From Iceland — (In)Sane, Stay Inside: How To Keep Calm During The Second Wave

(In)Sane, Stay Inside: How To Keep Calm During The Second Wave

(In)Sane, Stay Inside: How To Keep Calm During The Second Wave

Published August 17, 2020

Valur Grettisson
Photo by
Eve Online

So how does one stay sane in the slowness of the second wave of COVID-19? To be honest, we have no idea, but that didn’t stop us from writing this guide. Whatever the solution is—good food, slapstick comedies, and aggressive metal can’t hurt.

Photo by Art Bicnick

Denial: Escapism & Food

If you feel like the smallness and homogeneity of Iceland is literally choking your soul in this brutal era, induce some radical escapism by re-organising your apartment into a Spanish villa—no, the Mexican sombrero is not allowed, you idiot—and ordering some mouth-watering Spanish paella and unearthly croquettes from Matur og Drykkur. Don’t worry, they do home delivery so you can stay safely distanced from others. Matur og Drykkur is a Grapevine favourite and actually a Michelin-starred restaurant, it just, well, *technically* needs a star. If you’re not convinced, this paella will convince you. I ate an entire pan last weekend and downed it with some sangria and an old Almodóvar movie.

Photo by Verði Ljós.

Anger: METAL, METAL, METAL

So, you’ve been locked inside for God knows how long now, and now you just want to scream. Indulge that desire by deconstructing your Spanish-villa-Vesturbær apartment and remodeling it in the style of a Norwegian black metal venue from the early 90s. To complete the look, dye your hair black, paint your face white, turn Svartidauði and Misþyrming up to eleven, and spend all night complaining on the internet that whatever cool Icelandic black metal release has just come out is not real black metal. Then faint due to all the screaming or wait until the neighbours call the cops. Either way works. Pick up the latest Icelandic metal releases at Geisladiskabúð Valda… not that they are real metal of course.

Bargaining: Disconnecting From Reality

Do you like to piss into bottles? How about neglecting everything that matters in your real life? Even your kids? If the answer is yaas and yaas and fuck yaaas, we have a solution for you to avoid this COVID-catastrophe entirely and also have some crazy fun at the same time! EVE Online is a complex “sandbox” MMORPG where players have free roam around the universe to scam, rule, steal, profit or troll as they please. We’d recommend getting into gas harvesting, negotiating a deal with some vigilante police officers, and becoming some sort of space mafia boss. Regardless, if you get a membership and start playing, we promise that the next time you look at the clock, it’ll be around June 2025. The downside, of course, is that you’ll be out of a job, your kids won’t talk to you and you will be bankrupt, both emotionally and financially. But hey, who needs a family when you have Sims?

Depression: Watching “Comedies”

The best way to sustain depression is typically to watch an Icelandic movie. How many ways can we tell a slow story about a struggling middle-aged man in the countryside? Apparently a lot! Occasionally though, Icelanders produce brilliant comedies. ‘Nýtt líf,’ ‘Dalalíf’ and ‘Löggulíf’ are all silly slapstick films about city boys trying to start a new life in, well, the countryside obviously. You could also check out ‘Með allt á hreinu,’ the only successful musical comedy made in Iceland, featuring Stuðmenn and the legendary feminist band Grýlurnar. Pick up all of them at Aðalvídeóleigan.

Halldór Laxness

Acceptance: Read, Stubit!

Books? Remember them? We don’t either, but we were forced to read them all in school just like you. If you really want to kill time, get the grasp of a nation, and maybe find some philosophical insight into this depressing world all at the same time, then there’s some key literature to read. To save your mental health, we’d recommend ‘Heiða: A Shepherd At The Edge Of The World’ by Steinunn Sigurðardóttir, translated by Philip Roughton. It’s a unique insight into the real life of Heiða, a supermodel in New York who left the spotlight to become a farmer. For fiction, go for Woman At 1000 Degrees’ by Hallgrímur Helgason, translated by Brian FitzGibbon. It’s about an old woman with a hand grenade who is reminiscing on her batshit crazy upbringing in World War 2 and her Nazi father. Fun stuff. If you finish those and need to kill even more time, there’s always the collected works of Halldór Laxness.

Finding Meaning:

…tba

Note: Due to the effect the Coronavirus is having on tourism in Iceland, it’s become increasingly difficult for the Grapevine to survive. If you enjoy our content and want to help the Grapevine’s journalists do things like eat and pay rent, please consider joining our High Five Club.

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