A group of Icelanders are aiming to have the country brought under the administration of the Norwegian government as “Norway’s 20th county”. The group in question, Fylkisflokkurin (“The County Party”), already has just over 1,200 members at the time of this writing. The group, formed by director of the National Center of Addiction Medicine (SÁÁ) and former Fréttablaðið editor Gunnar Smári Egilsson, purports in their mission statement that they aim for “the re-uninfication of Iceland and Norway”, wherein “the Norwegian government would constitutionally protect and promote Icelandic culture while Icelanders would enjoy all the same rights as Norwegians.” “Iceland is just too small to raise up talented politicians,” Gunnar elaborated. “It is also too small to raise and nurture properly talented people.” Gunnar also compiled a list of Icelandic institutions, and their costs in tax money, that could be brought under Norwegian administration and ease the financial burden they place on Iceland. The Icelanders who have joined the group have contributed to a lively discussion of the idea. Icelandic artist Jón Óskar speculated on what Iceland’s flag would look like. Another Icelander wondered if the Norwegians would accept Iceland as a 20th county, while Pirate Party MP Birgitta Jónsdóttir said she supports the idea and has in fact supported it “for a few years.” As many readers might know, most of the first settlers to Iceland hailed from Norway, and the two countries enjoyed a shared Nordic culture. Iceland was officially brought under the rule of Norway in 1262 until 1380, when the Danish-led Kalmar Union went into effect. No response from Norwegian officials has been reported at the time of this writing.
An ongoing labour dispute that has most directly affected the tourist industry has been resolved. The Air Mechanics Union of Iceland (FVFÍ) has signed a collective bargaining agreement with Icelandair ehf., Vísir reports. The new contract will be in effect until August 31, 2017. As reported, air mechanics have over the summer pushed for higher wages and better working conditions, culminating in temporary work shut-downs. While some of these work stoppages lasted no more than a few hours, this was enough to prompt the cancellation of flights during the height of tourist season. Interior Minister Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir proposed passing a law that would make the strikes illegal, citing the “public interest” as sufficient reason to prevent the air mechanics from walking off of the job. Air mechanics responded by cancelling a strike they had scheduled last month. In turn, Hanna Birna withdrew the parliamentary proposal. “We consider this the equivalent of pressuring actions on behalf of the government,” Maríus Sigurjónsson, the chairperson of the Air Mechanics’ Union negotiations team, told reporters at the time. “This is a very bad development for collective bargaining agreements, or for collective bargaining negotiations in general on the open market, if it is possible to toss out one group after another. It effectively makes it impossible to reach an agreement on the open market.”
Epidemiologists say that there are no examples of ticks in Iceland carrying either Lyme Disease nor tick-borne encephalitis (TBE). MBL reports that neither of these diseases have been reported to be present in ticks in Iceland. Nonetheless, the Directorate of Health has laid out some helpful tips about ticks and how to deal with them. The Directorate of Health advises the general public to acquaint themselves with what ticks look like and where they can be found. If venturing into tick-risk areas, a person should cover their skin as much as they can, using common bug repellent on exposed parts of the skin. Upon returning, it is advised to fully inspect yourself for ticks. If a tick is found, the directorate says, the safest way to remove it is with a pair of tweezers. Taking hold of the tick just under the mouth, pull the insect straight out of the skin. Avoid grasping the tick farther up or twisting it out, as this could cause the insect to vomit into the wound it has made and spread disease. Lyme Disease is not spread if the tick is removed within 24 hours. As reported, ticks are becoming so widespread in Iceland that even though they are a non-native species, they are in all likelihood here to stay.
This morning, we posted an amusing bit of news about a local designer, Sara María Júlíusdóttir, who observed an elderly man, which she claimed to be a tourist, pooping outside the boutiqe she manages, Kirsuberjatréð. “Tourist Poops Outside Storefront” proved quite the hit with you readers, providing plenty of clicks and ‘likes’ (537 and counting!) while asserting Reykjavík Grapevine’s position as the discerning reader’s highbrow publication of choice. However, some of our many Facebook friends took offense to Sara María’s assertion that the streetpooper in question was indeed a tourist. “How did she know for sure it was a tourist?” one alarmed commenter asked, while another took the story and accompanying Facebook post to be in line with this tourist publication’s long-standing tradition of “tourist blaming.” Here, see for yourself: Post by The Reykjavík Grapevine. Now, this is serious business. While our writers and staff enjoy poking fun of everyone: tourists, Icelanders, útlendingars, animals and various vegetables, we certainly don’t want to come off as if we’re unfairly framing people just for the sake of cheap laughs and 537 ‘likes’ (and counting!). We just took Sara María’s complaint about the incident at face value, and – perhaps keeping in mind last year’s story of the tourist bus operator who dumped an entire busload of poop on Selfoss. - thought we’d remind our wonderful visitors, many of whom seek information through our publication, that we have many fine facilities where one can rid oneself of bodily waste. Still. Our Facebook friends are right. We cannot unfairly accuse tourists of indiscriminately pooping on our downtown streets without even knowing for sure that the streetpooper in question was a tourist. Seeking to make amends and answer some of the more burning questions regarding the streetpooper and his alleged tourist-status, we called up Sara María in an attempt to uncover the truth of the matter. What follows is a lightly edited transcript of our conversation. Hi Sara. Let’s get right to business. How can you be so sure the pooper in question was a tourist? There is no doubt in my mind that this particular man was a tourist. I am 100% certain of the fact. Basically, this was a very elderly man dressed from top to bottom in tourist attire, every thread on his body just screamed that he was a tourist. He had a windbreaker tied around his waist, a fanny pack, and even an adorable little tourist hat. He kind of looked like he wandered off from a group of seniors. Did you confirm his touristdom by speaking to him? No. I didn’t. I was frankly a little too shocked to speak. But [co-worker] Dísa actually watched him drop trou and do his business – wiping and all – from the street. She looked as if she had seen a ghost. She was all pale. Eventually she regained her posture and went to go talk to him, to ask him to clean up his mess. And did she ask him? By this point,
If you were to read about Icelandic music in the press, then you’d be forgiven for thinking that all we listen to up here all day is a continuous loop of FM Belfast, Ásgeir, and Sigúr Rós, while employing secret cloning technology to keep our cultural industries stuffed full of post-rock non-entities and ethereal pop ninnies that sport woollen ponchos, face paint, and feather headdresses. Frankly that sort of stuff would send a sane person round the bend. Oh, but reader there are much wilder sounds on this Island if you know where to look! From black metal, to feminist punk, gothic post-punk, broken power electronics and incomprehensible music that sounds dredged from an elf’s arsecrack, Iceland has long fostered music that’s as belligerent as it is unconventional. And several strands of Icelandic fringe and DIY music will be coming together for NORÐANPAUNK, a three day music festival held the first weekend of August in a small village in the north of Iceland. With our interest already piqued at such a proposition, I talked to one of the organisers of the festival, Jonathan Baker, to find out what they’re up to. So Jonathan, can you tell us how Norðanpaunk came about? There were a few guys involved, but it was mainly Árni Þorlákur Guðnason [From the band Norn] who came up with the idea and has been the main driver of everything. He comes from Miðfjörður, where the festival is happening. He just wanted something to do over the Verslunarmannahelgi weekend in terms of having an event that would be playing extreme Icelandic music, from metal, to noise and electronics. There’s only really been the Mayhemisphere off-venue at Eistnaflug doing this in the past, and we’re looking to take that and the mentality behind that and make a festival out of it. Since Árni came up with the idea, how did you become involved? Árni simply asked me to help with the organising and logistics, as well as having our band MASS apply to play there. But as well as myself, you have the likes of Hilmar Kári Árnason, Tómas Ísdal [from the black metal band Carpe Noctem], Ægir Sindri Bjarnason [from the bands Logn, Klikk, Morð, and World Narcosis], and Krummi Björgvinsson [from the bands Legend and Döpur] involved as well. The festival is going to be held at Laugarbakki. What is it like there? I haven’t been there, but my girlfriend has. There’s really nothing there to be honest [laughs]! It’s a tiny village in the north with a small school nearby, but the festival is being held at a community centre that is be used for yearly get-togethers, such as Þorrablóts, weddings and other stuff. It turns out the owner/manager of the venue is the mother of a girl that Árni went to school with at Laugarbakki. She’s supper nice, laidback and has been so happy in supporting what we’ve doing here. In terms of facilities, what do they have there? Is there a Vínbuð [liquor store]
Vintage shopping can be one of the most thrilling life experiences for fashion lovers out there. Nothing compares to the joy and excitement of rummaging through a treasure trove of retro sunglasses or the pride and satisfaction of excavating the perfect ‘60s designer dress from under a pile of old sweaters. There is a ridiculous number of vintage shopping guides, lists and stories for almost every fashion-conscious city out there. Try typing, “Vintage shops in Paris” into Google. Now replace Paris with New York, Milan, London, Stockholm or Berlin and you’re going to be directed to thousands of different places to dig for old clothes. Now try Reykjavík, and you won’t come up with much. Yet, vintage shopping in Reykjavík is alive and well, according to Rakel Unnur Thorlacius, a fashion enthusiast who manages Spúútnik in Kringlan. “There are only a few stores, but they are all nice,” she says. “They’re not cluttered like vintage stores in other places.” Here is a list of Reykjavík’s vintage stores, and while Spúútnik wins ‘Best Vintage Store’ this year, the others also have their perks that make them the best in different ways. Best Overall Vintage Store Spúútnik Laugavegur 28b/Kringlan Spúútnik has to be every fashion lover’s dream come true. It has the widest selection of vintage clothing for all genders and ages. The best part of it all is that none of these gems are hidden! One glance into the store and you’ll easily be able to see the many wonders that Spúútnik has to offer. “Hmm,” Rakel pauses to think when describing Spúútnik’s typical customer. “All kinds of people of all ages. We have young girls from the age of 10 to old women buying dresses. Men come to the Kringlan store to buy plaid and denim shirts, but most of them go to our downtown store because there are more clothes for men there.” Spúútnik has its large variety of printed shirts, denim shorts, military jackets, sequined dresses, leather bags, and all other vintage items that you could be looking for arranged neatly in racks and shelves by the super stylish staff, making your vintage shopping experience as pleasant as it could possibly be. “We keep the store very organised,” Rakel says. “We have a very big warehouse where we keep our stock. We get lots, but we don’t bring everything into the store. We choose all the items very carefully.” Individual high-quality vintage pieces are carefully hand selected from the United States, France and the Netherlands and brought back to Iceland in perfect condition for the Spúútnik stores. “If the clothes have holes or tears, we can’t put them in the store. We have to make sure that everything is in very good condition,” Rakel says. The wide array of vintage goodies coupled with the comfortable and friendly shopping environment certainly makes Spúútnik the winner for the best overall vintage store in Reykjavík. Also, don’t forget to check out the summer and the kilo sale for some great deals! The