Published July 13, 2007
Issue number 61 is done, and I am off for a summer vacation. I will be back, hopefully, but at this stage it is probably too early to make any guarantees, since my assistant editor, Steinunn Jakobsdóttir, will be running the ops while I am away. She might never relinquish the chair again. So, good times all around I guess. You readers can enjoy Steinunn’s work while I can enjoy summer. That is a pretty sweet deal. I am also pleased that Valgerður Þóroddsdóttir has returned to our writing staff. That is a great mid-season pick-up. I will spare you the rest of the Grapevine’s in-house staff issues. Employer – employee confidentiality is at risk.
This issue, we dive into the tricky business that is the export of Icelandic music. Icelandic media regularly carries news of great conquests of local acts on foreign grounds. But that is only half the story. Although it is great for Icelandic musicians to receive attention from outside our tiny island, we should not be so blinded by the light afar that we forget to foster the grassroots. The fact is that valuable breeding grounds, such as the music development center TÞM, which makes practice facilities available for young musicians at a reasonable price, is still struggling financially due to poor funding. The Iceland Airwaves music festival is still the least publicly funded showcase festival in Europe. This needs to change if we intend to sustain Icelandic music export.
We also look in-depth at Iceland’s poor record in the matters of international asylum seekers. In recent years, Iceland has accepted one single refugee, while turning down between 30 and 40 applicants each year. For a nation that prides it self of being one of the richest in the world, that records is not so much poor as it is shameful.
Saving Iceland’s International Summer of Dissent protest camp is up and running. In Iceland, there exists an incredible fear and suspicion when it comes to activists. I’m just going to come out and say this, since no other media outlet is likely to do that: activists do not equal terrorists. When you come across one you should engage him in a conversation. It might be a learning experience for both of you.
Now, I should probably say something worthwhile and thought provoking, but I think I will rather just go and start my vacation while you go and figure out the rest.