Norway, we are not creatively brain dead. Still there isn´t much international success for any Norwegian cultural contrition. Why is that? Perhaps this song can answer that question.
We have a problem with ambitions and we have a problem with finding real innovating talent and then supporting them international. TO be honest, I don´t think we wish people success, especially internationally.
We have a lackluster ability to disagree with any new thinking, and everything is rigid and bureaucratic. And so this happens:
It has happened before.
but the song that became famous was:
Although this example is abit more iffy as Trine Rein did not write that song, as was the case with Donkey boy and Ambitions, but we really thought that Trine Rein would breakthrough internationally with this song. But no…
So let´s see the few times we have had success abroad. A-ha and Aqua. They have one thing in common, they are by most international standards a “one hit wonder“.
Why is that?
I don´t know, but I have an idea (“hush! Be quiet!”). The first time they succeeded it was luck (as most breakthroughs) but afterward they needed support by PR and Norway have no clue how to make anything stick abroad. A-ha made their breakthrough song Take On Me, and then they were for all intents and purposes forgotten abroad.
So does anyone remember their second song?
Probably not… it has it´s commercial appeal (although not as great as their first song) and that´s when Norwegian ambitions should have stricken. Let´s help these guy by hyping them, giving them financial and moral support. But Norway was just waiting for them to fail so they could come back to the cold north in shame. Then we could have a confirmation that there is no need to try. We are bound to fail. Let´s not have any ambitions, those are bad for you. And so then there are hundred thousand changes, but everything stays the same.
The same goes for Aqua, and they aren´t even really Norwegian (only the female singer is), but do to our lack of recognitions from other things we needed to make Aqua Norwegian. Because we have a little problem…
Those fucking swedes again!
They know of promotion!
They know of production and success!
ABBA, Ace of Base, Roxette, The Sounds, The Soundtrack of Our Lives, The Knife, Robyn, Millencolin, The Cardigans, Günther and the Sunshine Girls, Rednex. The list is endless. And that´s only musically…. In other cultural arenas they have: Stellan Skarsgård, Ingrid Bergman, Greta Garbo, Ingmar Bergman, Stieg Larsson (the most overrated, over-hyped author in resent years, which goes to show and prove my point.) etc. etc. etc. The Swedes may be spineless and decadent, but they sure knows how to pat each other on the back (be that for their international successes or handing over Jews to Nazis)
Soo… The Norwegians become… not jealous, but… sad? We wish every country (even those fucking swedes) to succeed, but many of us also want´s to make something of ourselves (No this is not contradiction, it’s a paradox about the human condition. We wish people well, but not better than ourself. We wish people to succeed but only before they do). AND WE HAVE ALL THE MONEY! But we keep holding eachother down. Telling ourselves that the good children keep quiet. But no art is made in silence… or at least no art worth noticing;)
“No man´s an island“, the saying goes and although we want to believe that we can make it on our own, most times it´s the support of others that has made people a success. Support gives people faith and belief in oneself, but when a culture is based on a belief that only state and city hall should change things then the people of that culture stagnate and rotten, with the consequence of low self esteem, depression and low moral (a great place to make art, if only we believed in ourselves enough to bother).
So that´s my opinion about why Norway is as unimportant culturally as anything else. Our lack of ambitions. The lack of ambitions I would suggest is caused by our political system that only gives credit to 1. dimensional “good guys” who talk the talk of the biggest political party.
But that is a subject for another time.