Heartbreaking news from Norway. As I was watching the BBC’s dazed security experts try and fill time before the facts materialised I remembered all the recent dates my conscious had archived: 9/11, 7/7, 26/11. And now 22/7. Norway is the newest member of the club no-one wants to join.
For the first time I looked at Reykjavik with a security-conscious eye. You can park right outside the prime minister’s small two-story office and anyone can walk up to the door of the president’s home. Alþingi, the parliament building, is surrounded by protective basalt bollards, but in true Icelandic style there’s a car-sized gap between two.
Is it naivete, confidence, innocence, or a combination? Whatever it is, it’s strangely comforting and discomforting all at once.
Not content with Lucian Freud and the ninety-two victims of Friday’s attack the week decided it needed Amy Winehouse too. I was an admirer of her 2006 album Back to Black but lost interest when coverage of her was overtaken by the tabloids’ brutal brand of schadenfreude. Such is the life of anyone famous with even the barest glimpse of personal demons.
She now joins Robert Johnson, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain, and all the other members of the 27 Club. While I’m not too enthusiastic about the membership criterion I bet they throw one hell of a party after the AGM.
And so to our own less morbid club here in Reykjavík. Every month eight or so friends come together to watch two films in one sitting, the idea being we watch films we wouldn’t otherwise see — previous showings include a fascinating documentary about Illinois farming, King Corn, the beautiful Turkish film Bal, and the frankly trippy world of 1960’s Swiss Family Robinson.
As with any good club, there are rules: the films are chosen in secret by one of us, the chosen one rotating each month; the two films must jointly be no longer than three hours and forty-five minutes; and if there’s dialogue it must be spoken or subtitled in English.
Oh, and the films must be themed. This gets highly technical now, but the theme is chosen by randomly pulling out one of many folded pieces of paper hidden in a curry jar. The curry is alas long gone, replaced by the theme no-one wants: ‘helicopters’.
Borgar was this month’s director, the theme being ‘stars’. He picked Porn Star: the Legend of Ron Jeremy (his warning beforehand: ‘There may be male and female nudity in this film’ — and then some) and El Dorado, in which Robert Mitchum proceeds to steal every scene from John Wayne.
I have the honour of next month’s choices, the theme being ‘scholarship’. Answers on a post card please.