Part of an occasional series in which Spank The Monkey travels to foreign countries, watches films in unfamiliar languages, and then complains about not understanding them
Like any regular business traveller, I have a checklist that I work through whenever I enter a new hotel. Does the room have tea and coffee making facilities? Is there enough soap in the shower? Are the tissues within arm’s reach of the bed? Once I’ve confirmed all those, it’s time to turn on the TV to get a quick overview of the local culture, in what I’ve only just realised is a smaller-scale and cheaper version of what I regularly do here in Monoglot Movie Club.
On my first night in Oslo, I was already slightly on edge after I discovered that my hotel failed on all three points on the checklist. And then I started watching the TV. Of the 13 channels available in my room, all of them bar one were showing English language programmes with subtitles. By the time I’d found out that the most interesting thing on telly that week was a subtitled episode of Monty Python’s Flying Circus, I had to wonder: if there’s so little Norwegian language material on television, what must Norway’s cinemas be like?