This song (co-written/produced by Calvin Harris) is an absolute floor-filling screamer and will be the Scissor Sisters’ first single from their 4th album Magic Hour, released at the end of the month. Literally can’t wait.
Suspension bridges span the canopy.
The cloud forest was strewn with hanging vines and the trees were carpeted in moss.
And Toucanettes carving holes in the tree trunks everywhere.
One of the most beautiful places and definitely the most naturally rich and biodiverse place I’ve ever been.
Just go there.
Oeddwn ni digon lwcus i fynd i Panama yn diweddar (mashiwr wnai ‘sgwennu rhywbeth ynghylch yr holl trip rhywbryd yn fuan). Un o’r creaduriad mwyaf trawiadol ddoes i ar draws oedd hwn (Three-toed Sloth). Oedd o fel gweld rhwybeth allan o cartwn, rhywbeth hollol estron ond yn anhygoel.
(Intersing fact - mae o mond yn dychwelyd lawr o’r goeden unwaith yr wythnos… pam? Er mwyn cael cachiad. A tydi y gwyddonwyr ddim yn gwybod pam mae anifail mor ddiog yn botheran?!)
The past 2 or 3 years I’ve become increasingly engrossed in Scandinavian culture.
It began with music, whether it’s the dark electronica of Björk and iamamiwhoami or the pure Schlager Scandopop hits of Hera Bjork and Perrelli or the absolute pure genius of Robyn or Röyksopp I’ve been hooked. Now it’s taken over the main stream with the majority of US Pop being written or produced by Scandinavians such as RedOne (Minaj, Gaga), Stargate (Rihanna, Kate Perry), Max Martin (Britney, Usher) and so on.
Then on TV there was Borgen on BBC4 this year. It was a Danish West Wing, but far more engaging, beautifully shot and politically relevant. Although I can’t admit I got caught up in the Nordic Noir of the Killing, Wallander and various other TV series’ which have swept Britain, it happened.
I could go on but I won’t. The point of this post was to talk about a book I begrudgingly bought in Heathrow Airport recently before a 2 week holiday in the tropics.
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (the first of the Millennium Trilogy) by Stieg Larsson has become a best-seller around the world and recently spawned a Hollywood film (which I’ve yet to see) starring Daniel Craig. Before you switch off or go Fuck he’s going to talk about one of these throwaway detective novels, please don’t!
It’s so much more than that.
In the bone the novel deals with the shady world of financial journalism, computer hacking and serial murder. I found it immensely engaging and felt attached to Mikael the professionally sound yet privately morally-loose/liberal journalist and Salander the socially defunct borderline autistic investigative genius. It is never obvious where the plot is heading and is a classic book which you can’t put down.
Admittedly it has its failings. A Los Angeles Times critic wrote
The writing is not beautiful, clipped at times… and with a few too many falsely dramatic endings to sections or chapters
Yes, the book in it’s essence is a modern locked-room murder mystery. Yes, the book at times can be criticised for its lack of emotional content from it’s 2 main characters and for that in itself (in a rather sexist manner) is described as a lad’s book.
It’s original title in Swedish was Män som hatar kvinnor – literally – Men who Hate Women, a far more powerful and representative title.It’s greatest triumph is its portrayal of sadism. Most novels or films I’ve come across that approach the subject do so on a superficial level depicting sadists as simply psychopaths which happen to interest themselves with the torture of others. This book portrays a different beast, one which is fully in control of its cognitive will and is in no way mentally incompetent. The psychological profiling of various characters is so powerful that at points I found it an incredibly disturbing read (and very few things in art disturb me). It shouldn’t surprise us as the author was one of Sweden’s leading experts on far-right groups, Nazism and the organised crime which resulted from them, which will of given him an excellent insight into sane organised individuals which are involved in movements the mainstream class as abhorrent. The reason I want to stress this point so powerfully is that a stark-raving lunatic is difficult to engage with, difficult to follow is his logic and methodology whereas a calculated individual is far more interesting and yet profoundly disturbing and shocking.
From fear of spoiling the book I won’t go into any more detail about the plot. At the end of the book I wasn’t questioning myself about anything like my morality or my beliefs, but I certainly felt I had by whisked away on a roller-coaster through a dark menacing technology-embracing modern Sweden and felt much richer as a result of it.
I cannot wait to finish the 2 other books in the trilogy. The saddest thing is that the author never got to see how his books engaged people from all around the world and transported them to his dark modern Sweden. Stieg Larsson died soon after he delivered the 3 manuscripts to his publisher in 2004.