Down and Out in Alcoa(Alcan)land! - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Down and Out in Alcoa(Alcan)land!

Down and Out in Alcoa(Alcan)land!

Published June 29, 2007

At the time of this writing, I have just witnessed a weekend of utter beauty. My enthusiasm for the solstice is somewhat corny, like a smooth morning’s breeze with Grieg’s ‘Peer Gynt’ playing under in the back ground. However, my summertime groove has been spoiled by this summer’s blockbuster hit, a midnight version of the “Night of The Living Dead”.
The actors are famous and various other Icelanders, otherwise known as the hobos and bums of downtown Reykjavík. Over a period of time you not only get to recognise their faces, but you also might become acquainted with them, even on a first name basis. My own experience has been somewhat fun: I managed to meet a few. One is quite a character, especially because of his fondness for the ‘svastika’. Another friend of mine told me recently he had become a morphine addict, while waiting for some ethanol to drink (mainly used for cleaning wounds) from the pharmacy. Sometimes you can even recognize them by their own vomit. The downtrodden denizens of Reykjavík’s unseemly underworld are easily spotted. They often sit near the benches near Austurvöllur and the Supreme Court; they also spot fine tans and wobble in the summer sun. More like Stravinsky, think Rite of Spring, than Grieg.
Everybody seems to be talking about the ‘great dilemma;’ however, the supposed ‘action taking’ right, as opposed to the ‘chatty left’, seem to be at a loss as to what to do. The hobos, in most people’s minds, are not lovable like the tramps in Springfield, or Chaplin’s version with the ambiguous ending, they are perhaps even worse than any character by W.C. Fields, at least to some. To me, the discussion makes these people seem more akin to the ‘town whore’ in a puritanical society sans the ‘Scarlet Letter.’ Although no action has been taken to help these poor souls, there has, however, been action taken against the greater dilemma of Reykjavík, which is the seagull dilemma.
The dilemma was solved, or is being solved, by planting poisoned bread in nests and then snapping the necks of this dangerous vermin that threatens our very existence. Other ideas had been shopped around, e.g. a free shoot-em up around Reykjavík’s outskirts. Somehow it makes you feel all warm inside to know that the mindset of some city officials seems to be emulating teenage school shooters with hard-ons for Quake and Doom. Maybe we could import some hillbillies and rednecks to kill the cats as well.
However, I have a proposal to solve the hobo dilemma, aspired by some fine verse: “Under the wide and starry sky / dig the grave … here he lies where he longed to be”. Or to be less exacting, I am proposing that Iceland (Reykjavík) solve this problem once and for all. Because we are building, or planning to build, aluminium smelter (heavy industry) plants all around Iceland – in a vain attempt to beat McDonald’s “over 6 billion served” – we should simply plant poison in the hooch of the downtrodden here in Reykjavík – and then snap their necks. For example, we could use their bodies for the supposed landfill in Hafnarfjörður, or should I say the Alcan island some want to erect. Even though you try and say no to Alcan, Alcan then just turns that no into a perverted yes. Alcan, like Reagan, doesn’t take crap from no hippies, no matter where they come from.
And instead of having to watch people passed out and lying in their own piss, filth and blood, these ‘Dead Souls’ could then be put to quite good use. And even though “man hands on misery to man / it deepens like a coastal shelf”. You just have to take action. This final solution, maybe inspired by Hitler or Emperor Palpantine, would not only solve the aesthetics of Reykjavík’s downtown area, but it would also be a pre-emptive strike against future problems. Because of our relentless over fishing of cod and almost everything else that moves in the ocean, we could stockpile the meat of these ‘Dead Souls’. Imagine the tenderness and spices of the meat. And those who would not have their necks snapped could possibly become the lobotomised workers in the five hundred planned Alcoa and Alcan plants, yes somewhat like in Cloud Atlas – cheaper labour than anything from Eastern Europe.
However, what saddens me the most is that some people choose to ignore almost every other problem that doesn’t directly relate to them. Some even think they are superior in some way, better than most because their job defines them. Instead of being drunken zombies they are more like the ‘living dead’ zombies, more dead inside than the bums. But like the old saying goes ‘in vino veritas.’

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