Thursday night’s darkening of Reykjavík was a big disappointment – although a worthwhile experiment that with any luck will be done again. But next time if the glaring pizza joints and blinding video stores and floodlit sports arenas and thousands of motorists [that just had to be on the move for that particular half an hour] could cooperate by just shutting off their frigging lights/staying home, that would be great. Just turning the off streetlights does not a dark city make. As we now know. Rating: one star out of five.
Went to see Rudy Giuliani give a talk yesterday afternoon. He was in Niceland at the invitation of Síminn [Iceland Telecom] that splashed out the GDP of a small African nation to celebrate its centennial yesterday. I happened to be among the privileged few invited to the talk, conducted under the watchful eyes of Secret Service men in black suits and sunglasses muttering into microphones. A fairly atypical situation for us Nicelanders, who are used to meeting the Prime Minister in the grocery store and walking up to the President’s residence and ringing the doorbell if we feel so inclined without anyone saying boo.
Anyway, old Rudy was greeted with much enthusiasm by the Nicelanders – enthusiasm bordering on humiliation if you ask me, as is sadly too often the case when someone superfamous visits our fair land. For example, while his talk was engaging and interesting and all that, it was definitely not worthy of two standing ovations. [YT remained resolutely seated for the second one, grr.] Particularly as the previous talk, by one Andrew Zolli, was – as a talk – much better prepared and more riveting than Giulianis [but garnered no standing ovation]. Zolli, incidentally, is a ‘futurist’ – a unique breed of geek [his term] whose occupation it is to predict and analyze the trends of the future. In practice this means he is paid a gazillion dollars by the world’s leading corporations to tell them what sort of mobile phone [or whatever] will be trendy in 2011. Freaky.
Rudy took a while to warm up, but once he began to relate his experience of 9/11 he had the audience in the palm of his hand. Which I suppose is not difficult, given the intensity of the subject matter and the immense psychosocial significance of the event for everyone in the Western World. And the way he used his experience of how he handled that horrific day to illustrate his points about what makes a good leader was really quite fascinating. Not that he seemed to have any lofty ideas about himself – on the contrary. In fact I was much impressed by his modesty, intelligence and critical self-analysis of himself and the United States as a nation. He was asked about his intention to run for president and would neither confirm of deny it, but nonetheless gave a completely satisfying answer. Rating: four stars out of five.
When the conference ended, guests were directed down to a new space in the Laugardalshöll arena, where the mutha of all birthday celebrations was to be held. It was certainly attended by enough people – my rough guess would be around 2,000, all of whom were fed delicious hors d’ouvres and poured as much white/red wine as they could imbibe. And there was ‘entertainment’– some girl [methinks Icelandic Idol contestant but can’t be sure as stopped following it some time ago] singing a completely cringe-worthy Happy Birthday in typical American diva style [read: endless vocal gymnastics and flourishes, yech], after which our Magni took to the stage, wished Síminn a Happy Birthday and craftily remarked that he believed he was solely responsible for its excellent revenues [at least over the course of last summer], after which he played a rendition of this to the delight of all. He then took his leave, suitably excused since he was scheduled to play a concert [funded largely by Síminn] with scary old Dilana that evening, to which many of the guests at the party would be heading. Rating: three stars out of five.
So yes, all you ‘dilana in iceland’ Google searchers out there: a) Dilana is in town, is playing four shows with Magni and his band Á móti sól, b) told Blaðið yesterday that she would do anything for Magni, that the most important thing that came out of her Supernova participation was her friendship with him because he completely ‘got her through the experience’, c) that she may move to Iceland for a few months if she likes it here, d) a concert is apparently planned with the Supernova house band, featuring Magni, Dilana, Storm and Toby. Rating: Don’t know, wasn’t there.
OH AND OF COURSE THE WEATHER
Which looks amazing and which I am about to take advantage of right now. Congratulations to all who made it through to the end of this post, temps currently 9°C with sunshine and slight winds from the northeast, sunrise on this last day of September was at 07.33 and sunset due for 19.01. Enjoy your weekend!