I was at a BBQ at the weekend and someone asked me a few questions about Denmark – what the Danes are like, what their work culture is, whether there are differences in social gatherings etc.
I’d had a couple of cans and found myself spouting on like I was some kind of cultural oracle. Anything you could have asked me about Denmark, I’d have known the answer. The beauty of it was they had no way of knowing whether or not I was talking out of my arse.
As far as they were concerned, Denmark begins and ends with what I told them.
Here’s a list of some of the things I largely made up:
1: There is no real class system in Denmark. A refuse collector is thought of as the equal of any loafer-clad City boy.
2: It is a massive faux pas to allude to your own skills or accomplishments. Being big-headed in Denmark is akin to kidnapping babies.
3: There is almost no crime in Denmark. And there are certainly no chavs. Kids who step out of line are routinely recruited into the Army (at gunpoint) and have their impish tendencies thrashed out of them.
4: There are barely any cars in Copenhagen. Car-ownership is looked down on. In the same way us Brits like ganging up on mums who drive 4x4s, Danes like nothing better than randomly smashing windscreens and stuffing spuds up exhaust pipes. These are not counted as crimes.
5: You can leave your bike unlocked wherever you go. A passer-by who sees that you have just nipped into the shops to pick up a crate of Tuborg will stand guard for you, thus ensuring no-one nabs it.
6: It’s the law to own a bicycle. Children who can’t ride a two-wheeler by the time they are three are ostracised. And occasionally beaten.
7: Danish people are uniformly racist. It’s not their fault though as in the 1950s the Government brought out a collection of anti-immigrant children’s books which it was compulsory to read to your kids.
And so on.
You can see I was getting a bit carried away owing to the San Miguel but it’s not so far from the truth.