Archive for March, 1981


Issue 1/1981 | Archives online, Fiction, poetry

Introduction by Pekka Tarkka

Wind’s whistling through Europe’s windows

In the moonlight
when the mirrors are screeching
cold light, a silvery curse
the newsreel breaks loose, gallops
the window pane into blackness

Wind’s whistling through
Europe’s windows, the sky’s
full of flying Pickwick Club papers

Just a moment

International terror’s
switchboard diagram: the transistors
are hijacking the plane More…

On Arto Melleri

Issue 1/1981 | Archives online, Authors

Arto Melleri

Arto Melleri, 1982. Photo: Pekka Turunen.

Arto Melleri (born 1956) is an experimenter, and, though still young, has lready explored a vanety of forms. He made an unusual start by writing, early in the 1970s, for a series called Kontakti-kirjat (‘Contact Books’): these were intended for a teenage audience and consisted of short stories and confessions written by young people. It is possible Melleri now feels some embarrassment at this debut. It did, however, get him off to an early start in poetry, and his first volume, Slaageriseppele (‘A bouquet of hit-tunes’, 1978) contains a faintly nostalgic piece about a teenage boy who churns out poems for the local newspaper in Ostrobothnia and collects his pittance for them.

Melleri is also involved in the theatre. He has studied at the Finnish School of Drama, and worked as dramaturg in the Finnish Radio Theatre. Together with Jukka Asikainen and Heikki Vuento, he wrote the script of the play Pete Q, which was a big hit in the summer of 1978, when it was performed by a scratch fringe group of actors bored with the conventional theatre with some gifted young drama students, and directed by the talented young Arto af Hällström. It is an avant-garde play, cutting through the current theatrical shibboleths, and establishing the point of view of the new theatrical generation. More…

Master of Satire

Issue 1/1981 | Archives online, Authors

Henrik Tikkanen

Henrik Tikkanen. Photo: Schildts & Söderströms

Henrik Tikkanen (born 1924) comes of a cultured Swedish-speaking family: his father was an architect, his grandfather an eminent art historian. But it is not only linguistically that Tikkanen belongs to a minority: in a land famous for epic he expresses himself in epigram and satire; in a land of lakes and forests he is an unashamed city-lover; in a land addicted to military virtues he stands out as a pacifist; in a land of books he writes for the newspapers. And in one of his autobiographical novels he confesses that he lacks the sentimental streak that motivates everything that is ever done in Finland.

For a Finnish author, Tikkanen has an exceptionally close relationship with the daily press. He earned his living as a working journalist, initially with Hufvudstadsbladet, the leading Finnish newspaper in Swedish, and later with Helsingin Sanomat, the biggest of the Finnish papers. After serving in the war it became his ambition to be Finland’s ‘best and only’ newspaper artist: he certainly achieved it. As a columnist and documentary feature writer who is at the same time a brilliant wit and coiner of epigrams, and who illustrates his own text, he still has no equal; indeed it would be hard to think of anyone who could even rank as a competitor. More…

The Last War Hero

Issue 1/1981 | Archives online, Fiction, Prose

An extract from 30-åriga kriget (‘The Thirty Years’ War’). Introduction by Markku Envall

First he heard the noise.

It was an unfamiliar noise and therefore doubly dangerous. Viktor grabbed his machine-pistol. It was a sputtering noise, like that of a cracked machine-gun. But it came from above. And what came from above could be dangerous, Viktor knew.

Then he saw the helicopter, flying just above the tree-tops. He had never seen a helicopter before. Nor had he ever seen the circular markings carried by the aircraft as a sign of the nationality. More and more nations were getting involved, he had had a visit from an American, for all he knew this might be a plane from Australia. The Russians must be in a tight corner if they had to keep sending their allies into the firing line.

He bitterly regretted having let the American sergeant get away.

Now they were after him in real earnest. It must have been the Yankee who had sent them.

Viktor directed a long burst of fire at the plane, which was now hovering almost motionless in the air, like a bee over a flower. The bullets shattered the roboter blades, splinters flew in all directions, and the helicopter dived at a steep angle and plunged into the lake. Viktor leapt to his feet and shouted “Hurrah!” and proceeded to execute a gleeful victory dance. He had shot down an enemy aircraft. More…