Monday, May 31, 2010

Dreaming on s Sunday afternoon...posting on a Monday morning...

Dateline Reykjavik, Sunday May 30th 2010 19:30

Almost twenty-fours hours on and the celebration is slowly waining, though brief flares of revelry still light the crowds like a twinkle in Bacchus' eye. Drink, dance and general debauchery are slowly receding in a tide of hang-over and hunger, a kind of hazy sweet happiness seeps across the gathered crowd here at Húsdýragarður. Long disorderly lines of beer-soaked revelers blend with sun-addled kiddies and tired seniors clucking their tongues like a Greek chorus of unbelieving poultry, waiting for a paper plate full of roasted flesh, the former denizens of the park offered up in joyous sacrifice to feed the teeming masses, served up by the two glowing lights of Iceland's brave new world.

Jón Gnar, honorable mayor of Reykjavik mans the massive grills, bloody knife in hand, slicing slivers of charred flesh, ginger hair askew and war-painted with zinc oxide, while the triumphant Reubenesque nymphs of Hera Björk's Eurovision team shake hands, sign babies, and serve up the platters, showered in praise, proposals marital or simply carnal, and the incandescent adoration of their ecstatic countrymen.

No one really believed it would happen. Despite Iceland's long-running and nigh-religious devotion to the Eurovision song contest, despite the polls showing Bestur Flokkurinn with a commanding lead, most seemed resigned to the idea that it would all be for naught on the night, just as the parties that rode regally into power on the crest of Búsahaldsbýltingin ushered in not a glorious renewal but a staggering, plodding, tragicomic continuation of business as usual.

But we doubting Tómasar got our collective asses handed to us by the raging tide of fate. Je ne sais quois thundered across Europe like a conquering army, the 12-points pouring in one after another (save for sour-puss Britain and glowering Holland) in the single biggest win in the history of the contest, making Lordy's Hard Rock Halelluia victory look lukewarm by comparison.

Men wept and women charged into the street, hurling confetti and bearing breasts to the late lingering sun in orgiastic glee. Wild chants of “Best í heimi!” rocked the streets to their very foundations.

Hard on the heels of our stunning artistic victory, Bestur Flokkurinn, a party so dark horse as to be equine obsidian won not a majority, not a pure majority, but every single seat on the city council clearing the decks of decades of political detritus in one fell swoop. In a matter of hours, Reykjavik was free of the four-party yolk.

Every street, every park, parking lot, play-ground, and pub filled to bursting with weeping smiling dancing throngs. “Best í Heimi!” blending with chants of “Lífi Nonní!”. Bonfires were lit in public parks, and employees of the state-run liquor stores pulled keys from their pockets and threw wide the doors to their cornucopian stores, the police wisely staying clear, moving instead to pointlessly protect the homes of four-party hierarchy, ignored by revelers.

The dancing and drinking, the thunderous rolling French choruses that built and crested only to build again continued into the wee hours, and as the sun rose improvised loudspeakers, strapped to buses decorated with the triumphant raised thumb of the our bright new hope chattered out the message.

Húsdýragarður! Koffí og brauð! Tónlist! Grillveislu! Í bóði Bestur Flokkurinn!”

A mass of humanity, marching up Laugarvegur in shameless disregard for the traditional parade trajectory swallowed me up and I swam along the crowd, kissing and kissed, hugged and hugging, more than once groped.

I grab my steaming plate and plastic spork, taking the opportunity to slip a sloppy tongue kiss to one of the blissed out background singers, the blond, and then weave my way through the throng to the now-empty reindeer pen, it former inhabitants like all the edible denizens now turning lazy circles on the spits or flip-flopping on the grills.

I hunker down in a half-circle of rough stone overlooking the park, coping a squat next to a bleary eyed middle-aged gent in a X-Æ T-shirt under a stained and frayed sports jacket. We sit in companionable silence staring down the hill at the five blond beauties (and one random fat guy), naked save rainbow droplets as they perform a impromptu synchronized swimming number in the now empty seal pond.

Popping a bloody piece of seal kidney into my beery mouth I ask my dining partner if he was a supporter or a member of our new glorious vanguard.

Oh, I'm a member alright” he giggles, clearly the worst for drink. “I'm the one whose going to make sure this whole thing pays off.”

Whatdayamean?” slips from my beer-addled lips like an exhausted salmon down a mountain cascade who's figured spawning is just way too much effort.

All very hush shush you know” he slurs, bits of spittle seeping out the sides of his slack lips, “I'm not at library to say really, not save for pubic knowledge”.

Needless to say his stammered collection of málvillur collapsed me into a state of giggles too paralyzing to press the question further.

Regaining my breath with the aid of my last looted lager, I feel a brief chill down my spine at my now-depart meal mate's words, but I shake it off, reminding myself that the undiscovered country is rarely as here-there-be-dragons as we tend to think. My rubbery legs to lead me out the main gate and stagger home.

Catching my breathe after slogging up to Laugavegur, I stare out over the mad victory carnival filling Laugardal and smile. A line of buses, private cars and taxis has lined up, those sober enough to drive offering rides to the car-less and the intoxicated. An elderly woman holds a hand-made sign with “Hlíðum” spelled out in black marker and I stumble over, ask if I can get a ride, and am cheerfully helped into the back seat of a the old Lada, soon sandwiched between a lovely young brunette and a frightfully drunk business type, mumbling something about Ragnarök and pale horses under his breath. We roll down the window and let him ride with his head out, wind in his thinning hair like a follicly challenged bulldog.

The brunette politely turns down my offer (made more out of habit than desire, 24 hours of solid drink and all I want is bed, alone) and I fumble my keys, stagger out of my boots, and collapse grateful and happy into my bed, the sun still shining and hoarse-throated choruses of Je ne sais quois lullabying me to rest.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Party of 9

As I contemplate whether or not to haul my lazy punk ass down to Austurvellir to take part in the concert in support of the Rvk 9, I'm struck by an idea.

Remember when I promised to blog about good ideas.

See, the State is bound and determined to punish nine nigh-randomly chosen individuals in order to stifle future uprising, and though I hope against the odds that the 9 are released, many feel that they will likely be found guilty.

Now, if this happens, I think that in light of the over-crowding and expense currently crippling the Icelandic prison system, these nine should if sentenced at all, be sentenced to community service. To be precise, they should be "sentenced" to serve as replacement MP's for all those named as "culpably incompetent" in the recent government report, with full pay and benefits.

I'd call that justice.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

9 black lambs to the slaughter

As the Revolution bellies up to the table and prepares to eat its young, I once again feel the need to break my already utterly shattered vow of Pollyannahood and let the rant fly.

At one o'clock today, an Icelandic court will hear the case against 9 protesters accused of "attacking the sanctity of Parliament".

9 black lambs are singled out of a flock of 30 so odd protesters that day, and out of the thousands who were routinely protesting all those long months. Singled out for attempting to walk through an unlocked door into a public building to reach a public seating area where the public has the right to observe its so-called servants work in the public interest. Parliament Security stops them, denies them access, and then attempts to physically block access and expel them. A scuffle breaks out and there are minor injuries on both sides. The police show up in seconds in an overwhelming show of force, one officer gets bitten whilst hurling a protester to the ground to be hogtied and chucked in the back of a paddy wagon. The 9 singled out for sacrifice at the alter of the sacred politic are charged with "attacking the sanctity of Parliament" and face a minimum sentence of 1 year's imprisonment, and a maximum of life (the maximum sentence for rape and murder is 16 years, and has to my knowledge never been imposed on a rapist).

They will likely be found guilty.

The whole situation sickens me, and raises some disturbing questions.

For starters, why these 9? Not one news report I've found has given any reason why only 9 of the 30 odd people involved are charged. While logically the two who managed to get to the viewing area and shout at the MPs to "get the fuck out of here" could be singled out, could it not also be because these 9 were members of the loose-knit black-clad mask-wearing groups who weren't protesting for new elections, weren't tied to existing political clans, and were in fact aiming for an actual revolution, instead of the pathetic coup d'etat we got instead? Why, in the midst of massive and disruptive protest, was the door to the viewing area unlocked? Had the protesters entered in stealth, clad in suits and Sunday best and telling the guards they were there to support the parties then in power, would they have been waved through? Could it be that the police, through whatever combination of incompetence, inexperience, and outright provocation managed to engineer all of the more "violent" incidents, decided to "allow" this protest to proceed in order to sweep in heroically and salvage their faltering support whilst tarring the protesters with the brush of treason? Why has the media, which has delighted in front-page photos of the banksters being arrested at this most conveniently distracting moment, hardly found the time to name the 9 individuals, let alone publish pictures and interviews (so far I've only found one interview, in today's paper, of one of these sacrificial black sheep)? Could it be that the powers that be, who rode into their current positions by latching on to the developing revolution like a tick to the hide, are hoping to appease the reactionary conspiracy theories of the ousted parties and "prove" they had nothing to do with the pot-pounding fire-lighting skril who did the ousting? Or could it be that they are quietly hoping to slip through a precedent that will make it easier to crush future protests?

30 members of the public push their way through a public entrance to a public building to reach the public seating area to give public servants a piece of their minds and they are charged with a serious crime. 60 some odd public servants sit for years in a public building "earning" public money while gifting public resources to political friends and family, lining their pockets with "campaign contributions" and "bullet loans" from bankster cronies, creating a "all animals are equal but some are more equal than others" pension plan, and eventually bankrupting an entire nation through a wicked brew of corruption, incompetence, and selfishness and these 9 black lambs are sent to the block, whilst the Judas goats go about their business, safe in the sacred confines of power, privilege, and ill-gotten wealth?

Where's that sledgehammer and can of gasoline?

Thursday, May 6, 2010


Thing is, I've been trying to be positive.

No, Really!

I have!

But to little avail as my ingrained incensed ranting continues to spill out into the interwebs.

Especially two posts that at first I really liked, but am starting to think were cheap shots...

So I'll you quote fellow expat-Cascadian MayFray.

"Can I talk a little bit about how cool Iceland is? First of all, one of the reasons I decided to move here (well, aside from Tumi, obviously) was to go to graduate school. The Environment and Natural Resources program here is taught in English, and because of the overwhelming governmental support for education, tuition for grad school works out to about $600 a year. The one year I worked for Pacific Science Center between undergrad and moving to Iceland earned me a tax return that paid my entire graduate school tuition! In my opinion, this is the way education should be handled all over the world. And then there's healthcare. All of my prenatal care, and delivery, and postnatal care was free....that's right, FREE! We paid about $50 for the ambulance ride to the hospital, and I've paid about $30 for breast feeding advice, but other than that, all of our care was paid for by the government. The midwife COMES TO YOUR HOUSE EVERYDAY for a week after the baby is born to check up on you and answer your questions. Then, a nurse comes to visit every week or so for the first month to weigh the baby and provide even more help. We have an appointment to take Elsa in for her first check up actually IN the clinic in two weeks. I absolutely love this set-up, and when I feel homesick, it helps me to remember the really good things about the place I chose to live; like that the government invests its resources in creating a healthy, well-educated society, which are both goals I can fully support!

People here pay ridiculously high taxes, but that money goes to education, healthcare, social security, and other services the government provides to take care of its people. In America, our tax dollars do go to some support services, but a huge amount also goes to killing people in less fortunate places. All of which begs the question; Why can't Americans take better care of themselves?! We pretend like we're the biggest, strongest, best-est country in the world, but we neglect the poorest of our citizens. Only recently have we started to embrace the idea that adequate health care is a human right! Imagine an America where a university education costed $600 per year....what kind of a country would we be able to make then? Think of all the talent that is going to waste because of the prohibitively expensive price of a college education, and higher taxes to support a 'socialist' state doesn't sound that bad. That's the end of my lil' rant...mostly I feel very lucky to have been given such excellent education and care and support while living here.

Oh, and Tumi gets 6 months PAID PATERNITY LEAVE! Thank you, Iceland!"

'Cause as much as familiarity has bred contempt, one needs reminding from time to time that Iceland can be pretty fucking awesome.