07 Aug

Sleep, my young love

One of my first theatre memories is a terrifying scene from an Icelandic play called Fjalla-Eyvindur (Eyvindur of the Mountains) written by Jóhann Sigurjónsson. It’s based on the legend of famous Icelandic outlaws, Eyvindur and his wife Halla. In this particular scene towards the end of the play, Halla throws their newborn child down a waterfall. They are on the run from the authorities and this is an act of desperation. Before she drops the baby down the waterfall she sings a lullaby, Sofðu unga ástin mín. As a child I was heartbroken by this scene. In spite of it being really sad it’s a beautiful lullaby and very popular among Icelanders.

Sleep, my young love.
Outside the rain is weeping.
Mummy is watching over your treasure,
an old bone and a round case.
We should not stay awake through dim nights.

There is much that darkness knows,
my mind is heavy.
Often I saw black sand
burning the green meadow.
In the glacier cracks are rumbling deep as death.

Sleep for a long time, sleep quietly,
it is best to wake up late.
Sorrow will teach you soon,
while the day is quickly decaying,
that men love, lose, cry and mourn.

As pointed out in the article ‘These Icelandic lullabies are absolutely terrifying‘ Sofðu unga ástin mín is not the only lullaby from Iceland that’s either sad or creepy. Then again, lullabies from other countries quite often are like that as well. I wonder why?

04 Aug

Pleasure and Pain

shoes v aGoing to a museum in London is obviously very popular among tourists. The National British Museum is amazing and so is the Tate, but the world’s greatest museum of art and design, The Victoria and Albert Museum, is one of my personal favourites.

On the 13th of June, a new and interesting exhibition opened at the V & A. Shoes – Pleasure and pain looks at the extremes of footwear from around the globe. The museum has an unbelievable collection of shoes, around 2,000 pairs spanning more than 3,000 years of history. The exhibition is on until the 31st of January 2016 and I recommend booking your tickets in advance if you’re thinking of going.

If you don’t have a chance to visit the museum, you can always take a look at their fascinating website. Did you know that the Stiletto heel was named after a Sicilian fighting knife? The Shoes Timeline gives you a unique look into the history of shoes.

The museum is on Instagram as well, and to those of you who have unusual pairs of shoes, it tells you that: ‘Whether it’s on #TuesdayShoesday or your favourite daily #Shoefie, we want to see your extreme footwear. Simply take a photo of your favourite shoes and tag it on Instagram with the exhibition hashtag #vamShoes.’


Photo from the V & A website.





29 Jul

Smells like urine, tastes like heaven

hardfiskurMy favourite Icelandic snack is ‘harðfiskur’. It is wind-dried fish, usually cod, haddock or seawolf. It’s been beaten until it has softened somewhat, and it’s absolutely delicious served with butter.

‘Harðfiskur’ is a very healthy snack, very rich in protein. Each bite has to be chewed thoroughly and it may take some time to get used to. Don’t let the smell scare you away from trying it. ‘Harðfiskur’ smells of ammoniac so that’s quite horrible as you can imagine.

In the past, ‘harðfiskur’ was eaten instead of bread in homes that couldn’t afford flour for baking on special occasions. Nowadays however, ‘harðfiskur’ is unfortunately very expensive and regarded as a luxury product in Iceland.



10 Jul

London in the Roaring Twenties

A few days back I posted a video of Reykjavik back in 1926. Now it’s time for London films from the same period.

The BFI has a whole lot of footage from each and every decade since filming began. For those living in the UK it’s easy to get lost for hours watching the captivating regional clips now available on BFI player. Britain on Film makes it easy to explore films with the help of a Film map. Brilliant idea! Unfortunately, due to rights restrictions, they can only make BFI Player available in the UK for now.

However, BFI has a Youtube Channel with a lot of accessible footage.

Now, this film from London’s Screen Archives is lovely.

And this footage from nightlife in the twenties always makes me smile.

Finally, London after dark. The old ladies in the end of the video are so amusing!

02 Jul

Strange days

11415470_10205826143266849_1252669487698795569_oThe internet didn’t melt away yesterday, nor did I. However, roads melted as the mercury clocked 36.7C, the highest in July since records began in the mid 1870s. The hotspot was Heathrow. Very fitting.

This has been a sad and strange week over here. In the sweltering heat yesterday the first bodies of the victims killed by a gunman in Friday’s beach attack in Tunisia were flown back to the UK.  Most of the victims were from here; it hasn’t been confirmed yet but it’s likely that 30 of 38 victims were British.

It has been agonising to listen to the survivors speak about their ordeal. It brings back memories of the 2011 Norway attacks when Anders Breivik killed 77 people. Like then, people under attack in Tunisia tried to play dead as the gunman passed and many of them were calling home from hideaways to say goodbyes to their loved ones.   At the same time it’s moving to hear how people would selflessly put them self in danger while helping the injured and some even died protecting those they loved.

All of this is affecting the nation even more due to the fact that next week marks the 10 year anniversary of the 7/7 terrorist attack. The stories from those who survived back then blend in with the stories from last Friday.

Meanwhile, news from Iceland about earthquakes and a possible volcano eruption near Reykjavik are scaring the living daylights out of me. For some reason news like that affect me more when I’m over here than when I lived in Iceland.

I guess all we can do is try to enjoy each day, each moment. One never knows.

01 Jul

Amazing Reykjavik in 1926

On the hottest day of the year so far it feels as if the internet might just melt away any minute 🙂

Before that happens I’d like to share with you an amazing video. A footage of Reykjavik back in The Roaring Twenties. The travel film was shot in July 1926 by an American, Burton Holmes. You can read more about this remarkable man here. With 24 hours of daylight this time a year, a cruise is reaching shore at midnight. A lot of curious Icelanders have gathered downtown to watch the tourists. The population of Reykjavik was only around 21,000 back then and the capital had only three police officers. Enjoy!