From Iceland — Sour Grapes

Sour Grapes

Published March 8, 2007

Sour Grapes

An open letter to Páll Hilmarsson
Dear sir,
how dare you state that mighty BLACK-METAL is bad?
You obviously have no taste in – nor knowledge of – music. Either that or you are the world’s biggest sissypants square/lame excuse for an anarchist. I demand that you resign from your post reviewing records for the Grapevine.
And what the hell is wrong with songs about Church burnings anyway?
Thank you,
-Haukur Sigurbjörn Magnússon
Dear Haukur,
I believe you are referring to a line in a CD review by the Grapevine’s distinguished CD reviewer, Páll Hilmarsson, where he says: “Metal can be great. We all know that. Almost any kind of metal is great, with the exception of black-metal, which is not great.” I would have granted Páll an opportunity to answer your ridiculous accusations, but he is currently unavailable, somewhere deep in the Cambodian jungle, on an assigment to find Colonel Kurtz, the original portrayer of Black Metal.
Obviously, that last statement is only half truth, but I guess it is too much to ask of you to see beyond the thinly veiled sarcasm, much as with Páll’s statement. Obviously, you have no sense of the finer tools of the journalistic trade, used for comic effect and the general amusement of the reader. Páll is not a person who is known for making grand and sweeping generalisations, let alone secluding a whole genre of music on the basis of a comparitive analysis. He would, however, and indeed he has, made such statements for the purposes of amusement and general shock.
As for your even more dumbfounding question regarding songs about church burnings. Nobody said anything to the effect that singing about church burnings was wrong, but since you asked… Obviously, singing about church burnings is pretty much on par with singing about white supremacy or violence against women. It is a message of hate, glorifying the discrimination of a group of people on the basis of their religion. Obviously, I will defend your right to talk out of your ass, ad infinitum, etc, but being loud doesn’t make you right. If all you intend to use your freedom of speech for is to prove your own ignorance, then perhaps you are one of those people who would be better off living in a country where the government takes an active role in silencing the voices of dissent.

Dear Editor,
I am from New York City working here temporarily in Iceland. I’ve been coming here for years for both fun and work. I arrived here in November. About a month later I was violently assaulted and landed in the hospital.
Unfortunately, no bones were broken (….or so I was told because my case apparently would have received attention). Here it is 2.5 months later and the attacker (my Icelandic ex-boyfriend) has not been served with the court summons.
The officers who I filed the complaint with don’t return my “checking in” SMS’s or phone calls. They’re very busy with the investigations of actual violent crimes, they told me two months ago. (Gee, I thought NYC was tough.)
If I must be held hostage by IS red tape, I at least want to warn other foreigners what they can expect if they are attacked here.
No wonder so many people drop these kinds of charges –too much time to reconsider and second guess the emotional and physical impact of the violation.
PS, I’m so happy to have the Grapevine to read!
Xxxxxx (name withheld by ed.)
Dear Xxxxxx,
Your story is really heartbreaking, but sadly, not unique. Charges against violent offenders are indeed often dropped, since criminal investigators, overworked and underpaid as they are, don’t have the manpower to follow up on investigations. I suspect their inadequacy to do their job sadly results in them lashing out at those who least deserve it, the victims themselves. Obviously, this is inexcusable in every way. But there is only one way to deal with this problem: to keep applying pressure on police authorities, following up on your case, and let them know that burying cases won’t make them go away. That is the only way to force changes.
I realise it can be draining, but I urge you to stay strong and see to it that your case is seen through.
I wish you luck.

I’m visiting Iceland soon and found and subscribed to The Grapevine online just today.
I enjoyed the article A Staple of Downtown Shopping, but I think you mean visitors from North America are “prudish,” not prudent. Speaking for myself, I know I am prudish and rarely appear nude even to myself — however, I, like many of my fellows Americans, am not always prudent. I carry a lot of credit card debt and yet I’m going on an England + Iceland trip; I’ve been married too many times; and I just moved back to Minnesota (which is just digging out of the worst snowstorms of the past five years or so) from California.
Yes, prudish; prudent, no.
I’m enjoying the articles very much,
Sue Cross
Dear Susan,
The ideal blend of course, is a person that is neither prudish nor prudent. Even more preferably that person would be tall and handsome, and loaded… Yes, I think we are on to something here.

In my book Daniel Pollock is a savior/hero for having the balls and energy to create and run a pro-rehearsal facility to accomodate a blooming music scene that has brought forth artist’s that have brought international attention to Iceland and bolstered the economy considerably in numerous ways. Lay Low is a recent example of an artist coming from the ranks of TÞM to rise to considerable national sucess and poised to make her mark world wide. It is no accident Bjök will be rehearsing for her upcoming world tour at TÞM. the facilities of TÞM are on par with any other proffessional rehearsal facilities in the western world. Considering music being one of icelands greatest exports since 1987 when The Sugarcubes charmed the pants off the world popular music community it is quite puzzling that the icelandic political community, movers & shakers , money holders and makers have had such a severe lack of vision and interest in taking this local and international industry seriously. 12 million kronur a year to keep TÞM running is adrop in the bucket to those in power in Iceland and as to the return on such an investment its a no-brainer for any 1st year economy student who is not stifled by a age old business ailment called Greed – Fast Turnover/Fast returns – Tunnel Vision. A clear sympton of the Tunnel Vision- Blindfold Ailment is : Spend 500 kronur and lose 5,000 kronur. Its very contagious. I´ve witnessed a lot of companies and individuals rise , fall and die from taht disease. I hope all Grapevine readers near and far will urge the icelandic givernment , the economic power holders on and behind the scene´s to move NOW to contribute the support TÞM needs to survive & thrive…ViVa TÞM!!!
M.D. Pollock
World Citizen
Right on brother!

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