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Party party a go-go

Well she may not have made it through to the Eurovision finals, but the phenom known as Silvía Nótt could not have drummed up more publicity for herself even if she had emerged as the winner. Indeed, the fact that she was eliminated apparently gave her just the opportunity she needed to become this year’s Eurovision sensation. The buzz surrounding her is enormous – on this site alone there have been hundreds of hits over the past few days searching for ‘silvia nott’ ‘iceland eurovision scandal’ ‘agusta eva’ ‘iceland eurovision crazy’ ‘agusta eva erlendsdottir agent’… or any variety thereof.

Links abound: if you’ve been reading the comments to the last few post you’ve surely seen this and this; and just this morning a kind reader emailed me to say that he’d found links here to Silvía’s Icelandic TV shows – you know, the ones that unleashed the beast. Unfortunately you have to speak Icelandic to get the full comic effect, but for diehard fans… bitteschön. Oh and if you want a glimpse behind the façade, here’s a stream of photos of Ágústa Eva [the actress behind Silvía] with the band she used to front – Ske.

At any rate, the Icelandic delegation is due home from Athens today, which will probably mean another round of media madness. Watch this space.

But I did not spend my entire weekend breathlessly waiting for the latest scandal from Athens. This weekend, my dear father-in-law celebrated his 80th birthday, and what a marvellous affair it was. Around 150 illustrious personages, including the Prime Minister of Iceland and several cabinet ministers, gathered together to sing the birthday song and wish him well. A programme was put together in which no speeches were allowed, save for an obligatory single one that covered the essentials.

He’s done good with his life, my father-in-law. His career accomplishments are many: as a Minister of Culture and Education he was instrumental in accomplishing things that mean a great deal to this nation, including the founding of the University of Akureyri and the construction of the new National University Library. As President of the lower house of the Icelandic parliament he travelled the world and met and entertained dignitaries and world leaders. But perhaps most importantly, he cultivated loving relationships with his wife and family. When EPI’s mother became ill with Alzheimers he nursed her at home for years, refusing to have her placed in an institution until it became impossible not to. Since she died last year, he has been enormously active… amazingly so. Example: he had never been to Cuba and wanted very much to see it before Castro dies, so this spring he went on a week’s vacation there, on his own. He writes articles in the newspapers, takes an active part in social discourse, and amuses himself by writing limericks and poetry.* At his birthday celebration this weekend, an exceptionally wonderful vocal ensemble performed two compositions that have been written based on his lyrics, and when the party was over he gave everyone in attendance a book of exceptional – and many hilarous – limericks written by himself.

This was on Saturday afternoon. Afterwards we all came back to our place – EPI’s brother, sisters, various kids and spouses. And EPI’s father of course – who brought flowers… lots of them [having received many bouquets]. He also brought wine [having received many bottles] and cognac [having…etc.] and while we barbecued and talked and basically had a great party, the Eurovision Song Contest went virtually unnoticed in the background [despite all my public declarations of listening to Terry Wogan, etc.]. So I do know that Finland took home the trophy, which is great, but apart from that I don’t know very much at all.

Just when you thought it was safe to remove that down jacket, here comes another blast of winter. It’s been insufferably cold the last few days, the sun has been out as though to mock our thoughts of spring, while heavy winds from the north and temps around the freezing mark make it feel more like January. Right now it’s windy and 1°C and up north the ground is covered with snow. We’re having daylight around the clock these days but officially the sun came up at 03.51 and will set at 23.00 this evening.

* This is not as simple as it sounds, as Icelandic poetry is subject to some fairly complicated rules. Very basically: the first line must have two words beginning with the same letter, and then the first word of the following line must also begin with that letter. There are some deviations, though, which I won’t get into here. Imagine, though – all Icelandic translations of poetry, songs, etc. must be written according to these rules, and all of Shakespeare is translated in this way.