Did you know that the average Dane spends three percent of their life watching children unwrap presents? And a further one percent looking for the end of the sellotape Â– itÂ’s like the rolls these days have a secret formula that renders it invisible so you have to buy the dispenser, which ironically has a jagged steel blade, exactly what youÂ’re looking for in your frustration to end it all.
Sellotape is actually a brand that – like Hoover, Phillips screwdrivers, and rather bizarrely butterscotch and heroin (Bayer AG was the trademark owner) Â– has become genericised in Britain but not many other places. ItÂ’s called scotch tape in America, presumably because trying to find the end leads to you reaching for the whisky.
While most people regard Xmas as a time to make merry with the family, I see it as a celebration that I wonÂ’t have to locate, buy, unravel or unpeel another roll of sellotape until somebody with an imagination bypass suggests having a Secret Santa at the next Christmas party or that infernal dice game, which I have learnt to cheat at, just so I can destroy all the presents without unwrapping them.
But while the julefrokost is crap, New YearÂ’s Eve in Denmark is up there with the best (see this week’s InOut section), thereÂ’s an extraordinary breadth of events to choose from should you not end up celebrating it at someoneÂ’s home. Just remember that most of the pubs Â– the preferred location of 90 percent in the UK Â– are shut, so itÂ’s imperative you give it some thought before 9pm on December 31.
By that time, the Danes have been at it for three hours, hurrahing at the queenÂ’s speech and guffawing at Â‘Dinner for OneÂ’, a horrendously unfunny one-off comedy from 1963 about a drunk butler that is unknown in Britain but loved in Denmark and Germany, where it was actually filmed and called Â‘Der 90. GeburtstagÂ’, which sounds more like the name of a POW camp. In fact, according to the Guinness Book of Records, itÂ’s the most frequently repeated TV programme ever Â– with a cult following in many other countries including Sweden, Finland, Estonia and Austria. Which, roughly translated, means the average person there has spent one percent of their life watching it.