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No-fun Friday

AAH got up this morning, took one look out of the window and asked, “Who died?”

YT: Jesus Christ.
AAH: Oh.

[Heathen child.]

Icelanders fly flags at half-mast on Good Friday. They also believe that you shouldn’t have any fun. As a rule, everything is closed – although in the last couple of years that law has been relaxed ever-so-slightly to accommodate the poor tourists that were typically found wandering around the city, thirsty and starving, on the verge of gnawing on tree bark or drinking from the Tjörnin pond [yech!] on account of not having been told to stock up on food and liquids in advance.

So today EPI and I wandered downtown with some stale bread in a bag to see if we would encounter any tourists begging for food on street corners. We didn’t. Instead we fed our bread to the ducks on Tjörnin that used to be overfed by zealous parents-with-children on holidays like this, but are now victims of bird flu hysteria and are therefore starving. While there we were approached by two tourists wielding a map, asking how they could get to the Kringlan Mall. We sent them in the right direction, and were even kind enough to tell them that they could go there, but would find nothing open.

There were, however, a total of three cafés open in the city centre, plus the 10-11 store in Austurstræti. All were packed. Pasted on a wall was a poster from some organisation that espouses extreme atheism and which was going to show The Last Temptation of Christ at noon, in violent protest of the law that bans any cinema showings before 2pm.

This in itself is a relaxation of a law that was in effect until a couple of years ago, in which there were no cinema showings on Good Friday. Also, pubs must stay closed all day, but they open on the stroke of midnight and stay open until whenever people feel like going home, although not for longer than 24 hours because at midnight on Saturday night they must close again and stay closed for all of Easter Sunday. Until midnight, at which time they open again and stay open until the wee hours of Easter Monday.

Now YT, being pious in the extreme, decided to observe decorum and not have any fun today. Which made this the perfect day to sort out my tax return. While doing that I listened to the complete Jesus Christ Superstar and sang along to all of it [although that probably violates something or other – I don’t think you’re supposed to sing, or dance, on this day either]. It was the original Broadway version, too, with Ian Gillian as Jesus, which in my humble opinion is far far superior to the nauseatingly maudlin versions they’ve come out with since.

This evening there was even more song-and-dance, as AAH and I had a girls’ night in and watched West Side Story on video at her request [yep, someone’s having serious withdrawal symptoms]. Meanwhile, EPI went to see Ray Davies in concert at Háskólabíó [University Cinema]. EPI’s an original Kinks fan and got all fired up when he heard RD was coming back [for the second time in a couple of years] to give a concert. His enthusiasm was rather deflated, though, on learning what the tickets cost – the worst seats were ISK 6,500 a pop [USD 90/GBP 50] whereas the ones a few rows closer to the stage cost ISK 14,000 [USD 190/GBP 110]. [Yeah, that’s 180-380 bucks US for a couple if you do the math.] For that very reason EPI had decided to give Mr Davies’ company a wide berth; however, his brother called up unexpectedly a few days ago and invited him to go, his treat. Turns out EPI had introduced his brother [who is a few years younger] to The Kinks when they were boys and they’d spent long hours listening to them together. So off they went this evening – and had the best seats, too, fifth row from the stage. Sweet.

Anyway, our weather on this Long Good Friday was chequered. It started off overcast and blustery, then turned to rain and sleet, then the wind died down and all the flags hung perpendicular down the flag poles, then the sun came out and the wind picked up again. It was kind of cold – damp cold, in-yer-bones cold. Brrr. Temps were just above freezing and are now 1°C. The sun keeps coming up earlier and earlier – today at 6am sharp, although it was already light at 05.06am. The sun went down at 20.58 whereas nightfall was at 21.53.



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