Some interesting blogs on Helsinki and Finland 
Monday, 20 .March, 2006, 15:23 - English Entries, Helsinki, Finland, Online/Blogs

I started looking for more blogs on Helsinki and Finland on Technorati and found that, surprise surprise, most of them are written in Finish language. During the last week I found nevertheless some blogs that I enjoyed reading and that all gave me either new information or expressed views that I found interesting. Furthermore all of them are written in very good English and show interesting pictures. So here are my first cross-connections:

"Lewism - About Architecture, Design, and Life in Finland" is a very interesting blog about exactly the things that are mentioned in its title. When living in Finland you will not be able to escape the name Alvar Aalto, who was the most influencial Finish architect in the 20th century. He not only was active in Finland (for example the Finlandia Hall is one of his greatest achievements) - for example in the German city of Essen you can find the Aalto-Theater opera house. Lewism provides information not only on Aalto in a very uncomplicated and interesting way. It is easy to read and every entry provides you something new. For example look at these:

  • about Aaltos Villa Carre
  • about the Estonian art centre KUMU
  • about the Struve Geodetic Arc - this is very interesting, it also lists the finish world heritage sites (guess how many there are before you read the article) and I have to say that I was startled to find out what the Struve Geodetic Arc really is
  • about delirous Helsinki - this is my favourite one. It is written in a very pleasent way.

The Finish Gambit is written by an American student who lives in Helsinki. It is a entertaining one, that talks about everydays life in Helsinki and what is all wonderful and to wonder about the Finns and their country. Besides that there are nice pictures and the whole thing is written in a not too-serious way. Some of the most recent entries include the following:

  • "trust in Finish society" – this describes a phenomenon I also wonder about and I agree, that Finns are very special in this respect. But I also have to say that you can enter subways in Munich without passing any barrier.
  • "todays lesson" is another thing that seems to be specific here - anyhow, I could sing and dance every Sunday, when the supermarkets here are open. This is a thing that will most likely never happen in Germany and brought me on several occasions close to starving.
  • I like this for its picutres and this for its humor and truth.

From the Finish Gambit a link is set to Jukka's Blog, in which you will find besides other things also comments on political issues that going on in Finland. There are also lots of reports and pictures from Jukkas travelling.

  • recently the Finish paper mills announced to unemploy 3000 people. Jukka's comments on this in Disappearing Paper II are very well thought through.
  • I cannot explain what this one is - you have to read it, it's funny and interesting.

That should be enough reading for a day in office - enjoy!


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In Anticipation for the V for Vendetta Movie 
Sunday, 19 .March, 2006, 14:17 - English Entries, Literature, Movies, Comics

One of the few movie highlights of last year was "Sin City", which was based on Frank Millers graphic novel of the same title. It was an extraordinary visual act and director Robert Rodriguez kept the film strictly to the story of the comic books. Calling Sin City an intellectual outburst would be a little bit far fetched, but it is a much more complex and inspiring story that other comic adaptions, such as Spider Man or The Fantastic Four.

Now the Wachowski brothers and James McTeigue, the makers of the Matrix trilogy, take the next step in advertising non-mainstream comics in theater. Their movie "V for Vendetta" is based on the comic book written by Alan Moore and drawn by David Lloyd in the late 1980s.

The background, to which the story is set, is the United Kingdom which is ruled by a fascist regime, that controls everything and everybody. The only person going against the oppressors is a masked vigilante who calles himself simply "V".

It sounds like just another superhero and of course V is not a normal person, but he is neither Clark Kent nor Peter Parker. V is an intellectual anarchist, one who cites More and Crowley before destroying goverment buildings, one who has a long conversation with justice before blowing up her statue, one who knows mercy and can kill at the same time.

Lloyds drawings give insight into a hopeless and suppressed society, in which the only light seems to be the white, grinning mask of V, whose depcition goes beyond that of a hero. He becomes a mystical figure or even more: a concept – that of individual freedom and anarchy –, that took on flesh and blood (or paper and ink) to break the chains in which it was layed. V is a gathering of citations that went into action and even if you do not have the key to all his quotes, his intentions are shining bright from his smile.

In V, pain is not something that is shown in pictures of blood and dead bodys, it pours out of every page, showing the deep misery the people are in and is finally not abandoned but turned around. It becomes the memory and foundation of a new society, that has to find its way into the future on its own.

Moore took Guy Fawkes as a role model for V. Fawkes was one of the catholics who got convicted and killed on the 5th of November 1606 for his participation in the so-called gun powder plot, an attempt to assasinate the English king, who was not willing to give equal rights to catholics. Moore seemingly got inspired by Fawkes, as he was willing to take extreme measures to get his individual right and he reminds of him by making V's first major attack against the goverment to the 5th of November.

It was in the 1980s, when people like Miller and Moore steered the comic book business into direction of a darker and complex realm. Millers stories are driven by action and effects, that transport a feeling of desperation and the knowledge that the world is a cruel place and it will never change, but it is worth to go against it. What's for Miller the fist of Marv (in "Sin City") or the lance of King Leonidas (in "300") is in Moores universe a citation or a gesture, a joke, that turns into the explosion of the parliament building. His action is founded in a system of thought that does not hesitate to commit a crime, without taking itself too seriously. Moore and V are smiling inside all the misery and tragedy.

The trailers of the V movie look promising, it seems that the makers stayed true to the story and pictures of the comic book. It is over 12 years ago that I read the German version of Moores graphic novel and since then it stayed the best comic book I ever read. I am impatient to see this movie. I hope the movie shows what Moore did to comics and that we all will enjoy it.

Whilst writing this, I found a some material on V and Moore on the web that is worth looking at:


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The Cardigans in concert - Tavastia, Helsinki - Friday, 17th March 2006 
Saturday, 18 .March, 2006, 20:08 - English Entries, Music, Photographs

Every mythology, every god has a reason why it was invented. When seeing the Cardigans, one understands the legends about the Norse Goddesses. Nina Persson emanates seriousness and power from her first step on the stage and whatever she does from that moment on is right and puts the spectators in the state of pure admiration. Nina can laugh, make jokes, she can jump around and cry into the microphone, at no moment does she lose any part of her radiation. You see her and you know she's great and you do not doubt that until she is gone.


Up till the concert I only knew their album "Gran Tourismo", which I liked from the first moment. Somehow I did not believe that they would be capable of doing such a atmospheric album again, so I resisted from getting the later ones. That was clearly a mistake and they proved me wrong during the concert. They mix Rock and Pop into a sound that rushes up your blood.

And then of course the lyrics. I don't know what they give the Swedish girls to eat, but they are able to write down even darkest incidents in their lifes in clear words without exaggerating or being pretentious at any moment.

But music and words and show mean nothing when little Nina raises her hand straight up and everybody just gazes and is willing to accept any of her words as the pure and only truth. Here comes the light, the sound, the woman and the power. It may have been Peter Gabriel, whom I saw in 1992 or so, who made a similar impression to me. It's rare. But it does exist.

To see all the pictures of this concert, click here. To start the pictures as a slideshow, click here.


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Montys Loco in concert - Tavastia Club, Helsinki - Friday 17th March 2006 
Saturday, 18 .March, 2006, 19:55 - English Entries, Music

They sang before the Cardigans went on stage. Montys Loco is a Swedish duo of Anja Bigrell and Marie Eklund. Whilst Anja sings with a gentle voice, that often gets a harsh and raw undertone, Marie accompanies her on the acoustig guitar that goes along perfectly with the singing.

They maybe sang five songs and throught that time I had the impression that the whole club fell into silence and left only room for that voice and the guitar, that guided the audience carfuelly and savely through the winters night. There were softer songs and wilder ones, but at no point any of the two girls became too loud. They did not need to move, their music caught the room in a warm trance and all of us were listening and bound to them.

The lyrics are nothing for easy listening - they are serious and most of them have a sad notion. Anja sings them with a clear voice and makes them easy to understand.

I got their CD "Man Overboard" which is beautiful to listen to and shows more facets of the band. Songs like "Give me More" and "Image" give an impression of how they are live. On the teaser "Wasteland" there is the song "leather", which has a lot of power. Samples of the songs can be heared by clicking on their names.

The true magic of Montys Loco is only apparent when they are on stage. Don't miss to see them.


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Photographs online 
Thursday, 16 .March, 2006, 16:30 - English Entries, Travel, Photographs, Friends, Family

While still deep in the jet lag and unable to do anything challenging, I stumbled over flickr and got enthusiastic about it. That is finally the link that forced me to sort all my pictures and upload them there. It is dead-simple to use and quite effective.

So below are links to some of the collections (so-called "sets") that I uploaded so far to there. Just click on the highlighted names and you will see all the pictures. Click on the pictures below and a slideshow will start.

You can find a complete list of all my sets here.

When the doctor comes to town ...
During August 2005, Johannes and I took trips to Tallinn, Turku and Porvoo.


Theresas Trips to European Capitals
Since 2004, Theresa and I visit at least one European Capital per year. The visits so far were:


Finish Impressions

Some more trips


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