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Tag: Iceland

“Sometimes you have to walk,” Mr. Trump said.

Thursday, 28 February, 2019

The date was 12 October 1986 and the place was Reykjavik. President Ronald Reagan got up and and walked out of a summit with a Communist Party boss, Mikhail Gorbachev, of the Soviet Union. “What appears to have happened in Iceland is this,” the New York Times opined. “Mr. Reagan had the chance to eliminate Soviet and U.S. medium-range nuclear weapons in Europe, to work toward a test ban on his terms, to halve nuclear arsenals in five years and to agree on huge reductions later. He said no.”

The awful Willian Greider of the equally awful Rolling Stone titled it “Reagan Flubs Reykjavik Summit” and claimed that “the President’s obsession with Star Wars allowed Gorbachev to outmaneuver him on arms control.”

And today? The same sour faces, the same ominous predictions and the same visceral instinct of the Left to blame the US for everything.

What appears to have happened in Hanoi that North Korea would not agree to the denuclearization that the US wants, and the US would not agree to the dismantling of all the sanctions it has placed on North Korea. The temptation for President Trump to reach some kind of deal must have been huge and he’d have enjoyed returning from Vietnam with news to to put the Michael Cohen show in the shade, but he walked, as Reagan once did. And we remember who won and who lost the Cold War, don’t we?


Gyða Valtýsdóttir

Friday, 8 February, 2019

The Icelandic cellist and singer Gyða Valtýsdóttir has developed her own musical identity. It combines elements of classical, folk and post-rock with avant-garde improvisations of works by Messiaen, George Crumb and Hildegard von Bingen.


Huh!

Saturday, 23 June, 2018

Nigeria’s Ahmed Musa put two goals past Hannes Thor Halldórsson, the Icelandic goalkeeper, yesterday in Volgograd, to secure a vital 2 – 0 win for the Super Lions. It was a disappointing day for Halldórsson, but he’s got options. Until four years ago, he was a film director who played football for fun. Now, he’s the keeper for Randers FC, which plays in the top-flight Danish Superliga.

In the run up to the World Cup, Halldórsson returned to his old job to direct a commercial for Coca-Cola featuring the Icelandic national team and the famous Huh! chant that has become an anthem for underdogs. Talking of underdogs, Iceland must now beat Croatia on Tuesday and hope Nigeria don’t beat Argentina. That’s a big ask. In the end, goal difference could be critical so Iceland need to win big as Nigeria can still advance to the next round with just a draw. Huh!


Tweet of the World Cup… so far

Sunday, 17 June, 2018

And the award goes to football commentator @MatthewStanger for this gem about that remarkable 1-1 draw between Argentina and Iceland yesterday:

Iceland


Úlfur Úlfur ain’t cryin’ no “Wolf!” up Iceland way

Saturday, 20 January, 2018 0 Comments

Icelandic rap is a thing. And Úlfur Úlfur are among the biggest names on the Icelandic rap scene. Úlfur Úlfur translates as “Wolf Wolf” and, like the Canis lupus they are named after, Arnar Freyr and Helgi Sæmundu are howlingly fierce and furry. They are also very funny and their only concession to the dominant lingua franca of rap is liberal use of “motherfuck”. The entire combination means full houses for their gigs in Iceland and millions of plays across every music medium.

Tarantúlur is a song about the white trash Icelandic dream of cars, dudes, babes, hot dogs and drag racing. This is as far from the craft beer-swilling mobs of Reykjavik with their PC cult of Björk one can get.


Two Corants for Lyra Viol by Alfonso

Saturday, 1 July, 2017 0 Comments

On the face of it, a blog entry with the title “Two Corants for Lyra Viol by Alfonso” has a touch of the perplexing about it. What’s a “corant”, and why two of them? And then there’s the “lyra viol”. Not just a viol, mind you, but a lyra viol. Topping if all of, we have “Alfonso”. If people had to pick an Alfonso, most would opt for Alfonso Cuarón, the film director, whose works include Children of Men and Gravity. In this case, however, we’re talking about Alfonso Fontanelli (1557 – 1622).

Alfonso Fontanelli was an Italian composer, diplomat and courtier. He was one of the earliest composers in the seconda pratica style during the transition to the Baroque era but his career was interrupted in November 1601, when he discovered that his wife had been having an affair. He murdered her lover, but spared her life, unlike his musical acquaintance Gesualdo who, in similar circumstances murdered both his wife and her lover. As punishment for the crime, Alfonso was stripped of all his possessions. Still, he found refuge in the opulent Roman household of Cardinal Alessandro d’Este, and was thus saved from indignity. Alfonso Fontanelli became a priest in 1621, and died in early 1622 from an insect bite while in the Oratorio della Chiesa.

The lyra viol is a small bass viol, used primarily in the 17th century, while a corant was a type of dance popular in the late Renaissance and Baroque era.

Bringing it all together now: The Irish viola de gamba player, Liam Byrne, is part of the Icelandic collective Bedroom Community and he features with violist Nadia Sirota on Tessellatum, their upcoming album and film. That’s all a long way from the Renaissance world of Alfonso Fontanelli, but everything’s connected.


Hooooo! A Toast to Iceland

Sunday, 3 July, 2016 1 Comment

France vs. Iceland tonight in Paris, with the winner meeting Germany in the semi-final of Euro2016. During the game, most non-French people will be clapping their hands and chanting “Hooooo,” the Icelanders’ version of the New Zealand rugby haka.

The poet Jónas Hallgrímsson was born in Eyjafjörður on the northern part of Iceland. He studied Latin and Greek at secondary school in Bessastaor and then attended the University of Copenhagen. He coined many Icelandic words, including reikistjarna, meaning planet, from the verb að reika (to wander) and the noun stjarna (star).

A Toast to Iceland

Our land of lakes forever fair
below blue mountain summits,
of swans, of salmon leaping where
the silver water plummets,
of glaciers swelling broad and bare
above earth’s fiery sinews —
the Lord pour out his largess there
as long as earth continues!

Jónas Hallgrímsson (1807 – 1845)


Hodgson’s choices (end)

Tuesday, 28 June, 2016 0 Comments

This is the third and final post in a series about the choices made by the England manager Roy Hodgson during the course of his team’s erratic odyssey through the Euro 2016 tournament, from the opening shambles against Russia to last night’s humiliation at the hands of gallant Iceland. The post dated 12 June was scathing, while that of 17 June was positive, mainly. “Later, he brought on the gifted young Marcus Rashford,” we noted on 17 June and last night Hodgson waited until the 86th minute to take off a fatigued Wayne Rooney and replace him with the dynamic Rashford. Too late.

It wasn’t all the manager’s fault, of course. Many of his players served up truly shabby performances. Harry Kane, Eric Dier and Joe Hart, were especially awful throughout.

Roy Hodgson made baffling, damaging, wrong choices from the start to the finish of England’s tournament and must now make the right one. He’s yesterday’s man.

UPDATE: Roy Hodgson resigns after England lose to Iceland


Iceland by Garðar Ólafsson

Saturday, 25 July, 2015 0 Comments

“Experienced in Landscape, Portrait, Product, Event and Aerial Photography,” is how Garðar Ólafsson describes himself. The locations in his “Powerful Iceland” include Mount Kirkjufell, Vík í Mýrdal, Sólheimasandur, Sandvík, Straumsvík, Seljalandsfoss waterfall, Goðafoss waterfall, Aldeyjafoss waterfall, Hólmbergsviti lighthouse, Garðskagi lighthouse, Hvalsneskirkja church, Miðnesheiði and Vatnsnes.


Leaning Towards Solace

Saturday, 8 December, 2012 0 Comments

“Love everything…fear only brings death to the soul.” The magnificent new Sigur Rós video/short film, directed by Floria Sigismondi, features two rather familiar faces, Elle Fanning and John Hawkes (of Deadwood and Eastbound and Down fame).

[iframe src=”http://player.vimeo.com/video/54991422″ width=”100%” height=”480″]

Leaning Toward Solace marks the conclusion of a 17-part series for the band’s Valtari Mystery Film Experiment. The series will be screened on all seven continents, including Antarctica, this weekend. Sigur Ros also has plans to show the films in unconventional venues, like hair salons and hardware stores.


Varúð from Valtari by Sigur Rós

Saturday, 11 August, 2012

The Icelandic band Sigur Rós gave a dozen film makers the same budget and asked them to create whatever comes into their heads when they listen to songs from the band’s new album Valtari. Among the filmmakers were Ramin Bahrani, Alma Har’el and John Cameron Mitchell. In there, too, was Ryan McGinley and for the […]

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