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The bogeyman is Swedish

In my play-by-play June 17 post I forgot to mention a highly significant event: Iceland played a handball game against Sweden and lost by one goal. However! Something about points and previous wins and yick and yack [I shall never understand the intricacies of sport and tournaments and championships] meant that despite losing, they will pass through to the World Championships being held… where? when? I don’t know. But soon. And somewhere.

You may not know this, but handball is a major sport in Iceland. Probably because it’s one of the few competitive ball sports that you can play indoors and as you will know or can surmise, the Icelandic outdoor-sports-playing-season is blink-and-you’ll-miss-it short. Evidently, there has been some sort of long-term contention between Iceland and Sweden [although I wonder whether Sweden even knows about this] because the Icelanders see the Swedes as their arch-nemesis in sport, spawning the term Svíagrýla – or, roughly translated, the ‘Swedish bogeyman’. [Those of you who have been paying attention will recall that Grýla is the ogre that resides in the mountains, is the mother of the Icelandic Yule Lads and eats children when they’re naughty.]

So you can believe that the Icelandic nation was more than a little chuffed to have beaten the hell out of [yeah, right!] the Svíagrýla last weekend. Prompting this delightful commentary from the Blaðið cartoonist:

Here we have the coach of the Icelandic handball team sitting atop the roughed-up and mangled Swedish bogeyman, with Iceland’s new Prime Minister standing off to the side and declaring:

“The Office of the Prime Minister thanks you for taking down the Svíagrýla and requests that you now take down the following enemies of Iceland…”



  1. The inflation monster
  2. Robbie Williams*
  3. The goddamn Swede who ruled that Víkingur should be eliminated in the European Handball Championships in 1979 after a spectacular win over Ystad
  4. All communists**
  5. Faroese pirates

* When Robbie Williams came to play a concert here a few years ago he incurred the wrath of the Icelandic nation by telling news reporters at the airport to fuck
off, giving them the finger, and then proceeding to behave in a rude and unpleasant manner for the duration of his stay
** This government reveres capitalism and is the major supporter of aluminium smelters in Iceland – need I say more?

I could hardly believe my eyes this morning when I got up – SUNSHINE outside! Yes dear readers, after suffering rain, drizzle, clouds, downpours, etc. for A Very Long Time, the Icelandic nation is finally blessed with one day of sunshine before the rain returns – tomorrow. Temps are currently 11°C and today is the solstice, which means this is the longest day of the year, with the sun coming up at 02.54 and going down at 24.05.

AND our very own Barbie is returning home today after a six-month stint in Italy and we can’t wait to see her. Whoo-hoo!



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