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Scan Magazine | Humour | Columns

IS IT JUST ME...

By Mette Lisby

Who feels that the advances of modern technology somehow require that we, the people, use them for something meaningful? Just think of the wonders technology supplies: you can in an instant connect with someone halfway around the world. My sister’s 14month-old baby who has only seen me twice in real life recognises me when I walk through the door, thanks to the camera feed via the Internet and Smart Phones. All this has been made possible for us by nerds. Who knew that the next levels of progress relied on those too anaemic to play sports and too hollow-chested to pick up girls? Since this is all made possible by smart people I think we ought to show some respect and use technology with some responsibility or at least purpose. I am calling for this after an incident that introduced me to a particularly pointless conversation. I was on a train, when the person behind me chose to make a phone call. Apparently she was bored and so decided she shouldn’t be the only one. Her strategy seemed to be “heck, if I’m bored, I’ll make sure all my fellow commuters on this train are bored too”.

She spoke loudly as she took us all through a mind-numbingly stupid conversation starting with: “So are you awake?” Why would anybody ask that? No!! Whoever is on the other end is talking in her sleep! “Did you have lunch? Yes me too. I made a lunch bag today, you know? Yeah. And I had some carrots. Yeah, I peeled them. The carrots.” At this point my head was aching from “The greatest hits of absolute non-information”. And it went on. “Are you off at 3pm today? Why are you off at three today? Oh, really? So you just started early.” There ought to be a triviality limit on phone conversations. NSA, or whoever listens in, should be allowed to cut the connection if you are just wasting phone time. Since they are listening in any way we might as well put them to good use. “NSA: No Stupidity Allowed”, or simply “No Small-talk Allowed”. But maybe this is just life in the 21st century. Technology is fantastic and Smart

Fika

One of the great mysteries of Sweden is how its population manage to indulge in their almost obsessive tradition of ‘fika’ without sparking an obesity epidemic. If you’re unfamiliar with fika (pronounced fee-ka) this is the intake of coffee or tea, accompanied by cake or other baked goods on an alarmingly regular basis between meals. You might think to yourself

Phones are brilliant – well, at least the phones are smart! Mette Lisby is Denmark’s leading female comedian. She invites you to laugh along with her monthly humour columns. Since her stand-up debut in 1992, Mette has hosted the Danish versions of “Have I Got News For You” and “Room 101”.

By Maria Smedstad

that this sounds similar to a regular English tea break, but a Swede will tell you that you are wrong. They might for example tell you that the English idea of coffee is different to Swedish coffee. They will also tell you that an English biscuit is the incorrect treat for a fika. The fact that I’ve forgotten the importancy of the right kind of fika was clearly demonstrated recently. I’m fortunate enough to take part in a very exciting Swedish documentary project with Nordic Folksong (website below) whose team arrived at my house to film early one morning last week. Not only did they turn up carrying fruit bowls, flowers, and other props to put around my house to make it look presentable, but they also came fully prepared with their own fika. I’m not talking about a packet of custard creams and a jar of instant coffee. I’m talking about a complete set of coffeemaking paraphernalia, homemade bread, Swedish cheese, and not one but two bags of Swedish pick-and-mix. This was all

ceremoniously dished out in my kitchen before any filming could take place. I feebly offered around bars of chocolate, which were met with disparaging glances, but redeemed myself by pulling a Swedish cheese slicer from a drawer. ‘Seriously!’ one of them exclaimed at the sight of it. ‘How do the British live without Swedish cheese slicers?’ Nordic Folksong website: www.nordicfolksong.com

Maria Smedstad moved to the UK from Sweden in 1994. She received a degree in Illustration in 2001, before settling in the capital as a freelance cartoonist, creating the autobiographical cartoon Em. Maria writes a column on the trials and tribulations of life as a Swede in the UK.

Issue 69 | October 2014 | 139

Profile for Scan Group

Scan Magazine | Issue 69 | October 2014  

Promoting Brand Scandinavia. Featuring interview with actress Signe Egholm Olsen.

Scan Magazine | Issue 69 | October 2014  

Promoting Brand Scandinavia. Featuring interview with actress Signe Egholm Olsen.