LIKE MANY foreigners in Finland, Tonislav Hristov came here to follow his heart. In love with his Finnish wife, he settled down, learned Finnish, and began a filmmaking career. Then disaster struck. The breakdown of his five-year marriage led to a “tragicomic” period of dating and soul-searching documented in Sinkkuelämän Säännöt (“Rules of Single Life”), in which Hristov and his single immigrant friends try to get back in the saddle and sort out their love lives. The film won best documentary at the Sofia International Film Festival this year and is out now on DVD in Finland. We spoke with Hristov on the phone from his native Bulgaria – where he is tying the knot a second time.
There’s really nothing that can beat an ice cream – or is there?
What has been a hit for quite few years over in the States and other European cities has finally landed in Finland as well. Introducing: frozen yogurt. Now, yes, it has been available from the supermarket freezers before and there have even been the odd stalls at markets that may have provided a taster of its goodness, but the very first permanent frozen yogurt shop Kippo now stands at Iso Roobertinkatu in Helsinki.
GETTING together 10-12 June, Helsinki’s 4th annual Bassline Festival makes a welcome return to the busy summer calendar, with a packed programme spilling across four locations around town.
Taking place at Sinebrychoff Park, Mbar terrace, Lasipalatsi Square and outside the front of Kiasma, the three-day festival carries a very palatable price tag for punters: everything on offer is free.
Things get started on Friday afternoon with what has quickly become a tradition for the festival, with the hotly-anticipated skateboarding Best Tricks Contest in front of Kiasma from 16:00-20:00.
Juhannus, or Finnish Midsummer, is a time when the cities traditionally empty out and Finns flock en masse for bonfire and alcohol-fuelled revelry at cottages in the countryside. Since many of Finland’s roughly half a million part-time leisure residences also go without bourgy mod cons like running water or electric stoves, it’s also generally a time to get back to an older way of life: chopping firewood, pumping well water and, erm, emptying the outhouse. But if you’re one of the many without access to a cottage or, moreover, someone who doesn’t consider backbreaking menial tasks of the Iron Age an ideal way to spend a holiday, all is not lost. Helsinki celebrates Midsummer in its own more urban way nonetheless.
Helsinki Pride, the largest event in Finland to promote tolerance and equality with sexual orientation, takes place across the capital at the end of June. The weeklong event will cover issues of human rights and diversity of love – along with a number of concerts and hard partying, no doubt.
The event is most visible on Saturday 2 July, when the colourful Pride parade takes off from the Central Railway Station. Despite the unfortunate hate crime attacks last summer, a huge number of people are expected to gather together in the name of equality. The parade ends up in Kaisaniemi Park where the crowd is entertained by PMMP and the Martina Aitolehto dance group.