Published August 26, 2006
Okay, well, for the last time, welcome to Iceland. If this is your first time picking up our paper, or your first time in Reykjavík, let me assure you that you have just discovered a guide that will enhance your visit, and your life. You’ll get nothing but honest opinions in this paper, guiding you through a town and a country that isn’t all that easy to navigate without us.
In this issue, we present a feature about the loss of one of the key institutions of Reykjavík: Grand Rokk. As musician and journalist Haukur Magnússon explains, a smallish bar/chess club has played a key role in shaping the remarkably competent local scene. And we are losing it in the next few weeks, to older patrons interested in flat-screen TVs.
As it is August, the best time for travel, we also present as much information as we could muster on places to go around Iceland. For hikers, we’re proud to present the further endeavours of our own Lonesome Traveller, a man with more testosterone than Floyd Landis and Marian Jones combined.
Beyond that, we bring you an excerpt from the Baron, an excellent work of historical fiction. And then you can read about the cultural goings on about town and country, interpreted by people who care about culture.
Now to address long time readers of the Grapevine, the tourists who got addicted, the open-minded locals, the immigrants, and the people abroad who are just curious: the Grapevine is now, officially, an institution, an odd state to reach for an alternative newspaper.
We are no longer a paper that is based on one or two people’s effort, ego, or personality, we are something bigger. There are a lot of people to thank for this, among them the people who started the paper, Hilmar Grétarsson and Jón Trausti Sigurðarson, along with the first editor, Valur Gunnarsson. In my time as editor, a few people have made important contributions, especially our photographer, Guðmundur Freyr Vigfússon, our designer, Gunnar Þorvaldsson, and writers like Paul Nikolov, Haukur Már Helgasson, Þórdís Elva Þorvaldsdóttir Bachmann and Sindri Eldon.
Ah wait, this is starting to look like a speech, isn’t it? What kind of speech would it be? Well, here’s a hint: I ain’t getting any awards. That’s right, this is a retirement speech. I’m leaving Iceland to go to America and cover the build-up to the 2008 presidential elections. While I will stay on as an advising editor with this paper, and while I will return in October for our daily Airwaves issues, the people of Iceland are guaranteed, at the very least, to be rid of my opinions and, even better, my God-forsaken editorial photos, for the next two years.
The Grapevine will be no worse for my departure. In the past year and a half, the paper has grown up. We now have writers, and photographers, and designers, and ways of doing things, and we have an editor with experience, patience, and an established voice taking over, Sveinn Birkir Björnsson.
I am proud of the work I did at the Grapevine, with the newspaper and with our recent book, but the real test of our success, which I believe we will pass with flying colours, will be this transition over the next few weeks. I firmly believe the paper will continue to grow, the Grapevine name will get stronger, and I will be forgotten, and that is the best thing an editor can hope for – to have created a paper that speaks as something bigger than the individual names associated with it. I plan on coming back in two years, pointing at a Grapevine far superior to any product I ever edited, and impressing a local bartender by bragging about how I worked on the paper way back when.