Dynamite, dames and hard cider. Two buddies from the fjord that God forgot work hard to play even harder.
I had just returned from a month-long holiday that had taken me through the Southern, Northeastern and Midwestern United States. My first assignment back home took me to the heart of the Norwegian Midwest. There are some similarities between these places. But mostly differences.
There are no flat fields. Instead, fjords give way to mountains that rise to glaciers and plateaus. There are no cities and no highways but country roads and small towns. People here aren’t godfearing as much as God is afraid of them. Okay, that might be a bit much, but there are some tough folks in the Hardanger district. Yes, meet Joar and Lothepus.
They grew up in Sørfjorden, infamously known as the fjord that God forgot. They started operating excavators while still in elementary school. They love dynamite, they talk thrash and they drink hard cider straight from the jerry can. They call themselves fjord cowboys and from early next year they will be the stars of a TV-show exploring and celebrating Norwegian macho culture.
I spent a weekend in their company producing promotional pics for the show. This included travelling the fjord in a 90-year-old fishing vessel saluting weddings with dynamite and spending the rest of the day drinking and partaking in competitive spitting of sweet cherry stones (national record is 14.24 metres. We didn’t come close).
Come Sunday, I was still missing the crucial horseback cowboy shot, which left us with no choice but to chase down the good guys who’d gone into hiding in hope of dealing with their hangovers in solitude. No such luck of course, and soon enough we were traversing a ridiculously steep and narrow mountain road in search of horses. Horses and one hell of a rain shower, that is. You can’t expect it not to rain when you’re dealing with hung over bareback-riding of previously unridden horses, a film crew with expensive equipment and your only way down has the potential to turn into a mud slide.