Norway – Life is best when it’s a bit strange…

I really like Norway. I’ve only actually visited once but I’ve been watching Norwegian films for years. My first real taste of Norwegian oddity was in 2001 with ‘Cool And Crazy’ (Heftig Og Begeistret), a documentary film about a male voice choir from Berlevåg in Norway’s far North. I remember the film opening with a whiteout on-screen – a raging blizzard. The cinema filled with the sound of the wind and I pulled my coat around me to keep out the imaginary cold. Then, above the gale, we heard the voices – the beautiful, haunting voices of the men of Berlevåg – as they stood out in the storm and sang! The film followed various members of the choir as they went about their lives, worked, looked for love. It was wonderfully gentle and intimate.

A few years later I saw ‘Kitchen Stories’ (Salmer far kjøkkenet) the really quirky wee story of a team of Swedish observers sent to study the kitchen routines of Norwegian bachelors…

Kitchen Stories (Salmer fra kjøkkenet)
Kitchen Stories (Salmer fra kjøkkenet)

More recently, of course, there was the epic Trollhunter (Trolljegeren)! Teo and me went to see this at the Edinburgh Film Festival  🙂

So, I’m well used to seeing slightly strange stuff coming out of Norway. Today I saw this:

Slow TV! Norway’s NRK2 has been broadcasting long events in real-time, often live – and receiving super high ratings. Programmes include a 7 hour train journey on the Bergen Line (Bergensbanen), a 5.5 day ferry voyage along the Norwegian coast and an 12 hour knitting show where they aimed to produce a jumper “from sheep’s back to human’s back” and beat a world record.

These programmes are getting millions of viewers – and Norway’s population is only 5 million! I really like Norway.


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