Book review: Wings of Desire: Learning To Fly. 2002 – 2012

ImageMore often than not, great dreams begin with small, almost accidental things and only after looking back we are able to notice a pattern that Destiny, or rather ourselves, creates for us. In Håvve’s case, it was coming across the *in*famous Modern Primitives book that so many of us interested in body modification also have on our bookshelves. The rest, one could say, is history.

All sorts of (hi)stories, however, possess the background; all of them are a process of slowly getting to the point you want to be at, building on your dreams and desires in order to fulfill your dreams. It’s never easy and it’s hardly ever happening right away. And that’s what this book is about – a moving account of how it happened that Håvve first learned how to fly himself only to move to the next stage of the process – sharing it with others.

If you have ever met Håvve, you know how active, omnipresent and caring he is. You also feel how much the guy knows about things he does and how intimidating it may seem to a newbie who just wants to try suspension for the first time. Here Håvve uncovers yet another face of his – this of an ignoramus making countless mistakes on his way to become a modern shaman and an ancient showman in one.

‘Learning To Fly’ is very honest! You can sense how both proud and humble Håvve is about his achievements (and achievements it is – having built from a scrap one of (if not) the best suspension teams in the world that keeps thriving no matter what obstacles they come across and are forced to tackle). He is humble enough to admit his past mistakes and his always present desire not only to grow his own wings but also to learn and develop in order to make suspending safer for those involved. At the same time he’s proud to show his readers where he came from, what he has done and become and what he would like to be!

Going through this book is also like discovering my own experiences anew! In the pictures selected for the book (all by Håvve’s sister, Helen, who is a wonderful photographer!) I could see people I met in the past, talked to and enjoyed their company. Here is Bena’s intense chest suspension and a few pages further down the book there’s this wonderful, intimate tandem suspension done by Bena and his wife Evelina who is such a great, kind person. There’s Rolf with his heavily tattooed body and countless piercings, a familiar face and yet still a man of mystery. There’s a statement from Peter, a Swedish guy whose love of and passion for suspension could move even the biggest enemy of the act. There are photographs filled with subtlety and fragility right next to pictures filled with humor and broad smiles despite the seemingly painful background of metal hooks and ropes. With every page you turn, you discover how differently you can look at and experience the act of suspension and you never even get to think in terms of ‘ouch’ as you are so filled with both awe and simple “WOW.”

For Håvve this book is probably a way to step back for a moment, to look back and see what he and his team has achieved and what else is yet to be done. For the readers of his book there are many more possibilities – we can just enjoy the beauty and uniqueness of ‘Learning to Fly,’ we can go through it and start (or keep) dreaming about trying it one day (or again), we can study people shown in here and wonder what it’s like to be in their place, we can learn from Håvve’s own lessons and prepare for our own big moment. Or we just can have fun and think how cool the whole concept is. It’s up to us how to read it but one thing is obvious – it’s a book to treasure and the efforts of the people involved are there to be appreciated.

Big thanks to Bastian for having given me a possibility not only to own the book but also to get back in time to the moment we met for the first time!

May the Fate have much pain joy and many hooks in our future! 😉

Havve Fjell, Wings of Desire: Learning to Fly. 2002 – 2012, PS Media 2012.