Ice cream and Bjork

On Sunday, July 13th we moved to a new place, much closer to the center of Reykuvik . The 30 minute walk one way to the place we had been staying was wearing us out, and anyway it didn’t have a shower. To take a shower, we 1; walked to the geothermal beach, 2; went to the public swimming pool and sauna, or 3; didn’t. After dragging our luggage the 30 minutes to the new place we were exhausted, but happy; until we saw the room, it was tiny, and not the $45 we expected, but $60. Oh well, travel often has these unexpected calamities. But we soon found out that the advantages outweighed the disadvantages. The location was great, just minutes from the center, and in the coolest neighborhood. Exploring the first afternoon, we came across some activity in a small paved area. We were not shy and talked to the 3 artistic looking types who were mulling around. It turned out to be the opening of an art project of sorts. The city had given a grant to these three artists to turn a small paved paid parking area into a park.mthey could do anything they wanted. They had erected a tetherball court, painted the rubberized asphalt pink and put in a stage. Also there was a small grassy area about the size of a grave that seemed so ridiculous surrounded by all that artificiality that it cried out sarcasm. “come back after 2 pm and we will have free ice cream. That did it. In our deprived stimulated state, ice cream was irresistible. That gave us 2 hours to walk around and explore the neighborhood. It was filled with interesting and quirky murals and we were really glad to be there. At 230 (fashionably late(we didn’t want to appear to be overly eager, although we were) we arrived, and true to their word there was free desserts, like popsicles and ice cream , though of an Icelandic sort. Everyone was just hanging around so I had a great idea. I approached one of the artists. “hey would you guys like some free live music?” she was delighted. ” of course. that would be amazing!” our place was minutes away so we collected another ice cream and headed over there to get our gear. 10 minutes later we were setting up, and the party seemed in full swing now that there was some focus. There were about 40 people relaxing around the area and we took out our amps and started playing. We played 4 songs, one solo jazz saxophone, 2 Korean songs by Hye-Young, and one jazz duet. We could have played longer but we thought its always better to leave them wanting more (if they did). After we finished, we expected people to come up and talk to us, but they didn’t. They clapped enthusiastically, but that was it. We were left alone and felt like wall flowers. We found out later that Icelandic people really respect each others privacy so it was not a slight at all. I decided that I would use our status as performers to good purpose and walked over and sat down next to a nice looking young man, perhaps 35 who was talking to an older woman. He looked over and said he enjoyed our performance. We started talking a bit. His house was right there next to the park and he answered our questions about its distinctive architecture. It had in fact a notable history. “by the way, what do you do, anyway? , I asked, wanting to get a little deeper. The woman answered smiling, “actually he’ s the mayor of Reykuvik.” I looked at him questingly. He smiled rather sheepishly. “Yes, that’s right, I am” it seemed that he attached no status to his job, it just was his job. I however was greatly impressed. “nice to meet you, Mr. Mayor.” I said shaking his hand. You are so young to be mayor. What kind of background do you need to be mayor, if I may ask? ”
Again the sheepish look. “well, actually I am a medical doctor” obviously a high achiever. So we talked a bit about the city and Iceland culture. Then suddenly he said, “by the way I took some pictures do you 2 performing. And did you notice that Bjork was over there listening to you? What? Bjork? “the” Bjork was listening to us play. I couldn’t believe it. For those of you who don’t know, Bjork is big. BIG. The biggest thing in Iceland and a sensation around the world. She listened to me? “and I took some pictures of you playing with here in the background. I can send them to you” wow. Amazing. About 10 minutes after we stopped playing another group came up. They hadn’t planned to play but saw us play and also volunteered. After they played, a third act came up, a woman who was a protege of Bjork who had the strangest but most interesting voice. For lack of a better description she sounded like a beetle. Not the Beatles, but a beetle. But very interesting uirky and strange, like Iceland. Later i saw Bjork and I couldn’t resist walking up to her and speaking with her. “how did you like the Korean songs” at first she looked a little taken aback that I was speaking with her, but I didn’t do anything really stupid like Sk her for her autograph or a picture. ” they were really beautiful” she said sincerely. That’s it? No record deal, guest appearance at her next concert? That was it. But it was enough. I was doing it the Icelandic way. Cool. Very cool. She was my neighbor and a superstar, but so whT. I nodded in my coolest way and said, ” glad you liked them”. She smile (at me) and I walked off coolly
look at all that happened, and just because we wanted ice cream.


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