How does one approach the holiday season in the midst of gathering bans and social distancing? To learn, we’re sitting down with families all over Reykjavík to find out how they are navigating this peculiar time. For this iteration of the Pandemic Holiday Diaries, we’re talking to drag queen Gógó Starr (Sigurður Starr Guðjónssón) and their fiancé Bobo Starr (Bjarni Óskarsson).
So first off—thanks for talking to us! As a performer, how has your 2020 been? What was it like not doing live shows?
Sigurður: Weird. Unusual. Emptier than ever! You always want to be optimistic but it’s been the worst. You have to make the best of it though so here we are. I miss performing so much. It’s weird to have so much free time.
Bjarni: I still have my regular job so I’ve been working from home over this year. When shows were happening, I had very little free time and now I feel like I’ve just got all the free time in the world. Sometimes it can be a bit too much. You think you should be doing something more productive or smart with this new time and then you feel bad that you aren’t doing that.
Sigurður: Then it’s hard when you do have a busy week coming up and you realise that now you just can’t do all the things that you used to be able to do. You can’t perform at what your 100% was before the pandemic. It’s just not a realistic expectation. But I’ve just been hanging out. Personally, I was really close to a burn out right before the pandemic hit so it weirdly came at a great time for me. My drag is still evolving though even if I am not performing often but at this point, I cannot wait for something to happen.
Do your holidays this year look significantly different due to the pandemic? How so?
Sigurður: Personally, I am so used to centring my holiday routine around what shows are going on. Everything is normally planned around when to get into makeup, when to perform, when to find time to see the in-laws, etc. Making all that work is a lot of effort but now I have all this free time so it’s very strange. What do I do now? I guess I’ll just make Christmas gifts?
Bjarni: You do a lot of baking.
Sigurður: Yes, I love baking and making confectionery chocolates. I’ve been doing a lot of that.
What are some of your favourite holiday traditions?
Sigurður: Well, baking! Especially with other people. I love to make cookies or laufabrauð over the holidays so it has been weird that I can’t do that like I normally do. I do meet with my mother-in-law and make cakes and that’s been lovely.
Bjarni: My favourite holiday tradition is eating the food that Siggi makes.
Sigurður: So you’ve been doing just fine this year!
What’s your advice on how to have a good COVID-safe holiday season? Or better yet, ride out these (hopefully) last few months of the pandemic?
Bjarni: Of course, follow all the safety guidelines. No more than 10 people. Wash your hands. Wear masks. Don’t make everyone sick on Christmas or New Years.
Sigurður: I know it’s tempting but please don’t cheat! Don’t ruin 2021 for us.
Bjarni: You also need to accept that this will be the state for a couple more months at least.
Sigurður: Yes, the first of January won’t be some magic moment where everything is ok. It’s so depressing, right?
Bjarni: It’s not over yet but don’t get too sad.
Sigurður: It’s not necessarily just stop caring, but just don’t beat yourself up about it. Accept the reality of the situation and find comfort in it. Do what makes you feel comfortable and healthy. And please don’t do that typical Icelandic thing where you say, “Oh! The numbers are down! It looks better! Everything is totally fine! Þetta reddast!” No! Stop it Iceland. I want to perform!
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