I was talking to an Icelander, when I first thought that something was wrong. I couldn’t figure it out at first, it was so unusual. I am taller than most people, so it came as a surprise that the Icelander I was talking to towered over me. I’m not used to looking up to people when speaking to them, and my neck was beginning to hurt. It seemed entirely appropriate that we were drinking Viking beer.
The second launch party for Iceland, Defrosted was held in Eymundsson, a huge bookstore in downtown Reykjavík. It has four, maybe five floors, each one crammed with books in Icelandic and English. It’s the sort of place that you can lose yourself in. Trust me, I have.
Iceland, Defrosted, fresh from its transport packaging, looked good on the shelves, and I felt immensely proud that it had got this far. It seemed right that it should be on a shelf in Reykjavík, in a book store. That little Puffin on the rear cover? He looked pleased to be back home.
My family who had taken the decision to travel from the UK for the launch had joined me. It was their first time in Iceland, and I had spent the preceding two days showing them the sights. My sister still had Blue Lagoon silica in her eyebrows.
I also got to meet two of my favorite Twitter friends – Inga, from Tiny Iceland and Auður, from I heart Reykjavík. This popular pair have been a constant source of support here in Reykjavík, making sure my Tweets and posts are heard all over the city and further to their huge bands of followers. It was good to finally meet them face-to-face.
Ian & Liz were also present. I had met them at Airwaves last year, and they too had been bitten by the Iceland bug. Fresh from a two week tour of the island, they had kindly coincided their visit to attend my book launch.
I was accompanied again by ÍRiS, who had stolen the show at the London launch a week earlier. ÍRiS produces sublime music, and even on the top floor of a book store in the early evening, she pulled off something spectacular, drawing the audience in to her world. ÍRiS had replaced Rökkurró at the last minute, after a band crisis. I’m grateful for her help and support. Again.
I took the chance to thank the kind hearted Icelanders who had helped me throughout the whole project, in front of the small crowd. I hope my gratitude carried across, and was received in the genuine manner it was meant. I couldn’t have produced a single word of Iceland, Defrosted without their help – the frequent visits, the endless questions and the mispronunciation of every possible Icelandic word. Even tonight, they are still helping me. I received a very kind offer for a lopapeysa to be knitted especially for me, and I could barely contain my excitement.
Afterwards, it was party time. In Reykjavík, this means a long night, but with 24 hour sunlight already confusing my body clock, and the matter of a book launch to celebrate, what else was there to do? We partied long and hard into the night. Ian & Liz were shown a side of Reykjavík that usually remains hidden, but starts to topple with the first shot of Opal, and the addition of an actual Viking to guide us. At 4.30am, I manage to get to bed. I can’t sleep though, as the sun is still streaming through the window and I can’t stop smiling.
Final launch in Much Wenlock on 3rd July.