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Our unsolicited opinion of the Skaup and other diversions

Every New Year’s Eve, the Icelandic nation gathers before the television at precisely 10.30 pm to watch a programme known as the Áramótaskaup – literally ‘Year-End Satire’ – a send-up of the year’s news and events. Someone who doesn’t live in Iceland probably wouldn’t get half the jokes, but for those of us who are plugged in to what’s been happening here it is totally hilarious. [Although in the next few days there will be ongoing discussions, as always, about how well the skaup managed to capture the year’s events and how funny it actually was].

In my view, most Áramótaskaup have both funny and not-so funny sketches, and this year was no exception. I laughed myself silly at a send-up of this cheesy advertisement that Iceland Telecom ran this year for prepaid cellphone cards, which here in Iceland are called Frelsi, which means “freedom”. In the skaup, the premise was twisted around to refer to our economic collapse [what else?] and the lyrics had been changed to convey the message that we’d had way too much “freedom” last year and now we were basically f*cked. Another bit I thought was hilarious was the one where a newscaster droned on and on about the economic news and it was basically just drivel that made absolutely no sense whatsoever, even though you could recognize individual words. And also the guy who made the sign “Helvítis fokking fokk” guffaw … [OK, I’m now entering territory where readers who didn’t see the skaup won’t know what I’m on about, so I’ll stop and just continue chuckling to myself in private, hehehheheheheheh].

Anyway. After the skaup finished at 11.30 we had about half an hour to rush up to the nearest hill [which happens to be the one near Landakotskirkja church] to get a view of the fireworks. By this time my father-in-law was pretty tired so my youngest stepdaughter [the designated driver for the evening] was asked to take him home. She was hoping to get back in time to join us at midnight and, as she tells it, managed to land on every single red light on the way back. She was stopped at one such just as the church bells started ringing, signaling midnight. She looked over into the car next to her, where there was just one guy [a stranger] in the drivers’ seat. Without warning he whipped off his seat belt, got out of the car, she got out of her car, and they had a big hug in the middle of the street in which they wished each other a Happy New Year. Two strangers on a red light. Because you just can’t be alone at midnight. You just can’t. [Aw!]

After most of the pyrotechnic madness had subsided [it was noticeably more subdued this year, unsurprisingly] we went back home, popped open a bottle of Champers [the real stuff] and my middle stepdaughter and EPI’s sister and I proceeded to dance around in the kitchen for another two hours, while everyone else trickled out to various parties. During that time we were joined by three of Ólöf’s friends who came to whisk her away to a bash downtown and we only stopped dancing when it became obvious that they wouldn’t make it at all if we didn’t. Stop. EPI and I got to bed around five [early!] and were in surprisingly fine shape today, considering the copious amounts of bubbly that was consumed. In fact, I think Polly the cockatiel had the worst hangover of all today … poor bird couldn’t get a moment’s rest until the wee hours of the morning and so spent the better part of the day all bleary-eyed with her head tucked under a wing.

Tomorrow it’s back to reality … but just for one day, because here comes the weekend!

Gos

Oh, and I’ve uploaded a few photos to Flickr

THE WEATHER ON THIS FIRST DAY OF 2009
Wery wet. It pissed down with rain pretty much all day long. EPI and I donned rain gear and took our leftover bread down to Tjörnin to feed the ducks and swans and greedy greedy geese. They really are aggressive, crikey! One of them kept knocking on EPI’s leg with its beak; I thought it was going to pull him into the muddy water, never to release him again. It’s stopped raining now, though. Temps 7°C [45F]. The sun came up at 11.19 am and set at 3:44 pm.

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  • Pseudonym January 2, 2009, 4:15 am

    How bad are the shortages getting?

    Are people starting to look hungry?

  • Pseudonym January 2, 2009, 4:18 am

    Speaking of TV…

    “But this year’s show with Prime Minister Geir Haarde was cut short 45 minutes into the program when a torch-wielding crowd stormed Reykjavik’s Hotel Borg in an attempt to get to the studio.”

    Torch-wielding? Waytago, Iceland!

  • Ann January 2, 2009, 4:51 am

    Great pictures, Alda, almost like being there. Happy New Year to all your family and may prosperous time lie ahead!

  • hildigunnur January 2, 2009, 11:29 am

    Agree with the Skaup, aside from the 2-3 too long sketches and the live studio audience (I much prefer getting to know myself when things are funny, not having this silly laughter in the show), it was really good.

    Pseudonym, no, nobody seems hungry, and there’s lot of food.

    Happy new year, Alda, and all of you.

  • Elín January 2, 2009, 1:27 pm

    I thought the sketch about slátur was funny!

    Great photos and charming story about your youngest step-daughter and the stranger hugging at the intersection. I hope Polly feels better today.

    Happy New Year!

  • mondrian January 2, 2009, 1:29 pm

    Yay Champers! And yes, the geese and ducks at Tjörnin can get a lit-tle pushy sometimes!

    Happy New Year and all the best for ’09!

  • Grif January 2, 2009, 3:00 pm

    Happy New Year!

    Nice story of Ragnheiður and the stranger at the crossroad. But ohh my, your stepdaughters look alike! Well … the 2 youngest, didn’t see the oldest.
    Nice pictures as well, looks like you had a lot of fun.

  • Karen* January 2, 2009, 3:05 pm

    May I solicit your opinion on the PM’s broadcast being cut short by protesters?

  • Stan January 2, 2009, 3:10 pm

    I just watched the TV coverage of the Hotel Borg barge-in and understand that it had something to do with 365 Media, but I have no idea what the purpose of the demonstration was. I was quite surprised to see road flares being used by the demonstrators — they can be quite dangerous.

    What was going on there and what was the reason for the demonstration?

  • James January 2, 2009, 4:02 pm

    Iceland’s New Years sound pretty good!

    Several comments about the Hotel Borg protest… It looks like it was quite a rumpus: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=we4ZMgc3V6w

  • alda January 2, 2009, 6:43 pm

    Hi everyone, and thanks for the input!

    Hildigunnur – completely agree, I hope the next skaup doesn’t have that live studio audience laughter that somehow managed to sound more canned than canned! And I thought that Ragnhildur Steinunn skit was far too long.

    Grif – they may look alike to you, but we have no problem telling them apart! 🙂

    Karen, James – I’ll do a post.