• Paul Kilgour

A Nice Day Out - {post pandemic prowling}

Do we still talk about Covid? Is it now considered a dirty word, to be whispered in dark corners, or behind closed doors? It seems that Copenhagen at least, has almost returned to normal, though as I wander I sense a faint whiff of caution in the air. Is it really gone, or just lurking, bloodied but not beaten, watchful, ready to pounce, as for one fatal, split second, we look the other way? I rather enjoyed it, by the way. The roads empty of traffic, people avoiding each other, the skies clear, the air cleaner, nature returning. Long live Covid I say. Bring it on! Mind you, we nearly ran out of toilet paper, which would not have left anyone with fond memories.

It seems weird being in the centre of town, wandering casually, only half a care in the world, after the past two years. It is early on a Sunday morning, not unlike any scene during the first lockdown. Trains are empty, people are scarce, the roads devoid of traffic bar the odd night bus. Even 7-Eleven is closed. It is eerie. It is beautiful. Can’t we just keep it like this?

And then, just half an hour later I spy the first tourist bus of the day. Bravely ploughing its way along Vesterbrogade in its foolish and misguided belief that there are fare paying customers to be snared. It is going to have a lonely day, I fear.

I grab a take-away Flat White and head over to Palads, the ice cream multi-coloured cinema complex in the centre of town. The exterior of the building was painted in 1989 by one Poal Gernes, who clearly had a liking for either Ben & Jerry’s, or hallucinogenic drugs. Or possibly both. It is a riot of bright pastel colour, only moderately dimmed by a strong pair of Raybans. It would not surprise me if this were one of the few landmarks identifiable from space, glowing like a Chernobyl Tomato in the morning sunlight. It is lewd and garish, but rather wonderful. As I arrive, like clockwork, various homeless pop up one by one all over the square, like a scene from Night Of The Living Dead, or a Stanley Spencer painting. Woken from their slumber by laser like brightness and quite possibly radiation burn. I find a place to sit and as I do, am approached by a young woman in need of a light. Obviously being able to tell from a distance that I am English (I don’t know how they do this either), she compliments me on my Danish. Mind you, she was paralytic, and quite possibly a sausage short of a full English.

Coffee consumed, I move on to the Danish Architecture Center at Blox, where I view for the first time, the photo that I had selected for their exhibition: ‘Know Your City’. Fame at last! Or is it infamy? Who cares. On the way home I pass a man wearing a t-shirt that says ‘Me No Mask’. I resist the temptation to a) correct his grammar, or b) punch him square on the nose. Both of which would have proved eminently enjoyable.

Today is a nice day. Colour has well and truly returned to the city. People are strolling hand-in-hand, smiling and laughing without a care in the world. Until the next lockdown, that is. Be careful out there.

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