Daði Freyr Would Think About Eurovision 2021

Eurovision Iceland Daði og gagnamagnið

A faint ray of hopeful news coming from Iceland in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis: Daði Freyr, Iceland’s Eurovision 2020 entrant and widely considered one of the frontrunners in this year’s now-cancelled song contest, has confirmed that he would be happy to represent Iceland in 2021, Vísir reports. He does, however, have one proviso – he doesn’t want to go through Iceland’s Söngvakeppnin selection process again.

Daði Freyr set off a flurry of chatter in the Eurovision-sphere yesterday when he told Vísir that he was sad “to have missed the opportunity to…take part in the madness that is Eurovision,” but would nevertheless opt out of the Icelandic song competition next year. “We won the competition once and if I entered it again, I’d feel like people were just voting for me because we’d won once and didn’t go to [Eurovision],” he explained. Likewise, re-entering Söngvakeppnin and not winning didn’t seem like any better an outcome, Daði concluded, although he said that he might be willing to compose a song for another competitor to perform.

 

Dadi Freyr and Gagnamagnið’s Eurovision entry, “Think About Things,” was already a viral sensation, so popular that it inspired conspiracy theories that Netflix was secretly championing the song to win in order to boost the popularity of its forthcoming Eurovision movie, starring Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams as Icelandic singers. When organisers decided to cancel the song competition this year, petitions went around the internet to “Give the Eurovision 2020 Title to Iceland by Default.”

As such, Eurovision fans were understandably heartened by Daði’s tweet on Thursday, which clarified: “I would be honoured and proud to represent Iceland with a new Gagnamagnið song in Eurovision if @RUVohf wants to invite us. It would just feel weird to me to compete in #Söngvakeppnin again. Either way I will keep making more music, that’s not going to change. <3.” The tweet had over 2,100 likes at the time of writing.

No word yet if RÚV will decide to skip next year’s song contest and elect Daði Freyr and Gagnamagnið as Iceland’s de facto representatives. In the meantime, however, Daði Freyr is thinking positively. “This has been a great springboard for my career, so I can’t complain much.”

Icelandic Museum of Rock ‘n’ Roll to Live Stream Concerts

The Hjómahöll cultural centre and Icelandic Museum of Rock ‘n’ Roll in Reykjanesbær are collaborating on a series of live-streamed concerts in the coming weeks. The series, “Látum okkar streyma,” (‘Let us stream’) kicked off with a live set by singer/songwriter Ásgeir on Thursday night.

Moses Hightower will play on April 2, followed by GDRN on April 7, and Hjálmar on April 16. All concerts will begin live-streaming at 8.00pm GMT. The series will also include a behind-the-scenes tour of exhibits at the Icelandic Rock ‘n’ Roll Museum with music icons Páll Óskar and Björgvín Halldórsson (date and time TBA) and Icelandic music trivia nights hosted through the Kahoot live platform on March 27 and April 3 at 2.00pm GMT.

The concert schedule may be added to in future days and can be found on the Hjómaholl Facebook page. Live streams can be viewed online via the Facebook page or RÚV website, or listened to on Rás 2.

Lay-Offs at Blue Lagoon “Unavoidable”

The Blue Lagoon laid off 164 employees on Thursday. Mbl.is was the first to report. The popular tourist destination closed on March 23 out of precautions surrounding the coronavirus pandemic and will remain closed until at least April 30.

Prior to the lay-offs, Blue Lagoon employed 764 employees. In order to avoid additional lay-offs, the company intends to take advantage of the government’s COVID-19 response package, which allows part-time employees to claim up to 75% of unemployment. Blue Lagoon will offer 400 employees reduced hours.

See also: Icelandic Government Presents Economic Response Package to COVID-19 Crisis

“These are grievous measures,” wrote Blue Lagoon CEO Grímur Sæmundsen in a statement on the lay-offs, “but are unavoidable in light of the circumstances.” Grímur continued by saying that “it’s clear that the short-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are enormous, but what they will be on the company’s future operations are unclear at this time.”

 

Icelanders Run Around the World, From Home

A new website allows participants to participate in a virtual relay race around the world. The website Hlaupum kringum hnött­inn, or ‘Let’s Run Around the World,’ was started by a group of Icelanders looking to do “something constructive to lift our moods during the epidemic.” Participants are encouraged to log the kilometres they jog every day and take part in a virtual trip around the globe—” with a distance of two metres between runners,” of course.

The race kicked off on Monday this week, and at time of writing, 771 participants had run 6,033 km or 13% of the way around the world. The route started in Reykjavík before making its next stops in Þórshöfn, Glasgow, London, Paris, Florence, and Athens. Next up are Adis Ababa, Nairobi, Johannesburg, and the South Pole. Each participant has run an average of 7.8 km a day thus far.

Screenshot via Hlaupum kringum hnöttinn website

Þórlindur Kjartansson, one of the site’s founders, says that a project like this is all the more necessary while the gathering ban is in effect and people need to be prioritizing both their physical and mental health.

The group doesn’t yet know how the race will continue after the round-the-world goal has been reached, but plans to keep the site up and running until Iceland is no longer in a state of emergency due to COVID-19.

Police on Alert for Rise in Quarantine-Related Crimes

Icelandic police

Police are closely monitoring cybercrime, crimes committed in the home, and domestic drug production while Icelanders are (self-)quarantining and the gathering ban is in effect, Vísir reports. The ban, which went into effect this week, prohibits gatherings of 20 or more people and is intended to prevent the further spread of the COVID-19 virus. Fréttablaðið reports that there’s already a shortage of cocaine in the country, as passenger flights have ground to a halt. According to Capital-area police chief Karl Steinar Valsson, people staying home more may also lead to a spike in these crimes.

A COVID-related slow in imports and a reduction of travellers entering the country has considerably reduced the availability of illegal substances like cocaine in Iceland. Fréttablaðið’s sources report that most of the country’s supplies have run dry and what little is left is being kept under wraps to drive up prices. Amphetamine is still available and domestic production of marijuana can respond to demand. Karl Steinar noted that the sale of narcotics is where organized crime makes the majority of its money. As such, when it becomes challenging to import drugs, these organizations are quick to start producing them domestically. “If there’s a temporary shortage of cocaine,” he explained, “then amphetamines are produced instead. That’s, of course, what we’ve seen before.”

As the gathering ban has put a temporary stop to weekend partying at bars and clubs in Iceland, Karl Steinar says that changes in users’ consumption patterns must be taken into account as well. However, he says that it is currently unclear how these changes will manifest. Fréttablaðið’s sources add that “businessmen who’ve been coming two, three times a week have stopped buying and are spending time with their families instead.”

Karl Steinar told reporters that it’s too early to say if there’s been a significant increase in criminal activity in the wake of the ban but says, for instance, that burglaries of businesses can be expected to increase while most employees work from home. An increase in domestic abuse is also a concern. “There are a lot of people working from home, and so naturally, there could be a rise in crimes committed in the home. We’ve haven’t yet seen this happen, but we’re monitoring very closely, both domestic violence and child abuse and crimes of that nature.”

Cybercrime is also likely to increase, he continued. “People are shopping online a lot and doing all sorts of things online from home that weren’t being done to the same extent before. There are thousands of websites popping up that offer you all kinds of protective devices to prevent you from being infected [with COVID-19]. They are offering products that have clearly not been certified or anything like that.”