Going underground | Hanging on

“Yeees, yes – I’ll be there soon, promise.”

Kristian Bust, my photographer, already sounds half-drunk and it isn’t even noon yet.

“Are you drunk Bust? We’re working! I’ll come to you – where are you now?… Connection lost.

It’s May the first and the sun is pounding. Perfect weather for the general strike. In Denmark it’s customary to allow half a day off for the strike … It’s a strike, don’t ask permission, just do it. Leave.

But it’s not like that anymore. Actually it’s never been like that for as long as I can remember. What are we striking for? Higher wages, shorter hours, longer pensions? Got to be something worth fighting for, right? A catchy Beastie Boys line pops into my head and, merging with a parade, I start humming: “You gotta fight for your right to Paaaaaaartay.”

As I walk towards ‘Fælledparken’ – the destination of the Copenhagen May 1 parades and the nucleus of entertainment, speeches and alcohol consumption in Copenhagen over the next ten hours – I see a banner that reads “Abolish Capitalism”.

Maybe that’s it. Maybe a drastic set of reforms designed to reboot the world out of capitalism is what all this is about.

Maybe. But what does that even mean? What is capitalism exactly: how do you get rid of it and what’s the alternative? I go back to humming.

Fælledparken is enormous and Bust is nowhere to be found. I try calling him again, but there’s no connection. Did he switch it off?! Is my trusted photographer abandoning me on this sacred day of left-wing super-soaked socialising?

Hey, maybe that’s it: socialising! Could that be what it’s about? I look around. There sure are a lot of people; that’s social right? I can see the banner now: “Just be social” – doesn’t get more meaningful than that. I raise my fist, but as I turn around to announce my new slogan and infuse the confused masses with existential ambrosia I realise that I’m too late.

They’ve already heard it. “Just be social” is already the mantra of the May the first general strike. We are not socialists, or communists – there’s no new world order coming. It’s already here. What could any ‘ideology’ possibly have to offer us? We’ve already got everything we want – right? Nothing left to do but celebrate. Get hammered. Be social.

I feel nauseous all of a sudden. Must be the sun. Where is Bust? I need a familiar face. Still no connection. I lock my eyes to the ground and start plowing through the seemingly endless masses of flesh, piss and beer that fill this sunny day. I reach the exit, and as I gaze back at the masses from afar, another song pops into my head. Lou Reed’s tragic voice starts moaning: “Oh, it’s such a perfect day/I’m glad I spent it with you/Oh, such a perfect day/You just keep me hanging on/you just keep me haa-anging on.”

Real Time
Not long ago the art-initiative Edition Copenhagen invited graphic artist Erik A Frandsen to use its space and tools for a four-year period, and here is the result: an exhibition of works that range from photography and silkscreen to silver print and linoleum. Come to the opening – it’s free admission.

Strandgade 66, 1401 Cph K; Thu May 31, 17:00-19:00; free adm


Fars dag [Fathers day]

A vast array of artists have joined forces together to celebrate the male figure, which they think is in dire need of attention. They’ve set the exhibition around the – in their opinion – much overlooked ‘Fathers day’ on June 5.

Galleriet, in Classensgade 4, 2100 Cph Ø; opens Fri, ends June 5, special event on June 5: 16:00-19:00; free adm