Elias Gould on the Linnanmäki rock

I grew up in Kumpula in Helsinki – an idyllic, green district far from the troubles of the world. As an upper secondary student, I moved to Kallio, the home of Helsinki’s chattering classes. I used to view Helsinki as a backwater, but when I visit major European cities such as Berlin or Barcelona I can see that Helsinki is up there with the best of them. It’s great to see Helsinki hold its own against a place like Berlin. The only thing missing is two-euro kebabs. My pride in Helsinki has grown and I want to tell the world that that’s where I come from.

I love Helsinki in the spring and the first sunny days after the winter in Kallio. The best thing about Helsinki is my own Helsinki, which I’ve discovered and been part of creating. It’s symbolised by the rocky mound at the Linnanmäki amusement park – a few summers ago I spent around 30 evenings sitting there, photographing the sunsets. Then I felt that I’d discovered my own piece of Helsinki, something that only I could do.

The most irritating aspect of Helsinki is its bureaucracy. It feels as though everything is banned and cool stuff is out of bounds. I’d like to see a more experimental culture, where we try things out and see how they went.

I’m extremely proud of Helsinki’s music scene, which is hugely rated elsewhere. Really big things are expected of the city’s music world. The city is also made special by its environment, where a bunch of people can get into something and just make it happen.

Locals want to see change and move things forward. A unique flame’s been lit here, unlike anything you will find anywhere else.

Text: Siiri Mäkelä
Picture: Topi Vanhatalo

P.S. Elias Gould is starring alongside Manuela Bosco in the film Night goes Long, shot across some 30 days in Helsinki during the late summer. We invited local residents to join the producers of the film, Uneton48, in writing the script and suggesting shooting locations. The film’s opening night was held at the Rakkautta&Anarkiaa festival. See http://www.48dayfilm.com/ for more details.