The estimated time to read this post is 2 minutes.
I’m sitting at the gate at Dulles in DC, awaiting my flight to Reykjavik. The reaction I’ve gotten so far has been “Iceland!” and then, “why Iceland?!” And the answer is “to understand Björk”. No, not really. Well, sort of.
Iceland seems like an exotic place to me: it’s on TOP of the world. Get out Google Earth (because who has a globe?) and center it on the equator. Spin the world around. Do you see Iceland? No, because it is ON TOP. Almost the arctic circle. Those mercator maps are full of lies! A volcanic ice ball of an island, fortunately heated by the gulf stream. It gets colder where I live, but our shortest day is 9 hours, not 2. Volcanic! Ice! I like juxtaposition. (I just hope no volcanos go off while I’m there.)
Roughly populated by the same number of people who live in my county back home, it’s hard to believe it’s an independent country. The only people they’ve gone to war with are the British, and that was over cod. There aren’t any trees, or at least not big ones. And if any of them are remotely like Björk, I suppose I’ll be surprised, but it probably won’t last long. (The people. I suspect the trees are very Björk-like.)
Exotic is hard for me to come by. I spent my teens in Japan, a place synonymous with exotic for many people. I get why that is, but to me, it’s also home. I understand how it works. I can read the signs and understand what people are saying. Once you get to that point, you can start to see the flaws in a place, and the exotic begins to wear thin. The rest of Europe seems reasonable: you’d want to go there to see history, or where your ancestors came from, or if it really lives up to all those chick flicks. There’s warm weather, beaches, vineyards, biergartens, which are very very nice, but not particularly exotic.
I haven’t been out of the states in over 9 years—Canada doesn’t count; I love Canada, and am of Canadian descent, even (mon Ecossais-Québécois grand-père, une travailleuse du Canada)—so I’ve been itching to go somewhere new and interesting, where few of my friends have gone before. I’m also curious to see if it provides any insight into what makes Björk tick. I get the cold, and the lack of sunlight, but is there more to it? Besides marrying Matthew Barney?
It’s been a long time coming. I decided I wanted to go there while driving back to university one night eighteen years ago, in the fall of 1993. I was speeding along through the crisp Fall night, the sounds of Björk’s solo debut filling the car, and I wanted to know… why.
So I’m off to Reykjavik and beyond to see what it’s about. I’m meeting up with old friends from university, and we’re going to a music festival during the latter part of the week we’re there. Of course Björk will be there, along with bands you’ve never heard of, AND Yoko Ono! I’m going to check out the hot springs, and hopefully a volcano or two. I can’t wait.
Ekki treysa nunnum.