The People's Prince - The Reykjavik Grapevine

The People’s Prince

The People’s Prince

Published May 3, 2016

Photos by
Jóhanna Pétursdóttir
Art Bicnick

Prince went and did it again. Even in death the superstar is, in the words of crochet-extraordinaire and ultimate Prince fan, Linda Björk Eiríksdóttir, “playing with the cosmos.”

You see, Linda received an email following a Grapevine article about her Prince yarn graffiti tribute on Bankastræti. It was from Pat Hjelmberg, a resident of Minneapolis, Prince’s hometown, who just happened to be traveling to Reykjavík the following week. Pat was reading The Grapevine in preparation for her impending Icelandic arrival, saw Linda’s article, and thought, “this is serendipitous.”

Prince Tribute

Prince’s hometown newspapers did their native son proud, their front pages bearing commemorations, photographs, and personal memories—all types of eulogies befitting, well, a prince. Pat had collected all the press with the hopes of passing it on to a Prince enthusiast and, boy, did she find one. In Iceland.

Pat, her friend Donna, and Linda Björk convened at Reykjavík Roasters where the instant, genuine affection was palpable. The newspapers Pat had brought with her on the six-hour flight from Minnesota were sprawled across the table. “I can’t wait to get in bed, shut my door, and say, ‘no one bother me!’,” Linda laughed while looking through the stack.

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“I’m going to make a twin yarn graffiti like the one that I made [here], give it to them, and they’re going to put it up [at Paisley Park, Prince’s residence],” Linda said. Linda had also made a colorful knit shawl as a gift for Pat, which Pat wore throughout the coffee date.

It’s clear that Pat and Donna admired Linda’s artistic ability and were fascinated by her craft. “We have yarn stormers in Minneapolis,” Donna said. “I’ve been watching this winter, and thinking: ‘Why do those stop signs have sweaters on?’”.

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Throughout the meeting, many Prince anecdotes were told, to Linda Björk’s immense pleasure. “I have a friend who went to school with his sister. Does that count?” asked Donna. Pat’s friend was a young bank manager working in Minneapolis when a record producer and newly discovered artist walked through the doors to the bank. “The producer said, ‘We need to open a bank account for this young man because he doesn’t know how to manage his money,’” recounted Pat. “And they gave him a demo CD.”

Although not Linda-level Prince fans, Pat and Donna delighted in discussing the artist and the circumstances that brought the three together. “And you won’t believe the other coincidence,” Donna said. It turned out that Linda’s youngest daughter and Pat share the same birthday, while Linda’s eldest daughter and Donna share a birthday.

So there it is: an alignment of the stars, and that “playing with the cosmos” that Linda was talking about.

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