Danish humour

Little treatise of the privileges of a mature man and other nocturnal thoughts by Flemming Jensen (2011) Not available in English, I think. French title: Petit traité des privilèges de l’homme mûr et autres réflexions nocturnes. (Translated from the Danish by Andreas Saint Bonnet.)

Aveu réalisteLe quotient intellectuel global sur terre est constant.

Il n’y a que la population qui augmente

Realistic confessionThe global intellectual quotient on earth is steady.

Only the population increases.

The narrator of Jensen’s chronicles is a mature man. His bladder doesn’t last a full night now, so he has to get up at night and he takes advantage of these nocturnal moments to think and have a little snack. Because, as he says,

Bon sang, si on n’avait pas le droit de se faire un casse-croûte nocturne, pourquoi y aurait-il de la lumière dans le frigo ? Damn it, if you weren’t allowed to have a nightly snack, why would there be light in the fridge?

JensenSnacking at night is an art. He’s on a diet so he has to be silent not to wake up his wife and be wise in what food he eats so that she doesn’t realize there isn’t as much left as should be. He explains how he sneaks out of their bedroom, lurks into the kitchen, doesn’t use the light bulbs but candles to avoid detection. The whole ritual is hilarious.

Our narrator will discuss light philosophical matters, talk about his children and grand-children, the EU, the war in Irak, religion, TV shows and all kinds of topics that go through his mind. Jensen has a great sense of humour, I laughed out loud lots of times. He’s famous in Denmark for his one-man-shows and his sketches for the TV and the radio. The reader can feel it in the way it is written. It could be a one-man-show. (For French readers, it sounds like a show by Gad Elmaleh.)

It’s full of funny passages, aphorisms, rants and hilarious suggestions.

Sur la foi.Les gens très religieux pèchent tout autant que nous autres. Leur religion leur interdit simplement de le savourer. About faith.Very religious people sin as much as us. Their religion forbids them to take pleasure in it, that’s all.

It’s not the book of the century but it’s entertaining and funny. Sometimes we just need a good laugh.

  1. July 26, 2015 at 5:34 pm

    I love the concept behind this book.

    I can also relate to some aspects of it. for one thing, I love short musings on life, politics, social issues, etc.

    I also like night snaking 🙂


    • July 26, 2015 at 8:19 pm

      I had a lot of fun reading this. I love his off-the-wall comments on serious things like the war in Iraq or the EU.

      He describes his night snacks and it was so funny to see how he was sneaking out. To be honest, I never envied what he was eating. 🙂 Lots of herring, onion stuff. I can’t imagine myself eating herring in the middle of the night.
      You are an early bird, aren’t you?


  2. July 26, 2015 at 6:20 pm

    I know I would love to read this. A few years ago I saw the feature film Klovn and loved it so I ordered the entire series. Worth every penny. And I’m overjoyed to learn that there will be a sequel.
    I would be very interested in reading more Danish books if anyone has some tips.


    • July 26, 2015 at 8:21 pm

      I really had a lot of fun. You’d probably like it too. Perhaps it’ll make it into English. I thought his sense of humour was rather close to French sense of humour.
      I’m reading Helle Helle, I’m not thrilled about it. I’ve read Piazza Bucarest and it was OK.

      So like you, I’m looking for tips. What I’ve seen of Denmark makes me curious.


  3. July 27, 2015 at 1:27 am

    There’s a lot of Danish crime fiction out and also Danish crime films. I’m not interested in Isak Dinesen.


    • July 27, 2015 at 9:41 pm

      I had to google Isak Dinesen, I only knew her as Karen Blixen. I’m not interested either. Collateral damage of Out of Africa and a mother swooning over Robert Redford…


  4. July 27, 2015 at 11:20 am

    This sounds a lot of fun, quirky but in a good way. Is this one for your translation tragedy category?

    Ah, I see you’re reading Helle Helle. I found it an odd little story and wasn’t at all sure about it at first. I nearly bailed after the first forty pages or so, but something about it persuaded me to go the distance (and it’s pretty short!). I won’t say anything more at this stage, but I’m looking forward to seeing your take on it.


    • July 27, 2015 at 9:47 pm

      It’s not good enough to be called a translation tragedy but I had a lot of fun. I got what I was looking for.

      I’m not reading Helle Helle anymore, sentences like this:

      I was going to have meatloaf, but when I stood in the kitchen with the minced meat and the box of eggs I decided I couldn’t be bothered. I boiled the mince and had it in a pitta bread with a bit of cucumber.

      killed any interest I could have in it. What a boring stuff. I’m off to start Fun and Games by Duane Swierczynski to recover from my Danish boredom.


      • July 31, 2015 at 9:39 am

        I was just about to ask if you were planning to write a piece on the Helle Helle, but I’ve just seen your other comments. Looking forward to hearing more!


        • July 31, 2015 at 7:00 pm

          I always write about the books I abandoned. It often helps me understand why they didn’t work for me or find them redeeming qualities.


  5. July 28, 2015 at 4:01 pm

    I’m sure I’d enjoy this, a shame it’s not been translated.

    He’s quite right about the fridge light.

    Are you writing a review of Helle Helle?


    • July 28, 2015 at 9:28 pm

      Yes, it’s a shame it’s not translated. Are you also a fan of night snacks?

      Will write a billet about Helle Helle? Does “Zzzzz” count as a review? 🙂 Seriously, I will, even if I abandoned this short book.


      • July 29, 2015 at 12:24 pm

        Zzzz doesn’t give us a full sense of plot and character, but it does seem a pretty clear review of your reaction to the book…


        • July 30, 2015 at 9:48 pm

          Yes, it’s not worth a billet but it’s a relevant contraption<;
          Have you read it?


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