Reporting From Reykjavik #4: 10 Icelandic Interviews


“O wad some Power the giftie gie us To see oursels as ithers see us!”

– Rabbie Burns

I interviewed ten people from Iceland on life, Scotland and independence. This is what they said!

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Name: Ari Gisli
Description: Owns a bookshop called ‘Bokin‘ and describes himself as a ‘bookhunter’!

What is the best and worst things about Iceland?
“In Iceland we have a paradise far away from the badness of Europe and America and closer to the Eskimos & seals in Greenland. We also have natural resources like clean water and energy. People often complain about the weather.”

Is small beautiful or is bigger better?
“I would think that so few people in a large country, this is the place where greatness can happen.”

When I say ‘Scotland’ what do you think of?
“I think of Sean Connery and good spirits. I find us quite alike: look at the mountains and the idea of freedom. The pictures I see are similar.”

Should Scotland be an independent country?
“Yes, definitely. I think they should and keep good relations with their neighbours. Our minds and our capacity has grown and we can handle the challenges.”

Name: Itziar Meagher
Description: Working & studying in Reykjavik at Kex Hostel.

What is the best and worst things about Iceland?
“Small community: that is also bad & good. There is a sense that you can do whatever you want.”

Is small beautiful or is bigger better?
“I think it’s better to be small. It keeps the community together and gives you more control of the decisions that are made.”

When I say ‘Scotland’ what do you think of?
“Bagpipes. Kilts. Haggis. Strong accents. Happy people? I don’t know. Drinking. Stereotypes I suppose!”

Should Scotland be an independent country?
“Yeah, sure. No doubt. Many reasons: you can take decisions for yourself. You are a different country. I believe that you are.”

Name: Hildur Gudrun Thorleifsdottir
Description: “A country girl who loves her friends”

What is the best and worst things about Iceland?
“The worst part is the weather. The best is the water and the air.”

Is small beautiful or is bigger better?
“I like to be in a small community. Iceland is pretty big in its land.”

When I say ‘Scotland’ what do you think of?
“Scotland? I think of…I don’t know. I confuse it with Ireland for some reason! Scotland – the landscape is pretty and it’s like Iceland, I think…I think about strange accents.”

Should Scotland be an independent country?
“Of course, yeah. Because you are different from Britain. Scotland is a country. Why shouldn’t it be? Because I am an independent person, of course it is great!”

Name: Kari Thorsteinsson
Description: Chef at Kex hostel

What is the best and worst things about Iceland?
“Everyone knows each other and everyone knows everything about each other. That can be a good and a bad thing.”

Is small beautiful or is bigger better?
“I think small is better. You appreciate things a lot more if things are small and quite unique.”

When I say ‘Scotland’ what do you think of?
“It’s ours! The Vikings came there. They’re all Icelandic. They are all brothers and we treat them as such.”

Should Scotland be an independent country?
“For sure. For the same reason that Iceland is independent.”

Name: Harpa Hrund Palsdottir
Description: Student

What is the best and worst things about Iceland?
“The worst thing is probably the long winter, and then the best thing is the Summer time.”

Is small beautiful or is bigger better?
“I like how small Iceland is. You can travel somewhere eight hours from here and its completely different.”

When I say ‘Scotland’ what do you think of?
“Oh wow. I think it’s kind of similar to Iceland. When I hear people speak about Scotland I hear nature. Beer?”

Should Scotland be an independent country?
“It depends on so many things. I’d say you should give it a try! Why not? I’ve always thought of Scotland as an independent country.”

Name: Bara
Description: Red haired lover of food

What is the best and worst things about Iceland?
“The intimacy and the proximity to nature and the sea. The small arts festivals. The arts festival for young people in one of the best things. And everyone should listen to Oyama .The worst things are the intimacy; and the awful weather!”

Is small beautiful or is bigger better?
“Different people like different environments. Both can be good. We need to appreciate both. You should try both. It’s better to grow up in a smaller community.”
When I say ‘Scotland’ what do you think of?
“Accent. Rik! (her friend from Scotland)

Should Scotland be an independent country?
“Yes, because it’s logical! All countries should be independent. I don’t know if that’s a stupid thing to say?”

Name(s): Bjorn Stefansson, arni vilhjalmsson, Orn Agustson
Description: A group of sentimental hipsters with an indie twist

What is the best and worst things about Iceland?
“Women and the women.” “The conservatives won the election – that’s bad!” “The swimming pools are a luxury. There’s a good arts scene. Music.”

Is small beautiful or is bigger better?
“It can have a positive effect that there are so few people here. People are naïve that they think they can do anything.”

When I say ‘Scotland’ what do you think of?
“Haggis. Really friendly people. I’ve been there many times. Mogwai. Belle and Sebastian. I think of the old town of Aberdeen. My grandfather used to sail to Aberdeen. Buckfast. Crisps and tea. And funny cartoon sheep.” “I played music in a bar there and it smelt like puke.”

Should Scotland be an independent country?
“Yes. Go for it!” “Definitely.” “Of course you should vote yes!”

Name: Mira
Description: Project Manager at the Nordic House

What is the best and worst things about Iceland?
“Both is the nature! For me it’s really different from where I was born in Finalnd. The best thing is the nature and beauty. The worst part is the weather.”

Is small beautiful or is bigger better?
“I used to think that bigger is better. Now I’m not so sure. If Iceland was a little bit closer to the mainland it would be fine. My daughter is four years old. I think it’s nice for her to be somewhere that is small and safe.”

When I say ‘Scotland’ what do you think of?
“I think of – I have a friend who lives in Scotland – I have a picture in my head of Edinburgh. I don’t know what these are called? These landscapes in the countryside with green hills. And then the tradition of the food? You Know? Hagg…I can’t remember!”

Should Scotland be an independent country?
“Yeah. Why the hell not? For the same reasons we are independent. I don’t have a very strong opinion on that, but you know – yeah!”

Name: Hrannar
Description: Relaxed and Outgoing.

What is the best and worst things about Iceland?
“I think the people here. They are all really relaxed & the atmosphere is awesome: not much stress. And the things you can do – the landscape – it’s a small country, but you can do what you want to do. We have 9/8 months of darkness and rain. And everything is really expensive.”

Is small beautiful or is bigger better?
“Small is beautiful…I would just want to live here. I have traveled to many other countries, but I would always want to come back home to Iceland. It’s small, but it’s big enough!”

When I say ‘Scotland’ what do you think of?
“Rain! And beer. I think Iceland and Scotland is pretty similar. The Scottish people who come here, their personalities are the same as Icelanders.”

Should Scotland be an independent country?
“I think every country should be independent. It’s strange if some other country is in charge of your country. I think that would be stupid!”

Name: Edda
Description: Calm and sarcastic

What is the best and worst things about Iceland?
“The best thing would be that people here are open to new ideas and are willing to try new things. We grow up very close to nature. Icelandic people are not very good drivers and can sometimes be arrogant and too sarcastic!”

Is small beautiful or is bigger better?
“I think a balance of both. It’s very easy to get lost in a big city and you would maybe be more independent because you rely on yourself more. In Iceland everyone knows each other. You always find someone that you know in common.”

When I say ‘Scotland’ what do you think of?
“Beer. I think of nature as well. I hear a lot of people go hiking there. Arts. I hear there is a good art school in Glasgow and a good university in Edinburgh. I know a few people who went there for their postgraduate education. Maybe a bit raining? Are people there quite loud?”

Should Scotland be an independent country?
“Oh I don’t know enough about the economy or how it’s run. Do the people of Scotland want to be independent? I don’t know enough about it to say. I am all for independence as an idea though!”

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Michael Gray
@GrayInGlasgow
National Collective

Photo: Poptech 

 

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About Michael Gray

Michael studies politics at the University of Glasgow. He admires creativity, optimism and education. He desires peace, social justice and good parties.

There are 4 comments

  1. triskele5

    Having been to Iceland twice I can only say Iceland is, and has been since my first visit, an inspiration for what Scotland can and should be.

    The clarity of the answers to the question “Should Scotland be an independent country” given here say a lot. For me it goes beyond economics but goes to the root of things regarding making decisions as a nation. And few, whether in the rest of the UK or across the world, now deny that Scotland really is a nation.

    Ps, I asked my (now) wife to marry me in Iceland and she said “yes”. A very good answer and I hope the rest of Scotland repeat this same answer when asked “Should Scotland be an independent country?”

  2. DougDaniel

    I spent a weekend in Iceland once (staying at Jim Bett’s house, in fact – the benefits of being friends with people who went to school with his sons!) and I enjoyed it immensely. Although some of the landscape is very much unique to Iceland, with all that puffy scenery created from molten lava all those years ago, there was certainly a feeling of commonality with Scotland (perhaps helped by the fact it was dreich as soon as we landed in Reykjavik!) I had a similar feeling when I was in Molde once – the view outside my hotel window could easily have been in the Scottish Highlands.

    I really hope we explore our connections to the Nordic nations more once we’re independent, and forge much closer bonds with them. And everyone should have a dip in the Blue Lagoon at some point in their life!

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