Jag älskar Helsingfors

The other day a promotional video praising the virtues of Helsinki appeared unbidden on my Facebook feed. I know not why, but could it just be that their algorithm has noticed that I still have friends in Finland, traceable to the many happy times I spent training TV journalists at the splendid YLE TV centre in Pasila, just a tram ride from downtown Helsinki?

If so, I find this more than a little creepy. And to reinforce my long held anti-Facebook prejudice, I couldn’t get the video to run reliably on this page. You haven’t missed much. So here’s a much better video, evidently shot from a drone, which does a pretty good job of portraying this great city, without a word of voice-over hyperbole, or even worse some trendy presenter mouthing trendy nonsense to camera:

My connection with Finland actually started not in the Finnish capital but in a hotel breakfast room in Montreal, at a conference of public service television training folk called Preput, circa 1993.

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The good old red public telephone box

Martin_phonebox_crop_150I have recently been spending time creating and running a website-cum-blog for the village in Lincolnshire where we live, Kirkby on Bain. So far it’s been a lot of fun, and it gets more hits than any other site I have worked on, somewhat to my amazement. One of the most read posts is an account by my neighbour Martin Briscombe, who recently retired after managing a chicken feed mill (no jokes please) for many years.

martin_phonebox _paint_240Martin is a man of action, and on retirement he promptly took over responsibility for doing something about the red public telephone box which was adopted by the village but has been gently decaying in recent times. You can read his account of this venture here.

Before publishing the story, in the normal process of fact checking, I found myself entering a whole new universe of phone boxes. I have since become hypersensitive to every decommissioned phone box I see in villages around these parts, most of which seem to be simply abandoned, presumably as a result of the meteoric rise of mobile phones. It’s a done deal alright, those good old red phone boxes are now definitely things of the past, along with steam trains, fax machines and consideration for others. Continue reading