In order to curb the disgusting amount of holiday cheer you all have, we wanted to get some perspective from the grumpiest person in Reykjavík. We put out the call for Grumps on Facebook and you delivered us a familiar friend: 30-year-old Malcolm Kenneth Fraser, from Lille, France, who has lived in Iceland for the past seven years. Below are his thoughts on Christmas, New Years and what `grumpy’ really means.
M: Whose idea was this?
A: It came up at an editorial meeting. We were pitching stories and the idea was presented so we cast the net on Facebook to find the grumpiest. Some said it might be you.
M: Yeah, I thought that it might have been directed at me.
A: Why do you think people see you as the grumpiest?
M: I don’t know? I don’t think I’m grumpy, I think I’m just very enthusiastic about the things I don’t like. I’m just very critical.
A: So you think there’s a distinct difference between being critical and being grumpy. Do you find yourself having to explain this to people?
M: Oh yes. Well, I’m often called negative, which I never understood because I consider myself quite enthusiastic in general. I mean, negative to me would be someone who is always depressed, which I’m not.
A: What are the things you’re particularly positive about?
M: There are a lot of things I’m particularly positive about, I just talk more about the things I don’t like, but usually for humorous purposes. I get easily irritated by things that most people don’t. Some things just set me off – like pictures of food on Facebook – I can’t deal with that.
A: Who inspired your grump?
M: I’m not sure. My dad is Scottish and he’s been living in France for 45 years or so, and he’s still very critical of the French, and I used to ask him, “Why do you live in France if you don’t like it?” and I’ve often been asked that about Iceland, and I don’t know – criticizing something doesn’t mean you don’t like it.
A: Ok, so after seven years you don’t `love’ Iceland
M: No, I wouldn’t say I do. I just happen to live here because you have to live somewhere and I’d rather live here than Uzbekistan or something.
A: What is your happiest Christmas memory?
M: I guess any Christmas before I was of age to buy stuff for other people.
A: So the time when you were just receiving.
M: Yeah, and now it’s just tedious. I mean, I’ve never been a big fan of Christmas since that point when you had to start thinking about other people and gifts and so on. I’ve never liked Christmas. I guess now I see it as a family gathering and I enjoy if for that, more or less. I go back [to France] every year to see my relatives and I couldn’t imagine celebrating Christmas in Iceland.
A: So you’ve never spent a Christmas in Iceland?
M: Never. I wouldn’t. I think there’s something particularly dreadful about that.
A: How do you feel about Christmas music?
M: Hate it.
A: So you’ve never gone caroling or anything?
M: No, no, no. This time last year, my flatmate subletted her room for a few weeks and I was on holiday in Malta. I got an email from Vodafone saying that I had reached my download limit. So I emailed the guy subletting the room and asked, “What’s going on? We’ve reached the limit,” and he said, “Oh, well I’ve been downloading Christmas music.”
He had downloaded 15 fucking gigabytes of Christmas music. How could anyone download 15 gigabytes of Christmas music?
On The New Year
A: What about the New Year?
M: New Years is just the worst party ever. It’s that time of the year where everyone is supposed to go out or party or celebrate nothing in particular, you know? They’re not celebrating anything.
A: Well they’re celebrating the start of the New Year.
M: Yeah but what does that mean?
A: You have probably been to worse theme parties than a New Year’s party.
M: Actually no. The thing is, everyone is celebrating and I think what happens – and why I find New Year’s Eve so shitty – is that this includes people who usually don’t celebrate, people who usually do not go out and party, and they just kind of tone down the party for everyone else. Like, the party is shitty because the people at the party are really shitty.
A: So it would be better to not have them?
M: Might as well, yeah. But you do it anyway and it’s just stressful. I’ll celebrate in Poland this year. Last year, I was stuck in France because I lost my passport so I stayed there, which wasn’t planned, and usually I organize a party every year…
A: Wait, wait, that goes against EVERYTHING you just said.
M: Yeah, well, it’s because I don’t want to go to a shitty party. So I prefer organizing the shitty party myself
On The Meaning Of It All
A: What is the most gracious or generous thing you’ve done over the holidays for someone?
M: Must one wait for Christmas to do gracious things? Sounds like something people do in American sitcoms.
A: What do you hope people remember this holiday season?
M: Don’t expect anything special from anyone.
A: What do you believe is the true meaning of Christmas?
M: It’s to alleviate the emotional pains of winter with some paltry entertainment.
Best Of Malcolm Kenneth Fraser Responses To Grapevine (in chronological order)
February 22, 2011 – Grapevine posts link to events happening at Café Rosenberg including a show by Hjaltalín.
Malcolm responds: “Ugh don’t tell me Hjaltalín is back… Last year they were pretty much giving concerts on a daily basis.”
Grapevine: “You don’t really like a lot of stuff, do you Malcolm?”
Malcolm: “I sure do like a lot of things. Just three things come to the top of my mind of things I don’t like in Iceland, for their overwhelming and unnecessary presence in the media (including the Grapevine): Hjaltalín, Retro Stefson and Jón Gnarr.”
Grapevine: “We will never write about these entities again.”
Malcolm: “Why, thank you!”
Grapevine: “Anyone else we should never write about again?”
Malcolm: “Hang on a sec, I’ve already thinned down your paper to a double sheet! Ok then. How about we stop talking about the band Reykjavik! Oh no, wait…”
Grapevine: “We haven’t really talked about that band much for the last two years, for whatever reason.”
“But in general, we have decided to change our name to ‘The Malcolm Kenneth Fraser Grapevine’ and will only write about things that you like and are interested in.”
Malcolm: “You really don’t need to take it that far you know. But I appreciate.”
Grapevine: “Funnily enough, you are our ‘top commenter.’ You could even be called ‘our biggest fan.’ So we must have been doing something right, right? More Jón Gnarr and Hjaltalín for the masses!”
September 8, 2011 – Grapevine posts article on Best Party potentially running for parliament. In response to Grapevine journalist and Facebook commenting adversary Paul Fontaine….
Malcolm responds: “Paul Fontaine, I’m surprised that you wouldn’t have noticed that the so-called Best Party is completely centered around the overblown ego of Jón Gnarr…
Malcolm: “And anyway, I know that Iceland likes to be a country of firsts, and we have the first openly gay prime minister, which is all good. But do we really want the world’s first ginger head of state? The Reykjavik Grapevine centered?”
Grapevine: “Nope, centred.”
Malcolm: “What’s wrong with centered? I see what you’re doing, you’re trying to divert the attention from my recurrent I-hate-Gnarr rant aren’t you!”
February 12, 2012 – Grapevine posts video of Iceland’s Eurovision 2012 entry, Greta Salóme & Jónsi playing “Never Forget.”
Malcolm responds: “Is it just me, or does this song suck balls?”
“Maybe Iceland’s boycott strategy consists in sabotaging their own entry? Now that’s twisted…”
Grapevine: “Malcolm, which song did you vote for?”
Malcolm: I accidentally swallowed my phone on Saturday night, so unfortunately I couldn’t vote. Plus I was boycotting the awkwardness of the fact that a self-righteous Páll Óskar was hosting the show while calling for boycott just days earlier.
September 02, 2013 – Grapevine posts article about a man parking his Range Rover across two spaces reserved for handicapped people.
Malcolm responds: “This guy is my new hero.”
November 18, 2013 – Grapevine posts status in search of the grumpiest person in Reykjavik.
Malcolm responds: “The real question is, why do you want to know?”