From Iceland — Letters from 3rd issue

Letters from 3rd issue

Published March 9, 2010

Letters from 3rd issue

Dear  grapevine
I’ve been living in Iceland for seven months and I am having the time of my life. I think I’m over the worst part of the year; I have had sheep-balls for lunch and the dark, dark mornings until eleven, the horror! No, I just didn’t get out of bed until it was light, “you should never fight nature, people!”.
Having moved from London in July to get away from the big smoke and throw away society there, to a cleaner healthier life, I find myself constantly amazed by how much litter there is here.
The thing is I run, a lot, around Reykjavík and Kópavogur and the amount of rubbish that is thrown from the cars amazes me. You really notice it in such a beautiful place.
Ok, let me just say one thing; you may think I’m just a tourist who knows nothing about how Icelanders live and that I’m looking at it through the eyes of a loved up immigrant who has fallen in love with this strange land, how ever in the England we have a saying; you wouldn’t crap in your own back garden.
I realize everybody drives here, and I understand, I tried to get a bus once but I couldn’t wait for two days! I didn’t have the time, or the below zero outfits needed, plus every car driver looks at me with amazement! “Why is he waiting,  the golden circle? It’s not that way!”, While slurping on a soda and throwing some fast-food wrapper out the window.
You have such an amazing life here; you really don’t want to end up using your garden as a rubbish bin.
Jason doyle
Dear Jason,
You are absolutely right on every count. We won’t even bother with a witty retort here or anything. You’re just right. Listen to Jason, people. He knows what he’s talking about. The rest of y’all throwing shit from your cars: fuck you.

I have been reading the online musings and muttings for a few months to get an idea of what to expect when visiting Iceland. I am going to be there this weekend and I think I am more excited than I was at christmas.
I have laughed and chuckled out loud in the office more than once when passing the “working” hours engrossed in your website. Great journalism and also very informative though not sure if i’ll be going to see “Empty Hollow Void” on friday night…
Well just a big thanks for the Elf/Viking tips and I hope the weather stays weather! Keep up the good work.
Dear Geoff,
are you sure you’ve been reading the Grapevine? We do our best not to report on elves and Vikings, although they admittedly slip in there every now and again. Anyway, thank you for your kind words – we hope you have a nice stay in Iceland, don’t contract any STDs, see some Aurora, hang out with some Vikings, shoot the shit with elves, eat a glacier, hike some ram’s balls, etc. etc.

There I was, sitting in my salubrious drawing room pencilling another eviscerating review on some spotty oiks who believed themselves to be the next Sigur rós, when my servant offered the latest periodical of the Reykjavik Grapevine. Amongst the usual blathering was some mains hum from a new hip beat combo who called themselves Kimono. I vaguely recall writing something about them a while back; I review so many second rate Icelandic albums it´s hard to remember.
Imagine how perturbed I was when my good name was dragged through the mud all because I deemed the title of their latest album as “stupid” (actually I said it was “awful”) and I lacked understanding and imagination! The cads!
Once my blood pressure returned to normal, I realised that there was no way my puny brain could possibly fathom the numerous levels that the title, “Easy music for difficult people”, operates on.
Quite simply this title should go up with the great album names in history, for example “UNeasy listening” by the main influence on the Kimono sound, Chumbawamba. It even exceeds the subtle play on words exemplified by Public Enemy´s “How You Sell Soul to a Soulless People Who Sold Their Soul?” or the Butthole Surfers “Rembrandt Pussyhorse”. Indeed the level of metaphysical philosophising with “easy music for difficult people” is so great, that “When the Pawn Hits the Conflicts He Thinks Like a King, What He Knows Throws the Blows When He Goes to the Fight, and He’ll Win the Whole Thing ‘Fore He Enters the Ring, There’s No Body to Batter When Your Mind Is Your Might, So When You Go Solo, You Hold Your Own Hand, and Remember That Depth Is the Greatest of Heights, and If You Know Where You Stand, Then You’ll Know Where to Land, and If You Fall It Won’t Matter, Cuz You Know That You’re Right” by Fiona Apple can´t possibly stand up to it! It truly is that excellent!
And what sort of name is Cluness? Well if I knew my father I’m sure I would ask him (right now I’ve narrowed it down to Sean Connery or Fat Bastard from the Austin Powers movies). But if I must descend to the name calling level of the lumpen proletariat, then all I can say is that Kimono can suck on my 12-inch taint forthwith!
Robert Carl Cluness Esq.
PS – Get a bass player, your sound is too tinny….
Dear Robert (Robert?),
thank you for your letter. We are pretty sure it will be the last thing ever printed in the Grapevine by yourself, as the notoriously hard men of kimono are apt to hunt you down, molest, disembowel and skin your ass when this is published. Regardless, you do have a point. That Fiona Apple album title is surely a classic of modern philosophy. It’s been lovely knowing you, Bob. See you in hell.

Dear Grapevine,
While I think highly of your publication, approve of the causes your journalists defend and read with great pleasure your articles about Iceland and Icelandic culture, I find myself repeatedly puzzled by your excessive use of the word “awesome”. To be honest, I deleted that word from my vocabulary a long time ago, thinking it had lost all of its power – if it ever had any. The English lexicon is rich enough, dare I say, for you to find quite a few synonyms for that word.
See, I am one of these people who think that, if you tend to over use a word, it loses its strength and becomes almost meaningless, really. And it seems that, these past few years, television has had quite a strong effect on our written culture, for better or worse. And while I love TV and I cannot live a day without a rerun of Friends or a week without a new episode of How I met your mother (even with their countless “awesome, dude!”s), I am quite saddened by its influence on our English vocabulary. Or maybe I’m just not cool enough to get the whole “awesome” thing – and don’t you dare calling me “dude”!
I am not against the modernization of language, far from that, but by all means, let’s not forget all these synonyms, whose destiny is indeed to keep us away from awkward repetitions, like the ones I often come across in the Grapevine (or do you get paid by the “awesome”?). If you take your job seriously, turn off your TV and scroll through your thesaurus, please!
Awesome, when you analyze its construction, is actually quite a poetic word. Or used to be. But it has lost its beauty simply because, one day, it became fashionable amongst American teenagers. I would expect from a magazine or newspaper, no matter how trendy and modern it is, to use a more sophisticated language. This not preventing you from keeping the very informal tone which gives the Grapevine its charm and personality, of course.
As far as I am concerned, I do hope you will not take this letter as an offense, merely as constructive criticism, and yes, I will keep on reading the Grapevine and enjoy it, because despite this little flaw (which, who knows, perhaps really bothers me alone and a couple of my friends), your paper is still pretty astonishing, awe-inspiring, beautiful, breathtaking, daunting, fascinating, formidable, grand, imposing, impressive, incredible, magnificent, majestic, marvelous, mind-blowing, prodigious, stunning, superb, wonderful… you get my point!
Best regards,
Jean-Christophe from France (not even a native English speaker!)
Dear Jean-Cristophe from France that’s not even a native English-speaker,
thank you for your most awesome letter. It really got us thinking. For instance, what is this “thesaurus” you speak of? Who are those “Friends” you like watching? What are “synonyms” and “lexicons”?  What have you got against American teenagers?
Anyway, dude, thanks again for your awesome letter.

Support The Reykjavík Grapevine!
Buy subscriptions, t-shirts and more from our shop right here!


Sour Grapes: HYPOCRISY!

Sour Grapes: HYPOCRISY!


Show Me More!