Batty's Saga, Part II - Filling a Hole
I had been working part-time doing sound mixing for a bunch of guys who had an old-school R&B band, basically reworking the same material we had done twenty-five years earlier. My interests in modern music were almost at zero, as were any in serious literature. I was in a rut.
Returning home from Iceland with a Viking-besotted Scotsman in tow, my experiences of that week in March of 2000 were akin to the "seed" of grit that produces a pearl in an oyster. Suddenly there was all this stimuli happening to me: newspaper and magazine articles, music, films, literature; all of these seemed to have an Icelandic connection. I knew who Björk was; I'd hear her stuff on the radio when I was out in the car with our boys. I hadn't really listened to her, so I got one of her CD's, then another, and another. I had just about given up on Pop music, but she "opened my ears" to her many new directions. The local film society began showing all these great Icelandic movies. Bill Holm's Eccentric Islands was published. I picked up the musty old copy of Independent People which I had rescued from from my parents' basement where it had lain for FIFTY-FOUR years. I began to read: Sheep, mistrust, bitterness and a cow. And suddenly the veil which was my mundane existence lifted.
How can I even begin to explain it? Stuff happens to people all the time. What ends up in our head is either accidental (externally generated), or deliberately put there (internally generated.) I had been asleep for far too long. The idea of my return to Iceland, to gather more first-hand experience, was growing. The Weaver has always had a distaste for windy conditions, so when she put forth the idea of separate vacations my preparations began in earnest. This time there would be a difference. By 2004 the Internet had matured enough that it was now possible to not only to receive the usual commercial information, but also personal information via blogs. Places and events that were just PR copy before had now become alive- as seen through the eyes of people living in them. The quality of the writing in them was not their primary asset (although it was usually quite high) but it was their directness which captivated me. I was ready to return.