Category: Shopping


The shadows and light in Harpa concert hall are stunning.

Preparations and expectations are as much a part of journeys as arrivals but it was a trial to face mundane considerations of what to pack for my short stay in Reykjavík.

Most bloggers, tweeters and travel guides recommend winter wear even when traveling in the summer months. They are not wrong. At this time of year it is light all day but this does not mean there is constant sunshine.

Temperatures rarely exceed 23◦ C and are often much lower. The evenings are cool and it also rains a lot so waterproof clothing is considered essential. Dressing as you would for a typical Autumnal day in Northern England is a good rule of thumb guide. While I was there the temperature was a little chilly at an average of around 17◦ C  (I needed a hat!) but the air feels so good and pure.

Soon after arriving, I experienced a prime example of the pragmatism of the Icelandic people came when I asked a tour guide if I needed rainproof clothing for a day excursion to The Golden Circle. She replied: “If it rains, yes!”


A birds-eye view of Reykjavik

I can’t remember exactly when I began to get obsessed about the idea of going to Iceland but the wealth of amazing music coming from this small country was certainly a major factor. For this reason I has to pinch myself when the co-owner of the apartment I had booked turned out to be named Sigurrós. This is akin to a foreigner visiting Liverpool for the first time and being greeted by a John Lennon.

In just three full days I could only get a fleeting impression of the city. My sole out-of-town experience was confined to a memorable eight-hour excursion (with commentary in English & Scandinavian) to Geysir hot springs, the Gulfoss waterfall and the National Park (the Golden Circle).

Still, I’m happy to say that my spectacles remain as resolutely rose-tinted as they were before my trip. I’d love to return with more time and money to explore the whole island.

So, without further ado, here are some of my impressions :

The Icelanders.
The people are universally kind, friendly and nice. I saw an middle-aged man looking for a CD of local music being helped by a young female shop assistant who patiently explained what Indie music is without a trace of condescension. Continue reading


With Christmas coming, I wrote a seasonal poem to get you in the shopping mood entitled:


we are the lads
with all the fads
we make your day
we make you pay
we want your soul
coerce, cajole
hand over fist
implore, insist
flatter and flirt
pretty and pert
we preen and pout
swagger and shout
to pressure peers
or trigger fears
we plant the seed
we plea for greed
in sales you trust
till fit to bust
compete consume
repeat resume.

I haven’t eaten meat or fish for the past forty years and in all that time I have never been remotely tempted to regress. On the contrary, I am now trying to stop consuming ALL animal related products and switch to a completely plant-based diet.

The wisdom of following a vegetarian lifestyle is, to my mind, beyond dispute and arguments for taking this one step further towards veganism are equally compelling.

Not succulent, tasty or nice.

Not succulent, tasty or nice.

It is relatively easy to explain why I don’t eat raw steak, ground veal or chicken legs but the processes that lie behind the mass production of eggs, milk and cheese are just as closely tied to barbaric factory farming methods. You don’t have to be overly squeamish or sentimental to see that the routine practices of animal agriculture are increasingly indefensible and unsustainable. Continue reading

THE MAN IN THE WHITE SUIT directed by Alexander Mackendrick (UK, 1951)

Joining forces for the common good - Alec Guinness and Joan Greenwood.

Joining forces for the common good – Alec Guinness and Joan Greenwood.

Built-in obsolescence has become so much the norm these days that most of us take it for granted.

Part of this is due to the rapidity of technological advances but as devices get increasingly smaller, lighter and thinner, it often gets to the point when  these ‘improvements’ become simply ways to induce the public to buy the same product over and over again.

It also seems self-evident that it is not in the manufacturer’s interest to produce a perfect product that will last a lifetime.

This is the premise for ‘The Man In The White Suit’ in which Sidney Stratton (Alec Guinness) is a brilliant research chemist in a textiles factory who invents a material that never gets dirty and never wears out. Continue reading

VINYLMANIA:WHEN LIFE RUNS AT 33 REVOLUTIONS A MINUTE directed by Paolo Campania (Italy, 2012)

vinylmaniavinylVinylmania is a lively, good-humoured documentary  which was chosen as the official Record Store Day film in 2012 and is also being shown at many stores this year. When it comes to music, Italian director Paolo Campana passionately believes that there is no substitute for the analogue sounds of vinyl. At the beginning of this 75 minute documentary he rejects the digital alternative saying “a click is not enough”. CDs were originally marketed as offering a superior sound to the established format, something that even non-audiophiles now recognise as baloney. London-based DJ Eddie Piller puts the case in simple terms : “nothing sounds better than vinyl”. Continue reading

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