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Editorial: 101 REYKJAVÍK : THE CENTRE OF THE UNIVERSE, OF COURSE

Editorial: 101 REYKJAVÍK : THE CENTRE OF THE UNIVERSE, OF COURSE

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Published July 23, 2004

The centre of my world began at Sjafnargata, and slowly expanded to the shop on the next corner, the Einar Jónsson Museum, Hallgrímskirkja and one day all the way down to BSÍ bus stop. The expansion went on to incorporate Britain, Norway and would one day reach the far shores of China.

These days, a cramped seat, a meal in a plastic tray and a magazine is the distance between Reykjavík and London or Copenhagen. It can almost seem as if Iceland is just a stone’s throw from the actual bright centre of the universe. It´s only when exploring the more immediate surroundings, the Faroe Islands and Greenland, that you really get to appreciate the ridiculousness of living on this piece of stilted lava in the North Atlantic. And that to most people, 101 Reykjavík seems quite a long way off from the centre of the universe. Or anything at all.

In the past few weeks, I´ve been to both Greenland and the Faroe Islands, and met people to whom Kangerlusuuaq, Gata and yes, Heinesen’s Tórshavn, seemed in their early childhood to be all there was. It´s a shame how few Icelanders ever visit our neighbours, most opting to go to the big cities from where they can come back and impress their friends and relatives with fashions and opinions learnt from big city folk.

One of the most annoying traits of Icelanders is their hunger for earthly goods, for keeping up with the Joneses, of the constant need to impress others. Perhaps this is something we have learnt on our trips to big cities. Or perhaps this is just in the nature of a farming society recently made rich.

“Progress,” said a wise man, “is getting it right.” So in order to progress down the right path, we need to learn the right things from the outside world and let the wrong things be. Sadly, Icelanders have a habit of doing it the other way around.

One good example of progress, however, has been the attitude towards gays in this country. Thirty years ago, when the first high profile gay came out of the closet, his life was made so intolerable he had to leave the country. Today, Gay Pride is becoming one of the biggest family events in the country. Some attitudes still need to change, but a lot has been achieved, and on the 7th of August we will have the opportunity to celebrate it. Icelanders can deal with prejudice effectively. If only they would always do so.

This editition of Grapevine sees it growing to 40 pages. The new and enlarged edition will however be missed out on by our noble protectors on the base. Authorities there have stopped distribution of the paper to its troops. Is this because of criticism of the Bush regime? Of American foreign policy?

No, its because of an ad for a photo exhibition showing a Finnish man’s penis. Apparently our valiant heroes don´t like Finnish dongs dangled in front of their troops.

They also didn´t like a very old picture of Bubbi giving the finger next to the editorial. He´s been trying to get them out of there for years. This may be seen as an escalation.

Our paper has recently secured distribution in the Westman Islands and won´t stop its expansion there, but is moving on to the Faraoes. It has also been decided to continue publication on a monthly basis throughout the winter. I´ve said it before, but we´re always looking for material. If you have none to spare, at least you can do the ad department a favour and take part in the readers survey, to be found on our newly rehashed webpage on www.grapevine.is


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Listicle: A Survival Guide For The Darkest Months

Listicle: A Survival Guide For The Darkest Months

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In Reykjavík and beyond, there are some activities that are available only in the winter season. January can be made into a lively month, with a few ideas and a bit of willpower—never before has the frozen city pond looked as inviting, or a glögg by the open fireplace seemed so tempting. The hardest part is often deciding to do something and getting going, so push yourself to get out of the house and you’ll rarely regret it. Instead of dozing the morning away, you can flick on a SAD lamp, down some lýsi, pull on some colourful clothes, and

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SAD Times: The Effects Of Winter—And How To Fight Back

SAD Times: The Effects Of Winter—And How To Fight Back

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When I meet working psychologist and PhD student Erla Björnsdóttir, it’s already dark outside. Reykjavík’s streets are becoming treacherous as compacted snow freezes into sheets of slippery ice, and the streetlights have been lit for a couple of hours already, throughout the late afternoon. People clutch their hot drinks in the coffeehouse, and a barman lights candles on the tables. The atmosphere is tangibly hushed as the winter season hangs over the city. Around 101’s many downtown bars and cafes, sleep issues become a common topic of conversation at this time of year. Whilst some locals carry on as normal,

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A Tale Of Ice And Fire (But Mostly Wind… And Not Much Sun)

A Tale Of Ice And Fire (But Mostly Wind… And Not Much Sun)

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Icelanders are obsessed with the weather. That shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who’s ever been here: the weather is no joke. If you don‘t keep a close eye on forecasts and weather-related news, you might miss out on the few good days of summer, end up stuck somewhere in a snowstorm or—on rare occasions—drive right into the latest eruption’s ash cloud. In that spirit, we present some peaks and ebbs of 2014, as it pertained to our friendly in-house meteorological expert. Now, it would be a bit extreme to say that this was a good year for Iceland

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WHERE WERE WE? WHERE ARE WE? WHERE ARE WE HEADED?

WHERE WERE WE? WHERE ARE WE? WHERE ARE WE HEADED?

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To mark the beginning of a new year, we posed two questions to dozens of Icelanders, old and new. Representatives of every single political party, ministers, mayors and machinists alike (as per usual, the governing parties mostly ignored our queries). We asked them to tell us—in their own unique ways, from their own unique perspectives—what summed up the year 2014, and what they expected of the coming one. We asked them to answer the following: “Where are we now, at the end of 2014. Looking back, how did that journey begin, and where did it leave us?” “Furthermore: Where are

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Eight Inside Tips to Surviving the Icelandic Winter

Eight Inside Tips to Surviving the Icelandic Winter

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DARK ICELAND can be a total fucker to deal with, all Northern Lights and magical elves aside. So guess what: our man Ragnar put together a bit of a “listicle” to help y’all cope. Now, go forth and cope! Try the secret menu at Bangkok Ask for the “Thai Style” menu at Thai restaurant Bangkok in Kópavogur. Asian take-out in Iceland can be a pretty dismal affair, but it’s not entirely the fault of the restaurants—as Icelanders can’t seem to see past their love of soggy deep-fried shrimp with sweet-and-sour sauce. But if you know the magic word, they’ll serve

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Year In News: 2014

Year In News: 2014

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The year 2014 was chock-full of controversies, blunders, humour, and, of course, cat stories. So brew yourself a cuppa and make yourself comfortable—we have a lot to go through. JANUARY The year came out of the gate running, with television personality-cum-sports announcer Björn Bragi Arnarson remarking that Iceland’s dominant performance in a handball game against Austria was “like the German Nazis in 1938. We’re slaughtering the Austrians!” All the while, Icelandic brewery Steðji put slaughtered whales to good use, crafting the novel Þorri “Whale Beer,” which contains trace amounts of whalebone meal. And, in an attempt to harness the 40%

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