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(Danish: "Den gik ikke, Granberg!")

A popular saying in Denmark, a typical expression of Københavnervid (Copenhagener wit, that particular brand of dry humour typical of Copenhagen), implying the spectacular, public, and above all amusing failure of a grandiose plan.

The saying arose on July 26, 1857, when the Swedish balloonist Victor Granberg (who had embarrassingly failed in another attempted ascent, a fortnight before) suffered an ignominious failure to ascend with his balloon.

The ascent was planned to take place from the square in the middle of Christiansborg, the seat of the Danish parliament, the Rigsdag. However, Granberg's balloon showed no particular inclination to rise, and when it finally did, it lodged itself in the awnings of the roof of Christiansborg's stables. Granberg was forced to abandon the balloon and crawl across the roof to safety.

Amid the catcalls and general cries of amused derision, one Copenhagener drily added his summation: "It didn't work, Granberg!" - and that sentence became a fixture in the language, as a general catchphrase.

Poor old Victor Granberg. Show business can be such an unforgiving career. He had a single bad day, a century-and-a-half ago, and people are still making fun of him...

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