So I’ve been back in Iceland since Wednesday and, as is always the case when I don’t post for a few days, I start to suffer from writer’s block. Not because I don’t have anything to say – but because I have too much to say and I have such a hard time choosing. I’ll never understand bloggers who have to struggle to come up with topics for their posts. I tend to get overwhelmed by the topics that just seem to THROW themselves at me.
Things here are pretty much the same as they were before I went away – everyone still fighting over Icesave and the government on the verge of collapsing. Of course I was absent on the “official” one year anniversary of the collapse, marked by the day when then-PM Geir Haarde made his infamous “God Bless Iceland” speech on the telly [October 6th]. A full year already! How time flies when you’re having fun.
Of course the media, both foreign and domestic, is busy these days reviewing the events of those fateful few weeks one year ago when this country’s economy went down the toilet. Personally I lost interest after the first few clips on RÚV and I really can’t be bothered to read all those reports in the foreign media – they were overkill then and usually marked by a parachute-journalism style that I found really annoying, and they’re kind of overkill now.*
Also? I don’t have much time for those books coming out on the subject written by former bank insiders who promise to reveal lots of salacious details. And I’m not alone – judging by the discussion on Facebook, Twitter and elsewhere, most of my countrymen are ready to gag at the sight of Why Iceland? or Frozen Assets, both written by Kaupthing insiders. Author of the former, Ásgeir Jónsson, worked in Kaupthing’s Research Division and, as I heard someone remark the other day, “was collecting a salary for lying to the Icelandic nation” about the status of the bank. The other, Ármann Þorvaldsson, was head of Kaupthing Singer and Friedlander in London, took home an exorbitant salary and was best known in this country for being the guy who hired Tom Jones to sing at one of the bank’s New Year’s Eve parties, which incidentally was held in the lobby of the Natural History Museum in London and attended by Þorgerður Katrín Gunnarsdóttir, vice-chair of the Independence Party [quel surprise].
To top this off, the two books, that are coming out in Icelandic now and which were allegedly written in English originally**, are being published by an individual who – surprise surprise – used to be the PR manager for Kaupthing.
So, you know, maybe these books will be gobbled up by overseas readers hungry for info about Iceland’s bank crash, written by people who were there at the scene of the crime, as it were – but believe me, most people here in Iceland have no stomach for that sort of literature.
Some of you complained about lack of illustration on this site when I was in Italy earlier this week, so this is for you. First, a photo from lovely Ferrara, Via delle Volte [Vault St.] which was their main shopping street in medieval times:
And one from the exquisitely beautiful Venice:
AND LET US NOT FORGET THE WEATHER
It’s a little different here than in Italy, let me tell you, phwoar! Yesterday we had our first major storm of the season, and boy, was it a doozie. We bolted down the hatches well beforehand [read: brought the gas barbecue inside] and YT stayed all cocooned up inside for the duration of the day – until I could no longer form a complete sentence in my head for lack of fresh oxygen, at which point I was forced outside. Today it’s a bit calmer, although still with chilly gusts of wind. Right now 6°C [43F], with the sun rising at 8:01 am and setting at 6:26 pm.
* That said I did read a rather good piece in the Financial Times this morning by my [Facebook] friend Robert Jackson – although I have to disagree with his analysis of the Icelanders’ emotional condition in the first paragraph – I don’t know anyone who’s suffering from ‘a mild form of cancer’, thankfully. Most people I know are just getting on with things and having their ups and downs as usual.
** I say “allegedly” because I heard through the grapevine that old Ármann had contacted a translator here in Iceland to translate his book into English. So, I’m kinda confused now that it’s coming out in “Icelandic translation”. Maybe it’s that old trick of making the English-speaking market think that you wrote the book in English, because it’s good for sales. Wouldn’t be the first time, either, and boy – could I tell you a story about that.