For Icelanders, 2009 was in many ways a god-awful year. Still, there seems to be a hidden link between grim nightlife, gruesome partying and a bad national temperament-rate. So it’s easy to assert that Grapevine’s favorite pastime – getting shitfaced – had a strong year. A lot of new venues, bars and clubs opened up, and a lot of them went belly up, and in this endless turbulence of opening parties and bankruptcy wakes we stumbled upon some true gems. Alcohol-serving, debauchery-friendly gems.
It’s a strenuous task to sum up every shindig triumphs of the year, so we’ll have to make do with mentioning only the crème de la crème extravaganzas.
First, let’s look at the constant parties through the year. Grapevine’s winner of the best bar of 2009, Karamba, started off with a blast, where experienced hooligans hoofed it alongside their youngster protégés ’til their heels were sore, but as summer drew to a close, the DJs started becoming looser and when a certain kid’s birthday-tunes became one of their hottest crowd-pleasers, the seniors seemed to disappear completely, leaving the floor to jumping high-school chums.
Fortunately, Bakkus came to the rescue, bringing their notorious afterparties to the table. Once the clock turned 1AM (or 5AM) the good people at Bakkus would lock their doors, pull the drapes and distribute ashtrays, New York-style. Even loudening the music. So, you can imagine how boozy things got.
Festival-wise, things started off rather slow in 2009 as ludicrous concepts such as ‘the January-Detox’ and other such nonsense tends to impede things. But as the sun started honoring us with its presence for more than three hours per day, people started itching for a good, carefree bender. Although yours truly wasn’t present at the Easter giant in the depravity league, its attendants have bugged me with idiotic stories of the great Aldrei Fór Ég Suður festival of 2009: How they got stuck in a locked cab with a Robert de Niro-like boozed up maniac behind the wheel, how they ended up pants-less in some random house or how they received their best-ever blowjob in the trunk of an SUV. So yeah, things took a turn over Easter.
After the post-Easter hiatus, the 24-hour sunlight lead to the crazy Seyðisfjörður/Norðfjörður festival combo of Eistnaflug and LungA. I’d rather not put the glory of the uncrowned wingding king and queen of the East fjords into words but their reign consists amongst others of impelled sea-swimming, underage sex-orgies and a great consumption of alleged narcotics.
As autumn fell, it was as toxic fumes started swirling over the city, inebriating every inhabitant and in the haze we diligently survived the stupor of RIFF, Sequences and Iceland Airwaves. What begun as fancy champagne-sipping fêtes slowly morphed into uncountable smoky afterparties. Don’t get me wrong though, this glorious season of muddle is Christmas for us nightlife strongholds – but once the fumes clear, the hangovers last until the actual Christmas.
Finally, we have the big wrap-up: New Year’s Eve. It’s always sort of a disappointment; however realistic you are about the night being overestimated there’s always the longing for an epic New Year’s tale lurking at the bottom of your heart. The bars were battling for the crowds this year, as every venue advertised more than ever the crazy bash that was going to take place within their perimeters. I avoided being stuck in a bar, so I witnessed a lot of home-cooked craziness, but in the end my companions couldn’t resist peeking into Bakkus’ first foray into the world of New Year’s mania. And it was undeniably a great way to end the party mayhem of 2009 in a champagne pit full of whacks breaking their New Year’s vows in a ritual-like frenzy, lighting flares and popping pills. Good Riddance.