Isi is a concert promoter. He bought Airwaves out of bankruptcy. He’s putting the pieces back together. And he’s mostly excited about his Ed Sheeran dates next year. Why is Ed the biggest act in the world? And he is! This summer he was the only performer to consistently sell out in the U.K. Taylor Swift, who he once opened for, could not. Is it because of the SONGS?
Contemplate that. The performance is fascinating, Ed alone on stage, but if you think about it, even though he’s collaborated with rappers, seemingly everybody, Ed’s sound is almost retro, just a boy and his guitar, well, a little bit more on record. And he’s paid his dues, from the streets to the stadiums, from the Liverpool docks to the Hollywood Bowl, as Ian would say. Why is no one following in his footsteps?
And after our convo with Isi and his lieutenant Will, we moseyed on down to the Saga Museum, on the recommendation of the concierge, to experience the history of Iceland and the Vikings and… The iron smelter’s son was a poet, a thousand years ago. Made me think of so many poets who’ve been forgotten. And even back then religion has people killing each other. But mostly, the museum gave me the impression that people back then thought they were modern, what are people in the future gonna think about us?
And then we ate lunch in the museum restaurant. Which normally I’d avoid, but Felice is a three meal a day girl, however small, I tanked up at breakfast and could wait for dinner, eating a Balance Bar to tide me over, but she pointed to the soup on the menu and I caved. The concierge recommended the restaurant too, but how good could it be?
First there was the bread. I know, I know, I’m trying to avoid carbs after going overboard last night, but the worst bread in Iceland is better than the best bread in the U.S. The crust is firm, the middle is moist and the butter is soft…you could make a meal out of bread alone!
But then they served the soup.
Let’s see, it’s billed as “Halibut Soup with Mussels, Apples and Raisins.”
Who’d come up with that?
Then who’d come up with the dessert of “Rye Bread Soup, Raisins Soaked in Black Tea, Brown Butter Ice Cream.” We didn’t have that, but the soup!
The bowl was served with the halibut, mussels, apples and raisins, and then the server drenched it in a white liquid which evidenced oil spots and when you dipped your spoon… WHEW! The raisins were as big as olives, the apples were diced, the halibut was big and flaky and the mussels were shelled and all together it was dream-like. It’s like the Icelanders know food is the thing, but then they push the envelope. Kinda like Ed if you think about it. If you’ve never seen him live, with the loops and…
The rewards go to those testing the limits. They don’t always succeed, but when they do we’re titillated, thrilled to be alive.
But it’s risky out on the edge. People want you to fail, because they don’t have the courage to put it all on the line themselves. And instant adoption is never the case, your audience is small and limited until everybody gets on board, and then you’ve got to repeat the process. The audience might like where you’ve been, but if you stay where you are, others pass you by. So an artist is always climbing the mountain, it’s positively Sisyphean if you think about it.
But we live for the rewards.