Seriously. Protests are where the greatest stuð is these days [an excellent word that is virtually impossible to translate but falls somewhere between ‘fun’ and ‘rush’] here in Niceland. As everybody knows, the recent revolution has consisted of people showing up in strategic locations and banging pots, pans, drums or whathaveyou, inevitably creating a tribal beat replete with chanting of the slogan most appropriate to the occasion, such asVanhæf ríkisstjórn [incompetent government] or Davíð burt! [Davíð out!]. The beat of the former went something like this VAN-HÆF RÍKIS-STJÓRN! [dum-dum-dum dumdum] VAN-HÆF RÍKIS-STJÓRN [dum-dum-dum dumdum] … repeated over and over again until, well, the government collapsed. The pinnacle of fun, of course, was the addition of a bonfire, so people could bang, chant AND dance like mad around the fire.
When was the last time you had that much fun at a concert, I ask you? There’s certainly been a helluva lot more stuð at the recent demos than, say, that excruciating Eric Clapton debacle last August. I’llsaynomore.
Anyway, to cap the concert analogy, take what happened in front of the Central Bank this morning. One of Iceland’s most popular singers for decades, Bubbi Morthens, pulled up in a delivery van that contained his former band EGO [the irony of the name was not lost on our YT] and proceeded to rock up a storm in front of the CB. In between performing some of his best-loved songs he shouted at Davíd Oddsson to haul ass out of the bank and, failing that, urged the staff of the CB to join forces with them, the protesters, and carry him out [but gently, so as not to hurt him].
Meanwhile, on a less frivolous note, two Icelandic economists, Gylfi Zoega from the University of Iceland and Jón Daníelsson from London School of Economics, have prepared a rather excellent paper on what happened here in the lead-up to the collapse, and subsequently. The two of them appeared in Kastljós last night to introduce the report and said that they’d felt there had been no real objective reporting on what took place from those within Iceland – hence their effort. I’ve read some of the report [it’s about 19 pages long] and am dead impressed with what I’ve read so far. It’s just a really sound, down-to-earth analysis of the entire mess, written in a language the most people can understand. Excerpt:
It is not clear to us why the Icelandic authorities did not resolve the problem before it was too late, and even encouraged the bank expansion abroad in full knowledge of its serious difficulties. The only explanation we can find is that the Icelandic authorities opted for gambling for resurrection. Realizing that the banks were likely, but not certain, to fail they opted to bet on the possibility of survival. Unfortunately, the downside risk of this bet was substantial, and the bet failed.
The full report can be read here under the heading “The Collapse of a Country”.
IT HAS BEEN ANOTHER CHILLY DAY
The party in front of the Central Bank this morning was held in temps of around -8°C, so you have to hand it to those who had it in themselves to show up at 8 am [YT was not one of them – boo]. Right now -7°C [19F]. The sun came up at 9.39 am and set at 5.46 pm.