Irish Days in Akranes

St. Patrick’s Day is long past for the rest of the world, but in the Icelandic seaport of Akranes this weekend, they get a second bite at the shamrock.  The festivities celebrate the founding of Akranes by Irish brothers, Þormóður and Ketill Bresasons shortly after 880 CE.  Actually, it’s not quite as simple as that.  There was already a farmer on the land, but since the Brothers Bresasaons were originally Norse, the man was, erm, asked to leave.

Take a look at the festivities link – the event looks like a proper full-throttled celebration, literally, since the Motorcycle Club of Iceland will be there.  In March this year, they were going to be inducted into the Hell’s Angels.  That’s what I like about the Icelandic way of doing things, you’ve got beaches, bouncy castles, motorbikes, bands, dancing, and all-night entertainment, rolled up into one festival.  There’s also a contest to find the most redheaded Icelander, the winner of which gets a trip to Dublin.  Gingers may get made fun of on South Park, but they’re extremely popular in Akranes.

The Life of Muhammad

Excellent news that the BBC is broadcasting  The Life of Muhammad in mid-July, on the founder of Islam.  Predictably, Iran is afraid the documentary will “ruin Muslims’ sanctity,” even though the BBC is sticking with Islamic tradition and “does not depict any images of the face of Muhammad, or feature dramatic reconstructions of Muhammad’s life”.

I’m genuinely interested, atheist that I am, in watching this documentary.  Religion and myth are fascinating subjects, and I’ve never underestimated the power of an overarching narrative to help people make sense of their lives.  In this category, I’d include the secular faiths, Marxismcommunismfascism and capitalism, because they also embody a surrender to an arbitrary authority, whether it be the dialectic, state, leader or market forces.

There are some insights and effective analytical tools mixed up in the secular faiths, but I prefer to live a la carte rather than table d’hote.  Along with religious faiths, they are all open to criticism.

So, good on the BBC for making this documentary and facing up to what no doubt will be a storm of controversy.

Poems: Dreams & While Shaving


Hate it when dreams fade to gray
Waking up in the morning
Tattered antique mist, blown away
By the wind from a sun’s burning.

While Shaving

Caught in the cross-hairs
of the magnifying mirror,
I suddenly saw them:

happy ginger wires,
twin basketfuls of puppies
springing up for joy.

It’s a bloke thing, I suppose,
to love your hairs too much.

The Bear 26/6/11