Wednesday, February 07, 2007



I had stopped in for a drink; it was a tiny, tiny bar. Funky but charming and not without renown. Being relatively early only a few people were inside- they were talking quietly at a couple of the mis-matched tables. I came in because I was cold (October nights in Reykjavík are never warm), and because I was curious. I had seen the place before in a Björk video (where it looked a lot bigger.) Now a new generation of young and beautiful artists and performers had claimed it as their own. I was the oddity- an old man in a tweedy sport coat (with leather patches on the elbows, of course) scratching notes in a battered Moleskine and sipping whisky. I had heard from a shop-keeper earlier in the day that some buildings in this part of town were to be redeveloped, it might be my last opportunity to stop in.

The tunes on the house system were pretty cool modern stuff- someone there had good musical taste- but I was a bit surprised when Neil Young came on the box, singing Heart of Gold. My thoughts drifted back to the early 70's and seeing him live, in a solo concert in a small theater. It was the place where I had heard that song for the very first time: "...and I'm getting old..." Ha. He might have been thirty then. Yet still he perseveres, his deceptively simple music reaching every new generation.

As the place began to fill up, a young woman asked if she and her friend could share my table; "not a problem" I said, "I was leaving soon anyway." I finished my drink, and as I walked out, I noticed that the walls were stenciled with the graphic design of the control panel of an ARP 2600- an early synthesizer. Another connection to the past, an in-joke for vintage electronica enthusiasts. Years ago I had used one, even going so far as to make an artsy "performance" tape- a tape still gathering dust in my basement.

"Will the cycles never end?" I muttered to myself as I walked out the door, leaving those ghosts behind in the bar. Outside, the cold Icelandic night saw to it that I quickly returned to a more timely "reality", more's the pity, that.

By Professor Batty


Blogger Sharon Spotbottom said...

The cycles of the old becoming new again? There is hope for us all then :)

Blogger Móðir, kona, meyja said...

For some reason, Neil Young is extremely popular here in Iceland. That may well be due to his deceptive simplicity.

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