Category Archives: Uncategorized

White Iceland

The Iceland the Icelanders send you to on the bus is magical. 

Seljalandsfoss

So is the one they live in, across the road.

One has water blowing in the wind. One has volcanic ash blowing in the wind. These are the big choices. Hmm. OK, also the Atlantic Ocean blowing in the wind.

Snaefelsnes

And, right, fog and rain blowing in the wind.

Seydisfjörður

Do they tell you about that? No, they do not. They tell you about the Blue Lagoon:

Not your style? Well, there’s this story, too.

Did you notice the consistent use of white? It’s a message. Let me show you again. One …

…two…

…three.

Icelanders know about whiteness.

How blue it is.

How watery.

And how it covers everything with illusion. OK, well, a backdrop for illusions.

And that in Iceland ghosts are everywhere.

And they are white.

Well, white and red. And white.

Right, and snow blows in the wind, too.

So, off you go!

100 Years of Trolls

When you’re in Iceland, it’s good to get off the beaten track. No tour guide will lead you to this troll at Skriðuklaustur.

Or this one. If people laugh about your troll finds, does that really matter?

You might even find an entire troll narrative. What does it matter if there are no physical entities called trolls?

You can find pictures of those things in bookshops, for children, without an explanation of the politics behind them. What is that politics? Guess.

Contemporary ecology is based on stories of trolls from Norway in the 1920s. I think it’s possible that ecology in the 2120s will be based on stories of trolls found today.

 

Baaaaaaad Icelandic Sheep Need No Sherpas

The newest shoot of grass growing on a bit of volcanic wasteland for the first time ever in the history of the world, that’s the one that tastes best to a sheep, and they will risk life and hoof to get it.

Marauders in Stekkalækur

They’re Icelandic, hence very independent. No sherpas needed.

 

The Shore of Life

Gunnar Gunnarsson published “The Shore of Life” in 1916, as a protest against the First World war. He had in mind the ring of surf around the Island, through which all life had to pass. All goods coming in and all goods going out, he argued, passed through the hands of Danish traders, or through the vicious surf, which easily turned life into death. He offered an unusual role as writer, but fitting to the Battle of the Somme: sniper. One by one he made us love his characters, then killed them off. It is an amazing and enraging book, as he intended. The metaphor is by no means dead. Note the red surf here facing down the aluminum city of Reyðarfjörður.

Gunnar’s world is far from past.