föstudagur, mars 20, 2009

landauðn nema

Will such pictures become less romantic now that everyone is crushed beneath their foreign-currency mortgages? There's been such a fashion for images of the glamorously dying districts, the falling-down houses, the dwindling ovine population, the furthest fishing stations, and the octogenarian wild-bearded stubborns who will not leave them. This has all been very quaint in boom time, or at least in the latter-day boom time when people paused just short of erasing all traces of harder and more rural days so as to preserve the remnants for contemplation. The last fishing ver on the coast of Reykjavík proper has but recently been museumified with an interpretive sign viewable from the jogging path.

Now the newest eyðibýli are in the half-built hverfi ringing the capital, some high on the heath. They -- like the empty shops on Laugarvegur -- are considerably less romantic. Financial ruin has moved to the city with everyone else.

fimmtudagur, mars 19, 2009

í þeim dögum

They are ferociously stale. Nevertheless, I not only eat them but offer them to others. They have no way of knowing what it tastes like fresh. Fresh or stale, Rauðr Opal tastes of northern Europe's strange licorice æsthetic.

I should be clear: these are, properly, Risa Opal - giant-sized Opal - not the standard little pastilles you eat two at a time as per the instructions on the inner flap (fáðu tvö svo þú piprir ekki). But, no! The Risa label is missing. I find an older box containing even staler candy and compare.

Yes, once Risa Opal and now just Opal. And now I remember not having been able to find proper Opal at Leifstöð, at the gas stations, anywhere. Thank god they did not change the essentials of the brilliant pop-art design. They have, however, replaced the marginally larger concentric rings of the Risa box with the marginally smaller ones of the original size box. The result is a rectanglar box dressed up as the old square box. It isn't quite as brilliant as it was.

Those days are these days: giants walk the earth, but they are no longer labeled as such.
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