‘Why the Sun Boat?’, was the question Karen made me yesterday when we talked about the changes I’ve made to the blog. I answered by turning my back to her and showing this tattoo which I got almost nine years ago. It’s a helleristing which is a petroglyph from the Nordic Bronze Age. Most people, even Danes, when seeing the tattoo for the first time take it for a viking ship but the vikings were as distant from the Bronze Age culture as modern day Danes are from the vikings. I first saw this kind of tattoos when I was 16 or 17 doing voluntary work at a museum. At an activity day one of the more interesting persons was Erik Reime who has specialized in making tattoos based on prehistoric art. This was in the days of Grunge and body piercings, tattoos and Doc Martens were definitely it for the cool kids in high school and these tattoos were cool. Luckily it’s against the law to do tattoos on minors in Denmark so I didn’t do anything impulsive that day. Instead I remembered the name of the artist and five years later when I moved to Copenhagen to study I decided it was time to get one.
I have many stories I tell about this tattoo. Originally getting a tattoo had a lot to do with being cool and hip (which I’ve never really been able to be and with the wisdom of age I’ve stopped trying) but my choice of motive has always been personal. When I was a kid I wanted to be an archaeologist and it was my goal right until the end of high school when a trip to Rome made me fall completely in love with Italy. This interest in archeology and history has always been part of me and for that reason I stuck with the helleristning motive. Now I also like to tell that it’s a general symbol of my curiosity about the doings of human beings and how the past and the present are connected.
I also like to tell I chose this particular symbol from the many helleristning symbols because the voyage of the sun to me represent the circle of life. Not just the daily circle of night and day but also the change of the seasons and human generations. I’m not particularly religious or spiritual but I like to think about life as a never-ending circle where things continuously resurface in new forms. We’ll never know for sure how the Bronze Age people viewed these symbols but preserving them and giving them our own meanings is to me a way to show respect to those who came before me.
The last story I like to tell is how the tattoo is connected to my name. Lone is the short form of Abelone and Magdelone and the first name is the Danish variant of Appolonia which is derived from the Greek god Apollo. Apollo isn’t strictly speaking the sun god in Greek mythology but he is associated with light and that is good enough for me. Also, recent research seem to suggest that the different European Bronze Age cultures are more strongly connected than we thought and I like having a name and a tattoo that are connected in such a subtle manner.
Even though this is not a private blog, I want it to be personal and I want a name to reflect that. I also wanted a name that would indicate my curious disposition but that is really hard to find if you want to be the only one with that name. In the end I gave up finding a name that was a pun on curiosity or reflection, mostly because the obvious ones all seem to be in use, but also because I realized most of them are cliches and not very personal. Choosing the name ‘The Sun Boat’ at least has a personal meaning to myself and after this post hopefully to you as well.
I know I said I almost never listened to music and strictly speaking it’s true but ever so often some music sneaks up on me and I keep coming back to it. One album that has stuck with me for ten years now is Chupacabra by Imani Coppola. Every time I’ve gone to live in a new place, whether it was Italy or the UK or whenever I’m just traveling, it has always been among the ten or so Cd’s I choose to bring with me.
It’s not a very well-known album, Imani had one hit song, Legend Of A Cowgirl, and her record company dropped her pretty quickly. Their loss, in my opinion, but I gave up on the music industry a long time ago. One of the contributing factors to my lack of interest in music is probably the sheer amount of crap that’s readily available when listening to the radio or watching the music channels on TV. Of course getting to the good stuff has always been possible but as with anything here in life it’s a matter of choice and my priorities have been elsewhere. The Internet has already changed things a lot and it will be interesting to see how the relationship between the artists and the listeners is going to develop. I know I’ll probably never again buy a CD from music shops but get my music from the Internet, preferably paying the artist directly. This kind of behavior is clearly a major challenge to the whole music industry, not only the record companies but also the whole net of distributors, especially the large chain stores. I’m actually not that worried about the small independent shops as I think there’ll always be a market for specialty shops where collectors and people fascinated with old-fashioned techniques can get what they want.
However, this is not supposed to be a discussion about the music industry but about music. I have several reasons for liking this album. First of all it’s a connected whole. All too often you get an album where
only a couple of the songs are worth listening to and the rest is just
there to fill out the space so you feel you get your money’s worth. Here every song is worth listening to and they all show different aspects of the artist as person which is another quality about the album. It’s a very personal work where Imani brings herself into the songs and makes you care about whatever the song is about. It’s something that only she could have created in comparison to so much other pop music where the pretty face singing seems so replaceable. Secondly, it’s good pop music which is not easy to do. It’s happy, light and playful without being trivial and shallow. When I say happy I mean the kind of happiness that comes from accepting that life sometimes can be shit but at the same time being excited about being alive and a want for what life has to offer. And I like that in her world life has more to offer than just romantic love. I have some issues with what I call the big love conspiracy that brainwashes especially young girls into thinking that the most important thing here in life is to find a man and get married and have children. Of course a lot of music these days is taking this a step further and suggests that sex is the most important thing. To me love and sex are an important part of life but not everything. It’s often said that the want for love and sex can be a creative drive but it can also be an obstacle that drains you for energy you need elsewhere.
I haven’t said much about how the music is in itself which is mostly because of my lack of knowledge about musical terms and styles. One thing that it may seem superfluous to point out is that the girl can actually sing and play but with all the small voices around these days it’s worth doing. Her base is hip hop and rap but she makes it her own style by using many different input from other genres. Her use of samples and musical instruments that are usually not used with hip hop or are used in a less original way is part of what makes her music stand out and seem so playful. It certainly doesn’t have any of that draggy heaviness that often bothers me in hip hop when the beat is allowed to dominate too much.
As I mentioned above I don’t have any particular claims for my opinion of this music and it’s certainly not very objective but then who’s ever completely objective when they review something. At least I hope I’ve made it clear why I like this music but I can’t guarantee that you’ll feel the same about it.
Sometimes I just need something easy to knit and in my world that usually means a lace shawl where the motif is easy to memorize. One of my all-time favourites is Birch from Rowan Magazine 34. It’s a pattern I would recommend to everyone who has never tried knitting lace patterns before. The pattern repeat is only 8 rows and 4 of them are plain purl rows and it’s knitted from the top down which makes it seem to fly off the needles. The only thing I would change as a beginner is the yarn. As wonderful as Kid Silk Haze is, it’s difficult to unravel which I learned the hard way when I knitted this shawl as my first lace project almost 4 years ago.
The shawl in the picture I knitted this summer. Instead of the recommended yarn I used 3 balls of Madil Kid Seta which has the same fiber content and yardage as Kid Silk Haze which has the advantage of being a bit cheaper and having a different range of colours to choose from. I used the recommended 5mm needle size and got a shawl that’s 218 cm wide and 118 cm long which is a bit larger than stated in the pattern. As it’s a shawl this doesn’t matter to me and I didn’t bother to swatch which was a good thing because I would’ve run out of yarn if I had. When I changed to a new ball of yarn I just overlapped the 2 ends and knitted with both. The yarn is so fine that’s almost impossible to tell unless you hold the shawl up against the light. I blocked it by putting it on towels on a carpeted floor in a well-ventilated room, spritzing it with cold water and stretching it out with pins to upon up the lace which is easier to see in the pictures below.