Cork City is said to be in the throes of one of its worst addiction epidemics of the last century, experts say.
With the arrival of yet another scandi-chic retailer in the city centre, the citizens of Cork have been shaken to their core and left helpless in the kitschy face of Scandinavian consumerism. Residents are said to be buying patterned boxes, with no obvious function or use, and nondescript pillows in their thousands.
One victim of this great plague upon our city, Anne Fahey, has even been left in major financial peril as a result of this nordic scourge. The Express spoke to Jack Fahey, Anne’s partner, who told of the devastating effect Anne’s scandi addiction has had on their family. Anne declined to be interviewed as she was too busy creating DIY pencil holders from salt-dough in the family’s ‘craft room’ (Jack tells me this is the family’s former utility room, which Anne now refuses to leave unless she has a desperate need for food and/or water).
“It started off innocent enough,” says Jack, “but soon, we couldn’t pay the heating bills, or the electricity bills, or the mortgage. She’d spend it all on fucking chairs.” He gestures to the 20 or so chairs scattered around the room, all in a curious shade of slate grey that seems to pervade the entire house, all with a uniquely shaped, yet eerily similar, pillow that has been carefully placed on each one.
I make my first tentative first steps towards communication with Anne. Jack tells me that she now speaks exclusively in a hybrid tongue of Danish and English. I point to the desk at the corner of the craft room, Anne smiles. “Skrivebord”, she says. I point at the chair, “stol!” she answers sheepishly, childlike; her English seems to deteriorate day by day, and endlessly, as all scandi-accidiction sufferers do, she speaks endlessly of hygge.
Hygge seems to be a word that strikes fear into the heart of Anne’s tortured husband. “Fucking Sandi Toksvig,” says Jack. “I had a handle on the IKEA addiction… even Tiger, I could limit her to buying a few crappy notebooks a week. But then came Sandi Toksvig and her fucking hygge. People need to realise that romanticising this isn’t cute, it isn’t funny…I’ve lost my wife because of it. We’ve lost our lives”
The grim effects of the contagion that is ‘The Danish Art of Cosiness’ are scarily evident in Anne. “When people think of hygge,” explains Jack, “they imagine this sort of idyllic scene of snug Danish firesides, fluffy socks, and cinnamon buns. Anyone who believes that that’s what hygge really is – I say, look at that,” he says as he gestures to his wife, who sits swaddled in a duvet at 2pm in the afternoon. Her face and hands are smeared with chocolate while she clutches a mug of some nefarious steaming beverage. In front of her lies the beginnings of yet another eye-wateringly shit decoupage project. She beams up at me, and though we lock eyes I feel as though she does not really see my face. “…Hygge,” she whispers.
Leaving the Fahey’s home, there is a heaviness to the air, and a feeling of a city under siege. Cork City Council has issued a statement on the current crises, saying that they are seeking to establish treatment centres around the city, and are planning to implement an awareness programme in secondary schools, too, with the hope that we may save our country from the same terrible scandi affliction that has plagued so many other anglophone nations the world over.