Backyard Babies

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August is your last chance to see the cavalcade of classic Icelandic films that have been playing at Bíó Paradís…

Our New Government: Uniting The Left?

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At least our new government is wasting no time. You have to give them that. First, destroy public radio and…

The Return Of Iceland’s Bell

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Ask Icelanders about the bad old times under Danish rule and they will probably tell you about how the Danes…

Grapevine Milestones

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FIRST SUMMER The first issue was published on June 13, 2003. As the reader should know by now, we publish…

Back To Normal

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“I haven’t smoked a cigarette since 1995, but I am going to have one now,” says a woman at an…

What Most People Call Hell, We Call Home

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Tom Cruise is slowly strangling himself in some post-apocalyptic desert landscape. Yes, we are watching ‘Oblivion,’ a dystopian future film…

What Can Obama Teach Us About Icelandic Politics?

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The election of Barack Obama in 2008 gave us all hope. Not only was he the first black American president,…

Why Is The Independence Party So Popular?

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According to the polls, the conservative Independence Party seems to have regained all the ground it lost in the wake…

Svavar Knútur: Ölduslóð

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Despite (or perhaps because of) his sometimes aching sentimentality, Svavar Knútur is one of the more able English language lyricists…

Jónas Sigurðsson and Luðrasveit Þorlákshafnar: Þar sem himinn ber við haf

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Jónas knows how to open albums in a kick-ass manner and “Hafsins Hetjur” (“Heroes of the Sea”) is no exception….

Growing Old, French Style

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The magic is gone, but once upon a time things were better. Perhaps this is a natural conclusion for filmmakers…

Making Sense Of The Past, Perhaps

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“How do I define history? Well, it’s just one fucking thing after another,” says a character in Alan Bennett’s play…

A Misspent Star Wars Childhood

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As I sit down in Harpa’s Eldborg hall to listen to the Iceland Symphony Orchestra play the music from Star…

What’s So Super About Supergroups?

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There was a time when supergroups walked the Earth. Their first recorded appearance dates back to the late ‘60s, and…

An Oldie But Goodie

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There is something about the strange and perverse mind of director Hrafn Gunnlaugsson that makes him ideally suited to deal…

Waiting For Bobby Fischer

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Bobby Fischer was late as usual. Apart from playing chess rather well and not liking Jews very much, it was…

So What Are Icelanders Really Like, Then?

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“Dissecting the psyche of a nation is a daunting task. It is also doomed to failure.” So begins Alda Sigmundsdóttir’s…

High Hopes For Húsavík

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The northeast of Iceland has been steadily growing in popularity as a tourism destination, and small wonder, as it has…

Love In The Time Of War

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Aside from the bombing of the oil tanker El Grillo, whose hulk can still be found lying at the bottom…

Mike Pollock: Universal Routes

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Something of a legend on the Reykjavík scene since the punk era, Mike Pollock seems to stake his claim as…

Talk Of The Town

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“Everybody loves a winner, so nobody loved me,” croons Tony Bennett from the stage of Harpa’s Eldborg Hall. “I do,”…

Enemies Of Iceland

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For as long as anyone can remember, any major or minor celebrity who set foot in Iceland has been given…

All Is Weill With Sigríður Thorlacius

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Café Rósenberg is to music what Bíó Paradís is to movies. It is somewhere the enthusiast can go to really…

Another Side Of The God Of Thunder

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The Norse gods have certainly made their mark on popular culture. Just look at last year’s ‘Thor’ or this year’s…

GP!: Elabórat

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No, it’s not the soundtrack to a Spanish-language version of a Sacha Baron Cohen film, but rather the first solo…

Hörður Torfa: Eldsaga, Loftsaga and Jarðsaga

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The album series “Vitinn” shows singer-songwriter Hörður Torfa in various stages of life. ‘Loftsaga’ (“Air Story”) from 2004 shows him…

The Faroe Islands: Neither Iceland, Nor Scotland, Nor Even Denmark

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“It’s not Scotland, it’s not Iceland. The Faroe Islands have embraced me. It’s kind of in the middle. Like Sc-iceland….

Putting The Green In Greenland

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Surely Eiríkur Rauði, Eric the Red, must be one of the more Viking of the Vikings. Banished from Norway for…

“I Have Never Written A Love Song”

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“My heroes were the poet Steinn Steinarr and the drummer John Bonham,” says singer-songwriter Bjartmar Guðlaugsson who at 60 can…

From The US Army to Army of Me

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The US Naval Air Station in Keflavík, which operated for 55 years before closing in 2006, has cast a long…

Prog ‘Til You Drop

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When Manfred Mann’s Earth Band takes the stage, they open, not unsurprisingly, with Bruce Springsteen’s “Spirit in the Night.” The…

Sunday Morning Coming Down

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Ever had one of those Sundays when you feel wiped out and you’re not sure whether to go to an…

Go To Bió Paradís

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Bíó Paradís is a welcome oasis in that barren wasteland of American teenflicks that is the Icelandic cinema scene. We…

GRM: Þrjár stjörnur

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The three stars of the album are as known for their quality song writing as they are for their unconventional…

Rúnar Þórisson: Fall

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‘Fall’ is so laid back that one hardly notices that the singer arrives a song too late. When he finally…

Gímaldin And Friends: ‘Þú ert ekki sá sem ég valdi’

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Rock ‘n’ Roll has long had an infatuation with addiction, and many odes have been composed to various forms of…

All Tomorrow’s Parties

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So, will the Icelandic government survive yet another Grapevine deadline? Probably, but its chances of re-election are looking increasingly grim….

A Watergate Of Our Own

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The Watergate scandal was both a low point and a high point in American politics. The downside was that the…

Problems In The Eurozone

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One of the challenges of covering a film festival is finding a unifying theme. Sure, most of the films here…

It Was Twenty Years Ago Today

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Some decades arrive late, in a pop cultural sense at least. The ‘50s started in 1955 with the simultaneous advent…

Is The Government About To Collapse?

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In many countries, the above question might lead to pundits punditing and even stock markets crashing. In Iceland, the possibility…

Hope Is Like A Dog Bitten By A Sheep

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Multi-Instrumentalist and songwriter Gímaldin recorded in Russia for a while, but is now back at home among friends, some of…

Iceland As It Should Be

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“Is he Swiss?” asks a person in the back row. “No, I think he‘s Estonian,” replies another. The man on…

The Meeting That Almost Changed Everything

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It was the second most important event to take place in Iceland during the Cold War. However, it could easily…

The True Cost Of The Cold War

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Born in the mid-seventies, I probably belong to the last generation to have a clear memory of the Cold War….

Back To Elves, Then

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In a recent issue of Time Magazine, columnist Joel Stein talks about how he helped Iceland rewrite its constitution by…

Bjartmar og Bergrisarnir: Skrýtin Veröld

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The ‘80s were, perhaps surprisingly, something of a golden age for Icelandic pop lyrics. Socially conscious, verbally biting artists competed…

The Amazingly Accurate Relationship Checkup

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The Icelandic dating scene might at first seem like one gigantic free-for-all. But as any sociologist worth his salt will…

Are Icelanders Americanized? Really?

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With their propensity for obesity and economic mismanagement, one could be forgiven for thinking of the Icelanders as little Americans….

Killer Volcanoes: A Comparative History

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Which country starting with the letter ‘I’ has caused the most international havoc due to volcanic eruptions in the modern…