Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I am a non-commercial December blogging genius (no, I'm not, but I now have two December posts, which is cool)



My friend Rebecca Clamp, of whom I've written before, is releasing a song 'Paper Boats' from her album 'Nocturnal Leap' as a special downloadable Christmas single on i-tunes. Rebecca describes the song and releasing it thus: "The song was written for my friend's unborn baby (who is now three!) and is about protecting the little things in life and being optimistic for the future despite life's setbacks. In the spirit of the season, the song and the times that we live in, I promise to personally donate any money I make from sales of this single to Greenpeace, Finland.

I would like to add that she is one of the nicest people you're ever likely to meet, and I feel privileged to be her friend. Also, she and huzz (behind the camera) have managed to pick a day for the shooting when wintery Helsinki looks less suicidal-thought-inducingly hideous than is often the case. I can't quite place the location, though - is it somewhere in Viikki, or something? Guys?

18 comments:

NMJ said...

beautiful rebecca, beautiful voice, beautiful helsinki x

all ruined by nwxhumbj, what an ugly verification!

lavenderblue said...

Oh THERE you are !
Anna Mr- before you disappear into the dark -
A Very Happy Everything to You xxx

and NMJ - can't comment on your site, not doing google or blogger - is this a permanent feature - that would be sad........

Reading the Signs said...

At last - the doors of your bloghouse are open again. You might want to think twice about having done that, Anna, because I might just come and live here. Especially since Son of Signs has just come back from your hometown (via Tampere) and said how lovely it is. And also, he brought back a paper bag full of these salty liquorice sweets that he finds completely disgusting and I adore because they remind me of the liquorice cats I used to eat as a child in Germany. Trouble is, now I have had that taste again I don't know if I can or want to live without it.

Now it's good you showed this video of your friend, for apart from the lovely song I am able to see with my own eyes that what Son has told me is the truth: people do not all live in igloos, there isn't a penguin in sight and you are not now in perpetual darkness. You have misled me, Ms Mr. Ok, perhaps you didn't actually say that you lived in an igloo but you have but hints and gestures led me to believe this. Yes, even with the photos of fitted kitchens, rooftops over the town, poets in parks etc. (and anyway there is no reason why an igloo shouldn't have a fitted kitchen). So now I'm a bit kind of, you know, having to readjust my vision of you and your environment. Apparently it's all really arty and cool (he was staying in the trendy part) and everyone eats these sweets and spiced gingerbread biscuits. And he said the weather was lovely and it's not even that cold!

I am sorry, but I still want to think of you in an igloo surrounded by penguins. Perhaps you can consider moving north?

Anna MR said...

Ah, Cyberfriend, Helsinki does look quite lovely in that video. Rebecca of course both looks and sounds lovely, and that doesn't surprise me in the least, but I was quite startled to see how unmuddy the city is. There have been absolutely filthy days aplenty lately, although it has finally frozen again in the last forty-eight hours or so. Keep your fingers crossed, we may be getting a winter after all...

(I need to complain to blogger. They are messing many things up badly these days, and sending such ugly word vers to my house is just adding insult to injury. Enough is enough. Why can't they, incidentally, use phrases of poetry or something? That'd be quite lovely, don't you think? Man, I should be designing these things. Many things would just be so much better.)

Anna MR loses the plot entirely in her quest for world domination

Anna MR said...

Hei LavenderBlue, how nice to see you, girl. May I just say I have been here all the time, not saying much, maybe, I'll grant you that, but I've never been away. A Very Happy Everything to You too, and what a very lovely greeting that is.

I am, incidentally, with you in that blogger is making it needlessly difficult for people to comment (and they've made impossible one of my favourite little features, namely adding little signature presents for people, and this I'm not forgiving them in a hurry). But, LavenderB, but. Maybe you should just bite the bullet and create a blogger account - you don't have to have a blog, you know, just a profile page. That'll open all doors (well, a fair few) and make you (even more) unstoppable. Just a thought. Anyway, as long as they allow anonymous commenting, I shall have that possibility going here. And I am not going to disappear into the dark, no way - blending in, maybe, but not disappearing. So feel most welcome to nip in whenever you should feel that way inclined, Lavender, you're a good sort and no mistake.

Anna MR said...

Well hei and hi, Signs of Salmiakki, for that's what those adorable salty sweets are known as - and oh, are they ever good. I am a true born-and-bred igloo Finn (we'll get back to the igloo issue) and as such consider them a staple part of the diet, anyone's diet, really, but I also remember the joy of bringing them back into Britain for unsuspecting natives to taste, ha. You'd get some interesting facial responses, because truly, they are a bit of an acquired taste. My very own igloo children (being, poor things, only half-genetically igloo Finns) cannot abide them, poor souls, and leave the black sweets uneaten in every bag of goodies. Hurrah. You know, of course, who munches on them, after hours, compulsively, in front of her igloo Mac. Many a blog post and comment, too, both here and elsewhere (very likely over at the fine house of Signs, too) have been written under the influence of salmiakki. We of course need to device a method of getting a permanent supply of these things for you, because they are addictive and I'd hate to think of you writhing in salmiakki withdrawal-cravings. (They go really well with ciggies, too. Just saying.) (No, don't smoke them, for love's sake. Just eat whilst having a fag, okay?)

I am as pleased as anything that the Son of Signs has enjoyed Hki (which part is the trendy part, I wonder? Eira? Punavuori?) and yes, okay, it's not perpetual darkness, as we do have daylight hours from (checks from the newspaper) 9:16AM to 3:12PM, close to six hours, so hey, I am guilty as charged of artistic licence. You may want to try and forgive me, though, mostly because I am nice (you made me so, remember?) but also because the sun doesn't shoot high up in the sky, preferring rather to droop very low, often entirely obscured by cloud cover. So it is really quite dark, Signs, and I'd recommend your charming son, for what else could he be, come back in June when he'd find the trendy party people not bothering to go to bed at all. You may, of course, decide to accompany him, in which case we can sit in the perpetual sun and eat salmiakki. (Incidentally, a very interesting shot is created by crushing salmiakki sweets (well, you know, sweets isn't really the word but anyway) to a powder and mixing it with Koskenkorva, Finland's answer to vodka. Just, you know, saying.)

Where was I? Somewhere trying to recover my bloggers' integrity about igloos etc. Listen, the penguins and the igloos, I think the Mohammed and mountain concept applies - if I wait long enough, they'll come to me (although the penguins do have a fair trundle, it has to be said, poor wee things, waddling on their flipper legs - but it's fine, I've time).

Anyway, it's been very lovely seeing you, Salmiakki Signs, and you're most welcome to come and live here. (My grandparents lived not far from Tampere. It is known as Finland's Manchester. This final snippet of trivia comes to you to smokescreen the igloo-revelation disaster.) Be seeing you, number six...

Reading the Signs said...

Yes, yes, I want to sit outside a trendy igloo with penguins in Helsinki, drinking salmiakki Koskenkorva. I will creatively visualise this as one of the wonderful things that life has in store for me.

SOS can't remember the name of where he was staying, but you get the 3T tram to it and the road was called Museokatu. He was staying with a friend of his who is studying at the Sibelius Academy. I'm amazed he took in anything at all as he'd spent a night rolling around on the floor trying to sleep on the ferry over from Sweden but kept being woken up by people who'd probably had too much Koskenkorva.

Bottoms up, my dear!

(and I'll have some mdyrklf too)

Anna MR said...

Salmiakkikossu outside a trendy igloo, with penguins, in the perpetual light of the white nights it shall be for you, sweet Signs. I can just see that this is most certainly one of the wonderful things life has in store for you, yes - it may, in fact, be something you're totally destined to do. It will complete some thread in the cosmic tapestry that is life in the universe, I can see that most clearly.

Ha, tram 3T (and it's sister which goes the other way, 3B) are a real Helsinki feature, because you get those to get almost anywhere (sadly, my tenth-floor igloo falls outside their route). They do a lovely figure-of-eight route covering most of the central downtown area, taking you both to the very wealthy and the relatively rough and ready neighbourhoods, as well as the trendy ones. But hei, Museokatu I know very well. It is in Töölö, Etu-Töölö in fact, not far from where I grew up (and indeed, where I was born) and even closer to where I had a home for nearly a decade between Wales and the tropics. In fact, if you navigate yourself to my sadly-neglected photo bloggy (there is a link in my right hand margin, but that's all I'm saying, okay Signs? I know you're both a clever girl and a lady fond of a challenge, so I won't spoil it by giving specific details), you will find Museokatu as one of my labels there. They had electricity substations decorated with art in the late summer/autumn of 2006 and I have taken a wee portrait of each one.

Bottoms up indeed, Signsikins of salmari-igloo fate - or as you can say if you're slick in the tongue (being Finnish helps), hölökynkölökyn...

NMJ said...

hey hon, can i reply to lovely lav blue - sorry you can't comment, lav, just that now i am 'out', i'd like to know who my commenters are (well, at least, have some sense of them), since they know who i am, you can join google/blog just for the sake of commenting, no? x

Anna MR said...

Hei Cyberfriend, no need to ask, feel free to speak to anyone and everyone here, my dear. And Lav - she's right, you know, as am I. Just a profile page would do, as I said upthread...and for both of you, but particularly for Ms Salmiakki Signs, something with tram 3T and the corner of Museokatu at 0:20, here - with apologies for the super-inelegant link, not my fault, blame blogger (I do, all the time).

Reading the Signs said...

I love that video - makes me feel located, that all I need is to be munching on a bag full of salmiakki and swigging from a bottle of Koskenkorva to feel myself there on the tram. SOS has been looking at it with me and pointing to a couple of places he went to (the shopping centre was one). He thinks it is very amusing, the idea of a tram video. But me - I am a poet and a sophisticate and understand quite well that this is a visual representation of the metaphysical bathos of modern life. Hic! I think I have imagined a little too well and must step off before I become completely plastered.

(in which case I will be saying things like djuwcxrr)

Anna MR said...

Ha. Glad you enjoyed it Ms Salmari, and if SOS had trouble digesting that video, I really need to inflict upon him the Tango Tram. The song in question is the definitive Finnish tango, "Satumaa" ("Neverland", I suppose - the land of fairy tales, where dreams come true). Every Finn can sing the song. Hic indeed, sweet Signs. Learn this, sister.

Reading the Signs said...

Well Anna, SOS says that this happened all the time when he travelled on Finnish transport and he can't get the song out of his head. I think he is being sarcastic - what is wrong with these boys?

Obviously I'm entering into the spirit (hic!) and intend to learn the words by heart - even though it's all Dutch to me, pardon the expression. Has a Russian feel to it, though. The musicians looked suitably sombre.

Anna MR said...

Sweet Signs of Salmiakki, you go ahead and learn it, that's the spirit (hic, yes). And make sure the rest of the Signs household do, too. I am obviously available for assistance. (Incidentally, extremely funny-peculiar you should say that thing about "all Dutch", by the way - I was not going to mention this, because I don't wish to sound like I'm name-dropping, you know, but the lead singer in the Tango Tram band there was the young male lead in a show I was in - and he's actually Dutch. No, really.)

So - where were we? Ah yes - altogether now...
Aavan meren tuolla puolen jossakin on maa,
missä onnen kaukorantaan laine liplattaa...

(The lyrics are totally packed with passion, melancholy, longing, sentimentality and pathos - if you need the rest of them, plus translation, you need but ask, but you may also want to do the "sounds like" method. And please don't allow the sombre looks fool you, we are a hotly emotional bunch. Anyway, the sombre looks are pure Kaurismäki. Niin.)

Reading the Signs said...

Dear Anna, what am I supposed to do? Here I am with a carnation between my teeth, looking just like Jack Lemmon in Some Like it Hot, tangoing from one end of the house to another (it is tiny and you can't take two steps anywhere without bumping into something) while Mr. S is watching the replay of today's Arsenal victory against Chelsea, SOS is about some mysterious business and I am just trying to concentrate on my steps and on looking hotly and broodingly emotional: but what's this? I have to go and look up Kaurismäki and Niin - which really puts me off my stride, I can tell you. Hic. Damn Wikipedia, anyway. I'm off again, and you know the reason why. Mwah!
Now where were we?
Aavan meren tuolla puolen jossakin on maa,
missä onnen kaukorantaan laine liplattaa
- which, translated into English, means:
Give me the salty sweets my love, before I pine away with longing, how my heart beats when I think of the igloo where you and I made eternal vows and now you won't even give me a piece of liquorice, but oh well, we can still sing the songs of yesteryear or something like that. I don't like to be too literal.

lwldp - the sound a drunk person makes when on a tram sucking salmiakki

trousers said...

I shall check these links out in due course: I really CAN'T at the moment, because I'm listening to The Fall. But if you're posting less this month, then I think it will do for me to spread my visits out over the space of the month and take just a little at a time, so as not to experience withdrawal symptoms.

Hope that's ok :)

Word ver = wobvidoq (which sounds like some sort of East European marsupial to me)

Anna MR said...

Signs, sweet salmiakki-sucking friend, hello and apologies for the disgraceful lateness of this reply. I know you've been tangoed, there can be no question of that, given your superb translations and wondrous descriptions of the general carry-on at the House of Signs (I have just one word to all that, okay, Salmiakki? The word, the Word of Words, the only appropriate response to your dancey descriptions, is - youtube. We need to see the dance and the Jack Lemmon and the carnation. Do it, Signs, do it for us).

Well Kaurismäki. Signs, I have a feeling we've been over Kaurismäki and the Zen of Niin before (in the summer, at The Stables, unless I'm badly mistaken, and I'm not) - but in case you've forgotten and just to prove my point, please admire the sombre looks here. Art imitates reality - and once we have perceived ourselves as portrayed through the filter of art, reality starts to imitate art.

Or something. Jesus. I am going to continue on the Kaurismäkiän theme and apply his quote (on his films) on my writing: "I was a lousy [film] critic," he confesses, "because I only had two opinions: 'masterpiece' or 'shit'. I invented the term 'a masterpiece of shit'. But that only applies to my films."

I bet you're now hoping I'd have stayed in hibernation for a mite longer, Signs. No such luck. I'm back. Mwah.

Anna MR said...

housut, you are allowed to follow my links in your own sweet time. Goodness me, do I come across that school-marmy? No, come to think of it, it's not okay. Write "I shall follow Anna MR's links immediately upon finding them" 750 times on your blog. (By the way, I'm expecting you to follow the links I leave for Signs as well, okay? Or else.)

I am posting a bit sparsely, this is true, housut, but not as sparsely as I thought would be the case - and the improvement to December of last year is phenomenal, even if I say so myself. Don't you think? And that thing about withdrawal symptoms, that was really sweet. Thank you, housut, now go and inhale that photo of Dogot I posted.