Category Archives: Rants
Wasted on cracks: One year after hasty evacuation of Gamle Sykehuset evacuees’ hopes crumbing with the building
(Author’s note: I planned to write a “straight” news article about last year’s sudden and drastic evacuation of Gamle Sykehuset, but this week’s avalanche and my once again going through what I did in that building sort of screwed that up. These are my thoughts as one of the evacuees a year later supplemented with factual updates from Svalbardposten, which did exceptional coverage despite being swamped with the avalanche. You’ll have to buy a 30-kroner daypass to read it, but since I’m quoting it I obviously consider it worthy.)
A year after being hastily forced out of my home permanently for the first time, only one thing is certain: the living room of the flat I was in must be pretty drafty during storms these days.
Rant: You may want to go home – for maybe the last time ever. The Sequel (20 minutes in a freezing hell with little left to lose)
This time, almost exactly a year to the day later, there was no forewarning it might happen. Instead of two hours, I had 20 minutes. There was no calvary bringing vehicles – indeed, there were no cars at all because I had no idea where mine was.
And it wasn’t a pivotal moment on a worldwide reality TV show – or even covered by the local media. Good thing, because as the picture indicates, I look a whole lot worse for wear this year.
I have come not to praise, but to bury the show on many occasions during the past year. But since it’s clearly Not Dead Yet (sorry, I just discovered the existence of a Lego remake of “Monthy Python And The Quest For The Holy Grail”), I Assur (capital of Assyria, may Sir Robin rest in peace) you I will embrace the spawning of a second season with a shimmering soul.
9:30 p.m.: Three episodes to go and it seems I’m not the only one who feels monotony has been setting in the past few episodes. Tonight’s episode looks like it might break from some of the usual, thanks to a doctor who’s appearing as a guest star (and going on an emergency rescue drill at sea), and finally the return of Wiggo AND Claudia for the first time since Episode Two. They were a huge hit then and it’s baffling the show hasn’t been featuring more of the character (Wiggo) who’s literally the show’s poster boy. Also, Christine will be doing the two-day Trappers’ Trail and, while a dogsledding trip is one of those things that now seems to be obligatory every episode, this is a continuation of a storyline from a few episodes ago when she did the qualifying race.
9:30 p.m.: I walk into the restaurant/pub at Coal Miners Cabins and experience a moment of panic since it looks like the show’s already in progress on the big-screen TV, rather than the usual weekly show about villages near the Arctic Circle that precedes the series. A couple of minutes pass and I realize it’s actually a long infomercial for the company that owns this place and lots of other tourism businesses in town (the audio is muted and I realize there’s no subtitles). The fact it’s hard to tell the difference due to the similar editing styles (a few minutes each of dogsledding/snowmobiling, a scene in a restaurant/pub, a special event, etc.) highlights something I emphasized in last week’s coverage: a lack of overall focus and direction.
Ranking the characters of ‘Svalbard: Life on the Edge’ from least to most interesting (sorta halftime edition)
Six down. Four to go. And it’s far from clear the current rankings will look anything like the final ones.
I’ve been at a loss as to how to rank the “stars” of the ten-episode BBC Earth docu-soap “Svalbard: Life on the Edge” (“Ice Town: Life on the Edge” outside Norway), mostly because I can’t figure out why the show is allocating scenes/storylines to everyone the way it is so far. But things have progressed far enough to say the initial rankings after the first “introductory” episodes were somewhat askew.
9:30 p.m.: Saw an advance screeing of this “make-or-break” episode two days ago (almost certainly the last time locals will get the opportunity during the 10-episode series) and it certainly was for the best as I prepare to do this tonight. Not because of the jolt of reliving last December’s avalanche – hard as that is at times – but because of a far more dismal shock I never would have imagined would be shown tonight (BTW, that shock isn’t what may seem overwhelmingly obvious, as you’ll learn by the end).
It was a cute and quirky bathroom reader at four pages. It became constipation-worthy at eight pages. And capable of causing constipation at 12 pages. This monstrosity might require surgical extraction.
Most locals have probably seen the cover of the most recent Svalbardposten and know people (or were among them) joking about “that woman holding all her belongings in a plastic bag.” I will tell you her true story.
(This story has been updated with a producer’s response at the end.)
If you live in Svalbard, be afraid. Be very, very afraid.
Not because of any real-life dangers here, but because of the extremely hazardous view the world apparently will be getting about life here starting a month from now. A 10-part BBC “docu-soap” is scheduled to debut Aug. 28 and it appears it may live down to the worst fears of everyone who felt them during the eight months of filming.