good morning ~
(click the image above and listen)
today's track features the grand piano next to a coffee bar I've been playing every day since I arrived in Denmark (which I've unceremoniously lost access to on my last day in town, but that's another story).
By the time you read this I'll be on my way back to the states, hard to believe.
The timing doesn't work out for me, but if you're anywhere near New York City on Friday you should absolutely go to the Nico Hedley release show at Union Pool (and check out his record if you haven't already!).
I'd also like to mention this cool and huge benefit compilation put together by Gardenhead Records and benefitting the Sunrise Movement. I have a demo of a new track on there that is kind of in this adult contemporary style, a bold new direction.
When somebody asked me how my trip to Copenhagen was the first thing I said to them was that I had just had a profound experience of breakfast. That was the phrase I used, and I was surprised to hear myself saying it. I did many exciting and wonderful things while visiting the capital of Denmark and I did not think that my simple morning meal of a soft-boiled egg, a small cup of yogurt and granola, and weak but tasty coffee was the most notable thing.
But the food was actually delicious and almost scarily freshly prepared - the egg nestled in its little egg cup was still hot to the touch and the granola was generously warm. I could smell a gentle citrus coming off of it - delightful. It was nourishing and uncomplicated but considered and intentional, elegant really. I don't think it's too much to say that I felt held by the wobbly plate - simple and thorough comforts are sometimes hard to come by in a foreign country, and I had walked and biked something like fifteen miles the previous day, please feed me.
So yes, the substance of the breakfast was really remarkable - kindness served, fifty kroner. But the profound part was simply being among other people.
This particular breakfast place is unusual - it's inside a looming, austere brick building with some very modestly-sized windows, a reasonable clock, and two peaked roofs. When I rode by it the night before I assumed all the people lined up outside were waiting for some kind of evening church service, and then I parked my bike next to it when I thought it might be some kind of cool movie theater. When I got closer I saw that there were rows and rows of long picnic tables, and that the inside had been painted a wild assortment of mismatched pastels, and that there was what appeared to be really competitive table tennis happening right in the foyer. It seemed to be some kind of inscrutable Danish situation and, in a tourist's unbelonging panic, I hopped back on my bike.
Later, back on the hotel wifi, I read that this place called itself a folkehuset ("a house of commons," loosely) and their whole thing was serving one affordable, communal dish a night to everyone who comes, two dishes on Friday and Saturday. People show up, they all eat the same food, and they sit at these sprawling, vividly painted tables, all smushed in together, talking and eating with whoever happens to sit at the bench across from them. They also sometimes use the former church as an event space - they have dance parties and plant markets and the inscrutable thing I saw from the sidewalk was simply ping pong night, I certainly could have joined.
So the next morning, checked out and weighted down by my giant purple backpack full of shit I rode back over there before my bus. And I took some pics of the vaulted, pastel interiors but I tried to be cool about it, I tried to seem like I fit in there as much as one of the maybe 75 people congregated. And I ordered my little breakfast and I settled on a bench in-between two freelancers tip tapping away at their laptops, hunched at a table that sat right where the pulpit probably used to be. And I looked out, savoring my weak little mismatched mug of coffee. It was then, before I even took a bite of running yolk, that I felt the profound: here were people gathered, unbothered, pleasantly talking to their colleagues or their friends. There was a tiny infant child napping laid out on the table below me, parents drinking coffee above. There were meetings, there were people reading or working alone, there were pleasantries and hugs exchanged. There was a slice of humanity present there, folding it on itself, murmuring considerately at a level just above that which you'd hear at a library with laughter occasionally breaking through. And I was among them for a time, a portly little lizard flat on a hot rock.
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It was an honest-to-goodness rave, thrown in a hangar in the shadow of an unknowably large series of silos, 10 minutes walking down a velvet night street totally unilluminated. Plus, my bike's front light was broken, darkness total. But we could hear the kicks thumping in the distance and as we approached we could see colored light spilling under the front door and, just beyond the building, the top 3rd of turbines catching wind in the mist. Me and two American strangers I had met that night were out on the town - our mutual friend happened to see that we all over here when she checked her Find My Friends and then she put us in touch, demanding photo evidence of our hanging out. And so there was the immediate folding-in of people abroad - we were immediately in it together - and, shortly thereafter, there was the accidental purchase of an entire bottle of natural wine from a confused dance club bartender. We took it to the back yard, three plastic cups, only 11pm and someone already passed out in a hammock. Then we danced, the music loud and good - I could feel the sound system's vibrations resonating in my heels, in my chest, in different parts of my spine. We were going for it, we sent our friend her selfie. After a time my companions boogied on out of there and after another hour or two after that I was also done for the night, just enough in the tank to get me back to the hotel. And beyond that elusive good-drunk feeling, beyond the sweet ache of having danced for five miles according to my phone, beyond the deep satisfaction of doing something undeniably fucking cool in a foreign country, there was this: hurtling downhill at what had to be the rental bike's maximum speed, cutting the last hour of the velvet, streetlampless night right apart with the sharpness of my joy, scissors gliding through wrapping paper, a falling star, as unyoked and unweighted as I can ever recall.
But what about you? Are you unyoked? Are you tearing through the night at maximum speed? Are you getting good-drunk once in a while? Who are you among?