Hallgrimur Helgason is one of Iceland’s most popular writers and not only is he a writer but also a painter and a poet. His brush with Iceland’s newly rich was when he donated an unpainted painting to a Unicef-auction. The unpainted painting sold for ISK21m at this auction in 2007 that crystallised the craziness going on – ridiculous prises but they did benefit Unicef Iceland’s work in Africa.
Incidentally, the buyer of Helgasons’ painting was Thorsteinn Jonsson, who still owns and runs the Coca Cola bottling plant in Reykjavik and a close business partner of Jon Asgeir Johannesson. Jonsson is now fighting Glitnir in a court case in New York. A case that has exposed a lot of the wheeling and dealing going on around Johannesson and the major shareholders in Glitnir. What Coca Cola feels about one of their managing directors being brought to court in New York for ‘robbing a bank from the inside’ isn’t known but the Coca Cola conglomerate has so far resisted all attempts in Iceland to changed ownership due to Jonsson’s debt.
Now Helgason has written and performed a poem, in English, on what happened in Iceland and the atmosphere now. You can hear it here. ‘Nothing scares like suit and tie’ Helgason tells us – and there is a brilliant part on Icelanders leaving for Norway, the words spoken in English with the typical Icelandic accent. Crisis doesn’t only spread misery but a bit of esprit as well.
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