Reykjavík Grapevine - 23.07.2004, Blaðsíða 38

Reykjavík Grapevine - 23.07.2004, Blaðsíða 38
by Andri Snær Magnason At some point I wanted to prove to myself that Njála was overrated but wound up getting goosebumps three times in a row by the end of the story and thought: “Damn it, this is one helluva book.” These were pure artistic goosebumps, a stalling in the storytelling where three parts which weren´t directly related but worked as premonitions convinced me that the book is sheer art. It might as well be the only book in the world. � � � � � � � � � � �� � � � � � � � � � � ��� � � � � Andri Snær started his career with publishing poetry books, one of them called Bónuspoems, and was published by supermarket giant Bónus. He then published a collection of short stories. His children´s novel, The Story of the Blue Planet, gathered widespread praise and was also made into a play, now being produced in Canada. His next novel, LoveStar, also gathered much attention. His other activities include collecting Icelandic folk songs from the years 1903-70 for the CD Raddir, and editing a book by young poets where the idea was that instead of being published, copies would be distributed to coffeehouses where they would be passed from man to man. The current whereabouts of these are unknown. � � 1. Brennu-Njáls saga. 2. The Folk Tales of Jón Arason. I immersed myself in these as a kid. Better for you than Disney and grimmer than the Grimm’s. 3. Poetry collection (Ljóðasafn) by Steinn Steinar. Priceless for a teenager who wants to be a poet. 4. The Highlands in Iceland´s Nature (Hálendið í náttúru Íslands). A document of the land we were given but that the government is going to destroy. 5. Paper Boat Rain (Bréfbátarigningin) by Gyrðir Elíasson. Or all of Gyrðir Elíasson for that matter. 6. Úlfhamssaga. I have been reading these medieval rhymes because of a dramatisation I´m doing for Hafnarfjarðarleikhúsið. A powerful and strange tale about a man who turns into a wolf in the winter and men who desire birds among other things. 7. Wallpapered infinity (Veggfóðraður óendanleiki) by Ísak Harðarson. As if written by a possessed typewriter. It takes you a long time to get to the bottom of it. 8. Shadow boxing (Skuggabox) by Þórarinn Eldjárn. A great and crazy work of fiction, experimental and perhaps underestimated as a piece of experimentation. Perhaps because Þórarinn is too funny. by Bogi Reynisson I have no god, I have no Idols. An artist, a group, a guitarist or song- writer is no better than his/her/their best song. An atheist not only in the religous sense, but also in the way that I denounce Idolising pop artists, although I´ll be the last to say they´re all equal...... Anyway here´s a list of Icelandic music that has influenced and inspired me through the years.... Bogi, still in his mid teens, joined Iceland´s premier Death Metal band Sororicide after they won the Músiktilaunir Battle of the Bands contest in 1992. He later became bass player with the band Stjörnukisi, which again won Músiktilraunir. He now runs his own studio, Veðurstofan, which has recorded a number of illustrious bands, among them Ríkið and The Bacon Brothers. He also works as sound engineer for the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra. Bogi has recently spawned his first offspring of flesh and blood in addition to his musical progeny. � � 1. Megas og spilverk þjóðanna: Á bleikum náttkjólum 2. Vonbrigði: Kakófónía. If songs and great lyrics were the only consideration, this one would be on top. Unfortunately, there are other factors, namely the production which does the material no justice. This is one of my favourite albums of all time, and at the same time I can´t really listen to it much, because the “sound” is so crappy. Remake it!!! 3. HAM: Buffalo Virgin. HAM. It´s a shame that HAM didn´t do more good albums. At one time they seemed set to rule the world, but they never got it together on plastic after this one. Some fantastic live shows but no more good recordings. Shame shame shame... boo hoo hoo... 4. Þeyr: Mjötviður Mær. These guys know how to conjure some really strange moods. I actually could taste blood in my mouth when I first heard this album. Unforgettable. 5. Mínus: Halldór Laxness. The only “current” album on my list, this music talks to me, in a way their two other albums could only mumble incoherently. 6. Purrkur Pillnik: Googooplex. Crazy anarchic melodies, mixed with spontaneity and erf. A spunky attitude, great lyrics.....they seem to have it all nailed down. 7. Sugarcubes: Life´s too good. “Good times music” is a phrase that describes this album well, simply the best option on the car stereo on those long trips to Hella. 8. Slowblow: Fusque. This album blew me away. So utterly unpretentious and sincere in it´s own pretentious way. It´s a paradox that has a beautiful effect on me when I listen to it. by Ari Alexander Ergis Magnússon � � 1. Last Town in the Valley ( Síðasti bærinn í Dalnum) by Loftur Guðmundsson. 1950. I saw it on Channel One in 1972, then four years of age, and pissed in my pants and shat myself with fear. No horror film is better in my recollection, and I still have a fear of large flying coffins. 2. Hadda the Bug (Hadda Padda) by Guðmundur Kamban. 1924. Hadn´t seen it in many years, not until last year at Hafnarfjarðarbíó with the genius Hilmar Örn playing accompanying music. A real love story, up there with the best of them; love, despair, hate and betrayal. Guðmundur Kamban is a misunderstood superman. 3. Rescue at Látrabjarg (Björgunarafrekið við Látrabjarg) by Óskar Gíslason. 1949. Saw in Langholtskirkja church at age five with Reverend Árnilíus who preached God’s love to children with the screening of the film. I realised that heroes could have human qualities, ironic it had to happen in a church. 4. Sharp for His Age (Ern eftir aldri) by Magnús Jónsson. 1974. Dramatised documentary which very concisely shows the history, corruption and fate of the Icelandic nation. The Lady of the Mountain appears to our protagonist, Sharp for His Age, at Þingvellir on his eleven hundredth birthday. A political documentary. Predecessor of Michael Moore, only better. 5. Lilja by Hrafn Gunnlaugsson. 1978. I started to cry at age ten, along with my grandmother, upon watching this short story by Halldór Laxness. Hrafn and Laxness himself narrate. Pure brilliance, the story of a dead drifter which stirs up childhood memories in a medical student. The most beautiful short film Iceland has produced. 6. The Blacksmith (Eldsmiðurinn) by Friðrik Þór Friðriksson. 1981. The old blacksmith that gave Friðrik the idea for Children of Nature. A real man of genius, an inventor in touch with the supernatural. Friðrik still uses lines from the old blacksmith in his films. 7. Cowboys of the North (Kúrekar norðursins) by Friðrik Þór Friðriksson. 1984. After Rokk í Reykjavík, Friðrik Þór turned to my favourite and the best documentary made in Iceland. Friðrik Þór captures the atmosphere of the moment, Hallbjörn the Cowboy is not of this world. A screaming masterpiece. 8. Nói Albinói by Dagur Kári. 2003. I felt happy when I walked out of this film. Here was a genius of my own generation. The following films are neither classified alphabetically nor chronologically and by no means in order of merit. I have classified them according to impres- sions that have stuck in memory and moulded me as a filmmaker. Ari graduated from the Parsons Paris School of design in 1996. He has directed the short ‘I am an Arab’, about the Iceland government’s support of the war in Iraq, and ‘Possibilities’, a study of the life and work of artist Sigurður Guðmundsson. He is currently shooting a film called Screaming Masterpiece about the Icelandic music scene, produced by Sigurjón Sighvatsson and featuring Sigurrós and Björk as well as a host of others. Á bleikum náttkjólum by Megas and Spilaverk Þjóðanna is something really special. The lyrics and music intertwine to make so much more than the sum of the parts. If you buy only one album in your life, make sure it´s this one. Non-Icelandic speakers beware, though; there´s a lot to be missed if you can´t understand the lyrics. H .S . H .S .

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