Lauri Eriksson - Suomi Pictures 
Wednesday, 05 .April, 2006, 14:17 - English Entries, Finland, Photographs

Don't expect to see too many sunsets over beautiful lakes when you open Lauri Erikssons "Suomi Pictures". Suomi is the finish word for Finland and this illustrated book collects all kinds of different impressions from the Nordic country.

A young guy standing at the urinal, a snow-covered remote building in the forest which is labeled as a "disco", a midsummer nights fire at the island of Seurasaari and a red plastic chair in front of a wooden house – Eriksson captures the slience and loneliness of the frozen lakes, apartment houses and cold city streets. She finds a way to make them look attractive and depressing at the same time.

She photographed many young Finish people who just look into the camera - some of them shy, some relaxed, others curious. Some are swimming in a lake or can been seen drunken at a party or laying naked at the floor of a small flat. The moments she caught seem uncomplicated and to allow the models to be themselves, without any posing.

It is all just now, it is nothing special and shows a lot more about Finland than any book that collects images of mooses, wooden saunas and lakes.

A look on Lauri Erikssons homepage gives a first impression about her works. It can be reached by clicking here.

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on a pale afternoon 
Saturday, 01 .April, 2006, 18:40 - English Entries, Helsinki, Photographs

three colors against a grey day Yesterday my new camera, a Canon PowerShot S2 IS finally arrived. German and Finish postal services seem not to work very well together, it took over 8 days until the parcel arrived here.

During the last two days I was out with a friend, who is on a visit in Helsinki and as far as I can judge it, I did not return completly sober to my home after these evenings. This caused that on my first walk with the new camera the day as well as I were hang over. I like grey days, they are so calm and without demand. The sky was resting heavily on the city and I just walked again along Töölönlahti, towards the main station.

Behind Finlandia Hall the way was bloked with water from the meldet ice and snow. My shoes and trousers became soaking wet as I decided that I was too tired to deviate from the route. The walk ended in the main station (Rautatienasema), where I took a bus back.


dirty mirror flood
lights off Helsinki main station light

Click here for a slideshow of all pictures of this little walk. And click here for the song, of which the title of this entry is taken from.


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Some music for the audience 
Wednesday, 29 .March, 2006, 23:02 - English Entries, Music

These days I am listening to a lot of music and digged out some (meanwhile already "older") albums, which never became really famous, which is regrettable. I dare to comment on three of them, three very different ones, so maybe there is something for every taste.

Amazon: Touch and Go - I find you very attractiveMost likely you remember the song "Would you ...", that was a big hit some years ago and is played nowadays every now and then on radio. Rhythmic and catchy – trumpet and drums make the sound whilst a womans voice pretends several times "I noticed you around - I find you very attractive" before she asks "Would you go to bed with me?" The song is special foremost due the trumpet and I think you need to have a lot of valium in your system to not move at least one food to this music.

What can one expect from the album of a band, that played such a summer hit? Chances are high that such a CD might turn out to be a disappointing investment. I can only recommend the album "I find you very attractive" from "Touch and Go". The music - often dominated by trumpets or saxophone - is fresh and uses latino-style in a way that even I can stand them. In most of the songs, the lyrics are cheeky and easy, just the right thing to fade out from a working day.

The second half the album gets into a slower mood. Of these songs "Life's a beach" and the alterntive version of "Straight to number one" are the most beautiful ones, long stretched and completly relaxed.

I am for sure no friend of latino music, but this album always works as an easy-listening introduction to the hopefully upcoming summer.

Amazon: Transvision Vamp: Pop Art Transvision Vamps "Pop Art" flies in like a spaceship into a night of dark fate. An electronic voice tells us all the development the flower power generation has gone through: "From Easy Rider to Star Wars / From Che Guevara to Laurie Anderson / From Light Shows to Videos / From LSD to MTV / ...". Seconds after it is all punk-gone-pop: guitars, drums and the in no way innocent voice of a girl, singing about "trash city", a location one immediately starts to love. Try the next song - it is not any better. "I don't want your money honey - I want your love". How could I ever forget that even in the late 80s life was sometimes plain simple and easy to enjoy.

You don't need to see Wendy James, her voice and style is enough to just fall for her. It's all wild, loud, nasty and of course sexy, why else would you listen to it? There are also slow and atmospheric songs, such as "Sister Moon" and "Hanging out with Halo Jones", in which Wendy tries to stay nice, but she does not really manage.

Truth is, she is best in songs like "Psychosonic Cindy" and "Tell that girl to shut up", in which lyrics and sound are perfectly combined to a driving force that makes you greatful for the repeat function on your CD player.

Transvision Vamp did two more albums, of which I only know "Velveteen", which is also very good, but does not reach the raging heights of "Pop Art".

Amazon: Joan Osborne - Relish And finally Joan Osborne, coming obviously from the folk-rock tradition, with a voice that goes in an instant from crystal clear to rough undertones. Her album "Relish" (1995) is a milestone, but unfortunately also she was not able to deliver anything similar anymore in her whole carrer. Relish includes her song "One of us" that was famous in 1995, a slow, tragic tune asking questions about God. It is a good song, but after listening to the record again and again it becomes the weakest of the compilation.

Osborne is manifold, she interprets Dylans "Man in a long black coat" in a version that sends shivers down my back and few songs later on "Spider Web" she goes all rhythm and grooves about Ray Charles, who got his eyesight back and nowadays stays in bed with MTV. Her voice and the music work perfectly together, none tries to dominate the scene and they make unique works out of the softer tunes, such as "Let's just get naked" and "Crazy Baby" as well as the rolling rock songs, like "ladder" and "right hand man".

"Relish" could have been the beginning of a great career for Joan Osborne, who also wrote most of the songs on her own. Her later album "Righteous Love" is in no way comparable to "Relish", it seems that she changed everything that worked so well on her debut.


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Stanislaw Lem died today 
Tuesday, 28 .March, 2006, 15:33 - English Entries, Literature, Movies

I just read in a German news service, that the Polish author Stanislaw Lem died today.

Lem wrote books of which most are accounted as Science Fiction novels, many of them comedies. But saying Science Fiction makes pictures of Star Wars and Battelstar Galactica come to your mind - that is definitly not Lems realm. For him Science Fiction was a medium to transport his own thoughts about mankind, society, science and technology. Many of his books are funny, but always intelligent and full of irony about humans. Besides novels he also wrote non-fictional books, of which are at least some very easy to read and interesting.

He maybe is best known for his novel "Solaris", which made it twice into movies, once filmed by a Russian (Andrei Tarkovsky) and once by an American (Steven Soderbergh) director. Both films are good and worth seeing, but I say the Russion version is an exceptional piece of art.

"Golem XIV" (it is a shame that this book is out of print in English language, I only found it available in German) was the most fascinating book I read from him and is since then one of my all-time favourites. It is the story of an artificial intelligence that gives lectures to humans. He deconstructs mankind and all its weaknesses in a friendly way. This book is full of deep, new thoughts, Lems intellect is dripping from every page and it is an adventure to read it.

Stanislaw Lem was one of the few authors who was not afraid to write about complex issues and he always did it in an entertaining and readable way. I can only recommend to read his books and to let his thoughts impress you.

P.S. Finish subTV shows today (Wednesday, 29th March 2006) at 20.00 Soderberghs Solaris movie with George Clooney.


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A walk around the block 
Saturday, 25 .March, 2006, 18:22 - English Entries, Helsinki, Finland, Photographs

I walked around in the local area for about two and a half hours. We had some fresh snow during the last days and now the sun was shining warm and the sea, that sourrounds Helsinki from three sides, was still frozen. I had no real aim in my mind when I started. So I first walked by the Sibelius monument, which is a five minutes walk from my home. Lots of tourists were there and I took some of the three million pictures that were taken there today.

Sibelius Monument - Helsinki, Finland  (3) Sibelius Monument from below - Helsinki, Finland  (4)
Sibelius Monument from below - Helsinki, Finland (1) Sibelius Monument from below - Helsinki, Finland  (3)

Further to the Western bay, where saw the blue pylons that hold the electrictiy wires which run between Lautasaari and Seurasaari. During the summer I often sat in the Meeritalli bar and watched the sun going slowly down during the very late hours of the day. The pylons are beautiful during that time, but also now, surrounded by ice and snow, they look tall and mighty, but at the same time - thanks to their color - light and graceful. I went to one of them and the sunlight was just right to make some picutres of it.

The blue Pylon - Helsinki, Finland (2) The blue Pylon - Helsinki, Finland (3) The blue Pylon - Helsinki, Finland (4) The blue Pylon - Helsinki, Finland (5)

Sometime later I came to Töölönlahti, one of the most beautiful bays in the whole city. Finlandia Hall is built next to it. Also this building has it's mystery and ambiguity. The closer I get to it, the more normal it looks, but the further I get away from it, the more it seems big, like a monument that attracts all eyes only to it.

Finlandia Hall, Helsinki, Finland (2) Finlandia Hall, Helsinki, Finland (4)
Finlandia Hall, Helsinki, Finland (1) Finlandia Hall, Helsinki, Finland (7)

The frozen bay was full of people, having one of the last winter afternoons out, absorbing the sun deep into their skins. It is becoming spring. On days like this, one might even regret this fact.

Töölön Lahti, Helsinki, Finland (1) Töölön Lahti, Helsinki, Finland (3)
Töölön Lahti, Helsinki, Finland (4) Töölön Lahti, Helsinki, Finland (5)

See more pictures of that little trip here. You can also watch them as a slideshow by clicking here.

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