L-R Håkan Nesser, Arne Dahl & Barry Forshaw © Ayo Onatade
Where do I start with Nordicana 2014? Let’s start with the positives, not that there were many in my opinion. Event wise there were only three positive aspects to Nordicana 2014. Firstly, Barry Forshaw’s event with Arne Dahl and Håkan Nesser. It was brilliant. The banter between all three was clear to see and Barry Forshaw as can be expected managed to draw out the best in these two authors. There were lots of jokes and asides between all three of them and one learnt that Henning Mankell and Håkan Nesser wrote a short story together sometime ago featuring their main characters. They also gave themselves cameos in the story. It was a shame that due to the fact that they were running late there was not any opportunity for members of the audience to ask questions. It was a shame it could not go on for longer as it was clear that Håkan Nesser and Arne Dahl could have spent much longer talking together.
The second was David Hewson’s talk on Deconstructing the Killing from television into a
novel. It was a fascinating
talk interspersed with clips from the series as he talked about The Killing I- III. Sadly at the start he was badly let down by the technological
set up, which did not appear to be working properly. There was no volume. It did however kick in but it was
disconcerting. One piece of news that
that will cheer up fans of The Killing is
the fact that there are talks in hand going on to see if a prequel will be
done. If it does go ahead then it will
not be set in Copenhagen but the Faros Islands.
He explained that if Nordicana
2015 goes ahead next year then he will be in a better position to give out
a bit more concrete information.
Lastly, Pan Macmillan put on a drinks reception to launch The Killing III. It was a relatively small affair with lots of lovely cocktails made using Reyka Vodka. Officially The Killing III is not due out for another couple of weeks. It was also lovely to see Trisha Jackson and her friend Bev along with Sarah Ward, David Headley, and his partner Rob and also very briefly Jake Kerridge.
I really wanted to enjoy the day but sadly I did not and I am sure that I was not the only one who felt incredibly let down.
There were numerous things wrong with Nordicana 2014. The queue to get in was ridiculously long. I got there at around 9:30am I did not get in until after 11:00am which meant that I missed the first event. The event was massively over-subscribed. It was sold out. I understand that there should have been no more than around 1600 people but I overheard two of the stewards saying that there were around 3000 in attendance. It was a bit stupid of them to also be selling tickets on the door. It was so crowded that in my opinion there was a big health and safety risk. There appeared to be only one way in and one way out. I dread to think what would have happened if the building had to be evacuated rather quickly. Despite looking I could not even find the disabled access.
|Very crowded room for Building Borgen|
I managed to squeeze into the panel Building Borgen but not only did many of us have to stand, the microphones were not working properly (they had to share one between all of them), we were given headphones to use which didn’t really work as the background noise was awful and as it was standing room only my feet (and I am sure that I was not the only one) were killing me. I ended up leaving just as questions were being taken from the floor. If you were in screen 2 you could also hear what was being said in screen 3. The acoustics were appalling. The room was packed and even the overflow room was standing room only. Furthermore, the chairs were so closely set out together they were far to close to not only the screen but also the table where the actors were doing the Q & A.
There was supposed to be a Nordicana Expo. One could not consider what they had as being an expo. The space where the expo was could have quite easily held over a dozen stalls. Instead there were very few which in my opinion was really ridiculous. There was a stall selling official Nordicana souvenirs which were in my opinion rather over priced. One could also buy DVDs as well which was really good however, the set up was really badly organised. One could have easily walked away with as many of the DVDs as one would like without paying for them. The setup was appalling and there needed to be a lot more food stalls with a wider variety. There was a stall selling silver jewellery and whilst admittedly it was selling vintage items I was rather surprised that they had not bothered to bring with them items that members of the public could afford to buy. I mean in this day and age who could afford to pay £700 for a bracelet? I certainly wouldn’t. I would rather pay my mortgage. With all the space that they had there should have been a much larger number of stalls. The expo was a big disappointment. It was just not well organised. It lacked a buzz one would have expected but then again since there were hardly any stalls, I am not in the least bit surprised.
The queue for coffee was miles too long and at one stage the urns I understand were not working properly. I didn’t waste my time queuing up but instead went across the road to the boutique coffee shop just across the road. Thank God for Nude Coffee the brilliant coffee shop just a couple of minutes from where it was taking place. Trestle tables were used for seating in the main area where people were expected to hang around but it gave off the impression that you were sitting outside in a beer garden on a very cold day.
It was also bloody cold!!! I spent part of the time trying to stop my teeth from chattering and tapping my feet to keep them warm. Even with the few heaters dotted around the venue it was hard to keep warm.
The way the events were scheduled left a lot to be desired. People just tended to stay in
screening room they were in for the next event so it was not easy to get
in. They seriously need to relook at the
way they schedule events. Maybe they
should consider selling tickets for each individual event. That way they could also put a cap on the
number of tickets that can be sold in relation to the number of people that can
attend each panel. It was definitely a case of good PR and over exposure. They clearly were unable to deliver. Events over lapped so at times if you wanted
to go to one event you had to miss for example the last 10 to 15 minutes of the
|Picture by Sarah Ward|
You also actually had to buy signing tickets to get books signed. That is ridiculous and stupid. It is the first time I have ever heard this happening. There was also a lottery where some got priority to meet the actors etc.
Even the programme had a big mistake. Whoever proof read the programme failed to stop a glaring error. On page 11 where there was a map it stated that Nordicana was taking place between 15 June & 16 June 2013!
One must give credit to the actors and authors that were there who made the most of a bad situation.
Lots of people have asked for refunds. In my opinion the event was not worth the cost of the ticket. They would be as I have said earlier better off selling individual tickets for individual events.
I don’t think it would do the organisers of Nordicana any harm to look at how other events are organised for example.
If you don’t believe me have a look at the NordicanaUK Facebook page especially where Arrow Films have issued an apology and read some of the comments yourselves.
Would I go again? I don’t think so unless the event has a radical overhaul. It was the worst event I have ever been to in years and it is disappointing that one has to say so. I couldn’t even be bothered to turf myself out of bed to attend the second day even though there were a couple of films that I wanted to see as I had been unable to do so on the first day. Happening events who managed the event have a lot to answer along with Arrow Films.
I do hope that Pan Macmillan will also seriously consider as to whether or not they want to continue to be involved in Nordicana again especially after the way it was organised this year. It certainly wouldn't do their credentials any good to be associated with such a mismanaged event.
A big disappointment all round.
Pictures © Ayo Onatade (Unless stated)