þriðjudagur, febrúar 28, 2006


Last night marked the second-ever American Happy Hour put on by the U.S. Embassy staff. This one was in Kaffi Kúlture, the bar underneath Alþjóðahús and a common hotspot for foreign gatherings in Iceland. When we got there at a little after 8 the crowd seemed to be mainly embassy staffers but soon grew. The relative punctuality of the American crowd was refreshing (if this event had been an Icelandic one advertised at 8, people would begin drifting in at 9) and after a short time the long table was completely full of yapping Americans. The din of American chatter, with all those wide-open vowels, has a completely different sound to it than Icelandic chatter, and it was a sound I realized I missed. The noise around the table made me forget I was in Iceland, and put me somewhere in an unidentifiable American suburban bar, maybe an after-work crowd in the old Olive Garden bar on Route 9 in Framingham. Hey, it's strange things you come to miss about your old homeland.

There were some interesting people there: foreign service staffers who had worked all around the world, an opera singer, a woman who ran an international school in Reykjavík, three Fulbright scholars (two studying the Icelandic sagas and one writing a dissertation on the Keflavík NATO base entitled "All Your Base Are Belong To Us"), and the American ambassador herself, Carol van Voorst.

But by far the most engaging conversationalist of the evening was the producer of Prairie Home Companion. The show is going to be broadcast from the National Theater here in May, and he was here on a scouting trip to set up sponsorships, scout out the venue, and choose musicians to include. He's got some great ideas for local favorite musicians, and we gave him a few more. He's a lover of Iceland (although unfortunately not famous enough to be dubbed "Íslandsvinur"; unlike Tarantino and Oprah this guy really is a friend of Iceland) and it was he who persuaded Garrison Keillor to do the show here. With the types of muscians he is talking about including, the show promises to be fantastic, and it'll be a sweet treat indeed to hear Garrison's deep voice booming across the Land.


Blogger Paul said...

Telegram from Boston:
Bars along Route 9 still suck. No need to worry.

Anonymous Nafnlaus said...

Would you kindly enlighten your non-Icelandic speaking readers and translate the title of today's post?


Blogger JB said...

Sure, "kani" is (bad) slang for American, "klukkustund" is the sorta technical term for hour, and "-in" throws a definite article on the whole shebang. So it becomes "the-American-hour" or something to that effect, although slicker and slightly self-derisive.

See, sometimes translation just takes the magic outta the whole thing.


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