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The Selfish Idealist


When you do things for yourself, do you have to be destructive towards the world? Life can be made fairly good both for you and for the rest of us.

Maybe you'll not only help out, but even give everybody a good laugh from time to time.

Summer evening...Oslo.

The right to move – but how

Oslo Posted on 12 Nov, 2021 04:10

There is talk about people who are driving their car to town instead of using the bus or the subway – and more often than before the pandemic.

As an inhabitant of the city, not the suburbs, I beg you to show some consideration.

Fix me a job

Uncategorised Posted on 07 Nov, 2021 14:11

There seems to be a notion among some foreigners in Oslo, perhaps in Norway, that it is common here to fix a job for a friend. Some even get impatient when it doesn’t happen, and maybe believe the reason to be racism or something similar.

The saying exists.

But is is not that simple. 

I don’t know the whole of Norway workwise, not across fields of every type of work either, but I would say that if you do this directly it could and would often be seen as corrupted, if not downright corruption. You normally don’t just do someone a favour and expect a return favour. It may probably happen, but often what goes on is more complicated and you are also supposed to follow rules, not just use a system for your own benefit.

Especially in public bodies, administration etc, there were always and still are formal rules as to who can be employed or not.

In private business usually you were more free to do as you like when thinking of a person’s education etc. I have worked mainly as a teacher and a musician, not in commercial business, so I don’t know the formal and informal rules there.

But the feeling is, in general in Norway, you are given and are expected to have a lot of independence in certain ways, we teach our kids to be independent almost from the beginning, the right to decide for yourself is a cliché which is in many cases very true, even in situations in society definitely too much, I think. In some ways it is beneficial and a positive side of culture.

This means…I don’t think it is common to fix things like this directly for a friend and expect an equally direct repayment of favours, as I said, this would at least in many places be seen as both meddling with other people’s business and also often be seen as unfair. 

What actually goes on is complicated, I think, and not the same in every situation.

You may be recommended by someone, in which case of course it is necessary that you know each other well enough for the guy or girl who recommends you to believe in you, as useful for the workplace – but it is up to the person in charge to hire you or not, within the borders of whatever system he or she is working, tight or not so tight rules. 

Or you just accidentally slip into a work environment of some kind in the course of other things in life or work, is noticed by someone who is in charge, and who then also think you may be beneficial or of good value for the business or office or whatever, and asks you to do a job or to apply for a job. Even then (in the last case) it may happen that you don’t get it, because the job interview is normally the gate you gave to pass in any case. Sometimes formal issues stop you, someone else is better qualified and they have to give him or her the job, or the boss finds out you’re not the right person for the job after all.

The key to getting through this is usually a combination of professional knowledge or skills and the ability to fit in in the work environment, socially and in the way the work is done in this specific workplace.

Independence used to be an important part of being fit for a job, which to some may sound as a paradox, but I believe if I were in charge of something I would prefer a combination of social antennas and the ability to learn – and an independent mind, an interest in what the café or office or whatever is doing, a feeling for what is possible and what not, within the situation, and the ability both to learn your work and develop it in a sensible way.

A feeling, after a while, of what questions actually need to be asked before you do something rash, and what are obvious facts of life.

Cheating of different types goes on, I guess, as in any country or society, perhaps also when hiring people, but it has not been the rule, definitely not. Certainly not an official feature, and in general I don’t think in practice either, not for the majority of people at work.

But each type of business or field has its own culture, in addition to regional cultures and personal habits, each field of work sometimes has its own do’s and don’ts, formal and informal rules, also when it comes to hiring etc. The way in can be wildly different, I think, depending on the type of work and the workplace.

New times…may also have brought new habits and new problems, of which I don’t know too much and don’t really speak of here. Things change fast in the world of today, also in Norway, and there are conflicts and things going on in society.

There is also, traditionally, a strong sense of justice, which I think today may be going too far sometimes, but the principle remains, that everybody is entitled to having basically the same right to possibilities, not least in the job market. This is a starting point or a silent fact in every discussion in this field, and may of course in its turn need another flock of explanations…

Edited after publishing.

The Spider in the Net

Uncategorised Posted on 22 Oct, 2021 07:45

I dare say…that many have been afraid to speak freely under the spell of Carl-I. Hagen and his friends in the Progress Party. It has been a growing level of intimidating or manipulative language, simple thinking and often no listening to others at all. Politics is often a fight, but there are democratic rules, or used to be, and many of them have been broken or changed by this party and by the Conservatives, who used them as an alliance partner in government (or the other way round) and the Conservatives ended up acting and thinking very much like the Progress Party.

They are in many ways not really democratic neither in attitude nor in politics.

As I say, I don’t believe anyone can do everything wrong, but it remains to sort out what we want to keep of all the things that have been done here, both the Progress Party and the Conservatives have been in government for the last 8 years and was replaced only now, in the September election.

Here is a taste of Carl-Ivar Hagen, for those who understand Norwegian, or just take in the theatre.

My music on Spotify

Uncategorised Posted on 08 Sep, 2021 11:56…

I’m on Spotify!

It feels important to me, I’ve been working alone for a long time, and this is…visibility.

Income? I’ll have to see.

A loudspeaker

Uncategorised Posted on 06 Sep, 2021 22:39

I need to say a little more about Carl-I. Hagen. 

(The hyphen is there in his real name, but he is known as Carl I. Hagen. The I stands for Ivar.)

He is a manipulative type, working wherever he finds it practical, on and off the political stage. I think if you have ears for things like that, you can hear his voice many places, he has been a restless political speaker since the 1980s.

You are not going to spend other people’s money, are you?

One of his slogans.

One of his musical heroes, I think, is Elvis.  

I think Hagen himself must have some kind of musical or stage talent. His voice is of the kind that…if you are present and he is speaking, almost no matter what he says, and no matter what your political views normally are, when he is finished, you think, hm, that was not stupid…and then, after a few minutes, if you come back to yourself and remember that you used to have your own opinions, it’s maybe possible to sort out what’s what.

He also has a magnificent ability, when he speaks, to balance on the edge between truth and lies. 

Insinuation is also a speciality, also in writing. I remember reading an article about the climate changes (which he does not believe is a true story), and one ended up thinking that SV, one of the left-wing parties which opposes him politically, that they were in some way dishonest or trying to control the discussion.

I think he is such a person himself.

He is also a strategist, I believe, thinking years ahead.

He is the son of the manager of Nesoddbåtene, the boats running between Oslo and Nesodden in the inner Oslo fjord basin. (Erna Solberg’s father, by the way, had a similar job in Bergen). He grew up in Røa, just outside the city of Oslo, still within the municipality of Oslo.

He wanted to become an engineer, but he didn’t manage to get into his university of choice in England, and he turned to marketing and business instead, studying in Newcastle. His CV looks for me like one of a person who is gifted and clever and quick to skip one thing or the other if possible to do things quickly.

Anti-communism is important to him.

He aired his opposition against single mums in a discussion many years ago, claiming that they have come into their situation because of their own choices in life and should not have support from the state. In the Norwegian system there has been some economical support for single mothers.

One of his main ideas seems to be that business life should have more credit, more status, and this point sums up much of all he has said the last 40 years. This point has led to lot of practical consequences other than an effect on status – many things, but this is one of his general attitudes.

I believe he had at some point the idea of camps for asylum seekers “if needed” or said something to that effect. One is now a fact, with barbed wire and closed doors, lying at Trandum, about 50 km north of Oslo.

Politically, I would say, he sees problems, but is often part of the creation of the problem, or he has often no real solution to them, I think.

You read for yourself, other things, and listen, and make up your own opinion, but Norwegian politics today can not be understood without knowing who he is or knowing something about him.

Norway’s secret dictator

Uncategorised Posted on 29 Aug, 2021 15:12

I an regularly kind of shocked when I speak to foreigners who have moved here and have lived here for many years and who know little about Norwegian politics, for instance the name and significance of Carl I. Hagen, former chairman of the Progress Party, Fremskrittspartiet.

He has been talking constantly for about 40 years, since the 80s at least – and in Oslo, especially, normal thinking has been more and more difficult under the pressure of his party’s uncompromising ways of thinking and talking. It has been a bully regime by a group who abuses tolerance in favour of their own political goals, and their methods are neverending stubbornness, no real listening to opponents, a presence of steel on the outside, although the inside is probably sometimes unsure and insecure, sometimes ignorant and not giving a shit about certain things because they are unimportant in their world.

The movement is in many ways a private one, not a world of thought based on science or a real view on society, but more limited to one’s own family, house, neighbourhood.

And an obsession with money, anxiety that poverty will break us. When others talk about oil and carbon dioxide, they talk about the money that it has given us, not the other troubles we give the world because of the drilling and export.

Ketil Solvik-Olsen is right now posting short messages to this effect, like you do as you please, MDG (the green party) – I prefer employment, not unemployment.

Carl-Ivar Hagen, which is his full name, has said many times that the whole story of human-made climate change is a hoax.

His party was in government together with the conservatives under PM Erna Solberg, later also the Liberals (Venstre, usually also an environment-minded party) and the Christian Democrats (KrF).

An impossible coalition in many ways, the FrP so badly schooled, it seems, in the first negotiations when the first Solberg government was to be formed, they asked for all political solutions to be either 100% FrP or 100% Høyre (Conservatives) – meaning, in my head, they don’t really know how to create a political compromise.

I believe it is common thinking among those who dismiss the climate problems as nonsense, that it is created to make money, to give an income to those involved.

This may seem like an insult and nothing else to people who do normal scientific research for a living, but an insult and something meant as a statement of truth or political belief is difficult to distinguish when the words come from people who were not used to being in any world of political power, whether it be a formal position in a city council, a job in a ministry, or just belonging to a group of people who are basically used to being heard when they raise their voice. Almost all debate has an element of fight in it, but it is not the same situation to be part of meaningful discussions from time to time, and never being heard or in contact with power in any form, or not having the feeling of being heard whether you possibly could have done something to fix it or not.

Another general problem of politics today is meddling with sectors you don’t know very much about, and the right-wing is as full of it as any other part of the political rainbow. Carl I. Hagen, as many other professional politicians, has had little normal employment in his lifetime. We are historically more used to the politician type of a worker or farmer becoming politician and retaining a connection to his or her background.

Today we all live economically and in terms of lifestyle more similar than we used to, but we should also be on guard against new ways of exploiting our labour.

Also, when it comes to politics-at-a-distance, many seem to be participating in it, both the large group of retired people whose work experience is becoming obsolete, and all professionals who sometimes seem to believe that all their professional norms and habits are or should be valid in all other fields. Professional, full-time politicians give us a similar problem, and if all this wasn’t enough, the whole wave of ignorance, discussions about fake news and very different concepts of reality is breaking up a situation which used to be too stable, now becoming too unstable.

Internet and Facebook plays a huge role in it, and also when you consider the amount of travelling and migration, every conceivable group of people can meet and often do meet, and the result can often be confusing.

The revolution of education also plays a part in the development, and it is a shitty thing to say, because no teacher wants to deny anyone any part of knowledge, but it takes more than power and a little knowledge to run a country soundly.

We can’t deny people access to media or power in general, but it is for sure a difficult situation for people of real knowledge to meet different combinations of ignorance and power, outside or inside the old system.

There has always been a degree of ignorance everywhere, but in what situation and to what extent we can live with it is a question for debate. The other opposite can also be a dangerous option, in combination with too much carefulness, like in the handling of COVID-19, with less competent politicians than we were used to, or people with less real connection to science, and a powerful health sector which takes over so much of the business needed, actually the politics, that I keep wondering about their realism.

Carl I. Hagen has not been saying much about the last subject, but a lot about money during the years. What he really wants is to make way for private enterprise and dismantle the «welfare society», and his politics is in many ways, as those of his party (he built it up, to a large extent) – a world of very much private views, not based on an overview of society, but in many cases made to fulfil private needs and based on ideas from the family rather than from sociology books. He has a sister who used to be a professor of history at the University of Oslo, but himself appears to be an anti-intellectual in many ways.
The Conservatives has been influenced really much by his voice in public and his presence on and off the political stage. It is perhaps a question whether Erna Solberg has managed to defend her party against the simplistic thinking of her far right collaborators. She suffers from dyslexia and is at the same time also a rough politician when it comes to the use of power, and I don’t know what goes on backstage.

Defending yourself against the charismatic, actor-like personality of a guy like Carl-I. Hagen is at any rate a tough job.

Making a little fun of Shakespeare – also

My own music Posted on 22 Aug, 2021 21:16

I composed the music and played the piano, and acted, for some years in Kleine Deutsche Szene Oslo, a small theatre group which started in the environment in and around the German Church in Oslo, more accurately the German Evangelical Congregation, in their building in Eilert Sundts gate, close to Bogstadveien.

The house used to be an old villa, I guess you must call it, until the church bought it around 1960. The interior of the room used for services, which covers most of the ground floor, is drawn by Thilo Schoder, a Bauhaus architect who married a Norwegian woman and settled in Kristiansand before the war. He has drawn quite a few houses there and also elsewhere in Norway, some in Oslo too.

It is not exactly a Bauhaus interior, the one in Eilert Sundts gate, more typically 60s style, I think, but nice and a good location and nice acoustics for music and acting.

The theatre group was and is led by Ulrike Niemann, professional director and with an education in Kulturpädagogik, from GermanyCultural…pedagogics, teaching, I don’t think we have that exact type of education here in Norway, but it seems really useful.

She had a democratic style of leading the work, and at the same time a sense of direction. In the end the group wrote a lot of the texts which we used for the plays, and elaborated others, and I got the chance of commenting quite a lot and I hope contributing to the directing, which I thought was really interesting.

The rest was interesting too.

We made one performance per year, we usually finished and premiered after Easter, two shows, after having rehearsed and written and worked with things since autumn.

It was a lot of fun, on and off stage, good acting, I always thought, really good humour in all the projects, and Ulrike Niemann and Claudia Lingscheid, who later on also participated in leading the work, and took over when Ulrike got pregnant – they must have had a lot of practical toil on the side of the artistic considerations and work.

The music published here was written to a collection of four Shakespeare pieces, well, actually a little less because they were elaborated on, the ideas were Shakespeare’s , but the texts were written by Walter Richartz, German natural scientist and writer. Anyway Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macbeth, Hamlet.

Sometimes the story continued, in The Midsummer Night’s Dream the action went on in another fantasy land but with references to the original play, and also a part of Shakespeare’s original text was used, a scene with the clowns being clumsy and saying and doing, well, stupid things. There was a monologue, the apothecary from Romeo and Juliet tried to explain or excuse his fatal role as the salesman of the poison which killed the two. Hamlet started with everyone lying dead on stage, starting a row over what happened and who were to blame for everything.

Mostly, my music started and ended each scene and that was basically that, not many musical illustrations during the scenes.

Director: Ulrike Niemann. 

Actors: Friedbert Baur, Mandy Jännsch, Lina Naß, Birgit Steffens, Christine Höffgen, 

Christina Proenen, Claudia Lingscheid, Erik Gøthesen, Ulrike Niemann and Astrid Siegmund-Breivik. 

Piano: Erik Gøthesen. 

Technician on stage (not here): Sören Giesow. 

The recordings are not professional – I still hope you can hear basically what I’ve been trying to do. It is a lot of work when you work alone, to learn everything necessary to get professional enough that in the end you maybe earn a little money, too. 

An ouverture which was not used as ouverture, but maybe played when the audience came in, I usually took things that were written, but not used in the play itself and used them for this kind of introduction music.

A link to the blog of Christian Erhard – with pictures.

„Alles Gute zum 450. Geburtstag!“ – oder: „Shakespeares verrückte Geschichten“

Something for dessert

Sugar in the morning Posted on 22 Aug, 2021 20:42

The kind of recipe or dessert the kids made when they were younger, maybe still do. 

A few pieces of Freia milk chocolate

A little of Hennig Olsen’s ice stick with vanilla ice cream and white chocolate coating (the Crème series)

a few teaspoons of demerara sugar

a little ginger beer 

Put everything in a small bowl.


I had planned this slightly different, but you take whatever is in the fridge etc, that’s cheaper and probably a little more eco-friendly. Or buy this if you want to and need it.

For grown-ups, ginger beer with alcohol would probably be nice, but today I could only get hold of the old-fashioned type which I used to drink when I was a kid myself. Still tastes good, I think, as does the more “modern” stuff.

Liquour and ice is always a treat, and this is not quite tried out until I’ve done it with an alcohol variant of the ginger beer.

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