No Good News – Iceland

(Bjork & Tricky, Bjork & Goldie, Bjork & Matthew Barney)

Looking at Bjork’s choice in mate from then until now is like looking into a spiral of cascading intolerability. Yeah, I just said that Goldie is more tolerable than Matthew Barney. Need proof?


I’m not going to tell you that I think that Goldie single isn’t horrible. But did you look at Barney? Did you hear his words? I even hated the way he said “1992”. He made me want to hate the nineties. You know the number one reason now isn’t anything like the nineties? Maclean’s is saying things like this:

Iceland’s study of the benefits of adopting the Canadian dollar as its official currency has, so far, mostly had the economic effect here of creating a mini-boom in Björk jokes (Bjökes?).

You wouldn’t be wrong to assume that this never happened, because I think the only “Bjoke” that’s been told is that one. Moreover: Iceland’s thinking of becoming Canada? How cool is that?

If Iceland actually went ahead with it, that would, in the short-to-medium term, probably still be the main effect on us. The tiny north Atlantic state wouldn’t gain any influence over our monetary affairs.

I was going to type “Except for influence over coolness”, but I want to give you, several thousand Provocative Penguin readers, more credit than that. You all know that already, and you already know that coolness is surgically removed from every staffer at Maclean’s. Which explains that “Bjoke” earlier. At any rate: what is Maclean’s saying about Iceland and the Canadian dollar?

It is hard to be sure how serious a possibility our dollar is for Iceland. There is agreement that Iceland must choose some external basis for its currency as it prepares to loosen controls on cross-border capital flows imposed in the wake of its banking system’s dramatic 2008 collapse. The Icelandic króna fell from 131 to the euro to 340 almost overnight before the introduction of those capital controls. Iceland wants to rejoin the mainstream of world finance, but it can no longer do so with a fairy tale unit of account. The choice, says Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, is between “surrendering” by adopting some other country’s currency or joining the European Union and taking the euro.

“Taking the euro” should be a euphemism for… well, “sitting on Santa’s lap”, “Danny’s worst communion”, “going full Harvey Danger”, or “Pushing through the Greek Austerity Measures”. Before I start rewriting the middle section of Steven King’s It, I’ll turn back to the Canadian dollar and say that compared to the EU, Canada probably looks a lot more like Cheap Trick’s Surrender. Which is awesome.

It should be noted that what follows in the article is some dry recounting of economists and what they say about commodity dependence (Allen Carr can help with that) followed by an admission by the journalist that they are, in fact, writing about nothing:

Barring a sudden change of government, and such a thing is always possible in a country that is essentially a fairly close-knit extended family, the dream of a loonie-denominated Iceland will probably remain just that—which seems like a shame. No Canadian heart fails to feel romantic stirrings at the thought of a land peopled by the same restless Scandinavians who left their hairpins and knitting needles at L’Anse aux Meadows. More than 90,000 of us are descended from the Icelandic diaspora; Icelandic Canadians, a miniscule fragment of a fragment of the human species, have competed at Cannes, mapped the High Arctic, helped win the Second World War, and orbited the Earth.

And what better time in an article than right after you admit that there is no point to the article, no kernel of truth it is based around, no logical reason for the article to exist, to launch into barely poetic musings about 1950s stereotypes of Icelanders? There they are, knitting, like us, knitting, also Icelandic (just who is the readership of Maclean’s? Is Maclean some Icelandic name I didn’t know about?), way up North, something about Cannes, and among the winners of World War 2. And orbiting the Earth. All of this seems like there wasn’t even something to build up to. There may, potentially, be no reason for this article to exist. This may be a reasonless article. Let’s call it an unreasonicle.

The adoption of the Canadian dollar by Iceland would create an incentive for new economic ties between the countries, and social and political ties are rarely slow to follow. Is that worth something? The Norwegians, our fellow oil exporters, seem to think so: one of their top economists, Oystein Noreng, wrote a newspaper article this month urging Iceland to adopt Norway’s currency. It would, he contended, lay the groundwork for partnership between the two countries on circumpolar issues and economic policy—even future Icelandic oil development. “Canada” substitutes pretty neatly for “Norway” in his argument, so shouldn’t somebody be making the sales pitch on our behalf?

And with that, we have arrived at our non-point. Let’s call that a noint. Yes, Maclean’s readers, you brave, filmmaking soldiers of the Icelandic diaspora, it is up to you to make a sales pitch to Iceland so that we may be closer to Bjork and the cascade of intolerability that is her love life. Forget what Tricky wants! You’ve already forgotten who Goldie even is. And together, may we have the strength to forget or at least ignore Matthew Barney. In fact, let’s start here and now by substituting “Canada” for “Norway” whenever we can. Here’s some Canadian Black Metal by Norwegians.

About Matt Collins

Matt Collins is a musician (Ninja High School), cartoonist (Sexy), jock (Manhunt), and comedian (Matt Collins) in Toronto, Ontario. Please buy more Matt Collins. [Other Posts By Matt]