Wow, 2015 went by FAST, huh.
There was so much going on! The real world continued to turn, and to contain almost all of IRL human existence inside its atmosphere. And in that parallel online planet, THE INTERNET, people shared, discussed, reported, and responded to the continual ebb and flow of world events.
They talked. Moaned. Shouted. Posted elegant rebuttals and/or angry misspelled comments on our Facebook, and lots of other places. They invented whole new hashtags! And the hashtags spread like wildfire. There were entire movements on Facebook and Twitter, some of which poked fun, but some of which had the potential to change our attitudes and therefore, just maybe, also change the very flow of history.
What a time to be online.
As part of our “that was the year that was” look at 2015, we collected some of the most memorable IRL and online events below, from the ridiculous to the sublime. So here it is: The Reykjavík Grapevine’s 2015 in #Hashtags, #gates, and #thrones. #HASHTAGGATETHRONES, if you will.
Enjoy! And don’t forget to leave an angry comment!
Iceland’s 2015-in-gates-and-hashtags got off to a fast start when Björk’s eighth LP, ‘Vulnicura’, leaked. She responded by “going nuclear,” snap-releasing the record via iTunes. The shock-and-awe strategy worked, and the album shot to the top of the iTunes charts in 30 different countries. Good work, Björk!
The gavel of Lady Justice fell upon four of Kaupþing’s main men this February, to great applause. Two of the company’s former CEOs, the chairman of the board, and the owner of 10% of the company, were each sentenced to four years or more of jail time, as investigations into Kaupþing’s activities revealed the company’s shenanigans were a contributing factor in the 2008 economic collapse.
In what would become one of Iceland’s political stories of the year, March saw the small but forward-thinking Pirate Party leap to the top of the national opinion polls. Even the Pirates themselves were surprised by this development, but it was no blip—nine months later, they’re still at the top, with a wider margin than ever.
After years of discussion about Iceland entering the European Union, Iceland’s post-collapse, left-wing government formally applied to join in July of 2009. The discussion didn’t end there, and Iceland’s bid to join was one of the 2013 parliamentary election’s most heated topics. Despite both of the currently ruling parties’ campaign promises that the application’s fate would be determined via referendum, Foreign Minister Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson single-handedly attempted to repeal the EU accession process. He did this by sending the EU a letter which he wrote without the consent or knowledge of the nation’s Parliament. He was roundly slammed for the undemocratic, eccentric, off-piste gesture, which was ultimately not accepted as a formal withdrawal by the EU.
In protest against the double standards for nipple-baring, Icelandic woman began baring their breasts on social media under the hashtag #freethenipple. The movement quickly gained traction, as news of the endeavor went global—prompting weird, sweaty men from all over the world to try and glimpse them some Icelandic booby—with everyone from singers to politicians joining in. Although hardly critical to the campaign’s widespread success, Grapevine’s online coverage of it reached hundreds of thousands of readers all over the world, culminating in that time Facebook determined Grapevine.is was a pornsite and blocked the entire site for a couple of days. Oh, we also had a lot of fun rickrolling the aforementioned weird, sweaty men via the classic April Fool’s post “PHOTOS: The Hottest Icelandic Titties From #FreeTheNipple”.
In April, a pukey Progressive Party politician (known henceforth as the PPPP) projectile-vomited all over passengers on a flight to Washington DC, citing illness as the cause. What was he eating? We don’t know. Maybe more to the point was what was he drinking—numerous fellow passengers claimed he was wasted. If so, perhaps he should perhaps have played the rehab card, to garner sympathy rather than disgust.
As part of an ongoing project called “Pink State,” Chilean artist Marco Evaristti dumped pink fruit dye into everyone’s favourite geyser, Strokkur, resulting in a few hours of pink eruptions. Marco claimed to love nature (that’s why he decorates it), and even though the effect was temporary, he was punished with a 100,000 ISK fine and two weeks in jail. And lots of angry comments to our Facebook.
With big companies reporting great profits and boards getting massive pay bumps, several labour unions banded together this spring for a general strike, calling for something resembling a living wage for the workers. After some 50,000 stopped work, deals were struck. And everyone lived happily ever after. Lol.
The 2015 edition of The Reykjavík Art Festival focussed on the role of women in Icelandic art, and began by commissioning a new work from the feminist art troupe Guerilla Girls. The resulting billboard, located by the harbour, noted that only around 10% of Icelandic film funding goes to female-led projects, raising awareness and sparking a much-needed debate.
#CAKEGATE (also known as #FATTIEGATE)
2015 was a landmark year for politics. We saw the beginnings of a major refugee crisis across Europe, new and important environmental campaigns—such as Björk and Andri Snær’s #ProtectThePark—and, of course, a range of major new challenges for policymakers in Iceland as abroad. With so many difficult problems to worry about, who could then blame our Prime Minister, Sigmundur Davið, for turning to the buffet table? He was so overwhelmed by all this important parliamentary business last summer that he needed to skip a debate in order to go and grab the last slice of yummy pear cake from the parliamentary cafeteria table. Solidarity, Siggi, for caring about the real issues so much. May your #cakethrone never grow stale.
The second Secret Solstice festival hit the headlines when rapper and sunglass-enthusiast Gísli Pálmi was videotaped throwing more than rhymes at former Jackass star Bam Margera. Bam had purportedly become belligerent whilst seeking festival promoter Leon Hill, whom he claimed owed him money. A war of words ensued online, with Leon denouncing the claims and Bam reiterating them in a facially bruised Instagram post, but no charges were filed in any direction. As of right now, Bam fans from all over the world keep commenting on our news story about it. Bam fans? Yes, Bam fans. Those guys mean business. And they like Bam. Bam fans.
#OUTLOUD, #KONURTALA, #ÞÖGGUN
These three conjoined hashtags originated in the women-only Facebook group Beauty Tips, but soon spread across Facebook and Twitter like wildfire. The campaign was highly visible, harnessing social media to successfully highlight the ways that female voices are discredited or ignored on a plethora of issues.
The month’s most deliciously amusing news story involved two sisters, Malín Brand and Hlín Einarsdóttir, attempting to blackmail Iceland’s pudgy Prime Minister by linking him to the purchase of Icelandic newspaper DV (the latter sister just happens to be DV-buyer Björn Ingi Hrafnsson’s estranged lover… mysterious). In a plot reminiscent of a Coen Brothers movie, the hapless girls told the PM to meet them in the lava fields outside Hafnarfjörður with a suitcase of money. He didn’t show up, obvs, rather opting to send some cops, who in turn arrested the handsome twosome. What is this, ‘Burn After Reading’?
When news broke that a Nigerian man had been detained on suspicion of deliberately passing on HIV to at least two women, panic, criticism, and a bunch of comment board-slash-talk radio xenophobia ensued. As the story unfolded in the media, the proof of whether or not he’d spread the infection knowingly came into question. The man—an asylum seeker—was held in custody for a month and given a four-month travel ban, a decision later ratified by the Supreme Court of Iceland. Later reports confirmed that the man was unaware of his HIV-positive status.
Snoop Dogg aka Snoop Lion aka DJ Snoopadelic hoped to impress Iceland with his doggy stylings when he arrived to DJ at Reykjavík sports arena Laugardalshöllin this summer. But even setting the bar low proved to be too high for the King of Kush, whose performance was sorely disappointing. Dear Snoop: Put down your joint. Turn the music off. In fact: just retire (oh, alright, you can keep the joint).
“OH MY GOD,” screamed Icelanders, country-wide, when American corporation Dunkin Donuts opened its first Icelandic store at a Laugavegur location. The global Icelandophile community soon joined in on the outraged yelping—for some reason, those guys just can’t fathom why Icelanders might want to enjoy a fuckin’ corporate donut every now and again (indeed, guys, if you hate it so much, go and protest the one on your block the next time you grab breakfast there). The opening ceremony was thrilling, though, complete with a DJ, a bouncer, a dancing donut-man and a line down the block, creating a frenzy around the city. It has been enthusiastically serving donuts to patrons ever since. Note: the donuts are way more expensive here than in the US. And they’re not any better, either.
Earlier this year, astronomers and bloodlusters alike rejoiced at the coming of a BLOODMOON-SUPERMOON 97% lunar eclipse. Critics such as famous astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson contested the superness of said supermoon—but what does he know, right? Smarmy git.
October saw a revelation of epic proportions, the kind that causes people to absolutely lose their shit and burn the whole sick, broken system down. Ordinary citizen Flori Fundateanu bought an extremely heavy paprika from Bónus. However, further examination revealed that the scales had been rigged to fuck you, the consumer, personally, through overcharging and general trickery. Bónus denied any wrongdoing, proceeding to “recalibrate” the scales and charge the regular price for a pepper, which was pretty damn high to begin with.
In October, 66° North put some pricey parkas in glass ad displays on bus stops. Predictably, parka-less thieves quickly broke the glass and stole them. “The thieves are presumed less cold than they were,” and lo, 66° North got into every newspaper for free. Nobody asked why they didn’t use plexiglass. The chilly robbers would have needed jet fuel to melt that. Or, you know, why they didn’t just print one of their patented frowny-parka-wearing-beardman posters. If the parka’s flat against some glass, it’s hard to tell the difference anyway, right?
During the Iceland Airwaves festival, writer Andri Snær Magnason and a masked Björk held a press conference slamming the government for failing to protect Iceland’s highlands from planned industrial development. The two continue to front the campaign to establish a national park in the area. Find out more at www.heartoficeland.org.
Storm of the century! Icelanders dreaming of a white Christmas got their wishes granted when Mother Nature decided to take a massive snowy dump over literally everything at hurricane-force speeds. While citizens and tourists were advised NOT TO LEAVE THE HOUSE OR EVEN MOVE, one beacon of hope remained: That famous Bæjarins Beztu hot dog stand, which carried on serving right through the #stormpocalypse. They weren’t the heroes we needed right then, and probably not the ones we deserved either. But they had hot dogs.
In the name of art, December saw a naked first-year art student spend one week living in a glass box, which was on display to the public both on location and via live internet stream. Wait, did we mention he was naked the whole time? Yes, a naked guy. We know you have a lot of questions, but don’t worry—the whole thing was filmed and streamed online. Apparently he pooped in there. Jacked off, too. Oh, art.
In the wake of the refugee crisis, Iceland’s mask slipped off, revealing the bubbling fascist Sith skin underneath. Iceland’s directorate of immigration, the Nazi-founded UTL (seriously, look it up), made the decision to forcibly deport two Albanian families (both of which had toddlers with life-threatening ailments) in the middle of the night on International Human Rights Day. After much public outcry, UTL backtracked, eventually granting the families citizenship. Yay!
After discussing her battle to save the highlands from “redneck politicians” in the international media, Björk was caught in a comment-section shitstorm, with some protesting that the term “redneck” is a slur against rural people. Björk countered by clarifying her perception of the term as “those who seek to control nature, often at the expense of others.” Erm, git ‘er done?
Three British adventurers seeking to be the youngest and fastest mountainjerks to traverse Iceland in the wintertime were bailed out a grand total of three times by the Icelandic Search and Rescue team over the course of a couple of weeks. Jerks. As expected, Internet commenter rage followed, with some recommending that ICE-SAR charge a fee for such rescues. Others simply offered to show those boys what a bitter storm in Iceland really looks like.
WTF Happened Last Year? 2015 In News
Every year, we at the Grapevine like to look back and reflect on some of the hottest, weirdest, and most delightful news stories that dominated the headlines. This year is no exception. So here, again, we bring you: the Year In Review. Wax nostalgic with us and relive that glass case of emotions the news brought us all throughout 2015.