White Whine

Things seem to be easier in Denmark. That’s what I’ve discovered. Well most things anyway. I’m currently staying in a magician’s bedroom in Copenhagen while he’s in Aarhus, and trying to find where he keeps the tea is a nightmare. So far I’ve discovered tons of glitter, a crystal ball, balloons, a toy racoon, a skateboard, a series of hats and I know where the beer is. His flatmate, a Danish comic called Niels who’s very kindly letting me stay, is still asleep. I have no idea how you wake a sleeping Dane in a kind way but I can’t help but think back to the Jorvik Viking museum and seeing a helmet destroyed by a Danish sword, so I’m staying clear. There is beautiful snow outside with children sledding down picturesque hillsides, while I am scrabbling around just wanting a cuppa. All is wrong with the world.

Well not all. Denmark, actually, is one of those countries that makes me return home and wonder why we can’t do anything right. Yesterday for example, I got on a three hour train journey. It cost me £45 to buy a ticket on the day, which is about 3 times less than it would in the UK. Then the train itself was clean, spacious, with information about where you were and when you’d get there every step of the way. The views were snowy fields and amazing lakes all the way. Compare that to any UK train journey it it merely seems like we get the withered, not talked about, younger brother of European travel. Even when the high speed rail from London to Birmingham is made I daresay the wifi won’t work, you won’t be able to find a plug socket for your laptop, you be able to either have your table down or move your arms and chances are someone who smells will sit next to you.

I do realise that complaints about ‘not plugging in your laptop’ are what Niels has been referring too as ‘white whine’. He often likes to point out when a complaint is something we can only make having the lives we do in the Western world. So far these have included things like complaining that the hotel yesterday kicked me out at 11am and him being annoyed his plate wasn’t big enough for all his food. At either of those moments someone from the 3rd world could happily have pointed out what arseholes we are and all the other far more miserable things in the world. Though this wouldn’t have stopped me from being tired, nor Niels from being hungry and all in all we’d have questioned how that person had got to Denmark from their country without a reasonable income and why on Earth they were in Niels’ flat.

Apparently, I’ve been told, Danish people complain a lot. But I reckon that’s because things work and make sense here, so when they don’t, its a surprise. I’ve never seen anyone new to London negotiate the Underground system as quickly as I did the S-Train system last night. I don’t speak a word of the language but it was all pointed out clearly how to get where, with everything running on time. I’ve seen people stare at Oyster card machines for well over 30 minutes hoping that their brain might explode before they have to actually get on a tube train. Yet we grumble and moan but never really complain and I think that’s because we are now so used to how badly everything works we’ve given up trying to change it. Not that I’d change it you understand. Otherwise I’d have to work a damn sight harder to write jokes and I’d feel far to content to ever rant about anything. Its all just white whine really.

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