Ahead for Iceland's 'Cuddly Generation,' Lots of Haddock, Local Lamb

And Who Saw the Financial Meltdown Coming? Bjork Did

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But for the occasional feature on the band Sigur Ros or Reykjavik's tourist attractions, Iceland usually manages to stay out of the international news. Until the past few days, anyway, when the global financial contagion hit the tiny volcanic island nation. For cultural wags, it's a comeuppance for the Krutt-kynslotin -- translated as the "Cuddly Generation," whose members didn't experience the hardscrabble life that preceded the 1990s boom that ran up until, um, last week.

Cosmopolitan and earnest, the Krutt-kynslotin is a generation of yuppies begat by fishermen -- a generation that's now going to have learn how to roll up its sleeves. That's a good thing, said chef Siggy Hall in an article in The Guardian titled "The Party's Over":

"They are the I-generation; iPods, iPhones, everything starts with I. Well, we will have to go back to the basics now. Icelanders are risk-takers, but hard working, they will have to downsize. We will have to eat haddock and Icelandic lamb and forget these imports of goose livers and Japanese soy sauce. When everyone was extremely rich in Iceland -- you know, last month, it was with money that they never have earned. Now those who were extremely rich are just normally rich, but they think they are poor. They were spoilt, spending billions."

Native daughter Bjork put it in even harsher terms -- and saw the writing on the wall -- in an interview that goes back six months. "Iceland is definitely at a crossroads," said Bjork, who opposed the building of a dam and headlined a protest concert. "Financially it's a greedy time -- a bit like what happened in Britain in the 1980s. The entrepreneurs and politicians want the industrial revolution we missed out on because we were a colony for 600 years, but I think it's too late."

Stayed tuned, the collective self-loathing has likely just begun.
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