From Iceland — Letters


Published January 14, 2005


Hi there
I just wanted to thank you for sending me the paper to Fréttablaðið. It’s nice to know you can be expecting it. How are things going for you?
We’re fine, thank you. How are you?
Hello Valur,
My name is Darren Adam and I am a Scottish radio presenter who has become mildly obsessed (in an entirely healthy way) with Iceland over the last few years. My partner and I are just back from our sixth visit to Reykjavík, and whilst in town I picked up a copy of “Grapevine”, which I thought was very impressive. I was a visitor in town last weekend, but we would very much like to live in Reykjavík at some point in the future; I thought the publication served me extremely well, both as a tourist, and the “ex-pat” I would like to be!
All the best,
Darren Adam
Thanks. I’d like to be an expat too. Wanna trade?
One criminal after another.
The first of December there was a formal exchange of mayors in Reykjavík. The new mayor of the city, Steinunn Valdís, took over from Þórólfur Árnason, oil crook, who from now on will be doing his dirty work away from the annoying beams of the spotlight. Steinunn clearly feels that the first of December, traditionally an Icelandic holiday, is way too nationalist and bigoted to deserve to be celebrated anymore, so the first thing she did in office was to secure “new Icelanders” of Vietnamese origin and the Red Cross more of the peoples tax money in order to launch some kind of adjustment program for those young gooks. In other words, throw more money into hopeless, left-wing cultural farting.
After this nonsense, the next thing she did was to go to the city zoo to open up a new section. Whether the Vietnamese youngsters will be on display while in their adjustment program or the last of the icelanders will be put there soon time will have to tell.
Go Steinunn! We love your work!
The Discriminator
Dear Discriminator
Fuck you
In issue 11 of the Grapevine, page 26, someone (there is no name on the article) erroneously says that “Eitt lítið jólalag” was written for Birgitta Haukdal as a promotion for Smáralind. This song was written by Magnús Kjartansson and was (probably) first released on the album “11 jólalög” sung by Ragnhildur Gísladóttir. Today it can be found as track 4 (disc 1) on Pottþétt Jól (the first one). Although the quality of the song can certainly be debated (personally I think the Ragga version is kind of cute) please correct the authorship and purpose of this song.
thank you.
Áslaug Högnadóttir
Consider authorship corrected. Can we please have some of the royalties now?
Dear Grapevinelot
The editorial from Mr. Nikolov was very entertaining as well as pressing.
But I would like to add a couple of thoughts on the subject.
First: The “war on terrorism”. Both the aggressor (in this case a bearded man living in a cave in Afghanistan which supposedly goes under the name of Osama, and very surprisingly has been able to outmanouver the entire US led coalition for the better part of 4 years) and the defender (which goes by the name of George W. Bush, and currently commands the aforementioned US coalition) claim God as their ally and protector. Now, for most of us normal folks this might strike as odd. How can the same “God” both want to “hunt down and kill” and “protect and guide” the same people? Either there must be two “Gods” or somebody made a blunder somewhere.
Maybe we are looking in the wrong direction when we claim that what is going on in this so-called war on terror is a religious struggle? For what is really driving the struggle is the feeling of supremacy by one cultural world over another. The USA government claims to be “democratizing” the Middle East but forgot to ask anybody in the region how they would feel about it.
When the war on Iraq was fought the western media did not question
the cultural arrogance that the war presented and the termology that was to follow it. They were so imbedded in the “ground war” and the dodgy evidence of WMD’s that they never stopped to ask themselves; is this right? Best regards
Thorleifur Örn Arnarsson
Ok, here you go: Is this right?
hello to the good people at the Reykjavik Grapevine,
I’m desperately searching for some information, and I thought that, what with your obvious back-of-your-hand familiarity with Reykjavik, you could help me out. I’m planning on staying in Reykjavik for the month of March, and I am hoping to sublet a small apartment for that time, hopefully on the cheap. I’ve been scouring the internet to find a website that might help me toward this end, but there seems to be no equivalent to Craig’s List for Iceland, or at least none that I can find. So I was hoping someone could tell me how I could best find an available apartment — whether that entails a website, a telephone number, or your cousin’s friend’s younger brother’s blog. Basically, any leads would be hugely appreciated. Thanks so much for your help.
And by the way, I greatly enjoyed your paper during my time in Iceland. I even brought home a copy with me to show off. I’m from New York City, and I like your paper better than the Village Voice. Seriously….
Andrew Naymark
Dear Grapevine
I came to Iceland in May 2003 and fell in love with the country almost before I got off the plane. The relationship has only deepened over time. I have seen the most beautiful countryside from both a 4-seater airplane and a trike, ridden a horse for the first time and learnt how to mix my drinks and still walk home safely through the snow.
Judith Shaw
So, how do you mix your drinks and walk safely through the snow, then?
I have just finished reading your latest issue and wondered why no attempt was made to include Buddhism, a religion of about 400,000,000 people and one whose influence is heard and felt throughout Western popular culture, in the new physics and psychology, as well as a number of other fields. (Not to mention the huge influence on Asian culture)
Your very selection of the word “God” certainly rules out Buddhism, which also denies the existence of a permanent soul, but it also suggests that spirituality is only that which mentions God. This is definitely not true as any cursory reading of Thich Nhat Hanh´s or the Dalai Lama´s writings, or any of a number of other wonderful and quite well-known Buddhist authors would demonstrate. Buddhism has maintained itself as an inspiring religion lending a warm and compassionate embrace to all sentient beings for 2500 years, yet “God” does not figure into the picture, nor is it necessary to find such.
There are Buddhists in Iceland (I personally am a Jodo Shinshu priest who has spent over 30 years in Buddhism, first in Zen and then Tibetan Vajrayana and have met some of the Buddhist community here) who might have appreciated a broader examination of spirituality in Iceland (your inclusion of Ásatru stretches the “God” thing since they accept many “gods”).
Rev. José M. Tirado
We were in fact talking about God. As Buddhism does not really have one, asking a Buddhist how God would feel about the teacher’s strike did not make much sense.

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