From Iceland — Sour Grapes and Stuff

Sour Grapes and Stuff

Published June 18, 2010

Sour Grapes and Stuff

A buncha POLAR BEER for your thoughts
We’re not gonna lie to you: we really love us some beers. Some folks would call it a problem, but beer never gave us any problems. In fact, over the years, it’s solved most of ’em. A frosty glass of cold, frothy, bubblicious, golden-tinted beer has consistently failed to let us down. In the immortal words of the once-reputable Homer J. Simpson: “Mmm… Beer…”
Now, since we’re real pleasant and giving folks here at the Grapevine, we thought we’d share some wonderful POLAR BEER with you, our readers. 
Not only that, you’re also getting the gift of social life with it. So here’s the deal: our most awesome letter of each issue (henceforth, or until the good people of POLAR BEER decide they don’t want to play along anymore), 
we will be providing our MOST AWESOME LETTER scribe with twelve frothy POLAR BEERS, to be imbibed at a Reykjavík bar of their choice (so long as that bar is either Bakkus or Venue). If y’all’s letter is the one, drop us a line to collect. Give us your worst:
Dear Grapevine,
I write this letter to tell you the story of a contemporary hero, a hero of our times: me. Me, the guy who day-to-day tries his luck and results undefeated in the everyday head to head with the public transport service of Reykjavík.
In my daily Saga, I see my all life flashing before my eyes at every sudden brake of some drivers, who probably mistake the public transport for the super jeep tours around glaciers and volcanoes. I love going to work… an adrenaline rush every morning!
However, in these months, I also had the opportunity to rediscover the pleasure of reading, thanks to all those evenings when I wanted to go out and get drunk as every youngster worthy of the name, but I stayed in my Garðabær, instead. Why? Because of the lack of a decent evening tranport service and the impossibility to spend 3.000 kr for a cab every time.
What else can I say of the crazy nights during the weekends, when everyone, young and old, men and women bar none, pours out in downtown to drink hectoliters of alcohol?! By now I’ve become a vomit-puddle jumping professional! Every time I split my sides laughing when I think about those safe driving policies that spread all around Europe and lead every normal civilized municipality to endow itself with a night transport service for the weekend, thus allowing its youngsters to devastate their livers in holy peace without crashing the car against a streetlamp.
In the past few hours a new challenge has appeared on the horizon: the change of the schedule for the summer period! I love to whatch my iPod’s battery exhaust while I wait at the bus stop for half an hour, thinking that in any London, Paris or Berlin whatsoever, with a ticket of the same price I could jump on buses, trams and metro every three minutes and cross a metropolis with a population twenty-three times higher than the whole of Iceland in half the time! And when the bus finally arrives, I adore to make my way through a fluctuating mass of individuals desperately trying to keep their balance between an abrupt stop and the other. There must be an invisible and directly proportional connection between the quantity of people on the vehicle and the intensity with which the drivers hit the brakes: the more crowded the bus, the faster the drivers dart through the streets and come to a grinding halt at every traffic light and bus stop. It must be what they call “performance anxiety”…
However, what I love the most in this period are children. Really, I love them! I love to get on the bus facing these herds of untied small human beings out of control, and I adore to spend my thirty-minute journey with two or three of them perched on my shoulders and some other four clung to my back…
Anyhow, nothing scares me anymore. If I survived the winter Sunday mornings, sitting at the bus stop, with the temperature below zero and the first bus at 11.50, I can survive everything!
Indeed, I should pat my own shoulder!
Andrea Pregel
Dear Andrea,
Thank you for your letter. It was a most amusing read. And we agree, pretty much. Public transport in Reykjavík sucks balls and has done so for a long time. Maybe it’s unfair to compare Reykjavík’s public transport system to that of London or Paris, but it’s still mind-boggling to ponder how it manages to be as awful as it is.
Maybe some car-dealership owner managed to snake his way onto the board of Strætó BS, to try and tear it down from the inside?
Maybe he was one of those ‘Lizard People’ we keep hearing so much about?
Who knows!
Anyway. We decided to make you our FREE BEER LETTER. This will encourage you to either 1) take up day drinking or 2) pour some money into our faltering Taxi economy. Either way, Lord Satan wins. He always does.
The words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.:
“He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”
Farida Gillot
Dear Farida,
We followed your links. Yes. The Eyjafjallajökull eruption was a huuuuge government conspiracy. Meant to. Uhm. Stir up fear of volcanoes.
Look. We don’t want to call you a dumbass, dumbass. Whoops, we just did. Sorry. Anyway, yeah. Huge government conspiracy. We hear The Lizard People are involved, too. This is probably the reason Iceland plays host to a volcanic eruption every five years, give or take, and has done so for untold centuries.
For you see, governments aren’t a ‘new invention.’ Neither are ‘conspiracies.’ Or Lizard People. Those have all been around for ages.    
Anyway. What’s up with the Lizard People? Were they pissed off by their portrayal in the ‘V’ remake? Because we sure were.

The unknown have incredible importance.
The invisible columns of society,
Bearing the crushing weight of televised reality’s ignorant impact.
Struggling constantly to….
Be on television?
See the glowing fake version of yourself,
larger than life but dead.
Abstractly existing,
in a mass hypnotized idea of what the goal should be,
Without knowing what it is.
Just to…
Be in front of everyone, noticed.
Daniel Schreiber
Dear Daniel,
Thank you for your letter, and your poem. Or your poem anyway, there wasn’t really a letter. In any case. Have you heard of The Lizard People? We hear they’re all the rage. Maybe you should write some poems about them. Here is an inspirational sample:
“Oh lizard man, lizarding on,
Snaking your way into the public consciousness [via government conspiracies, TV shows and vegetarianism] With your green skin and your evil intentions (and all your Herbalife products. Sticky liquorice pops).
Hypnogogia is no solution. Nor is the internet. Lizard man, o, Lizard Man. On your quest for GLOBAL DOMINATION. Eating. Doritos. Snacks. Chewy toffees.
Salsa is less ‘hot’ and more expensive than it used to be.
Dear man. Lizard. What have you done to Paul Newman?”

Yo grapevine
Checked out your newsletter whilst in your excellent country, and thought it très cool.  You lot were pretty evenhanded in printing that letter from someone about how Norway and Iceland should be a union.  I mean, that dude really cannot be serious.  Iceland is, hands-down, the coolest place I’ve ever had the good fortune to visit.  Fact.  Why have it taken over by a place so boring that, in order to get people to visit, it needs the help of a Swedish dynamite inventor’s peace prize?  Notwithstanding that, anyone who suggests that Iceland and Norway should work together in some sort of union should perhaps read up on the one that is already in place – a little thing called the European Economic Area.
Simon Deeble
London, UK
Dear Simon,
Thank you for your letter! We didn’t get to meet you while you were here, but we are sure you are also très cool.
We’re not sure we share your sentiment of Norway being boring, though. Sure, Norwegian music is pretty boring, and Norwegian film. And Norwegian literature. Not to mention Norwegian art. And who could forget the boring Eurovision entries they always send in?
Anyway. Djók. Actually, Norway isn’t boring at all. It is a huuuuuuge country, with many, many people in it. We went to Norway once, and we only managed to see a teensy part of it. And what we saw was hella amusing. Some of the people are probably boring, but you know, some of the English people we’ve met have been pretty boring, too. Being boring is a universal quality, we figure. Almost everyone is capable of being boring!
But even if Norway were ‘a boring country’ – would that be so bad? Boring nations generally don’t rape and pillage other ones. Boring people don’t attack you on your way home from the pub, or make a move on your spouse, or pee on your rug when they get hammered. That’s what ‘exciting people’ get up to.
Yeah, fuck exciting. We should all embrace the quality of being boring, so we can stop fucking things up for one another, and everyone else. Case in point: Lizard People are certainly not boring. Yet they are awful!
Here’s to boredom!

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