Keeping the Sabbath in Iceland

You didn’t really think this post would be about church did you? My Sunday was all about music.

After spending Saturday evening in journalistic research and preparation, I took three melatonin, put in earplugs and went to bed at ten. And praise God, I slept until 9 am. I joined my new roommate, Amandine the French fashion-finance whiz, for breakfast, where we talked about food standards, immigration, and social programs.

At noon I headed back to KEX for an interview with the Icelandic folk-pop band 1860. Keep an eye out on Three Imaginary Girls for that one, but I can say now there is no way I will manage a simple transcription. Although drummer Andre was quiet, Hlynur and Ottar were both “talky as a jaybird with something smart to say on every subject.” Actually, I got the time wrong and almost gave up before they arrived, and then my recorder froze up somewhere mid-interview without my noticing. But I had such fun talking with them. Like so many people here, they are so well-read, and watch documentaries for fun, and pull the most unexpected references (usually with proper citations of sources) into conversations that it was really delightful. Even after I put up the notebook, we hung out and talked about Halloween and Airwaves strategies until it was almost time for my other interview.

I rearranged my papers and headed to the bar Boston on Laugavegur a little early to meet with Kontinuum. I hoped to figure out what happened to my recorder while I waited, but Boston was closed on Sunday, so I went to the Sputnik clothing shop next door instead. Birgir Thorgeirsson (Biggi- and yes, he has heard “like Biggie Smalls”) showed up right on time and we walked down to a nearby coffee shop. On the way, he said, “I looked at your website. You have an Iceland fetish.” Biggi fixed my recorder while we talked and I took notes. Once again, the official interview ended and we continued talking for a good long time. Topics ranged from music to the Icelandic crash to the U.S. elections. All of these Icelandic musicians have been so generous with their time. They give thoughtful answers to my questions, and don’t rush off as soon as I close my notebook. In fact, sometimes we’ve hung out longer than we interviewed. I really hope that it’s not simply because they are too polite to be the first to leave. I have really enjoyed these conversations.

By the time I got back to KEX, the yoga class I had planned to try was already started, and I realized I had once again forgotten lunch. The pot of coffee I drank had me really jittery, so I grabbed my laptop and ordered a beet salad at the KEX bar. It’s early, but I have interviews to transcribe and blogs to update. Plus, KEX is a really cool hangout (and no, they don’t know I’m saying all these nice things and they are not giving me discounts) so I’m just going to sit here on the couch under the framed shopping lists with my Icelandic beer (with Cascade hops!) and listen to Killing Joke on my headphones until my battery runs out.

Iceland is awesome.


3 thoughts on “Keeping the Sabbath in Iceland

  1. Just wanted to let you know that I’m having a blast reading your blog entries from Iceland, while barely suppressing my jealousy. Hope the trip continues to go well.

  2. Yes, the Law Rock thing didn’t go so well, and the slipping and sliding on the walk to the falls, but it sounds like the people are very cool. And then there’s the music . . .

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