Kristján B. Jónasson
Kristján B. Jónasson is the president of the Icelandic Publishing Association, writer and a publisher at Crymogea, which specializes in books on art and photography. The final three months of the year is a high season for Icelandic book publishers since the majority of books are published for the Christmas market. Kristján says spirits are high among publishers and he expects good sales. “People are not going to Denmark to buy Christmas presents this year,” he says making a reference to the highly unfeasible exhance rate of the Icelandic currency. “We are going through times where the smartest thing people can do is to lie under a blanket and read a book. Just like in the old days,” Kristján says with a nostalgic sigh.
Top 5 Novels of All Time
1) Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann (1901)
The best family saga ever written and the final answer to all questions about the evolution of the bourgeoisie. This novel gives an insight into today’s economic depression like no contemporary book can.
2) Lazarillo de Tormes. Anonymous (1554)
The world’s first picaresque novel and perhaps the best. At the dawn of the modern age good writers understood that the world to come would be PR and marketing.
3) Njáls Saga. Anonymous (13th Century)
The great Icelandic novel. It is not just a thorough description of the medieval legal- and social system but also a story of two friends who are destroyed because heroes must live a morally sound live even though everyone else, including their wives and children, are backstabbers.
4) The Iliad by Homer (8th Century B.C.)
The greatest tale ever to be chronicled. Full of heroic deeds, irony and immaculate poetry.
5) Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon (1973)
I spent a decade reading about the fissured Slothrop and his adventures in the finale of the Second World War. The book is complicated but it certainly gave me a big reward in return for the pester.
Ágúst Ólafur Ágústsson
Ágúst Ólafur Ágústsson is a 31 year old member of the Icelandic parliament. He is the chairman of the Parliament’s Committee of Trade and Business Affairs and the vice chairman of Samfylkingin, which, according to latest polls, is the nation’s biggest political party. Iceland is going through financial crisis and the young MP has a busy schedule these days. “I attend meetings everyday. I meet with party leaders and the other MPs. The Trade and Business Affairs Committee has meetings that are also attended by people from all over the financial spectrum. We are trying to establish a clear picture of the situation,” says Ágúst Ólafur, who has his own beliefs on how to get through the crisis. “I think the Icelandic business sector is calling for a closer cooperation with the European Union and the next step should be to apply for a membership. Even though the private banks have collapsed I still believe the Icelandic economy should put emphasis on knowledge based jobs,” says Ágúst Ólafur.
Top 5 Important changes necessary in Icelandic Society
Iceland needs to become a member of the European Union like all other European nations have already done or are planning on doing.
2) The Euro
Adopt the Euro as our currency. It would lower interest rates and get rid of indexation and currency risk.
3) The Finnish Model
Vastly increase investment in education, research, technology and development. We should use the Finnish Model as an example of how to do this.
4) New policies in agriculture and custom matters
Re-evaluate our agricultural and custom policies from bottom up with emphasis on living standards of normal Icelanders.
5) Equality between the citizens.
Pétur Eggertsson is a 23 year old co-manager at the independent record label Kimi Records. He describes the label as a fair, kind and organic company that just recently turned one year old. “We release what we dig and just approach each project on a one record basis. We got a wide spectrum on our bill, bizarre electro, bizarre punk and also normal music whatever that is,” Pétur says and adds that the label also organizes events such as hosting a very succesful night at Iceland Airwaves. “Business is doing great. This season we are releasing Reykjavík!, Retro Stefsson, and distributing records by FM Belfast and Skakkamanage,” says the young label manager.
Top 5 Concerts I have attended
1) Michael Jackson in Leeds 1993.
I was 8 years old and sitting on my dad’s shoulders. I don’t know why but the Icelandic juice “Svali” was sold as refreshment at the concert.
2) Daft Punk at Pukkelpop in Belgium 2006
They had great lights and a huge pyramid on the stage that had hypnotizing effects. It was crazy. Plus it was my birthday.
3) Devendra Banhart at All Tomorrows Parties in the UK 2006.
Banhart took on stage after having selected all the bands performing that night. He drank a whole bottle of vodka and was very drunk but yet his voice was unstained.
4) Rúnk at Innipúkinn, Reykjavík 2003.
It was the first and last time I saw this band perform. I had been a fan for a long time and I still am though the band is no longer together.
5) Sam Amidon, Retro Stefson and Reykjavík! at Smidjustigur 4a/Grammið, Airwaves 2008
I guess you could call this an off-off venue concert. A very un-orthodox and crazy concert including mosh- and circle pits.