Jørgen Leth looks back
I get back from Tour de France on Tuesday and is due to give a performance on Thursday at 'Togvognen' (The Coach) in Tisvildeleje, a charming summer residence area by the sea. The deal is that I have to take the little local tram called 'Grisen' (The Pig) through the last stretch of rural North Sealand.
The host of the evening, Mikael Bertelsen, calls me on my phone from the scene and asks me to describe what I see on my way up there when looking out the rear end of the moving coach. He calls it 'Jørgen Leth looks back'. My voice is transmitted through loudspeakers to a waiting audience, as I describe signals and rails, viaducts, farms and fields, appearing and disappearing before my eyes in the fading light of a beautiful Nordic summer night somewhere between 10.05 and 10.21pm. At one point Mikael asks me for more details, and I hear laughter in the background. The atmosphere sounds great.
Soon my coach approaches the final destination, and I hear singing welcoming me, some kind of famous English song. Finally I arrive in the middle of a crowd of 500 waiting for me, 100 of which have already enjoyed a gourmet dinner on location.
On stage I am greeted by the host of the evening. As agreed, I have brought a travel bag packed with things for Mikael and the audience to dig through. Mikael unpacks one item at a time: the first edition of 'Sportsdigte', my newest collection of poems called 'Hvad er det nu det hedder', Marguerite Duras' 'The Lover from North China', Lars Movin's 'Gerard Malanga'. My notebooks inspire a talk about artistic practice, my toilet purse leads us to a talk about sleeping pills. I read a couple of poems, we talk about filmmaking, writing poems, life.
At one point we briefly touch down on Brian Holm's post Tour attack on me in a Danish tabloid paper. Mikael asks me what I think about being called a day dreamer, a romantic, Hans Christian Andersen. I answer that I am very flattered, that I like the idea of me being the romantic fairytale storyteller of cycling. Everybody laughs.