From Iceland — Letters


Published October 7, 2005


Dear Bart,
My name is Matthew Patton. I am a musician and I live in Canada, actually in Winnipeg near Gimli.
I am a classical music composer and lived for several years in New York while studying at Juilliard and the Manhattan School of Music. My favourite music is Sigur Rós.
Nothing else is even close.I read your column and your newspaper every single issue. My friend, Kathy Bearden, in Reykjavik sends it to me. I think the paper is great – and especially your columns. All of your questioning really matters especially in an insular society like Iceland’s
Here’s something for you. Bob Lefsetz is a record industry insider who writes a newsletter. The best thing about it is that he rarely talks about music. Instead he talks about the emotions and ideas and passion that drive the creation of music. Here’s a column he wrote last week about New Orleans. I thought you might get something out of it. Remember, this is a music column.
You do great work. I know lots of people in Reykjavik that totally admire it. They are just too quiet to say so. I’ll do it for them.
Matthew Patton
Thank you. But readers pay attention: while Bart responds to letters and edits, he strongly believes that the real draw is the staff writers—they’ll soon be famous, and probably rich, and be able to buy and sell people like me.
Hello. As an American aficionado of Iceland, I find your magazine extremely interesting and well-written.   I recently subscribed to Iceland Review and, so far, after 4 issues, I’ve come to the conclusion that despite it’s high-profile look and attitude, it doesn’t come close to the Grapevine in terms of content. So, kudos on the great work!!
Concerning the downloadable PDFs on your website, for some reason I’m unable to access the following issues: 2003 – Issue 2, 2003 – Issue 3, 2005 – Issue 7. Is it just me or are these not available for some reason? Also, I notice that a years’ subscription is 16 issues. However, on the aforementioned PDFs, 2004 only reaches issue 11 and 2003 issue 6. Were issues 12-16 and 7-16, respectively, never published or are they just not on the website?
One last question… I will be visiting Iceland in December and am curious if it’s possible to pick back issues at your office. I’d love to get as many actual copies as possible as it’s much more convenient than trying to read the PDFs.
Please let me know about these things. Thank you very much & keep up the good work! Take care & hope to hear from you soon.
-John Evicci, Dracut MA, USA
Updates on the website help. You can get old copies from us at the Grapevine office free of charge, except in the case of issue 4, which we will actually buy from you, if you have one.
To the editors Bart Cameron and Paul Nikolov.
I just wanted to thank you for your brilliant reply to Ólafur Teitur and his article in Viðskiptablaðið on the 16th of September. Having followed the growth of the Grapevine over the last year or so, I have steadily come to realize the importance of the paper as an alternative news source. I have greatly appreciated the quality of the writing and the fact that the articles published are thoroughly researched. I have never witnessed inaccuracies regarding facts or figures which is more than I can say for the rest of the countries newspapers.
A special thank you goes to Paul for his coverage on the issues regarding the base at Keflavík. It is articles like this that shock you into thinking, and that is a good thing.
Best regards,
Lára Þórarinsdóttir
Thank you. We may make mistakes, but if we do, we will answer for them. Regarding Viðskiptablaðið, when they talked about us, at least people finally read them. I only wish the newspaper had the decency to have printed our response in their paper, as they did when they smeared other respected local writers. As they didn’t, I can at least remind people to visit our website,, for a mean-spirited, juvenile response to an even more juvenile article.
RE: KvöldþatturinnI just wanted to comment on the article you wrote about GuðmundurSteingrímsson. To compare his show with Gísli Marteins show (or Gísli Martröð as we call him) might suggest you really hadn’t watched the show at all. What you call asinine some people actually find rather funny. What I found asinine about the show in question was not the host but his guest. You say Guðmundur asked some bigotry questions but in my opinion it was his guest that was filled with bigotry.
That became pretty clear when Barði said: ‘The only one who is being a bore is you talking about gays and drugs.’ Here Barði put gays and drugs in the same category.
Who’s narrow minded? A famous saying is that there are no stupid questions just stupid answers and this is one example of it. The question “The movie is about gay people and I was wondering whether a person needed to be gay to play a gay person” may sound stupid to some but it really is a very simple question with a simple answer.
Sometimes it is even very important that hosts ask simple questions. There are a lot of people out there who don’t know fancy words like asinine and bigotry (I had to look them up).
Finally to suggest that Guðmundur is aiming for the primeminister. I mean what do you know about that? And to say he has onlyfive viewers? You know that that is not true.
Anyway, I am overreacting here. I just like Guðmundur’s show and I found that his guest on the night in question had behaved badly, not the other way around. I was also a bit surprised because I usually agree with what you write in your paper and I think it’s the best paper today. Keep up the good work and give Guðmundur another chance.
Benjamin,At your request, I’ve tried to give Mr. Steingrímsson’s show another chance. A few times. I’m afraid it still doesn’t work for me, but I can at least say that he’s not usually as offensive as he was the one time. I would comment that I wish he could have intelligent women guests, and that the show seems too macho, but there’s room on tv for macho, probably.
Regarding Steingrímsson running for Prime Minister, that was a joke. I was suggesting that, as Gísli Marteinn signed off as television personality on RUV by making comments against Eastern Europeans that didn’t seem politically aware, and then ran for mayor, Steingrímsson’s question about gays might qualify him for a more prestigious position.
Ultimately, my comments mocking Gísli Marteinn and Guðmundur Steingrímsson were meant to be a part of the discussion that goes on in the Icelandic community—and, of course, they were more moderate than what you hear about both personalities in bars. However, all was meant to be taken in a certain spirit: neither seem to be harming anyone. Particularly, Gísli Marteinn’s recent campaign relating to equality in the workplace was commendable. It’s likely that Mr. Steingrímsson won’t be too upset to be compared with Gísli Marteinn in the not-so-distant future.

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