From Iceland — Airwaves Day Two: An Oral History Of Last Night

Airwaves Day Two: An Oral History Of Last Night

Published November 6, 2015

York Underwood

Airwaves is great for people watching. Recently, my co-worker Jón Ben has been practicing listening to every conversation in a room while continuing to have his own. This is especially impressive because he’s usually laughing. I decided last night to give it a try. I couldn’t hear every conversation, but I tried to catch as many as I could and burn them into my memory.

I went from venue to venue listening to the story of streets. Catching little snippets into the varied lives of Airwaves festival goers. I’m not sure if this paints a clear narrative or an incoherent mosaic.

This is what I heard last night:

“Did we miss Ben Frost? It’s only 7:20. I don’t know whether to be impressed by this festival’s punctuality or angry I missed it. Maybe he’s late…I don’t know. Let’s just go in,” man in an orange coat speaking rhetorically to his wife in the Kaffibarinn smoking section, which operates as the entrance during Airwaves.

“I don’t know if KíKí will let me back in after last weekend,” a concerned young man in a yellow windbreaker walking past Bravó.

“YEEEEEAAAaaaaahhh, but I heard that band has a polish drummer,” heavily bearded man wearing a leather jacket and putting his friend in a headlock in front of Lebowski Bar.

“That was so weird. It was like waking into someone’s house. There’s no light in that stairway. Somebody is going to slip,” short woman wearing a large scarf walking out of Sakébarinn.

“That’s cool using a clothing store as a venue, but I bet they jack up the prices during shows,” clever cynic with dark-rimmed glasses standing outside °66 North.

“Don’t tip! They’ll think you’re hitting on them,” curly-haired brunette yelling at a slightly balding man in new sweater (tags still on) in line at the bar in Gamla Bíó.

“Holy shit, bro. It’s only like nine. I’m fucking fucked,” young man in a red baseball cap outside Prikið.

“At resorts they pre-mix a lot of mojitos, so it doesn’t take so long. I’m not complaining. It’s really great to have it freshly made. It just takes a long time. I feel like I’m holding up the line. There’s no music right now, so it’s not a big deal, but this could be a problem when the band starts,” ponders a man in a textured gray suit jacket with his shirt unbuttoned at the top and chestnut brown man-purse slung over his shoulder ordering a mojito at the upstairs bar in Bar Ananas before Fura played downstairs (Bar Ananas serves several other, quicker-made, drinks than a mojito).

“I’m American, but she’s Australian,” young woman explaining to the bouncer at B5 how to tell them apart.

“I bought this rain jacket,” a woman pointing at herself outside 10/11, announcing  to everyone or no one.

“Just piss on the street. There’s no rules when it’s raining. This is Iceland,” a young tourist/philosopher.

“I can’t believe I’m the only one with an umbrella,” stubbly-faced man in a turtleneck in the smoking section at Prikið, thinking aloud.

“I just got added to the drug Facebook page. You know what, I think I’m going to get some mandy for tomorrow. I need like half a gram. That would be perfect. Watch some concerts while on mandy. That will be great,” enthusiastic drug user talking to his group of friends.

“Yeah man. I’m grabbing a beer then heading to Nasa to see Ham. That sounds perfect,” a young man talking  to a bespectacled stranger.

“That does sound perfect,” bespectacled stranger talking to that young man.

“Here…” young man moves fist toward bespectacled stranger.

“I’m confused,” bespectacled stranger after placing his cupped hand expecting something to fall out of the young man’s fist.

“That happens. People get confused sometimes,” young man’s final words to the bespectacled stranger.

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