Published September 2, 2005
This is the final issue of the summer of 2005, the last of eight bi-weekly issues of the Grapevine, which have seen our content increase two-fold, our writing staff increase by four times, and our revenue increase close to 120%. Closing out this successful summer feels something like a graduation—in October The Grapevine moves to its larger office. A number of other large-scale changes will come through in the next few months that should come as a series of very pleasant surprises to our readers.
I would like to look back on a successful summer, but I instead have my gaze stuck on this September issue, the best publication I have ever had any involvement with. Paul Nikolov’s feature on the murder of Ashley Christine Turner at the Keflavík NATO base is an exceptional piece of journalism, due largely to the cooperation and interest of the Turner family. They put a great deal of trust in us to cover their story with compassion, and I believe Paul has done this.
Beyond Paul’s feature, there are five or six articles in this magazine that I would call typical feature material, among them an excellent piece by Þórdis Elva Þorvaldsdóttir Bachmann displaying the dangerously offhanded manner with which the local health authorities are treating the recent boom in eating disorders in this country of fashion models and fast food, and a compelling evaluation by Valur Antonsson of the ethics relating to the sale of the nation’s health records to deCODE. (Spurred, of course, by a Scarlett Johansson sci-fi film.) I also believe that fans of contemporary music will not be disappointed with the insightful comments that the members of Sigur Rós had about their work and their career.
What is remarkable to me about this issue is the amount of help we got from the community of our readers. Sigur Rós are among our readers, as they pointed out extensively in the parts of the interview I was forced to cut when, on reading the quotes, I was unable to get my head through the doorway. But their favour in granting us such a lengthy and candid interview, and in granting us an additional photo shoot, was greatly appreciated. We got similar consideration from everyone from the mayor of Reykjavík to the Reykjavík Dance Festival, to the people of Spegillinn, who gave so much of their time to Ms. Bachmann.
The actions of these readers suggest what has allowed The Grapevine, a small tourist magazine put out by wise-cracking music fans, to succeed as an alternative voice for the entire country. The fact is that Iceland seems to care about ensuring diversity. The majority of the people I’ve met since I took over this magazine want to make sure those new to the country, be they tourists, immigrants or temporary workers, have access to information and take part in the community. As of now, it feels like we are providing a forum for this. And, as of this issue, it seems to me the people to thank are the Icelandic readers who have reached out to us.