Unlike lots of other countries we’ve annoyed, we British have never actively pissed off Iceland as far as I’m aware. It’s colder and further north for a start. The thing about the British Empire was that it was largely an excuse to get some sunshine and stop ourselves getting drunk all the time and fighting in our own streets. Fill us full of booze and point us at a hot country and let that country be afraid! But we never had a pop at Iceland. In the fifties and seventies we had the ‘Cod Wars’ over fishing rights but they won that and have a thriving fishing industry while we had to turn all our fishing villages into tourist towns and places for rich city folk to buy weekend homes.
In fact they got so much fish their economy boomed and everyone thought it would be cool to go banking there. So lots of British and Europeans invested there. then their economy went tits up and loads of people lost all their cash.
They also sent us Bjork to freak us all out.
Now there’s a volcano and we’re going to lose all our fruit. The Eyjafjallajoekull volcano to be precise. A name that is being copied and pasted by journalists all over the world as we speak. Imagine being a news anchor and hearing the good news that on top of the election there’s also been a natural disaster to report on. They must have been delighted until they saw the name of the volcano that they’d have to read out live.
Now obviously I’m not suggesting that this is all some Bond-like plot. Our economy is fucked too and unless the Icelanders have developed a super-villain volcano weapon, then this is an unavoidable disaster. Quite a predictable one when you consider that Iceland just seems to be a massive load volcanoes grouped together, simmering away, with a load of fish-obsessed viking descendants clinging to its surface.
It all just feels a bit personal.
Of course the press are just loving it. An election, possible life-threatening clouds, airlines losing £130 million a day, economic crises, lots of human misery and juicy personal tales of woe. Look at any news site and there will be an eager box at the bottom where you can write in and lament over how your life has been fucked by the volcano. John Cleese taking a cab from Norway to Brussels for £3,300. People getting stuck in expensive countries. A guy driving all the way to Austria to pick up his kid. People getting diverted to Moscow then being stuck in a hotel room under armed guard. India arresting people for visa violations. All good journalistic fodder that takes hardly any effort to produce. Misery, doom, despair, an end to the airline industry, and apparently no more fruit in Britain as it’s all going off.
I bet British Airways staff are annoyed because for a week or two they can’t threaten to strike.
Hopefully soon the ash will shift and it will all be forgotten about. Either that or the airlines will fail and we will have to go everywhere by boat. Which would actually be quite cool.
Here’s what I think will happen over the next few month news-wise. For the next week – volcano! After that – constant shit about the election. Then in May there will be a new virus that will threaten to wipe us all out come the winter. The circle of tabloid life. I’ll just be a bit suspicious if this year’s killer virus comes from Iceland. That will be one step too far.