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!
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.