A Grapevine service announcement Pay attention: Holuhraun, still spewing lava. Bárðarbunga, still sinking.
Bouncing Back

Bouncing Back

Published August 10, 2012

Last Wednesday was a sad, sad day in Iceland. Our esteemed handball team lost to Hungary in the quarterfinals during second overtime. This required us to rewrite four articles in this issue as we rushed to print, which just goes to show how excited and confident people were about taking home Iceland’s fifth ever Olympic medal. Alas it didn’t pan out.
I’ll admit that I wasn’t nearly as upset as my fellow countrymen were when it was over, but then I grew up in Southern California where handball was just something that you played in elementary school—a playground game that involved bouncing a ball against wall, with moves called “babies” and “waterfalls.”
At least we’re good at something though, and at least that something is a bit cooler sounding than trampoline, which became an Olympic sport in 2000. Just imagine if we were all rallying behind Iceland’s trampoline stars, and if the president had told TIME magazine last week that our country had bounced back from the financial crisis and that the art of trampoline had something to do with it.
People are always eager to ask about the Icelandic economy when I go back to the States and I’m never really sure what to tell them. Of course there are all kinds of numbers to cite—unemployment, inflation, GDP, etc.—but since I moved here in 2009, changes in these numbers have never really translated to changes in day-to-day life for me.
It’s easy to overlook things that don’t directly impact our lives. Most of us, for instance, probably don’t think about the fact that there are many people who can’t play handball or trampoline—let alone walk—and they at least deserve to live in a city that is accessible to them. As the country rebuilds, its citizens must think about this.
As Cory Weinberg and Byron Wilkes point out in this issue’s feature “You Can’t Always Go Downtown,” Reykjavík isn’t exactly the most accessible of cities. Ponder this: were an alien anthropologist to visit us, he or she would probably deduce, based on the signs on bathroom doors and parking spaces, that we are a population consisting of three types: men, women and the wheelchair-bound—the latter being genderless.
For that segment of our population, it will be a fine, fine day when, for instance, wheelchair accessible bathrooms aren’t located at the top of a long flight of stairs and soap dispensers aren’t placed out of reach.


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You Probably Just Want To Read About The Eruption, Huh?

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The biggest news from Iceland these days is undoubtedly the eruption. Of course it’s not everyday that a volcano erupts. But it’s hardly a once-in-a-lifetime event either. Holuhraun is actually the fourth Icelandic volcano to erupt in the last four years, and it’s been hurling lava for nearly a month now. Sprawled across three seats on a half-empty flight back to Iceland shortly after the latest eruption began, I found myself wondering if it was an unusually slow day for travel or if the eruption was scaring people off. The Eyjafjallajökull eruption certainly showed the world that our volcanoes are

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Halló, I’m Back!

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I went on a vacation last month. It was wonderful. I left the country. I spent very little time sitting behind a computer. I stopped following Icelandic news. I browsed our website and Facebook a few times. It was really wonderful. I tuned out (and all but turned on, tuned in, dropped out). To say that nothing much happened while I was gone would be an understatement. The Icelandic media seems to be in shambles (turn to page 16 for the scoop on that). The office ate Thai food last print week (we usually subsist on burgers and pizza). They

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Free Pink Street Boys Album! Free Editorial! Free Love!

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Here is a short editorial, inspired by the late, great Bill Gates and his vision, which continues to warm our hearts and our thighs through our pockets, via sturdy, glowing Gorilla Glass: Here’s to the volcanos. The eruptions. The shaking moneymakers. The ones who remind the world that, yes, we exist. While some may see them as extremely dangerous and not to be trifled with, we see them as tremendous opportunities for market expansion, advanced brand awareness building and vast merchandizing profits. Because the people who are arrogant enough to shamelessly exploit potentially catastrophic events, are the ones who make bank.

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I CHOOSE TREASON

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I just signed up to become a founding member of Fylkisflokkurinn (“The County-Party”), which has the stated purpose and sole platform of campaigning for Iceland to re-join Norway and become its twentieth county. I was the 573rd Icelander to do so according to the would-be political party’s website (fylkisflokkurinn.is), while the Facebook group that launched it currently lists over 4,600 members (many of them very enthusiastic!) and counting. Proponents of Iceland’s independence might call me a traitor to the country that bore me—they might even go so far as to accuse me of treason. And I won’t lie: I felt

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A Growing Divide?

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It’s that time of year again, when everybody is talking about everybody else’s salary. “Did you see? Grímur Karl Sæmundsen [CEO of the Blue Lagoon] makes 6.2 million per month [645,000 USD per year],” someone will say. “Wow, Davíð Oddsson [Editor of daily newspaper Morgunblaðið and former Prime Minister and head of the Central Bank] makes 3,3 million per month [345,000 USD per year],” another will say. “Did you see how grossly underrepresented women are amongst the top earners?” It might sound strange to foreign readers, but Icelanders’ salaries come under scrutiny every July, when income tax data becomes publicly

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Welcome To Our Sixth Annual Best Of Issue

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As we were accenting the í’s and crossing the ð’s of our annual ‘Best of Reykjavík’ issue, a Facebook friend of Reykjavík Grapevine’s threw a bit of criticism our way that absolutely bears mention and further discussion. In response to one of the many “what’s the best X” in Reykjavík inquiries we posted last week, specifically one regarding sushi (“Have you been to Sushisamba? Is it the best sushi in Reykjavík? Why/why not?”), one of our FB friends wrote the following: “This is getting quite boring. I remember the days when RG was full of interesting articles on social issues

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