Name? Birgir Örn Thoroddsen Where are you from? Err…. I’m from the City of Árbær. What are you doing? I’m going to the opening of Paul McCarthys & Jason Rhoads’s art show; The Sheep Plug. It’s at gallery Kling & Bang. Two days. It’s unspoiled nature. No, wait, we fucked that up already. Then it’s…hum…ahh.. The clean and unpolluted air we breathe here. What is wrong with Iceland? Public paralysis, the population’s inability to protest against anything (see page 6 for some helpful pointers -ed.) What’s your favourite spot in Reykjavík? The spot where you can see over all of Reykjavík when you drive down Ártúnsbrekka. What can Iceland learn from the outside world? It can get more variation from the outside world. What can Iceland teach the outside world? We can teach the world how to respect other people. Well, no, I forgot how we behave in the weekends. Let’s say we can teach the world how to make the present blend in with nature. Where would you prefer to live? In Reykjavík.
While tourism has certainly been playing a critical role in bolstering Iceland’s economy, like any market force, it is not without its rippling effects. Property owners hoping to cash in on the tourism gravy train are finding it far more lucrative to rent to tourists than locals, as those on vacation will often anticipate having to drop a month’s rent on a few days or weeks of lodging. Unsurprisingly, this new trend effectively drives up rental prices to a point where many locals find they can no longer afford apartments in their neighbourhoods—while others are asked to vacate their homes
According to the Mexican Embassy in Denmark, there are currently 50 Mexicans living in Iceland. That’s enough people to fill a decent party. Maybe. Indeed, those 50 Mexicans only amount to roughly .00004% of Mexico’s population, and a mere .01% of the admittedly sparser Icelandic populace. However, considering how far removed Iceland is from Mexico—geographically and culturally—that number becomes a little more impressive. 50 Mexicans. In Iceland. Who are they? How did they get here? What inspired them to seek their fortune on a remote rock on the outskirts of the North Atlantic? And, most importantly, how are they adapting
During her childhood in Flói, a small rural area in Southwest Iceland, author Unnur Jökulsdóttir grew up with stories of the Hidden People. “My grandmother who was born and raised in the north had a great deal of affection for elves and Hidden People,” she writes in her book “Hefurðu séð huldufólk?’ (‘Have You Seen Hidden People?’). “On New Year’s nights, we’d sometimes stand together looking out the window, in the hopes of seeing the elves travelling. Sometimes, I stared so long out into the darkness that I thought I saw the sparkling hooves of the elf-horses and the glittering
In early 2014, we at Reykjavík Grapevine were forwarded a hand-drawn image entitled “Huldufolk [sic] of Iceland Remote Viewed.” The simple line drawing surrounded by redacted text was rather unlike any images of huldufólk that we had ever seen, a not at all humanoid, almost tentacled figure that appeared to be projecting some sort of light. And although not all (or maybe any) of us were terribly convinced by the drawing and its accompanying ”conclusions” (opaque statements such as “Partially amorphous cortical homunculi (sensory)”), we enjoyed it enough to share the image on our Facebook page. Well, it turns out
Wow! How awesome was Reykjavík Pride this year? I mean, did you see Páll Óskar’s glittering swan? A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. It is estimated that over 90,000 took to the streets of Reykjavík for Pride 2014, to celebrate diversity and show support for all people. “This year’s Pride was a fabulous mix of celebration, education and a powerful reminder of the work that still needs to be done regarding LGBTQI issues,” says Eva María Þórarinsdóttir Lange, Chair of Reykjavík Pride. “The parade was a meaningful glitter bomb!” Yup, for this edition of Pride, the sun was shining (thanks for coming out, sun!), spirits
Come August, Gerður Kristný, one of Iceland’s most celebrated contemporary authors, will be leaving the desolate, volcanic landscapes of Iceland for the vast cornfields of Iowa in order to participate in the prestigious International Writing Program at the University of Iowa. This unique ten-week residency programme brings together a diverse group of accomplished writers and poets from around the world for a chance to network, write, collaborate, lecture, and discuss current trends in world literature. This opportunity marks an exciting new chapter in Gerður´s career, especially as her global reputation and commercial success continue to grow. We spoke to Gerður