Iceland is hot!

I've always been fascinated by Iceland. The very name, more than many, does appeal to the pictorial imagination. As a young boy I had a giant jigsaw of the map of Europe, each segment an entire country, and I would always put Iceland into position last(with all due reverence I hope), carefully, into its oceanic surroundings. In reality, the country had me stunned this week; curiously enough, an initial observation recalled my visit to the(also volcanic) Hawaiian  island of Kaua'i. In my more exaggerated moments I even pictured myself, most romantically, as having stumbled into some gloriously powerful Nordic point of re-connection. By the sea once more, among the elements, gripped by some ascending ancestral instinct!! Furthermore, I was surrounded by the most striking looking people I had ever seen, who with breezy confidence often choose to accentuate their already intoxicating features with eyewear of near-radical obscurity. Kindness too, on display, mingled with a real sense of fun and some of the healthiest kind of civic pride I have ever encountered(UK - please oh please take note).

It is, of course, troubling to see a citizenry have recourse to surround its own Parliament building, hammering out a "Rough Music" of protestation with the implied naming and shaming of the politicians within. In this context then, let the country take further inspiration from its own Symphony Orchestra, whose full-throttled strategy to battle the ecconomic crisis includes, next week,  their first ever performance of Messiaen's "Turangalila-Symphony".

The highest rewards of my working life come about through the invigoration of cultural exchange. As such, it was very fine to re-connect with Icelandic composer Askell Masson, whom I last saw when I was only just old enough to meet him in the appointed London pub. It was an especial thrill to join forces with Portugese percussion magician Pedro Carniero for the first time too, as we put together Askell's double concerto "Crossings". With the orchestra refering to us as "The Twins", the percussion section had us firmly under thier wing, and being largely Dutch, suitable quantaties of Jenever were seen to in lovely homely surroundings - gezellig. The excitement peaked perfectly for our concert, with the orchestra's enthusiasm for the music re-inforcing the vitality of the moment.

Certain readers will also be pleased to know that I've also had a right good bath this week! Not least of all at the Blue Lagoon; and it really is very blue by the way! As stomach-chruring as this image will be to yet others, do take the time required to picture me wallowing in the white mud and steam, a harmless back-stroke in occasional operation...

"The inevitable night-out", a fait accompli according to even "Lonely Planet" did also occur, and my thanks to the good people of Hotel 101 who chipped in for a very merry time of it! Their Mojito Royale(a regular Mojito enlivened by a sloosh of champagne!) is indeed a splendid thing. And yes, I did order the Whale meat with Fois-Gras at The Fish Market, and yes, it was excellent!

My thanks and best wishes once again to all for such great times - further visits to your beautiful country are already much craved, and intended...

Best, Colin.