EPI and I are getting all cultural today and heading out to a concert at Hallgrímskirkja church. On the programme, two requiems: Mozart’s and Faurés. I love the former and am not familiar with the latter; however, EPI informs me that it is ‘lighter’ than Mozart’s because Fauré was more resigned to dying than the young Mozart was. Mokay.

I’m not normally much of a concert-goer. It’s rather a fault of mine; I wish I could say I enjoy going to classical concerts and entering a meditative state whilst letting the sounds cascade over my general person, but the truth of the matter is that I’m normally bored silly within about 10 minutes. I’m a text person – I need text. Spoken or written. Hence I normally give concerts a pass, unless there are words being sung. I don’t have patience for just instruments. By extension, I’m the sort of person who always focuses primarily on text in a song. Not the bass line, nor the percussion, nor guitar-picking… like, say, EPI. Nope – more than anything I like a good songwriter with a strong message.

This is the prime concert season here in Niceland and between now and Christmas there will be such a selection of concerts that the general concert enthusiast will probably be suffering from overkill by the time December rolls around. These will range from rock ‘n roll [e.g. The White Stripes later this month] to choral music in just about every church in the country, and anything in between.

Seeing as how concerts feature so prominently on the cultural calendar, you would think Iceland had a decent concert hall, but it does not. Apart from the Salurinn venue in Kópavogur [which doesn’t seat very many] there is not a single hall that is acoustically suited to hosting good concerts. In fact, the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, which attracts rave reviews internationally, still rehearses and plays in Háskólabíó – the University Cinema.

All that is about to change, though, because plans have finally been approved for a major concert hall and conference centre, due to rise on the Reykjavík Harbour premises. It’s set to be modelled on the Sydney Opera House in that it will be a significant landmark for the city. It will be outrageously expensive, ISK 3 billion, which if I’m not mistaken is somewhere around USD 200 million. Three questions spring to mind: 1) how will a nation of 300,000 people manage to cover this, 2) why has no-one said boo about this rather hefty price tag, 3) why are our senior citizens still sleeping two-or-three to a room in old age homes and using communal toilets and generally being treated like discarded members of society, at the same time as we can afford to raise a building for that amount of dosh?

I’m just saying.

Chequered. But fairly mild. Sunny spells, interspersed with showers, interspersed with cloudy spells, interspersed with gusts of wind. Temps currently 3°C and sunrise was at 09.24, sunset due for 16.58.