselves to expats in other countries and think they’re one in a million. In Spain, the clichéd Brit has permanent sunburn and eats jumbo breakfasts at cafés named after a villain (Ronnie Knight), an English football player (Gary Lineker) or both (El Tel); in Africa, they chastise local waiters at the golf club under the guise the Empire is in full swing; and in Copenhagen they tell you in great earnestness they “didn’t move here to …” before spending yet another weekend supping on organic salads and caffè lattes in Kødbyen.
It comes across as a little fake, like they’re more interested in finding happiness in the life they’re portraying on social media for the folks back home than the one they’re actually living.
Falstaff was a fake, or at least the one in The Merry Wives of Windsor, which became the inspiration for Verdi’s opera of the same name, because while his heart is the central character, Shakespeare’s heart wasn’t really in it.
Elizabeth I apparently enjoyed the antics of the loveable rogue in Henry IV parts I and II and told the Bard to write a play in which he falls in love. The result is the Shakespearean equivalent of Amour.
Elsewhere, with Children’s Half Term ending this Sunday, and the clocks turning back on the morning of Sunday October 27, there’s the distinct feeling that everything is moving inside for the duration.
While there’s still plenty to look forward to over the next month – including The Woman in Black (Oct 23-Nov 23), Fransk Affære (Oct 31-Nov 3), CPH:Dox (Nov 7-17), the Irish Festival (Nov 7-10) and the Book Forum (Nov 8-10) – the shutdown that is Washington, sorry winter, is heading our way.
Granted, it’s a little clichéd to moan, but seriously, you know what you can do with your lovely leaves.