From Iceland — Sour Grapes & Stuff

Sour Grapes & Stuff

Published August 6, 2013

Sour Grapes & Stuff

Most awesome letter
Dear Grapevine-
My Father, Brother and I are breaking the cardinal rule of familial relations (distance makes the heart grow fonder) by traveling together to your wonderful country this very August.  Our logic, which has zero credibility, was that all but a few gnomes and a puffin might catch our snide bickering as we bumbled about with our single bottle of duty-free vodka and a 6-pack of something called Gull.
Since we’re a foolish American caricature of…”if it wasn’t for you, we’d be NORMAL!”… followed by “well, if you’d listened just ONCE you might not be such a failure”.  Blahh-blahhh-blahhh … I want a drink or twelve followed by an intervention.  (Interventions are what Americans do to resurrect themselves from stupid behavior… they really should call it “born-again boring neighbor”)
Anyhow, I digress.  We, being the thoughtful types, felt you might appreciate a non-verbal guide to communicating with us. 
Unlike most tourists we talk below the din; appreciate the nuance of pacing our food/drink; and tend to be much more interested in listening to strangers or keeping quite than dealing with our immediate family or playing with our iPhones.
Thank You in advance for letting us travel amongst the good souls of Iceland and sharing a stretch of earth and time.  We will do our best to become Tourist(s) of the Year.
Ernest, Will and Phil McCracken – (aka – The McCracken’s)
Hey McCrackens!
We were gonna call you ‘Team McCracken’ but it really doesn’t sound like there’s gonna be a lot of teamwork happening during your visit to our country. Why so much bickering, you guys? And why go on a trip, in close quarters, with nowhere to run but the ocean, if there’s gonna be so much bickering and bad vibes!? What the hell!?
Actually, it does sound a pretty good premise for a show: an American man, his brother and dad, (who may or may not secretly hate one another), quietly giving each other cut-eye and sass-mouth as they go on misguided vacations together. Shame and blame throwing ensues!
Seriously, we hope you’re bringing a camera and you film this stuff. If your familial spats get into the news somehow, then you’ll definitely be tipping the scales towards winning the grand TOTY prize. For now, here’s something to help keep the peace between the three of you.
The Grapevine

Dear sir / madam
I am writing with regard to the Icelandic radio station X977. I first tuned in when spending New Year in Iceland and thoroughly enjoyed the type of music they play and hearing some new bands. In fact, through listening to them I first heard Asgeir Trausti. Subsequently I have become a fan and saw him in concert in London earlier this month. From time to time I listen to X977 on my internet radio to keep in touch with what is happening musically in your country. However, on doing this on Friday 26th July I was intrigued to hear an English-speaking DJ. After a couple of songs he announced in a fairly convoluted way that he was about to tell a joke. This turned out to be extremely offensive and racist insulting gypsies. He topped it off by saying that this was the BBC (not X977), in case of complaints. Clearly he knew full well that the joke was unacceptable but tried to extend the joke further. As I am not from Iceland I do not know whether this type of incident is acceptable in your country and I would sincerely hope that it is not. Racism of any kind is not for broadcast and I am shocked that a radio station such as X977 permits this to take place. I am sure that if this were to happen at the BBC the person involved would be sacked immediately. I would be interested to hear what your thoughts are at Grapevine.
Many thanks
Neil Jones  (a teacher in London)
Hey Neil,
X977 are usually pretty great, you’re right. And in their defence, they do claim to take this sort of stuff pretty seriously, even implementing (an un-needed by Icelandic law) code of ethics a couple years back.
That guy Smutty is a bit of a character all truth be told, a relic of (more innocent? more archaic? dumber? differenter?) times, if you will. We’re definitely not excusing his comments, but sort of noting why the X977 folks would pay no mind to his miscommunications. It’s easy to get blind on people and how their words might be perceived if you already take them sort of half-seriously. Hopefully the guys at X977 are reading this here ‘letters’ column and will take your complaints seriously—they are definitely merited.
The Grapevine
PS. Try listening to Flassback instead. They stream a lot of fun jams from the early noughties!

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