Copenhagen 1/4 - Hookers and Hipsters - Ben Cherry

Disclaimer - This is far away from my usual work published on this site but my website is the best current platform for the creative partnership between my good friend and journalist, Joel Watson, who wrote this piece, and myself documenting our endeavours. 


“Denmark, it’s full of perverts.” That was my conclusion after being in Copenhagen for a couple of hours.

We arrived in the Danish capital mid-afternoon after a two-hour flight from Luton and set about getting lost almost immediately. Copenhagen’s central station is a quick train ride from the airport which went smoothly enough. But once there, we managed to walk around a mile in smaller and smaller concentric circles until we found the hostel we were staying at 100 yards away from the station’s entrance.

Along the way we saw old, homeless-looking men selling pills to other old, homeless-looking men right at the station’s steps, and we walked past an eyebrow-raising array of sex shops and strip bars. The shop windows displayed an impressive selection of male appendages and the ‘gentleman’s clubs’ offered us champagne and dancers to the early hours.

Later it transpired that I’d booked us a hostel smack bang in the middle of the red-light district. We worked out as much when a pair of prostitutes sexually assaulted us on our way to the shop that evening. More on that later.

We had some time to kill before we could check into our room so we dumped our bags and went off in search of coffee. Quickly we found ourselves on a road that contained a length of hipster-looking cafes that ran alongside the old meatpacking district.

It was all very Shoreditch and the shelves were lined with board games, cycling paraphernalia and random decorative tat. We paid something close to a house deposit for two small coffees and played cards until we were allowed into our room. After checking in, we met a friendly traveller who offered to show us to a wine bar that was supposedly having its happy hour. Sadly he was misinformed and the three of us ended up paying 10 pounds a glass for some, admittedly very nice, Argentine plonk.

Not disheartened, we linked up with another resident at the hostel and the four of us went out in search of food. We ventured into the meatpacking district that sits next to the quayside in the Sydhavnen district of Copenhagen. It’s a warren of squat, white warehouses that now hosts a bustling collection of restaurants and bars.

The skies were beginning to darken so we dashed into a place called Juicy Burger and found a seat at a big slab of wood parked in the centre of the small restaurant.

It was a single, open-plan room with the food being cooked all of 10 yards away from our table. There was an air of a family get-together at the place as the staff bustled around us at the table and random elements of the meal arrived at different times. The burgers were reasonably priced and fantastic, the beer was cheap and the waitresses were very agreeable.

The heavens opened as we walked out the door so we dashed back to the hostel after picking up a few cans from a corner shop on the way. We killed the evening playing table-football and typically, our English pairing was spanked off the table by the international duo.

As we returned to the corner shop to re-supply and discuss foosball tactics, we were apprehended by a pair of women that had been lurking on the street corner. Mine stopped my progress by grabbing a handful of my crotch and yelling at me in a rather un-seductive way. We managed to persuade them that we had no money left - basically true thanks to the beer prices - and carried on down the street.

One of the women saw her chance the second we turned our backs on them and promptly tried to ram her umbrella handle up my arse. It was a strange tactic to attract more business, and I couldn’t help but feel the whole thing might have been more exciting had she not attacked with such gusto. “Denmark,” I said to Ben as I limped away, “it’s full of perverts.”

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