Friday, 24 June 2011

Laurie Anderson - There was something very familiar about Iceland

From the current Laurie Anderson tour, the track, There is something very familiar about Iceland

Recently somebody told me that the people of Iceland are made up of 2 branches that got twinned together - the Vikings and the Irish missionary monks

And since that's my own heritage, more or less Swedish and Irish, I suddenly realised why that pony farm had seen so familiar

Iceland was a combination of both those ???

Those people who tend to see things out of the corners of their eyes

Elves, . . . . . . . . thirty foot tall thunder gods

And you know how you hope that your ancestors might have been sophisticated counts, or scribes, and then you find that your actual ancestors were lonely incestuous shepherds, too drunk to leave their huts, or wandering lost, out on the moors . . . fabricators, hallucinators, their beautiful ????, their stories of elves and sea cows, all twisted together into a huge book, that's a combination of The Idiot and the The Odyssey.

And when I fell into one of their deep dark depressions; when I see a burnt out, abandoned house, or a barren coastline in the middle of nowhere, I can feel how alone I am . . . . like they were . . . in a huge house . . . .

This piece was inspired by reading Haldor Laxness's Independent People, his "epic novel" set in rural Iceland in the early 20th century - a tale of sheep farming, etc. I once read his book, Fish can sing, which I only bought because it had the word "fish" in the title. On Amazon, Independent People gets 39 5*s 3 4*s, and 4 2*s. So very much enjoyed by those who have read it. For me, 544 pages is too long . . .

Back in 1984 (I think), I saw Laurie Anderson perform United States at the Dominicon Theatre in London. What an amazing performance. I thought the version of Big Science was amazing that night. She remains someone well worth checking out every so often

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